How should I handle a not eligible for rehire when I should be?

  1. While working in a NICU 13 years ago, an anitbiotic was ordered for a baby and there were no micro pumps available to administer the medication when it came up from pharmacy (which was about 2 hours after it was ordered). We had more critical infants than normal- many using 5-7 micropumps at once and had been short on the pumps for several days. We just had to wait for one to become available. While I was waiting for the pump, the baby began to desat and became unstable. We discontinued another baby's lipo feed so that we could administer Na Bicarb and blood. By the time we got him somewhat stabalized 6 hours later, I was finally able to give the anitbiotic (which also couldn't be administered with some of the other things we were administering). The next day the baby died of necrotizing entercolitis, often referred to in the NICU as the "drive by shooting" of the unit as you never knew when it would hit. The mother of the baby was a resident at the hospital. 2 days later I was fired for negligence in not administering the medication on time. The hospital was sued and I was named as a defendant, which I didn't know about until 2 years later after the hospital settled the case "on my behalf". I would have insisted to have my own lawyer, but the hospital didn't notify me because they knew I would testify to the lack of equipment. The mother filed a complaint with the nursing board and after investigating the incident, found me not guilty of any negligence and that the hospital in fact did not have proper inventory of equipment. By the time all this was said and done, I had been working as a school nurse (which I had actually already applied for prior to all this happening, so I had a job the day after I was fired) for 3 years and was ready to be a stay at home mom. Now that I am trying to reactivate my license (which lapsed 5 years later due to not having any current nursing work history), and the hospital that I was fired from reports I'm ineligible for rehire. How should I handle this in an interview? I was found not negligent. I was fired to protect the hospital. I don't want to sound like a victim in an interview, but I also don't want to be known as a bad employee that can't be rehired. Any suggestions?
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    About mother2skam

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 2; Likes: 1


  3. by   SuesquatchRN
    Yes. Lawyer up and let him handle it.
  4. by   lvnandmomx3
  5. by   Jolie
    I'm sorry for all that you are going thru.

    I realize that second guessing the events of that night is probably not terribly useful, but here I go: 13 years ago, micropumps were still fairly new to many NICUs. Prior to their introduction, it was not uncommon to dilute IV meds to a total of 1-2 ccs and slowly push them by hand (amp, gent, theophylline, etc.) over several minutes. Even if this were contrary to your unit's written policy, it seems that it would have been prudent to get a physician's order to do so in order for a potentially septic baby to receive antibiotics in a timely manner. So even in light of a pump shortage, I don't understand the lack of "thinking outside the box" in order to prioritize and provide prompt care to a very sick baby, or at the very least, documentation of your inability to give the antibiotics and notification of the physician who could have approved another route, or started an additional line.

    Not that any of that matters now.

    Your post highlights 2 important legal considerations that many nurses fail to make: 1.) carrying personal liability insurance to represent your interests when they conflict with those of your employer, and 2.) formally placing licenses on inactive status rather than letting them lapse, which looks bad. I understand that if you were not actively employed or volunteering, you may not have had the option of renewing your license. But to have to get a license reinstated from a "lapsed" status is almost always more difficult, expensive and more likely to require an explanation to a future employer other than, "I took some time off from nursing."

    I'm sorry to nag. I sincerely hope you can work things out. I agree with the others that you may wish to employe the services of an attorney to "convince" Human Resources to change your status to "eligible for re-hire", by reminding them of the outcome of the lawsuit.

    Best of luck to you.
    Last edit by Jolie on Aug 13, '08
  6. by   mother2skam
    I miss spoke- I used the term lapsed, but I actually chose to have it be "inactive" - but I still have to reactivate it and yes, I didn't have much choice- it was ignore the renewal altogether, or say yes, make it inactive because I don't have the hours. When I began at the NICU, we didn't push anything- so as a nurse who had been there only 1 1/2 years, I didn't know that was an option, however, my supervisor who KNEW that I needed a pump and said I'd have to wait until one became available had been a NICU nurse for 10 years and should have known! Thanks for your reply- I'm not sure I can legally persue this this many years later- but I'll check- thank you!
  7. by   lvnandmomx3
    This may be a wierd ? but do HR dept keep former employee records for that long? I think like everything else they are purged every 3 to 7 years at least as far as employment verification purposes. I'm sure that they can be "dug" up but just for emploment verification I'm not even sure they would do it. Is there a mark on you license? If not take a refresher course and start out as a new nurse, which after being unemployed for so long I think you would be considered.
  8. by   Diva67
    I'm hoping I've found the right area to post my concern, as last year I was terminated after 4 years of employment as a caregiver. While working at a particular agency within Tennessee, I primarily worked with MRDD clients. I had every intention of obtaining my CNA, until I made a regrettable mistake. After working two consecutive 12 hour shifts in a weekend, I received a call shortly before I was supposed to arrive at work from my co-worker who stated he was departing for the evening. Being that the client within our care was higher functioning than most, allowed for him to be alone for reasonable periods at a time (45 minutes). Some employees would use this window of time as an opportunity to leave their shift early, with the understanding that they were ultimately held responsible for the clients safety, and a follow-up call to assure relief staff had arrived was highly advisable.

