Refusing assignment/abandonment

  1. I work in a very rural (only hospital in 50 miles), hospital. Usually there is 2 RNs and 1 LPN at night with an in house Dr. For my next shift I've been told I'm the only RN (and no one else in house), I'm really uncomfortable with this as I feel it's a liability issue. Can I refuse this shift? Do I just show up and if they haven't found someone, do I just not punch in? Help please!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   RegularNurse
    You don't have to do anything.

    Just tell your employer that you won't work unless they have additional staff present.
  4. by   MunoRN
    You are free to refuse to work or refuse an assignment because of your concerns, however they are free to terminate your employment as a result. What you could argue is that they have not made proper plans for you to take breaks and report that to your department of labor.
  5. by   Kooky Korky
    Don't show up! If you do, they'll contend that your are abandoning your patients, even if you haven't accepted the
    assignment yet or gotten report yet and they are probably wrong. You had really better have your ducks in a row -
    that is, know your state's Nurse Practice Act BEFORE this shift. Does the Board consider it abandonment if you show
    up, don't like the staffing for whatever reason, and just don't clock in?

    Be sure you call off, don't just not go to the job site.

    When is this nightmare shift to be? How much notice are you required to give when calling off?

    I think RegularNurse is right. Be prepared to be fired.

    I would NOT say anything about breaks, even though MunoRN is right about that issue.

    Talk to a couple of lawyers. Good luck.
  6. by   JKL33
    Quote from Nurseof10years
    I work in a very rural (only hospital in 50 miles), hospital. Usually there is 2 RNs and 1 LPN at night with an in house Dr. For my next shift I've been told I'm the only RN (and no one else in house), I'm really uncomfortable with this as I feel it's a liability issue. Can I refuse this shift? Do I just show up and if they haven't found someone, do I just not punch in? Help please!
    Who told you this?

    Was it your coworkers yapping without all the details, or someone responsible for staffing/scheduling? If it was indeed someone in a responsible/managerial role, what did s/he say about it - what did that person expect you to do about it? Do they expect you to be able to handle it or they just don't care?

    And do you mean literally no other licensed staff in house, or no other RNs or what?
  7. by   not.done.yet
    This sounds like a case where Safe Harbor is a good idea.
  8. by   TypicalStudentNurse
    no, she can't refuse it, I am pretty sure. Think of your patients....i know....It is hard...I would report them though.
  9. by   Mavrick
    Quote from TypicalStudentNurse
    no, she can't refuse it, I am pretty sure. Think of your patients....i know....It is hard...I would report them though.
    TOTALLY disagree.

    That is the point, they are NOT her patients until she shows up and accepts the assignment. Only then you are at risk for abandonment.

    Until the actual shift goes unstaffed there is nothing to report.
  10. by   TypicalStudentNurse
    right...and who will be coving for her?! HMM??? ....no but I do see where you are coming from...and many times I did not want to come in when i was the only one on my floor...and I wanted to walk off the floor MANY times...It is not that simple for me...just sharing my own opinion. I could not do that to people because I became a nurse for more than money and they are more than an assignment....I would then report them if anything went wrong on my watch....advocate!!! you are the last thing standing between people are the grave ...you do it because you truly care...

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