What are the nurses' protection against patient accusations?

  1. I have worked with different long-term care facilities and it seems like every complaint or accusation made by a patient, the facility seem to favor the patient. I have seen some co-worker's fired from the job without further investigation or questioning. What is our protection against these situations? Are facilities required to do some legal process before taking action against its employee?
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    About kgran

    Joined: Sep '13; Posts: 10; Likes: 7


  3. by   kbrn2002
    If you live in an at will employment state [and I think all but a few are] an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, or no reason at all.
    Last edit by kbrn2002 on Sep 26, '13 : Reason: oops! Can't type worth a darn!
  4. by   Esme12
    nothing really.
  5. by   BSNbeauty
    Patients are viewed as customers and the customer is always right.
  6. by   Kooky Korky
    Unfortunately, the employee generally has no recourse unless he or she is in a protected class. The classes are racial minority, handicapped, and some others that I can't remember just now. But in reality, the employee has to sic a lawyer on the employer or file a complaint with EEOC or OSHA or some others government officials and do battle. Then, even if the employee wins, things can still get difficult. But generally, the job wins, I'd say.
  7. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Wow...all y'all must have worked in some horrible places. If a resident makes an accusation, I do a thorough investigation. If I think there was any kind of abuse, the staff member is fired and I report it to the department of public health. If I don't think the staff member did anything wrong, they keep their job. Sometimes I'll have two staff members go in if I know the resident has a history of accusatory behavior and care plan it. If I know the resident is a bigot, I won't assign a black or hispanic CNA. Why put them at risk for being accused?
    That protected class stuff is bs. If you are a bad employee, you won't be working for me.
  8. by   kgran
    I like that you don't assign employees who are at higher risk for accusation to ones who have history of accusatory behaviors. It seems that you have done long-term care for awhile. After working for some time, we can discern which patient accusations are legitimate or not.I'd like to think that employers do the same and do what's fair for good employees.
  9. by   kgran
    This is very unfortunate. I've seen nurses lose their jobs and even licenses for the slightest of accusations.
  10. by   kgran
    Indeed, long-term care facilities are a business and customer is always right. That's why I always find ways to satisfy both the family and patient while they're at our facility. When we can't meet in halfway, it's time for some documentation and administrative action to protect our job and license.
  11. by   Concerto_in_C
    For minor issues such as the patient claiming the nurse was "uncaring" your best defense is a unit manager who is reasonable. A resonable unit manager acknowledges that when patients complain, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. My unit manager told us unit leadership knows that sometimes the patients exaggerate or overdramatize and they will do their best to respond to complaints in a way that is fair to both sides.

    On the other hand, if your unit manager is a scalp hunter, the best thing is to leave that unit or that organization.

    Scalp hunter managers usually have a history of frequent job changes, as generally they do poorly as leaders (conflict with floor staff, unprofessional behavior, etc.) and their employers have to ask them to resign. I ran into one of those when I was working in rehabilitation. She was my DON, but only for a couple months I think, because they fired her. She had left her previous job under tumultuous circumstances too, so this was a pattern of behavior.
    Last edit by Concerto_in_C on Sep 26, '13
  12. by   imintrouble
    I've only witnessed one serious patient accusation against staff in all the years I've been in my current position. Not the fluff complaints, but criminal level complaints of a pt against a nurse. I know management handled it by the book, with mandatory days off pending the investigation. Even though the suspension was expected, it left the nurse feeling betrayed and guilty.
    What saved the nurse was their impeccable reputation, as it ended up being a he said she said situation.
    As everyone else has said, there really isn't any protection.
  13. by   Londo48
    In Australia it seems you are expendable and ultimately a lying conniving lowlife if you question a patients motives or accusations. If you get accused of abuse you get thrown to the dogs. The Union is hopeless and cant or wont help and there are many many nurses out there willing to crawl over your cooling corpse to get that job. Yes. I am bitter and jaded.
  14. by   kgran
    Truly unfortunate that bad circumstance happens to good people and the trauma that comes with the situation can be very damaging to the person being accused. Sometimes, it feels like walking on eggshells with some patients with continuous history of staff accusations. Thank you for your insight.