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Can a NP be charged with patient abandonment??

sschuh sschuh (New) New

I am a family nurse practioner. I have been threatened by a former employer (that I quit without 2 weeks notice due to paycheck bouncing and unsatisfactory work environment) of being charged with patient abandonment. I was an NP at this walk-in/family practice clinic for 1 month and I mainly saw overflow of the physician's established patients and a sprinkling of my own "new" patients.

Surely this is not something that can be done. NPs and physicians quit their jobs without this kind of concern all the time right? I can understand being charged with patient abandonment if you are a nurse at a hospital and you leave your patient without having someone relieve you, but an NP at a clinic? Im wondering if this is just an empty threat because he knows I am going to seek a more formal route to getting reimbursement for my hours worked...

If anyone knows anything about this, or knows a website I can find this information, please help!! Thanks!

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

He's bluffing. You have no pt/provider relationship.


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

I tend to agree with trauma.

Did you have a written contract including a part about giving notice?


Has 36 years experience.

You must certainly have malpractice insurance. Call your provider to ask about this. If you don't, then contact an attorney.

It doesn't seem like true abandonment.

Hope you get your pay!

Best wishes.

I never signed an employment contract, or else I would have stuck it out just to avoid a legal issue.

I would like to agree with trauma also. It doesnt seem like abandonment. I have a few more people I can ask before contacting an attorney. I sure hope it doesnt go that far. I have never heard of such a thing!!



Specializes in Cardiac Care.

Long and wordy... but the gist of it is... that if you were not in the middle of caring for someone at the time... ie you had accepted this patients total care and you walked away during it without following up...

On Patient Abandonment

It would have to be the same for an NP as with and Physician .. I mean they fire patients from their practice and don't get patient abandonment allegations.

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care. Has 27 years experience.

I would treat this threat as a serious matter. The circumstances that support the allegation of patient abandonment in the case of a nurse working at a hospital bedside is different than in the case of an advanced practice nurse working in a provider role. The standards imposed on a nurse practitioner would be very similar to a provider such as a physician (which makes sense since the roles are very similar).

At any rate, abandonment is typically a complaint raised by a patient and not by a colleague or a collaborating physician but I suppose it is still possible if circumstances support the claim. The AMA has this to say about ending ending the physician-patient relationship which I feel should apply to NP's as well:

Ending the Patient-Physician Relationship