Nurses in trouble get second chances - Minnesota

by brian 40,638 Views | 50 Comments Admin

Front page lead story in the Sunday Star Tribune investigates the Disciplinary actions of the Minnesota State Board of Nursing. Minnesota rarely throws nurses out of the profession for unsafe conduct. Records examined by the Star Tribune of more than 1,000 disciplinary actions by the Nursing Board over the past four years show that it tolerates or forgives misconduct that would end nursing careers in other states.

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    Nurses in trouble get second chances - Minnesota

    Minnesota State regulators say they protect the public with a closer watch on caregivers accused of misconduct. Those who lost loved ones want them to do more.

    Elda Bothun lay unconscious on her bed inside a Bloomington nursing home. She had stopped breathing, but the two nurses assigned to care for her had left the room.

    A police officer, summoned by a delayed emergency call, tried resuscitating the elderly woman, with no help from the nurses. Then paramedics took over. It was too late.

    At 5:05 a.m., Jan. 19, 2009, Bothun was pronounced dead.

    A state investigation found a severe breakdown in Bothun’s care just before her death and determined that the failure of nurses Elijah Mokandu and Meaza Abayneh to help her during the apparent heart attack amounted to neglect of a vulnerable adult. Police and the city attorney went further: They charged the nurses with criminal neglect, a rare step in Minnesota.

    The Minnesota Board of Nursing could have taken away the licenses of Mokandu and Abayneh. Instead, it directed them to take training classes and consult with other nurses about how to respond to emergency situations.

    The two nurses were allowed to keep practicing...

    Over the past 5 months, the Start Tribune has analyzed thousands of records and interviewed 50 people.

    The Star Tribune’s investigation found:
    • The board actively licenses more than 230 nurses since 2010 who have records of unsafe practice, including botched care that led to patient harm or even death.

    Ninety-three nurses are allowed to practice despite having been charged or convicted of crimes such as physical or sexual assault and drug thefts — some against their own patients.

    • The board gives nurses who admit misconduct second, third and sometimes more chances to keep practicing.

    • Getting fired for incompetence, even multiple times, rarely means Minnesota nurses lose their licenses.

    Minnesota is one of only 10 states where the board has no restrictions on granting licenses to felons, according to a 2012 survey of state nursing boards.
    Gov. Mark Dayton called the Star Tribune’s findings “shocking,” and said the Nursing Board’s actions puts patients at risk for harm.

    “It would appear the board is more interested in protecting bad nurses than the public,” he said. “Where does it come from that their job is to give subpar nurses chance after chance after chance?”

    In an interview Friday, Dayton vowed to take “whatever action is necessary” to change how the board views discipline, starting with filling two currently open seats with members who will “understand these problems and insist on a very different approach.

    “We’ll do whatever is necessary to reconstitute the board, or revise its procedures or give them a very clear statement from both the executive and legislative branch that they need to set a much higher standard and enforce it,” he said.

    Read the full article here:
    http://www.startribune.com/investigators/226301371.html?page=all&prepage=1&c=y#continue

    Here is a photo of the front page article (2MB)

    Nurses, this is a long article, but worth the read.
    What do you think about this? Please share your comments and opinions.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 7, '13
    VivaLasViejas, Joe V, NRSKarenRN, and 3 others like this.
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  3. About brian

    brian joined Mar '98 - from 'Minnesota'. brian has '18+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele'. Posts: 15,199 Likes: 15,586; Learn more about brian by visiting their allnursesPage Website

    50 Comments so far...

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    Yeah, let's not take a good look at the hellhole that is most nursing homes, let's just try to focus on these two nurses. Not that I am defending them; I saw some of the worst examples of nurses when I worked in LTC.

    Go ahead and put these two nurses in jail - do you really think the two that replace them are going to be any better?

    Every day I go to work I am thankful that I don't work in a facility like that. My first job in healthcare was in one of those and it was horrible.
    Mistyone13, dinah77, msbprn, and 6 others like this.
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    I read the entire article.

    In PA, the nurses would've been suspended, sued, AND the patients and their families would have been paid.
    OCNRN63, spurs21550, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
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    I know that nursing homes in my area hire those that do not have the training that is needed to work in healthcare. In Virginia a LPN is considered a primary nurse, so the LTC facilities in my area, hire LPN as administers of their facility and then they hire med techs at minimum wage. The course is as follows
    The 68-Hour Medication Administration training program for unlicensed personnel is a Virginia Board of Nursing approved curriculum for individuals who want to work in assisted living facilities. Students are taught the basic knowledge and skills needed to perform medication administration safely and effectively. This program qualifies participants to take the State Registered Medication Aide Exam. The training will prepare an individual for a position as a Medication Aide.

