Cursed at a patient-fired

  1. This is very hard to be honest about but I know that I need to in order to move past it and to show that I know that what I did was wrong.

    So I'm a relatively new grad (got my RN in Jan 2012). I took my first nursing job at a pediatric dual diagnosis hospital where the patients have both a medical diagnosis and behavioral diagnosis. I worked there for just over a year. In that time I was written up a total of 3 times for cursing, but only 1 of which actually occurred.

    The first time, one of my co-workers wrote a letter to the DON stating that I had made a statement at the nurses station about "punching that ******* ***** in the face" and I was brought in and questioned, which I completely denied. The second time is the 1 time it actually did happen, I had a patient call me lazy because I refused to heat up her butter and I stated that I would be damned if anyone is going to call me lazy.

    I immediately apologized to the patient and when my supervisor questioned me, due to having been informed by a co-worker, I told her the complete truth. I also used this as a teaching moment for my patients to show them that even adults are not perfect and we all have stuff we have to work on (mine being cursing). The last time never happened.

    It started out with a co-worker being upset about the way I treated a patient and the co-worker lied and said I cursed at a another patient. I was working with a patient who had conversion disorder and he would attempt to get the staff to do everything for him. When he was admitted we were given instructions from the doctor and his PT that he was a minimum assist patient. I was trained that if our patients were not up by 8am then they would get cereal on the unit and if they were not up by 9am then the kitchen was closed, the whole time I was there this is how I ran the unit. I had gotten an order from the doctor that this patient be gotten up before 7am, since it took him extra time to get up and out of bed, which ment the night nurse would have to get him up and he would be out of bed when I got there (this never happened).

    So that day he was ready to get out of bed when I woke up the other 17 patients. He never said anything about having to go to the bathroom to anyone who went in his room. By the time I went in to get him up, he had gone in the bed. To make a long story short, he didn't get out of bed and to breakfast until after 915. Following the unit rules he wasn't going to get breakfast due not being ready before 9am. The other nurse got rude with me and stated if it were her she would give him the food because he had been awake. She was very upset and I told her that she could give it to him but I felt he should have been up earlier and the rules apply to everyone else.

    She went to the DON and complained and told them that I had cursed at another patient saying "stop your ********" which I deny because it didn't happen. I was called in and questioned about the patient's breakfast to which I replied that this was not the first meal he would have missed and I was not the only one who followed the kitchen rules. Also that I had told the Doctor and his Dietitian that he had been missing meals due to not assisting with his activities and such and not one person said anything about not giving him his food.

    The DON said we could not do that and we could not deny patients food, I stated then someone, anyone should have said something and that this needs to be told to everyone. They then questioned about the cursing and said that since I have a history that they were letting me go.

    I feel like I was targeted. I've tried to find another job but have had no luck and it seems that this issue is why. I have asked interviewers if their are any red flags during my interview and have been told the cursing. I have no idea what to do and how to show people that this was an isolated incident. I mean I worked in customer service for years and never had any issues like this. Any help would be great.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jul 26, '13 : Reason: TOS profanity/formatting
  2. Visit sle9403RN profile page

    About sle9403RN

    Joined: Jul '13; Posts: 13
    Unemployed; from UZ
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience in Psychiatric


  3. by   sle9403RN
    Sorry this is sooo long!
  4. by   RileyRN2013
    So you cursed in front of a pediatric patient, and you refused to feed another, regardless of the situation you are supposed to be a patient advocate. I think you are going to have to show some type of change to overcome your "red flag". Just saying this was an isolated incidence isn't going to be enough to employers. You may want to look into anger management or counseling. Something that can be on paper that shows you recognize there is an issue and are addressing it.
  5. by   KelRN215
    Out of curiosity, why are you telling interviewers that you have a problem with cursing?
  6. by   meanmaryjean
    Or are you cursing during your interviews?
  7. by   dishes
    It is not in your best interests to provide detailed descriptions about reasons for termination or provide unique identifiers such as location on a public forum.
  8. by   BrandonLPN
    Frankly, the not giving the patient his breakfast part seemed far more alarming than the cursing part.

    I'm not known for being a soft touch, but I can't envision a scenario where I'd think it would be okay to withhold a patient's meal as punishment for them not completing their ADLs on time. That's some old school nursing, there. I can't imagine any facility, anywhere, has such a policy in this day and age. If any of the other nurses told you that was the "rule", I suspect they were deliberately misleading you.

    It seems you didn't have a good relationship with the nurses you worked with. Especially if they were truly lying in an attempt to get you fired. In situations like this, it's a good idea to look back and try and figure out exactly what happened to make your work relationships so toxic. It's hard being a new nurse in a unit that has established cliques. It's very easy to disrupt the "flow" and get on everyone's you-know-what list.
  9. by   BacktoBasics
    You worked on a pediatric unit. I would have fired you as well. No compassion for those patients let alone them being children. Your behavior sickens me.
  10. by   Anna Flaxis
    I am not a psych nurse, nor do I have any specific behavioral health experience, but it would be reasonable to me that in a behavioral health setting, a consistent structure and consistently applied rules would be part of the care plan. However, it is hard for me to imagine that withholding food would be part of that. I can imagine that if a person misses the window of time for a hot meal, then they're outta luck, but that finger foods would be made available. Maybe some psych nurses can chime in here.

    As far as the cursing, it is inappropriate in any healthcare setting, not just peds.

    Cursing is a habit, just like biting one's nails or clicking one's pen. Habits can be changed with practice. I'm sure there must be many self help books out there about changing habits such as cursing.

    I don't really have much helpful advice, as I've never been disciplined let alone fired, so I wouldn't have the foggiest how one would recover professionally from that.

    And FWIW, I have dropped the F Bomb in front of a patient. Once. And I was horrified. Fortunately, the patient wasn't phased at all and took it in stride. But it is something I have never repeated, and don't plan to!
  11. by   xoemmylouox
    I can admit I swear... a lot. However I NEVER swear in front of or towards patients. I have wanted to with every in of my being, believe me, but you can't. It isn't professional and it'll get you fired in a second. Take this as a lessoned learned.
  12. by   sle9403RN
    I put that facility on my applications and resume to show I have some expierence. Where it asks why I left I put personal reasons. I only tell them if they ask about it. The reason I put it on there at all (I did consider removing it) was just in case an employer did a background check and found it.
  13. by   sle9403RN
    Never! It just occasionally happens when I'm really frustrated or extremely stressed. I'm really trying to stop but it has been hard.
  14. by   sle9403RN
    No compassion??? Really? So when I have to wrap up wrists cut to the bone or Ng tube a patient who refuses to eat or cried with a patient who was having a hard time or spent the countless hours trying show them that they can't be angry all the time means I have no compassion? I lived at my job...not because they paid me to or because i had to, but because I loved my patients. Have you worked on a psych floor? Let alone a peds psych floor? If not then you have no idea what goes on and what I've dealt with how many times I didn't curse or cry or become emotional when i felt my life was threatened. Yes there were times I put myself in harms way to save my patients. So if that is having no compassion then maybe I didn't. I didn't baby my patients or pretend as if it was ok that they abused the people and caregivers who cared about them. I gave them real-life and a shoulder to lean on when they struggled. I'm sorry you feel the way you do.