co-worker fired due to me

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    have you ever heard of anything like this? Monday I had to complete an incident report due to a med error. The error occured the eve before when me and my coworker were working intermediate ICU with a 12/2 ratio--4above standard-- and my coworker hung the wrong concentration or Heparin for a drip. The incident was written as unsafe staffing led to the error. WELL... apparently this is my coworkers 3rd incident report (in her career) for a med error and she will be fired!!!! I think this is crazy and need to hear from nurses that have experienced something like this.

    11/07/00 update. My coworker resigned. She's too humilitated to continue. The staff met with management in a Monday a.m. meeting where I presented some of your responses and information from the ANA site. I was congratulated by my colleages for my preparedness but was still unable to convince my "accused" coworker to stay on and work through this tough time. I only hope that my battle will protect those still working and intend to continue until we provide the quality safe care that the hospital says it provides and the patients deserve.

    [This message has been edited by minurse (edited November 07, 2000).]
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  4. 20 Comments so far...

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    I am sorry to hear of your co-workers dilemma. I am also surprised that your organization and the Department of Nursing have not looked at why 1 clinician has had 3 medication errors/incidents without some form of proactive investigation into WHY and how is it possilbe that no interventions have been put into place to avoid another occurance.
    If it is due to under staffing than part of the responsibility lies with the institution and its policies/processes. The outdated practice of find a nurse, blame a nurse, fire a nurse is a deplorable and irresponsible response to the situation.
    Your co-worker should seek legal counsel.
    Please understand that I am not exempting her from her own responsibilities of practicing safe Nursing. She too should look at the variables that have caused her to commit multiple medication errors and search for a plan to avoid future occurrences.
  6. 0
    Originally posted by minurse:
    have you ever heard of anything like this? Monday I had to complete an incident report due to a med error. The error occured the eve before when me and my coworker were working intermediate ICU with a 12/2 ratio--4above standard-- and my coworker hung the wrong concentration or Heparin for a drip. The incident was written as unsafe staffing led to the error. WELL... apparently this is my coworkers 3rd incident report (in her career) for a med error and she will be fired!!!! I think this is crazy and need to hear from nurses that have experienced something like this.
    there is something wrong with firing a nurse cause of an error. for one you had an overload of patients, which is bad to begin with, and i would have let them know this. she needs to fight this.did the pt. die because of this? nurses are human and make mistakes. people need to realize this, no matter how careful you try to be, mistakes can and do happen.
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    thanks for your input. the hospital ceo and nursing director have agreed to a monday a.m. meeting. I am going to try to make a case for my coworkers job. however, she said she's humilitated and hurt and doesn't know if she can work on our unit again. she feels that all other nurses will be leary of working with her. by the way, she's nursed 4 years and the patient had no significant effect from the wrong concentration of drug.
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    The fact that your co-worker has three med errors does not cancel out the staffing issue. This kind of inappropriate staffing is an accident waiting to happen. However, when it does, you are pretty much on your own. I watched a nurse walk off the job because she hung the wrong Iv med - no adverse effects. She had a super ivyleague education, many years of really good experience and had been working with short staffing for quite some time. It can happen to anyone in this type of situation. Don't let it destroy your co-worker's self-esteem, because it really can.
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    Nurses are frequently singled out for termination for many reasons. This error may be the icing on the cake for a manager that wants to fire this co-worker for a host of other reasons. It may also be due to some archaic internal standard (JCAHO initiated)that requires termination for a set number of med errors. Whatever the reason, the nurse in question should definitely have legal counsel present. If necessary, you too should have legal counsel present. Do not let them trod over you on this issue. Ask them for proof that other nurses have been terminated for 3 medication errors. The standards must be the same. If your co-worker has been treated differently than other nurses (i.e. some nurses have 4 or more med errors and are still there), you may have grounds for civil action. Don't go in there begging and unprepared. Take a lawyer and stand up for your collective rights.

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    Her 3rd incident report/med erroe IN HER CAREER and she is being fired? How long has she been a nurse? If it is less than a year, that's a concern. It it has been 30 years; let's hope that we are all so cautious. The staffing situation sounds horrible. Her being fired is not due to you- if you would not have written the incident up; your licenca would have been on the line. She should seek legal counsel, but it sounds like the staffing situation is partly to blame also. It would also be helpful to your hospital to use a blameless method of tracking incidents--- if they were already short staffed; why would they want to lose another nurse by firing one? The blameless method would show where the problems are so they can be fixed instead of pointing fingers and not solving the problems.
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    By the way, if your intermediate ICU has 2 nurses for 12 patients, how bad is your staffing for the general med-surg. floors? My idea of intermediate ICU patients is that they are still too ill to be cared for on a Med-Surg. floor where the staffing ratios are low.
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    Charles S Smith is right; you both should have legal council on this. The other thing is that if you are in a union, you can file a grievance. If you aren't in a union, the hospital can fire you "at will"-- and they just may not need a reason to fire someone- but if you can prove other nurses with more than 3 med errors are still working there, they may have another reason and that should be brought out in the open; they shouldn't hide behind a false reason.
  13. 0
    Hi minurse. It's possible the firing of this nurse was related to the national media focus on medication errors. Was your coworker considered a competent practictioner, sometimes exceeding in his/her performance? If this is true, then it's beyond me why an administration would want to fire this nurse as opposed to counseling the nurse regarding medication administration as other posters have pointed out. I also agree with the posters who indicated that the patient-nurse ratio for your unit seems excessive. It seems to me that if your coworker was an otherwise competent worker and this is reflected on job evaluations, the facility "threw the baby out with the bath water." I'd also be curious, like another poster wrote, if other nurses are getting fired in your hospital for so many med errors. What about physicians losing priviledges? Best wishes.

    [This message has been edited by Mijourney (edited November 05, 2000).]


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