Fired for expressing concerns about patient safety and care! - page 7

I need help please. Just not sure what to do now. Getting right to the particulars. I was working in a So Cal Hospital in a Psychiatric unit. I was assigned a set schedule. 1) I was suddenly... Read More

  1. Visit  samadams8 profile page
    0
    Quote from Redriot
    Hi hkrntobe,
    I will start by saying that I am sorry that this has happened to you.

    Now to the nitty-gritty:
    To those nurses who have said that as a new nurse you should "fly under the radar", "keep your mouth shut", etc. I can only say that they should be ashamed of themselves. Is it not part of the Nursing Code of Ethics that we advocate for our patients and their families? And yes, it is political. All health care workplaces are politically driven, especially since implementation of the new CMS regulations (aka Obamacare). Of course you should protect your license also.
    But all of that is an aside of the question originally asked.

    As a new nurse, or an experienced one, it is overwhelming to integrate into a new work place and culture. I would cause a major riot if they tried to schedule me 8-in-a-row. That is NOT acceptable anywhere unless you are the one picking up extra hours or agreed to that schedule. If you were hired with a block schedule, then that is what you should be working. They are pulling one over on you and I would go back to HR and ask for copies of the policies. Then take that and copies of your hiring contract to a lawyer for a free consultation.

    Union reps are a waste of time when the dirt hits the fan. And please don't anyone reply to me to try and convince me otherwise. I am entitled to my opinion which I base on my experiences at both union and non-union hospitals. The start date is the day you start with the organization and NOT the day you start on the floor. You should ask yourself "what day did they start paying me?". Again, I think it is worth consulting a lawyer to get the details from HR if you are needing to pursue this.

    Lastly, if you truly feel that there are some serious patient risks in the care given and/or the safety of patients I would strongly recommend reporting it to your State Department of Health. It is done anonymously and they are required to follow up on any complaint filed. Give concise details and specific dates if you can to identify incidents of compromised care and patient safety.

    Just remember, there are some of us nurses who will also stand up for what is right. You will find another job and continue to be a good nurse, take what positives you can from every experience you have, and don't let the politics of healthcare ruin your enjoyment of what you do. US healthcare is complex and frustrating and unfortunately that will not change anytime soon. Good luck with all you do!

    I certainly didn't say to not speak up. I am saying pick your battles. If you must stand, be prepared to accept that the consequences may be harsh or unfair. In the employment game of nursing, FAIR is not a part of the system. The sooner nurses learn that the better. I say stand for what is right, but have a back-up; b/c the world is unfair, nursing is often quite unfair, and it is often VERY capricious with its dealings with nurses and employment-based decisions.

    For those that think you can't get axed after probation, it's not so.

    Most states and places function under At Will Employment. Under AWE, you can be terminated for cause OR FOR NO CAUSE AT ALL. Most applications or even letters of job offers specify that they are to not be construed as a contract. Only when you work under contract do you have some protection from capricious decision-making in terms of your employment--an even then, loopholes can be found and used.

    I believe there was unfairness with regard to the OP, b/c I have witnessed this many, many times in nursing over the last two decades.

    One wonders if in a number of instances, orientation/precepting evaluations are assigned nominal values simply b/c the employer, mgt, nursing in general want to limit legal backlash from capricious dismissal of nurses--and that ole line that so often falls under the often bogus, "not a 'good' fit." It seems like a reasonable explaination, but I have seen so much abuse of that line, it makes me want to barf every time I hear or read it.

    If more objective measures were in place, they'd be a little more nervous about screwing with people for capricious reasons. But they Oh So love their capriciousness.

    Nursing doesn't truly employ scientific approaches and metrics when it comes to evaluating nurse employees. They may well have the bulk of the benefit with AWE in most instances, but it makes them more vulnerable to lawsuits if it is clear that they really don't have any valid or objective reasons for terminating a nurse. Yes, on one hand, mostly they don't need a reason to fire someone, but legal departments know that if you have a good nurse and there is potential for him or her making a strong legal case, they don't want to 1. Go to court over it, 2.Receive bad press from it, 3., Have to pay to settle out of court. Either way, potentially they could stand to lose money and face.

    Geez, some many places and units function like those ridiculous, idiotic, and obnoxious people on one of those "Real Housewives of..." shows. But at least on those shows, they are out with their lunacy to make dramatic points and ratings. Nursing usually involves a lot of doublespeak, backstabbing, and unhanded politics. Sure this isn't true everywhere, or all the time, thank God, but work in for a while. You will NOT be able to miss the whole Real Housewives nonsense--it's just more subtle or sneaky.

    Half the time I have to wonder how lazy certain nurses are. They have all this time to start trouble and play games, but they wouldn't if they were doing their job to the best of their ability--with excellence and care--every single day. (If this doesn't apply to you, don't get bothered by it. I wonder when people get bothered, b/c they know on some level that they are playing this game, and they want to rationalize their behavior--or b/c they, on some level, really get something out of their nonsense--as opposed to really focusing on working with excellence and incorporating tolerance and support for other nurses--whether these other nurses are cookie cutter versions of them or not.)


