I have relative who has been working as an RN in a CT hospital and was recently fired for not reporting administering the wrong meds to a patient. When she realized what happened she asked a senior nurse (15+ years experience) what she should do. She was advised to fill out a report and monitor the patient; and less than five minutes later this same nurse came bck to her and told her she should just monitor because the meds would not harm the patient, and that she (the senior nurse) would not say anthing to the head nurse. Late that night the senior nurse was feeling guilty and called the head nurse and told her what happened. When my relative was questioned about this, she admitted what she did, and when asked why she didn't fill out the report explained what the senior nurse told her. The senior nurse has denied that she told her to just monitor the patient.
This is her first job (graduated in 06) and she has been working for 6 months and prior to this incident with a flawless record.
QUESTION: Is it customary for a nurse to be fired for a first time offense of this nature?
Do you have any suggestions on what my relative should do? Would you recommend she seek legal advice and if so what type of attorney would handle such a case? Thanks for any advice you can offer.
Jan 7, '07
Don't bother with an attorney. Just suck it up to experience and look for a new job. Welcome to the world of nursing. It is a shame that your relative had this happen to her so fast out of school, but she has now been "initiated" and should be aware that it goes both ways. Most of the time, when reporting a med error to a supvr, the supvr will take appropriate action without the nurse being fired, unless there is something so way out of line that it can't be dealt with otherwise, such as a death or the infraction was actually witnessed by family members who complain to mgmt. A nurse sent her nrsg asst in to place a nitro patch on a pt one time, witnessed by family member who asked nrsg asst, nrsg asst told family member, "In (my country) I am a nurse", did not fly with family member, nurse was fired. My condolences to your relative, but I repeat, she should think of something to tell future employers if queried, and just go look for a new job.
Jan 7, '07
The sad thing is she has another job lined up, but it is with an affiliated hospital. I'm assuming they will notify the other hospital since they knew she was leaving (she gave her 2 weeks notice) and that she won't be able to start the new job.
How do you explain such a mistake to prospective employers? And do they give you the benefit of the doubt and hire you? She's worked so hard for this (single mom with 2 children while going to school) and I hate to see her in this situation.
Jan 8, '07
She should let it alone unless it comes up. Assume she still has the new job.
Jan 8, '07
but she should never take advise that she feels is wrong...do things by the book..it won't always save you, nursing being what it is, but it is the safest thing to do
Jan 20, '07
I take it the 'senior nurse' was not her supervisor. That was her mistake. Hopefully she learned from this that nobody is there to 'cover' for you... if you make a mistake, own up to the mistake, and notify them IMMEDIATELY. I wish her luck...
Jan 20, '07
I am sure that the reason that she was fired was the lack of reporting, not the fact that she gave the wrong meds.
Whenever in doubt consult the policy and procedure manual. It is scary to be a new grad and make a mistake. Appearing to cover it up is wrong and causes questions about the individuals ethics, and honesty.
Anytime someone tells you they "won't tell on you," that should be a huge red flag.
It does not matter whether or not the meds "would not hurt the patient" what does matter is that an error occurred.
Jan 21, '07
Firings happen. And I have been fired from more than 1 job in my 10 year nursing career. It is a lot about politics, who else may be lined up for a job and other nonsense. I was actually fired from my first 2 nursing jobs and realize how hard top managers are on the "middle management'. Many of these facilites are in MAJOR fiscal termoil and play favorites to the "pansies and butt kissers". Nursing is THE most cut throat profession, filled with petty and spiteful WOMEN. (no offense as I am a female nurse too). I have been through the mill of management and restructuring problems. Hang in there and lo and behold you will find a workplace to embrace your talents and maybe learn and grow from your own mistakes too. DO not take firing personally and keep your head up.
Jan 21, '07
Quote from supermomandnurse
yikes! a huge part of my decision was due to being a target of multiple workplace bullies over the last three years. another part was just spending the majority of my waking hours of life in a toxic environment. this comment makes me wonder if nursing is the right choice. although you final comment did cast a bit of light at the far end of the tunnel.
nursing is the most cut throat profession, filled with petty and spiteful women. (no offense as i am a female nurse too).
hang in there and lo and behold you will find a workplace to embrace your talents and maybe learn and grow from your own mistakes too. do not take firing personally and keep your head up.
Last edit by Seven, RN2b on Sep 7, '08
Feb 2, '07
Thanks for all the responses.
Things are working out for her afterall. The other hospital did find out, but after talking with her and hearing her side said they still wanted to hire her. Also, a couple of nurses who heard what the charge nurse told her came forward and it is being investigated. (Hooray for honest people.) All she wants out of this is to have her records state that she resigned for another position NOT that she was fired.
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