Good job gone bad-I'm FRIED (warning long post)

  1. Hello All,
    I'm going to dive right in here with my post, it's long & involved but I thank you if you take the time to read it (really, you deserve a cookie if you get through it all!) . I know I'm not the only nurse in this situation. I have been with my present employer, a well known & probably one of the top 5 substance abuse facilities in the U.S. for 3 yr.s. During this time my (& other nurses in other departments) job duties have tripled, my patient load has doubled and my employer has started aggressively courting acute care hospitals for dual diagnosis (substance abuse & psych) patients, previously we had the occasional unstable psych pt, now it's the norm though they do go hand in hand I admit.

    During the past yr I have become physically ill directly related to my job, I have been verbally abused and physically intimidated by both patients and a co-worker whom also did the same other employees in the past yr, screaming, shaking his fist in faces of co workers, blocking the only doorway so we had no escape. I wrote up 2 of these incidents myself however this person is physically handicapped, which has no bearing on his ability to perform his job & he always says he is being singled out because of his ethnicity-not true, it is his threatening behaviors, everyone is afraid of him "blowing up" myself included. He is a big guy and that can be intimidating in these situations. My supervisors response to these occurrences which were witnessed by multiple staff members including a MD whom totally backed us on wanting them to do something to protect us was to elect this person to the "Excellence" committee. Now he can teach us how to excel at customer service-Ha!

    His supervisor then asked my supervisor if my schedule & 2 other co-workers scheduled could be changed to accommodate the co worker who assaulted us-Hmmm. Everyday he walks past or comes into my office & smirks at me and the other 2 women he did this too.
    In his defense it was confided to me by a co worker that he is bi polar and in recovery (but that's not my fault!!), I feel bad for the guy, hey we've all got issues but then again don't want him to come after me either.

    I was so frightened after this I went to the state police to file a report & was advised to get a restraining order, but didn't because I knew I would lose my job. Every time this guy loses it he calls the administrator whom he is close with & gives his side of the story & it is all swept away & never spoken of again. Even when it is documented. Everyone that documents this stuff is labeled a trouble maker while this nonsense continues-frustrating.

    In the mean time, I had two patients that surrendered weapons to me a switchblade & a hunting knife, the second one was certed & sent to a in patient psych lock down & then he phoned his family and said he was going to come up & stab the nurse, his family later called and threatened to kill us all one by one. We notified our DON who made a police report, nothing else was done-ever. We have rent a cop security for visual presence only, they are not allowed to lay hands on a pt even to restrain them if needed.

    There has been a nurse attacked and her arm fractured, nothing. I work 10-12 hour shifts and am lucky to get a 30 min lunch, I have been denied my 15 min breaks because they over book beds & put too many pts on schedule (not including walk ins and the un foreseen etoh withdrawal seizures and combative folks), so my co workers and I go without breaks even when we point this out, we are told "just see this one more patient", or "the patient has been waiting two hours and the family is angry, see them first". I am tired.

    We do not have proper equipment, management is abusive as hell, we are being threatened and attacked by patients and staff and nothing is done about. While we have all had CPI training, which is wonderful, There are no safety measures in place to prevent anyone from bringing weapons onto the grounds.


    Most recently they initiated new rapid detox methods, with no policy & procedure for such on paper of course. They (the DON & Administrator, Med Dir and a resident Doc ) come into our department to administer this IV protocol with the drug reps in tow, all the muckety mucks were there, guess what they left?

    An open narcotic box full of IV ativan & other narcs, dirty open needles at the bedside & dirty used IV bags hanging open in the unlocked room in a substance abuse hospital. I and the Dr on staff that day were NOT impressed. I did write it up with a suggestion that they have a policy & procedure in place for this new protocol BEFORE they institute it including someone to account for the narcotics & IV supplies and to clean up after themselves. Can you imagine? There was not even a count sheet the box was wide open perched on a stack of papers that fell over when I picked it up to shut it. I phoned the Med director at home & was told to just "leave it there and he would get it in the morning." I refused to do so. So the he had a security person pick it up & take it to the nurse's station. Anyone could have taken anything from that box, including the security person.

    This has not only become dangerous for my co-workers & myself but dangerous for potential patients in my opinion. I've had it. I'm ready to go back to LTC and put this behind me. Last week the Director of the suboxone clinic faxed all the pt.s rx's to the pharmacy early & left the paper receipts for the tech to give out after the patients gave their urine sample & met with the group counseling. They were not seen by the MD that day, but received the Rx anyway. I am not sure of the legality of this but it was confided to me the tech felt very uncomfortable with this but did as they were told for fear of getting in trouble/and or fired...money, money, money...that's all they the administration thinks about, meanwhile long-term staff is leaving in throngs.

