Is it abandonment or taking a moment to collect myself?

  1. For 2 years I have worked in a family practice medical clinic. The NP I work with, whom up until approximately 1 month ago, have had a very good working relationship with. She recently began treating me very differently. She's dismissive, hateful, condescending and NOTHING I do is right in her eyes. I just can't please her. The stress and tension I've been feeling over this is really wearing me down. I spoke to my clinic manager about it two days ago. Wednesday I triaged a patient as I normally would, updated the EMR chart to show ready for provider, and as I was leaving the exam room pts mother asked for some info on a different child. I left the exam room, and pulled the other pts chart(we just went EMR and her other child's record is still paper) and began to gather the information. At that time the NP came to my work area and began YELLING at me for not walking back to her office to notify her that she had a pt ready, that I had turned the chart "green" saying she had a pt so WHY didn't I go to her office and tell her!!! Then she walked into the pts exam room. She did this in front of 3 other employees and 1 student NP. I wanted to crawl under my desk! I was embarrassed and humiliated I knew I was going to cry, so I grabbed my purse, and walked outside and went and sat in my vehicle to let the waterworks commence. Our clinic is super small, not even a breakroom, and I needed privacy for a few minutes. My clinic manager came out less than 5 minutes later. We talked and I told him that I wanted to talk to HR. He told me to take the rest of the day off and he would have HR call me. HR guy called, and he said some things that alluded to pt abandonment and safety issues. How would it be pt abandonment when the NP was in the room WITH the pt when I walked outside? I would have went back inside after a few minutes had my manager not told me to go home.... I would think the concern for pt safety would be greater having a distraught nurse caring for them. Additional info, pt was there for a runny nose..Any advice or input is greatly appreciated!
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   JadedCPN
    My concern here would be if you are the only RN on site, and you left the facility without notifying anyone - I could see the issue with that. If they are alluding to patient abandonment, whether it "qualifies" as that or not, I would seek legal advice.
  4. by   kjb_lpn
    That to me does not sound like patient abandonment. However I am also not well versed in what that means according to the regulations of your Board of Nursing.

    I would check with them and explain the situation - but the only problem I see is that you should have just said, "I need some air," and then gone to the car.
  5. by   nurse0123
    I would contact an attorney. Your manager told you to go home. I don't see how this can be abandonment. I have found that HR and mgt can say and do whatever they want. Unless someone challenges them, they will get away with it. You don't want that on your work history. Talk to an attorney and just have them send a letter to HR. I'm guessing that will be enough bc of the circumstances. The very next thing I would do is start looking for a new job. Once they have a target on your back, they will find a way to fire you.
  6. by   OrganizedChaos
    If you have malpractice insurance, contact them. If not, like PPs said, contact an attorney.

    It doesn't sound like patient abandonment, but I don't know the laws in your state. HR/DONs/NMs love to throw that around. I was threatened with that once, but I knew for a fact that it wasn't. Good luck!
  7. by   chare
    The fact that the NP was in the room, and she was told to leave by the clinic manager are irrelevant. If she left without turning nursing care over to another nurse, it might be considered patient abandoment. I do agree that her best option eould be to consult with an attorney; preferably one with experience handling issues before the BON.

    OP, best wishes as you work through this issue.
  8. by   Nurse Beth
    Quote from Mollythenurse
    For 2 years I have worked in a family practice medical clinic. The NP I work with, whom up until approximately 1 month ago, have had a very good working relationship with. She recently began treating me very differently. She's dismissive, hateful, condescending and NOTHING I do is right in her eyes. I just can't please her. The stress and tension I've been feeling over this is really wearing me down. I spoke to my clinic manager about it two days ago. Wednesday I triaged a patient as I normally would, updated the EMR chart to show ready for provider, and as I was leaving the exam room pts mother asked for some info on a different child. I left the exam room, and pulled the other pts chart(we just went EMR and her other child's record is still paper) and began to gather the information. At that time the NP came to my work area and began YELLING at me for not walking back to her office to notify her that she had a pt ready, that I had turned the chart "green" saying she had a pt so WHY didn't I go to her office and tell her!!! Then she walked into the pts exam room. She did this in front of 3 other employees and 1 student NP. I wanted to crawl under my desk! I was embarrassed and humiliated I knew I was going to cry, so I grabbed my purse, and walked outside and went and sat in my vehicle to let the waterworks commence. Our clinic is super small, not even a breakroom, and I needed privacy for a few minutes. My clinic manager came out less than 5 minutes later. We talked and I told him that I wanted to talk to HR. He told me to take the rest of the day off and he would have HR call me. HR guy called, and he said some things that alluded to pt abandonment and safety issues. How would it be pt abandonment when the NP was in the room WITH the pt when I walked outside? I would have went back inside after a few minutes had my manager not told me to go home.... I would think the concern for pt safety would be greater having a distraught nurse caring for them. Additional info, pt was there for a runny nose..Any advice or input is greatly appreciated!
    This is not patient abandonment anymore than doing an intake history on a patient and leaving the room is abandonment.