    So they only get two weeks of training, and are expected to know when to notice the early warning signs of disease processes. I feel like the rules should be changed, that these "nurses," because that is what the patients refer to them as, need more training and education.
    elprup likes this.
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    I'm the DNS of a nursing home. I hire RNs only. If they don't have experience, their orientation is at least 6 weeks long. If they have nursing experience, but none in a nursing home, tHeir orientation is a month. I work with some of the smartest nurses I've ever met and since I've been an RN for more than 30 years, I can say that without hesitation. Some of the stupidest nurses I know work in the hospital. Let's not paint an entire industry with a broad brush because of these bad nurses.
    ICUman, Armygirl7, motherof3sons, and 13 others like this.
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    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    I'm the DNS of a nursing home. I hire RNs only. If they don't have experience, their orientation is at least 6 weeks long. If they have nursing experience, but none in a nursing home, tHeir orientation is a month. I work with some of the smartest nurses I've ever met and since I've been an RN for more than 30 years, I can say that without hesitation. Some of the stupidest nurses I know work in the hospital. Let's not paint an entire industry with a broad brush because of these bad nurses.
    Lets face it. Stupid people work everywhere. Just look at Congress.

    With that being said, and I don't defend these nurses, but IMO, it is too easy to become a nurse. Even the NCLEX has been dumbed down. It is no longer the 2 day hundreds of questions long, but people pass at 75 and can be out in an hour or two.
    Include the fact that facilities are understaffing, it paints an overall bleak picture of the future.

    Another thing that bothers me is that a nurse is never given a second chance. They screw up and their license is pulled. How often does this happen to physicians? Is it as often as nurses?

    I honestly don't know if I'm on or off the pedestal as a nurse. In one aspect, I must be perfect. Never a dui, or any wrong doing. But then I'm treated like crap from management. It honestly makes my head spin.
    sweetbunny, rlev, subee, and 3 others like this.
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    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    I'm the DNS of a nursing home. I hire RNs only. If they don't have experience, their orientation is at least 6 weeks long. If they have nursing experience, but none in a nursing home, tHeir orientation is a month. I work with some of the smartest nurses I've ever met and since I've been an RN for more than 30 years, I can say that without hesitation. Some of the stupidest nurses I know work in the hospital. Let's not paint an entire industry with a broad brush because of these bad nurses.
    You did notice that none of the horror stories in the article are from hospitals?

    These stories also don't come from higher end nursing homes - like the one I did a clinical at where many of the residents were the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or their families.

    But make no mistake, the lower end nursing homes are hideous and breed this type of outcome.
    dblpn and jedromey like this.
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    Those nurses were foreign, blast me all you please, that made a difference
    applewhitern and tori51874 like this.
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    I think each situation needs to be evaluated separately. Nurses are human and deserve another chance just as any other person in any other job. What these nurses did was wrong and they should be disciplined. They went beyond incompetence. The nursing home is probably just as much as fault for overloading the nurses with too many patients. But I think with some situations that our licenses shouldn't be taken immediately. If anyone reading this can say they have never made a mistake, they are lying!! If any nurse who has done nursing for many years says they have never made a mistake in nursing, they are lying. I was attacked by a man and pressed charges against him. He got out of jail and pressed fake charges against me and continues to harrass me to this day. The last incident was him paying a neighborhood kid to go to the magistrate to press fake charges against me (the kid was dumb enough to claim this incident happened while I have proof I was at work at the time and was working in a school with cameras). I've never commited any crimes and I'm not a violent person. But if I ever moved and applied for a license in another state, I could be denied because of something I didn't do. All the charges show that I have never been convicted and that the charges have been dropped. But I still have to explain that to employers. So I think it really should be a case by case situation. I have never had a DUI/DWI. But I don't think that has anything to do with nursing as long as the nurse is sober on the job. DUI/DWI is wrong no matter how you look at it, but if it doesn't effect job performance it shouldn't matter on the job. It makes me think that the boards of nursing are just making sure they look busy so they can keep a job and a good public reputation. Back to those 2 nurses, I feel they should be held responsible because any human or layperson with any values would try to do something if someone were having a heart attack. I think their biggest fault was not trying to do anything at all. But I think the boards go too far in taking away someones way to make a living sometimes.

    If the board cared, they would offer classes specifically in the area the nurse was lacking in and rehab the nurse (in most cases). The nurse should also take a refresher course and pass. Maybe a psych eval or therapy for a nurse that maybe is in a rough time in their life. Maybe its not the nurse, but the situation they are in at the time. I think there are many options for each individual situation that the board should consider before pulling a license for good.
    Tinkk, kobbysm, tesaalvarado79, and 2 others like this.
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    Wait, a person had a heart attack? And DIED? Shocked! I'm shocked!!!
    Tinkk, sweetbunny, free73, and 13 others like this.


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