    In spite of management I think most in patients get good care because most of the staff is in recovery & really cares, but sadly a lot of that staff is moving on because it is such a hostile work environment. And we are unionized believe it or not, our union does not do much for us but get us decent medical benefits. I have yet to see them back a staff member though our steward's try they are always shot down.

    My most recent employee evaluation last summer was very good/excellent, there was nothing negative in it, and our Medical Director did our reviews. After my short eval meeting was done he asked me to sign my review, I did and then asked for a copy-HUGE mistake. He said he would get a copy to me the next day I trusted him, he did get me a copy with negative comments he added AFTER I signed it. I grieved this took it to my union steward and wanted it stricken from my work record and he apologized to me several times & admitted it to my union steward but He and the head of Medical Records decided without taking into consideration the comments of my union steward to leave it in my records with the comments I wrote on it stating he added those comments after the record. So much for the union. How can the person you file a grievance against be allowed to decide the outcome of it? But there you have it.

    Told you this was a long post-lol..I have tried to fight the good fight but you know what/ the only way things will change is when someone really gets hurt. It is so pathetic it makes me sick. Management really does not care, they just do not. The staff Docs do, they are great and very respectful of the nursing staff and patients but powerless with management. These poor people come in for a second chance at life and I just feel we are not doing them justice as patients, and I feel useless as a care provider. It's move them in & move them out..there is no follow up or de-briefing after traumatic incidents. I just cannot believe it gets worse and no matter how many times things are written up nothing is followed up on. What does it take to treat staff decently? We are human beings after all.

    I am so stressed out, in a constant state of panic inside, I'm afraid to go to work, my IBS is flaring for the first time in 15 yr.s, I have developed hives and angioedema allergic reactions, and my left hip is grinding when I ambulate. I have been so ill the past yr. I really believe and my Doc concurs this job is making me sick, yet I need my health bennies and money to get treatment for my illnesses, DH is not wealthy...I'm to young to feel this damn old & tired ..And there is even more.

    I have amassed quite a paper trail the past few yr.s believe me I document EVERYTHING . As I sit here and read what I have typed I can see that this is just crazy.

    What would you do?

    Ms.P
    •  
  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   weetziebat
    What would I do? I'd go in tomorrow and give my two weeks notice and get out before you health deteriorates even more or one of the patients, or staff members, get to you.

    That place is looking out for only one thing - $$$. The most horrifying thing to me is having security who are unable to even restrain a person who could be trying to kill someone.

    I'm sure you must be able to find another job where you don't have to put up with nonsense like this. I don't know how you put up with it for three years but I'd say it is time to leave.

    Good luck!
  4. by   bethin
    I would walk in and turn in my two weeks notice. Then I would call the state and suggest that they take a tour of this place ASAP.

    Please keep us updated. Oh, and can I have my cookie now?
  5. by   MsPiggy
    I knew I couldn't be that crazy, I mean a lttle crazy okay but not THAT crazy. Thank you for validating my feelings on this. I am so disappointed in my leaders/management,, sigh...I really like SA & psych nursing but this is killing me.

    Now we need that cookie smiley guy for this post!

    Thanks for responding :0)

    -Ms.P
  6. by   MsPiggy
    Already I am DREADING my upcoming shift..I did go out today & put in apps at a few LTC places, I just haveto have medical coverage in the mean time. I am going to ask what my cobra rates would be but do not want to give them a heads up at this point. I think it would just make things more difficult for me and management would become even more abusive, kwim?
    sigh...

    Ms.P
  7. by   charebec65
    It's horrible that you have to deal with all this. I would put in my notice asap. It is your safety, mental health and license on the line .... Good luck!
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    And I thought MY last job was horrible.............OMG.

    I have two words for anyone who works in such a toxic environment: one is GET, and the other is OUT. Do not put up with being abused, threatened, lied to/about, or messed around with ONE MORE DAY. Life is too short to be this miserable---get out of there!!!
  9. by   MsPiggy
    Yes, trust me as soon as I find another postiion that's my plan. I'm just in a unfortunate bind regarding the health ins, I cannot go without it & am not sure if cobra wil be affordable.
    I know I am becoming clinically depressed over this and it is affecting all aspects of my life, I am unable to sleep on the nights before my shifts now..I just get so anxious about the upcoming day becuase it physically exhausts me to the point where I come home and immediately go to bed and am unable to deal. I think I may need to get on some type of anti depressant until I find something else, I just keep telling myself it's a J-O-B, but its gettting to be a scary job & I can't even tell you how demoralized I feel at this point. Thanks for listening.

    Ms.P
  10. by   MsPiggy
    ON another note a nurse that has been here 25+ yr.s recently had a breakdown of sorts & abruptly left, it's not just me..she was truly dedicated to serving this population too, it's a dirty shame.