    Being worn out that weekend, no sooner than I hung up the phone, I literally passed out for the next 6 hours. All kinds of things raced through my mind when I awoke. Why hadn't I received a follow-up call, if at the very least from my supervisor? Nothing really registered, or made sense right away, as I quickly rushed to the clients home, who was just a few miles away. Upon arrival, I found him asleep on the living room couch to my relief. He was awakened and assured of his safety. Everything had been thrown off in terms of his scheduled medications that were to be taken, but they were administered.

    The entire agency was under scrutiny that particular week, as state investigators were making their rounds. I conferred with my immediate supervisor what was the best action to take. He reasoned that we would all be placed under investigation should I go forward for something we were all guilty of, and that it was best to let things "cool off". At first I protested, because all of these events took place on my shift, and I wanted to present my side. He asked me to give him the remainder of the day, to see if there was a way to mitigate things. By the end of the day, I received a call from him, and was informed I'd been placed on suspension, and that an investigation was under way. Nothing I can say here, would demonstrate the level of panic, frustration, and anger I had. There was nothing I could do. I met with state investigators later that week, and presented a signed documentation of events as I recalled them. A week after that, I was sent a letter informing me that the claim of neglect had been substantiated, and that termination was effective immediately without eligibility for rehire.

    The letter spoke of no recourse for appeal, just "you're fired". Needless to say, every single agency I've applied to ever since wouldn't give me the time of day, even though I am not listed on any public abuse registry that I am aware of. Filing for unemployment, I later learned this agency had alleged charges of abuse in the care of one of their clients from an incident that had happened THREE years prior. Having only been with this particular agency 4 months, I was assigned to a client that normally had a 2 to 1 ratio at all times. Assigning me to this client overnight, the agency decided to compromise by letting me work alone with him. One morning, the client awoke to find he was out of milk for his cereal and became enraged. There wasn't much I could do to reason with the client, but things escalated when the client punched his arm through a plate glass living room window. Stunned, and in utter shock, I watched as he prepared to ram his hand through the glass again. I rushed at this 300lb man and did the best I could to restrain him, but fell to the floor as a result of his size, which resulted in what is called a "Take Down".

    At this point, I had no clear concept of time, as the client began clawing at my face. I became concerned obviously for my safety, as well as the clients, but felt I could not allow him to move until the situation was controlled. No sooner than i released his arms, he attempted to claw my face again. Restraint was applied, the client quickly responded in a positive affirmation, and was allowed to resume as he wanted. The client apologized, began cleaning up the glass on his own as if nothing ever happened. This should have been my first warning to consider other areas of work within health care, but at the time nursing wasn't a consideration. Although I had never been officially reprimanded, or given corrective training, this incident was considered abusive by the agency I'd worked at for 4 years, and yet they allowed me to work with that same client for 3 years!

    The inherent protections offered at all levels of nursing, is that one is allowed due process to defend, or appeal judgments concerning future practice. Apparently what is taking place among care giving agencies, is that databases are being created for "substantiated" cases of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or staff misconduct. The road towards appealing these decisions isn't as clear compared to the nursing profession. Placement within this database almost certainly guarantees not only effective blacklisting, but hindrances to possible employment at any stage as a future candidate for nursing because of contractual liability concerns involving state funding., and other types of funding. One employee that I'm aware of that same agency is just now completing their LPN training. However, they are terrified of the implication of an investigation that took place some time ago for "substatiated verbal abuse" of a client. Should such a claim bar a candidate for nursing from finding suitable employment?

    I plan on going through with my CNA training this fall, as the instructors have verified that I am not listed on any database for abuse, or neglect based on their criteria. Going forward I'm hoping I'm making the right decision, as I've racked my brain for the last year trying to figure out a way through this. The only reason I made an effort to pursue a nursing career despite my circumstances, is because of an RN I know in a different state who went through the same things I have. If anyone believes I should have reason to second guess my decision, please advise. Thank you.
    Last edit by Diva67 on Aug 19, '08