    But woe is nursing, b/c unfortunately this IS the way the game is played.



    Let each nurse function by way of her/his own conscience and ethics--hopefully they are and will stay strong in higher ethics, caring, and support. Nonetheless, b/c the hospirtal or institution or unit/floor culture may not roll that way, however, these nurses with backbone and integrity must be prepared for potential backlash.

    I am really hating how nurses feel like they are over a barrel and take on the old, "If you can't beat them, join them" mentality. In two decades, it has been very rare for me to see nurses stand together enough in order to do what is most right for patients and for their "profession."

    Please, please stop judging this nurse--the OP. We weren't there. We don't know the whole dynamics. I give this nurse the benefit of the doubt primarily b/c of having seen so much compromise, abuse, and capricious behavior in nursing and healthcare, it makes me truly feel ill. I could be wrong in this instance with this particular nurse and situation, but again, I wasn't there and neither were the others here--other than the OP.

    &%*$. What will it take for nurses to be supportive of each other???? Give the person the benefit of the doubt.

    The OP is probably better off if it truly was a house of horrors, as many of these type of facilities can be. If indeed she overreacted, she will have learned to pick her battles more carefully and hopefully have another job as a back-up in the future.

    Again, most of my colleagues and I will NEVER work only one nursing position--or for one employer again. I want to be in the position to say, "This is outrageous, wrong, idiotic, or whatever, and I refuse to work this way." I want to be able to use my sound nursing judgment, and if it pizzes the wrong person off and they want to try and weed me, fine. I have another position.

    At will employment looks good on the surface of things, b/c it is supposed to mean either party can terminate at any time for any reason. The thing is, you have to work somewhere, and employers definitely feel like they are "Giving you a job or a position." No, I am offering you a service as well--and a quality one at that.

    The reality is, without a sound contract, the benefit of AWE, hands down, goes to the employer.

    Why is the world do you think that physicians work under contract, reviewed by several lawyers and such, unless they own their own private practice?????
    Last edit by samadams8 on Sep 26, '12
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  3. Visit  PacoUSA profile page
    0
    Quote from alodocios
    Good Lord! A year? I wish you all the best.
    Thanks! 9 months to go!
  4. Visit  anotherone profile page
    3
    Quote from hkrntobe
    Obviously I did't realize that being a good nurse and trying to improve a bad situation would cost me my job! From what it sounds like, this conduct and behavior is common practice for administration. Lesson learned.... You may now continue with the bashing.
    These issues are present in any job. NOT ALWAYS LIFE AND DEATH. but still there. and in other realms of life. You have to know that you will not win most battles. Very few people do unless they are popular enough martyrs or wealthy/powerful people. You have to decide what do you value in life: a job/money/food/clothes/house or integrity. You will rarely , probably NEVER, be the only nurse in a facility who realizes something is wrong. Part of the moral distress in nursing.
    not.done.yet, wooh, and lindarn like this.
  5. Visit  DEE S. profile page
    2
    First of file for Unemployment even if you don't think you will get it. File, bring your paper work that indicates when your hire date is. Really most policies for probation is usually from the date you started so they can evaluate you for a length of time.
    You did the right thing about the patient safety. I would have sucked up the hours until I had passed probation (lesson learned for all of us). However lesson learned again about probation and politics for all of us. File an unemployment complaint, then go above your union reps head for clarification, you may have to get a lawyer. I would also "grieve" this through your union and maybe see if it can go to arbitration if not settled at the table. You are dues paying union rep (I hope) and your contract should have a policy on terminations and how to grieve it.
    hkrntobe and lindarn like this.
  6. Visit  nancynurse12 profile page
    3
    Unless it is something black and white an d immediate safety is a concern you don't make waves while on probation. This is a way they use to see if you will fit in or be a "problem" and make waves. If it is a threat to your license with unsafe conditions you wouldn't want to work there anyway.
    anotherone, wooh, and lindarn like this.
  7. Visit  nancynurse12 profile page
    0
    Date of hire is not your start date. It has always been the first day of orientation. Date of hire as a start date and your first day as an employee can be months apart because you may have to wait for a spot in orientation.
  8. Visit  ondahill profile page
    1
    I am in NC and don't have the union, but if I was paying dues to an Union they would be helping me get this straight. I have always heard people talk about getting the union and I know someone invited them to our facility, but nothing ever came from it. How do you get a union?
    lindarn likes this.
  9. Visit  Blackcat99 profile page
    3
    I am really sorry that hkrntobe got fired from her job. Sadly, in today's world anyone can get fired for any reason. I am a new orientee at a nursing home and I am studying the paperwork they gave me about my job requirements. Almost everything they have written in this paperwork is always followed by threatening statements that say "You will do this or you will get terminated" Here I am trying to learn at a new job and already I am being threatened with getting fired!!!!! I guess this is the way they "Welcome the new people"
    hkrntobe, anotherone, and lindarn like this.
  10. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    8
    Lemme see, here, this was a psych unit. The OP ("rntobe?") was a new grad. Psych by definition deals c behavioral issues; nobody learns that much about that in school, and if I remember correctly, you learn even less to make you competent in psych than you do in med/surg-- it takes some time to be competent in such a fraught area.

