Accused by a patient's family member of not assessing

  1. 0
    So today I get a phone call from my manager about some complaints a patient's family member made against me to Patient Relations. The granddaughter of the patient accused me of not performing an assessment of her grandmother's lungs, attempting to over medicate her grandmother, not following the physicians instructions and God only knows what else. According to my manager the granddaughter had seven pages of documentation against me. I was furious. Of course I assessed the patient's lungs! That's ridiculous. I did explain to my manager that we were ridiculously busy and that I'd started my assessment only to be interrupted several times to attend to other pressing matters (i.e., a patient who claimed to have been sitting in wet sheets for two hours, a new admission, and it seemed that every single patient needed something to eat and needed to be toileted RIGHT NOW). I did medicate the patient for pain as she was post op for a knee replacement and every time I had to leave the patient I apologized and told them I would be back just as soon as I could. I did get back a short while later and finish the assessment (which the granddaughter was not in the room for because she was out in the hallway on the phone) and the patient then complained that she felt like her blood sugar was low. I assured her that the pct was coming around to do accuchecks and asked her if she had eaten anything since surgery. She had had some jello so I asked her if she would like some soup. She said she would so I made it for her and brought it in for her. I told this to my manager and she went in to this long lecture about walking rounds (which I do) and I knew it would do no good to tell her that basically I got slammed and that I did the best I could because she doesn't care about that. I also told my manager that I didn't know when the granddaughter could have written those seven pages because she was basically asleep most of the night when I checked on the patient. Neither the granddaughter nor the patient ever voiced any concerns to me or ask to talk to my team leader or night manager and in fact both voiced sympathy over how busy I was and how they hoped I would get a minute to sit down before too long. I know that there was definitely a personality conflict between myself and the granddaughter, who is also a nurse and who did not listen to me other than to twist my words later on to my manager, and my manager seemed to understand a little. I'm just SO ANGRY at this woman. As a fellow nurse, she should have come to me if she had concerns. I know that I would. I feel like she's just trying to make trouble for me and I don't know what I can do about it because it's essentially my word against hers, but we all know that managers and Patient Relations people are all politicians and rarely side with the nurse when there's revenue at stake. Any advice from those with more experience in these matters?
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  3. 22 Comments so far...

  4. 9
    Been down this road many times. Defend yourself vigorously. Get others who can back you up to do so. Whether in writing or a call to the manager or the pt relation rep who is on the case. Its helps if you are known to be a decent hardworking nurse. Which is really the average nurse. Also ask to see or get a copy of the letter. Tell your manager to review the video tape for that shift to confirm the times you went into the room and had to leave to attend to other pts.
    As a fellow nurse what was stopping her from assessing her grandmother to make sure she was ok, since she was so concerned. Also be wary of family members who claim to also be a nurse. They always want to prove something or have an ax to grind.
    It is ok to be furious. Nursing can be a very thankless job.
    Nola009, toomuchbaloney, misstrinad, and 6 others like this.
  5. 4
    I agree, ask for a copy of the letter and address each issue. Make of point of what can be checked against your documentation. Ask for permission to view the chart to gather information.
    Nola009, toomuchbaloney, misstrinad, and 1 other like this.
  6. 2
    We did kind of go over a few points and I defended myself each time. I wish I could say to review a tape but we only have video in certain areas of the hospital. Now my mind just keeps going over and over that shift and every interaction. What really irks me is that not one word was said to me about any concerns regarding my care or lack thereof. Not the entire shift. She didn't ask to talk to my team leader or the associate nurse manager on duty. I would have been more than happy to address any concerns she had if she had brought them to my attention. I know I'm not perfect but I'm not incompetent. To be so shady as to bring it up, supposedly, after the fact and put MY license and MY career in danger is just foul play. I wish I could put my faith in my manager to have my back but she's a politician without a doubt. She did say she wanted my side because, "There's always two sides and the truth is somewhere in the middle."
    toomuchbaloney and libbyliberal like this.
  7. 7
    Oh gosh, another supposed nurse family member turned psycho trying her best to look important. I have a phrase for people like that "social neanderthal". good luck.
    Nola009, toomuchbaloney, jadelpn, and 4 others like this.
  8. 6
    The truth is somewhere in the middle. NO.

    When accusations are made, usually the truth is about 80% closer to the nurse than the complainer; who generally does not have enough information and/or understanding to truly say what is going on. There is a reason people do not treat relatives, objectivity is far too difficult to achieve.

    Hard and fast rule? No, but more often than not, and in my experience.
  9. 3
    Quote from Bklyn_RN
    Tell your manager to review the video tape for that shift.
    ::amused::
    Nola009, ohioSICUrn, and kool-aide, RN like this.
  10. 2
    Quote from rcsprauer
    So today I get a phone call from my manager about some complaints a patient's family member made against me to Patient Relations. The granddaughter of the patient accused me of not performing an assessment of her grandmother's lungs, attempting to over medicate her grandmother, not following the physicians instructions and God only knows what else.
    Every single concern is probably covered by your charting.
    libbyliberal and Vespertinas like this.
  11. 5
    What a gross situation. I would hope (being optimistic about the inherent good of people) that your manager would say, listen, I know you were probably really busy and I'm showing you this before I file it away and we both forget about it.

    Are you positive the granddaughter is really a nurse? FWIW some people will call themselves a nurse when they attended or are attending nursing school. Or full of BS.
  12. 5
    Or if they are CNA's. One family member made a huge deal with all the staff that she knew soo much and was very knowledgeable about "all this stuff" because she took Medical Terminology!
    Nola009, jadelpn, libbyliberal, and 2 others like this.


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