new nurse, in trouble already

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    I got a call from my DON this morning...said he heard back from the corporate nurse. Said she asked him if he would have done anything different than I did in caring for this patient, and he now says he told her "no" - after railing at me yesterday about "being the better person", after telling me it was out of his hands, and after the ADON pointing out all the facility paperwork that I didn't get completed, even though all the info was in my notes. Then, two hours later the staffing coordinator called to see if I'd work a shift today, even though it's my day off! GAG!

    I'm scheduled to work tomorrow morning, and I'm taking my two-weeks' notice with me. We are travelling overseas to get our adopted daughters in four weeks, so I probably won't be able to find another job right away - I don't think anyone would hire me knowing that I'm going to have to be off work for four-five weeks. I will go back to a hospital environment, too, even if I have to be an aide...I've only got about 8-9 more months of study with Excelsior before I can sit for the NCLEX-RN, and I've just got to keep my license until then.

    Thank you all for sharing...and caring.

    The temporary suspension without pay is a facility policy, and the only work I missed was scheduled overtime anyway, so I'm just going to drop that issue.

    I searched online last night for malpractice insurance, and found some, so I'm taking care of that later today. I don't know what the deal was with the other company, and I don't even remember their name.

    My husband (my biggest fan) kept telling me there was no way this accusation could come to anything. But I still feel my instructors standing behind me, if you know what I mean, when I'm doing procedures and giving meds (not that they terrorized us, they were nice and helpful), and I sooo want to be good at this, but I get our quarterly BON newsletter and see pages and pages of nurses' names/license numbers who've been disciplined one way or another, and I could just see the last two years being a total waste.

    Anyway, thanks a million to everyone who shared! I'm definitely wiser from this whole mess, and I have survived, so I'm pushing on...



    I've been a licensed nurse for a whole year now, working in a long-term care facility on their medical specialty unit. I just found out that a resident I took care of earlier this week has filed a complaint against me, alleging abuse. He's a very difficult patient, and there is a lot of documentation in his chart to prove it, besides my notes, but the DON's only advice to me at this point was that "we have to be the better person" when dealing with these impossible people. So, it sounds to me like I'm going to fry...probably the shortest nursing career in history...although I did all I could, as far as I can tell, without risking physical injury - I took lots of verbal crap from the resident every time I took care of him being called names I hadn't ever heard before... Any advice from anyone? Do I just surrender my license, or wait to see how things play out... I've never faced anything like this before - most people would say I'm a pretty smart, careful, loving person, and we're in the middle of adopting two international orphans, so I obviously have some redeeming qualities... I just don't know what to think about this. I was warned that this DON didn't support his nurses...I guess I'm finding out the BIG way how true it is... Thanks for listening...
    Last edit by lorajane on Sep 17, '04 : Reason: update
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  4. 28 Comments so far...

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    It sounds to me that you are the one that was being abused not him. I don't think anything will happen to you especially sense you didn't do anything. Is this person alert and oriented? The reason I ask is if he is oriented you do not have to take his abuse. I had an alert/oriented pt that needed a dressing change that was very verbally abusive to me...using the "B" word etc. I told him "Fine. You want to have that attitude I'm not changing your dressing". He proceded to tell me I had to because it was my job. It may be my job but as I reminded him I do not have to take that kind of abuse. Now if the person is confused totally different story. Verbal abuse from confused patients I just let it roll off my back. They don't know what they are saying.........and sometimes when a person is very sick and stressed then it won't get to me much I know they are just venting....there is a limit however. Let us know how this turns out.
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    I also think nothing will come of this complaint. There may be an investigation but if the documentation is there of his behaviour it should be OK. Don't sweat it and good luck.
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    If the DON is not going to be supportive, I'd get a good nursing lawyer. Fast.
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    The patient is alert and oriented - we have many who aren't, so I've taken my share of physical hits and verbal crap. Thanks for your input.



