Question about patient complaints?

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    Has anyone ever had a complaint against them by a patient's family member?

    Here's the story. My car broke down on the way to work (engine blew), and when I got to work and delivered a breakfast tray to a patient, he asked me about what happened because he heard a few people talking about it in the hall. I told him what happened, and he said he'd 'make a few phone calls'. I let him be, and later on, he handed me his phone and on it was a man who wanted to tow my car because my patient wanted to buy it for his daughter, and replace the engine himself. The patient offered a little money, and I turned him down. I found a junk yard to take my car, anyway.

    Later on, his daughters came to visit him, and he told me about the car, and they offered money, too. I told them I'd think about it, because I'd much rather sell it to someone that can use it than to a junk yard. Turns out, me and the daughters have the same friends. So I told them that if they can find a way to pick up the car, they can take it. They left about an hour before shift change to get a trailor, and before they left, one gave me her number. I called at shift change to see if she was still interested, and her mother answered and was very upset that her husband (my patient) hadn't told her anything, and she knew nothing about the car, so I explained to her what her husband and daughters said.

    When I told her she needs to talk to her husband about it, she calmed down and said that she's going to talk to him, and asked if she can post pone getting it. I told her that tomorrow (today) it is going to be towed to a junk yard. She said okay, and whatever happens will happen. she said thank you and we got off the phone. I didn't bother talking to the patient about it anymore, or the family.

    Next day, today, I get a phone call from work saying that a complaint was filed against me because a 'conversation I had about a car.' I never talked to these people outside of work, there was no money exchanged, the wife was upset because her husband didn't call her about it, and was upset when i told her the car is going to be towed. Human resources took me off the schedule until tomorrow when we can talk about the complaint, when they want to hear my side.

    I don't know what to expect, I am afraid. I had asked the nurse I was working with if it was okay if I talked to the patient and his daughters about the car, she said she didn't see a problem with it. I also made sure he wasn't on any medicine that can alter his decisions, and he isn't. I wrote down the events of what happened, and will be presenting it all to human resources and my boss tomorrow.

    Has anyone had a patient file a complaint against them? Please, no bashing, if you have nothing helpful to say, don't say it at all, it's not what I need right now!!
    Last edit by Esme12 on Apr 13, '13
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 7
    Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

    Your thread was moved to the "yellow" side of all nurses where discussions about our patients and life as nurses is conducted. You might have to re-log in with your same user ID and password to leave the breakroom.

    I am sorry you are going through this.....it is best to not conduct any personal business while you are at work...period. If it is on their time and property they can dictate whatever they want.

    I avoid any interactions with families all together because people are crazy.

    I wish you the best.
    jadelpn, uRNmyway, TheCommuter, and 4 others like this.
  4. 2
    ^^ What Esme said ... draw a firm line between your work life and your personal business.
    psu_213 and nrsang97 like this.
  5. 0
    I agree, people ARE crazy!
  6. 1
    I agree with the above, its a good lesson learned that you never know who or what will happen that will come back when dealing with personal buisness with patients or family members. If it were me in that situation, I might have said, thank you but no thank you I already have something set up to have it taken care of, or something to that effect. Family members are unpredictable. Just explain to human resources what happened and that you learned your lesson about it.
    jadelpn likes this.
  7. 1
    This is a good example of what not to do. NEVER mix your personal business with work, especially when there is money involved. Mostly likely the worst you'll get is a write up. Just explain what happened and that you won't make this mistake again.
    Pangea Reunited likes this.
  8. 0
    I agree with the above postings but when you speak to HR be sure to tell them the pt brought it up because he had overheard people discussing it in the hallway this way it is made clear you weren't going around asking if any patients wanted to buy your car. Best of luck.
  9. 0
    The only thing you can do is tell your side of things.
    And that the patient was only asking about something that he overheard in the hall. So perhaps your coworkers need to be mindful that the conversations that they are having in the hall the patients can hear.
    So perhaps HR would like to set some policy on general blanket statement that nurses are to say when a patient repeats hallway gossip.
    Because the patient already knew all of the details, and I am sure it caught you off guard and put in a position where you were not sure what to say or how to get out of it. And that is what I would say.


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