    But the OP, the new, specialty-incompetent (by definition, no matter who says she loves you), inexperienced nurse who may not get that this is how psych units often are, tells the experienced nurses that they are doing it all wrong and she, the new grad, knows better. Do I have that right?

    We hear this story often, and it comes from many different kinds of units. Considering the recent research that shows that people consistently overestimate their own competence, we can probably discount the new grad's self-assessment as being such a great nurse. Come to think of it, the people who did have more expertise in her psych ward did exactly that. They fired her for it. She was not a good fit for psych at this very early stage in her career, as she was unable to recognize how her inexperience with the psych milieu made her unable to function in it; she (pardon this expression, but I can't think of a better one; "spoke up" doesn't do it justice) shot off her mouth from a position of inexperience and ignorance.

    She will now know how to keep her peace until she knows the lay of the land. When she has acquired the knowledge and experience to understand how things are she will be in a much better position to suggest corrective action, or have the professional standing to implement some.

    Or did I miss something?
  11. Visit  samadams8 profile page
    3
    Quote from GrnTea
    Lemme see, here, this was a psych unit. The OP ("rntobe?") was a new grad. Psych by definition deals c behavioral issues; nobody learns that much about that in school, and if I remember correctly, you learn even less to make you competent in psych than you do in med/surg-- it takes some time to be competent in such a fraught area.

    But the OP, the new, specialty-incompetent (by definition, no matter who says she loves you), inexperienced nurse who may not get that this is how psych units often are, tells the experienced nurses that they are doing it all wrong and she, the new grad, knows better. Do I have that right?

    We hear this story often, and it comes from many different kinds of units. Considering the recent research that shows that people consistently overestimate their own competence, we can probably discount the new grad's self-assessment as being such a great nurse. Come to think of it, the people who did have more expertise in her psych ward did exactly that. They fired her for it. She was not a good fit for psych at this very early stage in her career, as she was unable to recognize how her inexperience with the psych milieu made her unable to function in it; she (pardon this expression, but I can't think of a better one; "spoke up" doesn't do it justice) shot off her mouth from a position of inexperience and ignorance.

    She will now know how to keep her peace until she knows the lay of the land. When she has acquired the knowledge and experience to understand how things are she will be in a much better position to suggest corrective action, or have the professional standing to implement some.

    Or did I miss something?

    I feel this is an extreme response. There is no fair or objective way to draw the conclusions you have.

    Beyond that, that research has a number of serious limitations. I didn't at all get that this nurse was asserting an expertise over others that she has not yet gained. That wasn't the issue.

    Again, perhaps she has to learn to choose her battles wisely, with some wise strategies in place. OTOH, maybe she was the only one that had the gonads to speak up and address a seriously unsafe or unethical situation.

    Doing the right thing often means you have to take the lumps that go with it. And b/c people look out primarily for number ONE, they often don't stand when they should. In my book, survival or not, this shows a lack of integrity.

    NOW, I don't know if the latter is the case at all. Again, she just may need to learn how certain things roll and be careful in terms of how she problems solves in the future. But that indeed may not be the case. She wouldn't be the first to see red flags on orientation/probation. It's a learning experience and signal to get out of Dodge ASAP.

    It's hubris on anyone's part, experienced or not, to jump to conclusions about the OP's situation. We weren't there, period, end of story.

    But once again, some folks in this field can't bother to look at things in balance, and/or give the benefit of the doubt to a fellow nurse--"expert" or "novice."

    It makes me wonder why nurses post to vent here, or even attempt to get support online.

    No one wants to baby this new graduate. That really isn't the point.

    Balance, balance, balance and fairness in reasoning is the key. Wouldn't you want those things used on you? BTW, you can speak the truth with balance. It's not an either or kind of thing.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Sep 26, '12
    hkrntobe, Blackcat99, and anotherone like this.
  12. Visit  NaturopathicNurse profile page
    2
    I agree with this response. With this economy, employers often take advantage of emplyees. It's not worth risking your license by working with a facility that doesn't comply to laws. I'm pretty sure that regardless of you being on a probationary period, this would be considered a whistle blower case. Lawyers take those cases on a contingency basis.
    hkrntobe and anotherone like this.
  13. Visit  Paul'in'FL profile page
    3
    ...everyone who isn't independently wealthy is a wage slave! Come on, I can't be the only nurse who has worked in other industries. Geez, a machine shop floor in the FL heat is no fun, either....but it paid my rent and let me eat.
    anotherone, wooh, and chevyv like this.
  14. Visit  NursesRmofun profile page
    1
    Evolvingrn,

    So true...a new nurse is in a learning mode the first year or two....and, of course, we are always learning afterward too. That first year or two...a lot of what we thought the job was may not be exactly the same as what it truly is. We may be disallusioned. I know I was, to some extent. A new nurse, IMO, needs to do a lot of listening and learning and seeing where she can put herself and her efforts to the best use...and work from there with what she knows. It's not always easy. And some jobs in nursing really are bad....ran by poor examples of Nurses. Not all facilities have great administrators or DON's...that is for sure.
    hkrntobe likes this.


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