    It sounds like people are reactively throwing terms around in the midst of drama.

    Before this came to a head would have been a good time to calmly talk with the NP to see if her change in attitude is based on valid concerns about your performance or not.

    Staying in control of your emotions as work is really important even when you are attacked or provoked. Best wishes
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Jun 16
  9. by   MunoRN
    Abandonment only applies in situations where patients require ongoing care to avoid harm, in a clinic setting these are generally not patients reliant on continuous nursing care.
  10. by   Jjfred3550
    Straight up, not patient abandonment. Some of these companies are overstepping boundaries and treating employees like crap. Plain and simple. You did a good thing by stepping out to gather thoughts. If you were told to go home, then you have absolutely nothing g to worry about.
  11. by   Mavrick
    HR is NOT your friend.
    HR is NOT your friend.
    HR is NOT your ******* friend.

    HR is using an old "threaten you with your license" trick to shut you up.
    You could make the case you are in a hostile work environment and cause real trouble for them. They would much rather you be back on your heels, scared about losing your job and make nice with the nasty NP that's bringing in money while you are just an expense.

    These lyrics just popped into my head, sorry.
    "Go and fix your make up girl it's, just a break up run an'
    Hide your crazy and start actin' like a lady" .......... Miranda Lambert

    For a laugh click >>> Miranda Lambert - Mama's Broken Heart - YouTube
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Jun 17
  12. by   saskrn
    This could amount to absolutely nothing, or become an ugly case of he-said/she-said. I would have a plan for that scenario just in case, consult an attorney, and investigate your BON's definition of abandonment. I'd also consider having a polite, pleasant conversation with the clinic to feel them out, and to convey your concerns about that particular provider.

    Additionally, I'd also look for another job because regardless what happens, it's not healthy to work in that kind of environment.

    FWIW, I would never leave the floor or building without notifying my supervisor or without transferring care. Actually, I am overly cautious in this area. Also, I would have used the restroom for a quick break instead of leaving the building.

    Good luck!
  13. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from Mollythenurse
    For 2 years I have worked in a family practice medical clinic. The NP I work with, whom up until approximately 1 month ago, have had a very good working relationship with. She recently began treating me very differently. She's dismissive, hateful, condescending and NOTHING I do is right in her eyes. I just can't please her. The stress and tension I've been feeling over this is really wearing me down. I spoke to my clinic manager about it two days ago. Wednesday I triaged a patient as I normally would, updated the EMR chart to show ready for provider, and as I was leaving the exam room pts mother asked for some info on a different child. I left the exam room, and pulled the other pts chart(we just went EMR and her other child's record is still paper) and began to gather the information. At that time the NP came to my work area and began YELLING at me for not walking back to her office to notify her that she had a pt ready, that I had turned the chart "green" saying she had a pt so WHY didn't I go to her office and tell her!!! Then she walked into the pts exam room. She did this in front of 3 other employees and 1 student NP. I wanted to crawl under my desk! I was embarrassed and humiliated I knew I was going to cry, so I grabbed my purse, and walked outside and went and sat in my vehicle to let the waterworks commence. Our clinic is super small, not even a breakroom, and I needed privacy for a few minutes. My clinic manager came out less than 5 minutes later. We talked and I told him that I wanted to talk to HR. He told me to take the rest of the day off and he would have HR call me. HR guy called, and he said some things that alluded to pt abandonment and safety issues. How would it be pt abandonment when the NP was in the room WITH the pt when I walked outside? I would have went back inside after a few minutes had my manager not told me to go home.... I would think the concern for pt safety would be greater having a distraught nurse caring for them. Additional info, pt was there for a runny nose..Any advice or input is greatly appreciated!
    I hope they do not pursue the abandonment thought. Since you went to your car instead of maybe to the restroom or the storage closet (no break room; where do you have a locker or store a coat in winter?), in other words, you left the clinic, I could see the abandonment if I were quite the stinker and wanted to make trouble for you. I agree that the pt was not likely in danger as long as other staff were present, but going to your car was not a good move at all.

    However, I would also be trying to figure out why the NP has turned into a Jekyll & Hyde. And who the H... does she think she is to be yelling at you? She was rude to you and to everyone else who heard her. I would not let that go.

    And I know it hurts when someone we thought was a friend or nice coworker shows us otherwise, which is why I always say that there really are no friends at work.

    Good luck.
  14. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from kjb_lpn
    That to me does not sound like patient abandonment. However I am also not well versed in what that means according to the regulations of your Board of Nursing.

    I would check with them and explain the situation - but the only problem I see is that you should have just said, "I need some air," and then gone to the car.
    Do NOT contact your BRN. Also, do not contact your malpractice insurer. You might want to talk to an attorney or 2 or 3.

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