    Ms.P
  11. by   moonchild20002000
    Sounds like you need to get out of there ASAP. No job is worth all that stress .Give your notice and find another job. You may find employment before you lose insurance with the job you now have.
    Good luck in the job search .
  12. by   texas_lvn
    Hon, here is some tough love. God will take care of you. I promise. When He closes a door He opens a window. Go ahead and have the faith. Put in the 2 weeks notice.

    You are in a catch 22 situation. You need the job for insurance, but need the insurance for the job that is making you sick. There are some low cost clinics, and I bet they can/will help.

    I would leave. IMO, you are doing good by giving them the 2 weeks notice. From the situation that you wrote, I would be gone. You are a better person than I by staying. YOU DO NOT OWE THEM ANYTHING. Some nurses choose to stay because they feel like they own the company, pts, co-workers, ect something. You do not. Good luck, and please keep us posted.

    Oh, yeah, I would also be making some phone calls to allow authorities know what is going on.
  13. by   Romeo4u-RN
    "Wow", sure sounds like you're having the fight of your life. I would advice you to get out of there as soon as possible, and find a better job some where else. However, if you're keen on getting payback, as well as justice, I would definetly sue the hell out of them. With all the evidence you have documented, and some good witnesses, go out there and "kick the crap" (legally that is), out of these creeps. If there is one thing I can't stand, is having to put up with all these big-bullies who think the world owes them something, and decide to drag you along with their stupid insanities. I had a friend who went through a similiar situation, as the one you describe(but in a different work environment), and she fought back, and she won. It wasn't easy, but payback was sweet and sour(if you know what I mean). She eventually moved on to another state, and found a better job. Which is what I would recommend you do, as soon as possible before you turn into a patient yourself, and end up losing it in some psych ward. So what ever you decide to do, do it soon, and don't take anymore bull****, from anybody else. Remember there are alot of both Federal and State agencies, out there that you can contact for help and advice, and I'm sure they would love to inspect and audit their records. So stand up for your rights, and give em hell.
    Good luck out there.





    Quote from MsPiggy
    Hello All,
    I'm going to dive right in here with my post, it's long & involved but I thank you if you take the time to read it (really, you deserve a cookie if you get through it all!) . I know I'm not the only nurse in this situation. I have been with my present employer, a well known & probably one of the top 5 substance abuse facilities in the U.S. for 3 yr.s. During this time my (& other nurses in other departments) job duties have tripled, my patient load has doubled and my employer has started aggressively courting acute care hospitals for dual diagnosis (substance abuse & psych) patients, previously we had the occasional unstable psych pt, now it's the norm though they do go hand in hand I admit.

    During the past yr I have become physically ill directly related to my job, I have been verbally abused and physically intimidated by both patients and a co-worker whom also did the same other employees in the past yr, screaming, shaking his fist in faces of co workers, blocking the only doorway so we had no escape. I wrote up 2 of these incidents myself however this person is physically handicapped, which has no bearing on his ability to perform his job & he always says he is being singled out because of his ethnicity-not true, it is his threatening behaviors, everyone is afraid of him "blowing up" myself included. He is a big guy and that can be intimidating in these situations. My supervisors response to these occurrences which were witnessed by multiple staff members including a MD whom totally backed us on wanting them to do something to protect us was to elect this person to the "Excellence" committee. Now he can teach us how to excel at customer service-Ha!

    His supervisor then asked my supervisor if my schedule & 2 other co-workers scheduled could be changed to accommodate the co worker who assaulted us-Hmmm. Everyday he walks past or comes into my office & smirks at me and the other 2 women he did this too.
    In his defense it was confided to me by a co worker that he is bi polar and in recovery (but that's not my fault!!), I feel bad for the guy, hey we've all got issues but then again don't want him to come after me either.

    I was so frightened after this I went to the state police to file a report & was advised to get a restraining order, but didn't because I knew I would lose my job. Every time this guy loses it he calls the administrator whom he is close with & gives his side of the story & it is all swept away & never spoken of again. Even when it is documented. Everyone that documents this stuff is labeled a trouble maker while this nonsense continues-frustrating.

    In the mean time, I had two patients that surrendered weapons to me a switchblade & a hunting knife, the second one was certed & sent to a in patient psych lock down & then he phoned his family and said he was going to come up & stab the nurse, his family later called and threatened to kill us all one by one. We notified our DON who made a police report, nothing else was done-ever. We have rent a cop security for visual presence only, they are not allowed to lay hands on a pt even to restrain them if needed.

