Patient Advocate - page 2

by barb4575 3,495 Views | 12 Comments

Once again, I am being faced with a crisis involving patient advocacy. I am employed as a RN BSN faculty member and one of my clinicals is on a Med-Surg floor. I have witnessed so many unsafe issues and have reported them to... Read More


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    Just read your post Barb and just about fell off my chair! This exact same thing happened to me. The VP of Nursing called the Dean of the local City College Nursing Program and had me removed from clinicals at the hospital. I had exercised my duty as a patient advocate by participating in an article for "Self" magazine. The stupid magazine mentioned the hospitals name and called them for a comment (I trusted that the journalist would protect my interests - wrong!) Prior to that, I had worked at this hospital for 12 years and left on good terms. Later, I was hired as an Adjunct Professor at the local City College. I was transitioning from bedside nursing to law. (Had recently gotten my law degree and was studying for the California Bar - if you think the NCLEX is tough!) I was teaching a Maternal Child Health class and loving it. It was really important to me to pass along my experience and knowledge. It felt good! The students liked me and I liked all of them very much. I was just getting my feet wet in a law firm and I was looking forward to maybe teaching some classes on the legal aspects of nursing or health care risk management. (I also have a certificate on Health Care Risk Management) Found out that I was really good at this teaching stuff. Was very excited about doing this on the side.

    Then, the Dean asked me if I would help out with a clinical at the hospital. They didn't have many instructors with maternal child health experience. There was basically a shortage of instructors. I was a little reluctant about going back into the hospital, but how could I say no?

    When the Dean called me into her office and told me what the hospital had done, I was stunned! Evidently, the hospital just made a large donation to the nursing school to expand their program. I understood the position that the Dean was put in, but I still think that she had no balls!

    I did nothing at first, but it really bothered me and I had this law degree now and I was not the same nurse I use to be. My law degree greatly empowered me to stand up for my rights and the rights of others, especially nurses. So, I did one of the guttiest things that I have ever done in my entire nursing career , I went to the local news paper and told them my story. A few days later there I was on the FRONT page of the local paper!
    The telephone did not stop ringing for a few days. Nurses calling me non-stop to give me support. I still have nurses come up to me in the grocery store or the bank. The Nursing School has not had me teach a class since then - my greatest loss. It's been over 2 years now and I have no regrets. I am currently in a job that I love.

    Barb - I am not saying that you do what I did, but there is something deeply disturbing about all of this. Nursing Instructors have to be given the right to speak freely on the issues that effect nurses and patients. I don't like what is happening in our nursing schools!

    P.S. This is only for Barb - My passion and emotions are what make me a successful nurse attorney. Don't ever lose that!
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    I had PM'd you yesterday and you responded here...I appreciate the support you have offered and sorry that someone else went through this too. This was my fifteenth clinical group and something I had never experienced before and never care to repeat. The funny part about it is that it has backfired on this VP of Nursing as many students informed me that they never planned to work there after graduation and definitely aren't doing so now. I had decided to leave this college about three weeks before this occurrence due to it's disorganization and the lack of commitment to the students that I have witnessed. I kept hoping that it would change, but it hasn't yet and don't see that happening any time soon. The Dean hoped that I would stay, but I also think she understands my position. Regardless, I have to do what is healthy for me. I will continue to give my all to those students I do have, but the academic political arena is not for me...and that is everywhere. There are many avenues in which to teach....for me, it is a calling, just as nursing is too. But, I feel certain that God would not want me to remain in this situation...

    I know that the local media would not be an avenue for me, but I have taken action in a legislative sense. I have also done that before even if it did take four years to see a significant change.

    I can see where you get your screen name now...lol,

    Barbara
    pickledpepperRN and nurse0541 like this.
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    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    Annonomyous complaints can be called into State Health Department.
    In PA, our Attorney General invstigates concerns like this.

    Any specific concerns regarding Medicare clients? They have whisleblower protection
    http://www.medicare.gov/FraudAbuse/Overview.asp
    Those anonymous tip lines really do work. I have recently had a situation where I had to use one and positive changes were immediately put into effect to right the wrongs and protect the patients.

    It is truly wonderful to find out how many nurses there are who are so active in patient advocacy! My husband told me I was taking this stuff to personal, I don't see how you can have a conscience and feel differently.
    Last edit by nurse0541 on Sep 11, '07 : Reason: add a comment
    pickledpepperRN and lindarn like this.


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