    Quote from dazzle256
    It sounds to me that you are the one that was being abused not him. I don't think anything will happen to you especially sense you didn't do anything. Is this person alert and oriented? The reason I ask is if he is oriented you do not have to take his abuse. I had an alert/oriented pt that needed a dressing change that was very verbally abusive to me...using the "B" word etc. I told him "Fine. You want to have that attitude I'm not changing your dressing". He proceded to tell me I had to because it was my job. It may be my job but as I reminded him I do not have to take that kind of abuse. Now if the person is confused totally different story. Verbal abuse from confused patients I just let it roll off my back. They don't know what they are saying.........and sometimes when a person is very sick and stressed then it won't get to me much I know they are just venting....there is a limit however. Let us know how this turns out.
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    DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT. Even if there is tons of info stating he is abusive, sit down and write out exactly what has happened on each date ESPECIALLY when supposed abuse occurred. Make a copy of ANY facility documentation supporting he has a pattern of behavior abusing the staff. Do this now before the inquiry comes from somewhere so it's fresh on your mind. Keep it for your own records. Then, if questioned, you can pull out your documentation immediately. DO NOT BE EMOTIONAL in your documentation.

    Good luck!
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    I've tried to - I only hope it was enough. I documented in the nurse's notes as the events happened on that night, every 20-30 minutes, and I was still called in for "my statement". I was not allowed to copy the facility documentation, or even my own notes - you know, privacy and confidentiality, etc. As of now, I am suspended without pay pending the investigation; I should hear from them tomorrow re: the corporate nurse's judgment on the issue. I wasn't emotional in any of my documentation - I wasn't feeling emotional, or angry or anything other than disbelief at what I was seeing and hearing. You know, I'm not sure I'm going to go back, even if they clear the allegation. I've heard of nurses eating their young, but this is really ridiculous... Thanks for taking the time to share...



    Quote from Maggie in NC
    DOCUMENT DOCUMENT DOCUMENT. Even if there is tons of info stating he is abusive, sit down and write out exactly what has happened on each date ESPECIALLY when supposed abuse occurred. Make a copy of ANY facility documentation supporting he has a pattern of behavior abusing the staff. Do this now before the inquiry comes from somewhere so it's fresh on your mind. Keep it for your own records. Then, if questioned, you can pull out your documentation immediately. DO NOT BE EMOTIONAL in your documentation.

    Good luck!
  11. 0
    Quote from lorajane
    I've tried to - I only hope it was enough. I documented in the nurse's notes as the events happened on that night, every 20-30 minutes, and I was still called in for "my statement". I was not allowed to copy the facility documentation, or even my own notes - you know, privacy and confidentiality, etc. As of now, I am suspended without pay pending the investigation; I should hear from them tomorrow re: the corporate nurse's judgment on the issue. I wasn't emotional in any of my documentation - I wasn't feeling emotional, or angry or anything other than disbelief at what I was seeing and hearing. You know, I'm not sure I'm going to go back, even if they clear the allegation. I've heard of nurses eating their young, but this is really ridiculous... Thanks for taking the time to share...
    Suspended without pay!!! That is wrong. Take this time off and find a new job.
    I was going to come back and post that this (patients making false complaints) is not too terribly uncommon. It happened to me from a drug seeker angry I wouldn't given him more morphine and someone else that thought the nurses didn't know what they were doing .....we had the nerve to try and teach this woman about her husbands illness......I'd see a lawyer asap.
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    Well, for what it's worth, I agree with you, it is very wrong. The DON kept saying that once the resident used the word "abuse" he was forced to investigate it, and once the paperwork goes to the corporate nurse, it is out of his hands. Chomp, chomp...

    Unfortunately, the malpractice insurance I applied for last year sent my payment back and said they didn't provide coverage in Texas, so...I'm without any and completely clueless as to how to find a lawyer.

    I wonder if this really will be the shortest nursing career in history? Even though I've worked so hard...and my kids sacrificed as I pushed through a full-time program...

    I guess I'll find out tomorrow what the deal is...

    Thanks for caring and sharing -


    Quote from dazzle256
    Suspended without pay!!! That is wrong. Take this time off and find a new job.
    I was going to come back and post that this (patients making false complaints) is not too terribly uncommon. It happened to me from a drug seeker angry I wouldn't given him more morphine and someone else that thought the nurses didn't know what they were doing .....we had the nerve to try and teach this woman about her husbands illness......I'd see a lawyer asap.
  13. 0
    I would hope that management would be more willing to listen the nurse's side of the story. Usually a person that acts this acts treats all the nurses lousy. Maybe some of the other nurses there who've experienced the same abuse from this man can step up to the plate and go to bat for you. Good luck.


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