    There has been a nurse attacked and her arm fractured, nothing. I work 10-12 hour shifts and am lucky to get a 30 min lunch, I have been denied my 15 min breaks because they over book beds & put too many pts on schedule (not including walk ins and the un foreseen etoh withdrawal seizures and combative folks), so my co workers and I go without breaks even when we point this out, we are told "just see this one more patient", or "the patient has been waiting two hours and the family is angry, see them first". I am tired.

    We do not have proper equipment, management is abusive as hell, we are being threatened and attacked by patients and staff and nothing is done about. While we have all had CPI training, which is wonderful, There are no safety measures in place to prevent anyone from bringing weapons onto the grounds.


    Most recently they initiated new rapid detox methods, with no policy & procedure for such on paper of course. They (the DON & Administrator, Med Dir and a resident Doc ) come into our department to administer this IV protocol with the drug reps in tow, all the muckety mucks were there, guess what they left?

    An open narcotic box full of IV ativan & other narcs, dirty open needles at the bedside & dirty used IV bags hanging open in the unlocked room in a substance abuse hospital. I and the Dr on staff that day were NOT impressed. I did write it up with a suggestion that they have a policy & procedure in place for this new protocol BEFORE they institute it including someone to account for the narcotics & IV supplies and to clean up after themselves. Can you imagine? There was not even a count sheet the box was wide open perched on a stack of papers that fell over when I picked it up to shut it. I phoned the Med director at home & was told to just "leave it there and he would get it in the morning." I refused to do so. So the he had a security person pick it up & take it to the nurse's station. Anyone could have taken anything from that box, including the security person.

    This has not only become dangerous for my co-workers & myself but dangerous for potential patients in my opinion. I've had it. I'm ready to go back to LTC and put this behind me. Last week the Director of the suboxone clinic faxed all the pt.s rx's to the pharmacy early & left the paper receipts for the tech to give out after the patients gave their urine sample & met with the group counseling. They were not seen by the MD that day, but received the Rx anyway. I am not sure of the legality of this but it was confided to me the tech felt very uncomfortable with this but did as they were told for fear of getting in trouble/and or fired...money, money, money...that's all they the administration thinks about, meanwhile long-term staff is leaving in throngs.

    In spite of management I think most in patients get good care because most of the staff is in recovery & really cares, but sadly a lot of that staff is moving on because it is such a hostile work environment. And we are unionized believe it or not, our union does not do much for us but get us decent medical benefits. I have yet to see them back a staff member though our steward's try they are always shot down.

    My most recent employee evaluation last summer was very good/excellent, there was nothing negative in it, and our Medical Director did our reviews. After my short eval meeting was done he asked me to sign my review, I did and then asked for a copy-HUGE mistake. He said he would get a copy to me the next day I trusted him, he did get me a copy with negative comments he added AFTER I signed it. I grieved this took it to my union steward and wanted it stricken from my work record and he apologized to me several times & admitted it to my union steward but He and the head of Medical Records decided without taking into consideration the comments of my union steward to leave it in my records with the comments I wrote on it stating he added those comments after the record. So much for the union. How can the person you file a grievance against be allowed to decide the outcome of it? But there you have it.

    Told you this was a long post-lol..I have tried to fight the good fight but you know what/ the only way things will change is when someone really gets hurt. It is so pathetic it makes me sick. Management really does not care, they just do not. The staff Docs do, they are great and very respectful of the nursing staff and patients but powerless with management. These poor people come in for a second chance at life and I just feel we are not doing them justice as patients, and I feel useless as a care provider. It's move them in & move them out..there is no follow up or de-briefing after traumatic incidents. I just cannot believe it gets worse and no matter how many times things are written up nothing is followed up on. What does it take to treat staff decently? We are human beings after all.

    I am so stressed out, in a constant state of panic inside, I'm afraid to go to work, my IBS is flaring for the first time in 15 yr.s, I have developed hives and angioedema allergic reactions, and my left hip is grinding when I ambulate. I have been so ill the past yr. I really believe and my Doc concurs this job is making me sick, yet I need my health bennies and money to get treatment for my illnesses, DH is not wealthy...I'm to young to feel this damn old & tired ..And there is even more.

    I have amassed quite a paper trail the past few yr.s believe me I document EVERYTHING . As I sit here and read what I have typed I can see that this is just crazy.

    What would you do?

    Ms.P
  14. by   Wendy_RN
    I know it is difficult to go into work when it is a miserable situation. You deserve better! I understand that you need insurance. Cobra can be costly, but it is worth it if it gets you out of a bad situation. I took out a short term policy a few years ago when I was waiting on the drop/add period to go onto my husband's insurance. It was through Celtic Insurance and was really inexpensive, less than $250 for 7 months coverage. You may want to check on something like that. Good luck with your job search!

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