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Coworker having access to my password and charting

Nurses   (10,693 Views 35 Comments)
by CorinneRN CorinneRN (New) New

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All our HR personnel were our of the office, otherwise I would have had better answers today. I did speak with my CNO and she was completely aware of what was going on!! She told me IT were the ones to delete our passwords, that IT didn't know our passwords, and therefore did not have access to our accounts. That doesn't explain HOW they were able to get all the way back into that chart to change that med error, it has to be a nurse (and I believe it was an antibiotic, not a narcotic). That doesn't explain why my "acting manager" had that information if IT was responsible for keeping that information (passwords, usernames, etc) confidential. She was, after all, the one to send out the email. There are still too many "what ifs" and I don't feel like I got clear answers.. I'm still very uncomfortable about the entire situation. My "acting manager" STILL had my user name and default password when she sent my coworkers and myself that email telling us what she'd done. She isn't supposed to have "privileges" (if my actual manager has that ability in the first place, I don't know..) And get this! She left all our usernames sitting out on the desk at the nurse's station! That's all we needed to have access to each other's charts!!

What's more is, if my CNO and all those involved know what they did, what will be the repercussions that come back on me if I stay employed there? I'm in a pickle you could say, I'm nearly 4 months pregnant and cannot start a new job and immediately go on maternity leave. That wouldn't be very nice to a new employer.. I feel like my hands are tied. I wish you could all be here to guide me!

Your parent company should have an 800 number to report ethical violations. And risk management. IT can reset lots of stuff, but what glares out at me in this whole mess is that the goal was for the manager to change documentation NOT in her name, but in yours.

The proper procedure, at least in my facility is that the manager can add as many "late entries" in her own name as she would like.

JHACO would be ALL over this.....As would Medicare....

And as a pp pointed out, call your malpractice insurance for guidance, that is what you pay them for.

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1,026 Posts; 16,564 Profile Views

maybe you need to consider changing jobs if you feel you cannot trust your colleagues anymore.

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nkochrn has 10 years experience and specializes in ER, OB, Med-Surg, Geriatric, Clinic.

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In most systems even the IT dept. does not know what your password is, they only see stars as the characters are hidden, so if you forget your password they reset it, then make it expire on the next sign on, so that you will have to change it right away. Since this person was in a management position it would make sense that she may be able to reset passwords for that dept, but what she did sounds EXTREMELY illegal!

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22 Posts; 1,644 Profile Views

I also agree with the posters who recommended calling your insurance. I had to reach out to my carrier at one point and they were very helpful. Keep us posted and best of luck to you. :)

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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But having access to other employee's passwords and be able to go in under THEIR name to change things? That just isn't right, imo.

In the ER, our chart auditor goes through and makes sure things were correctly charted or the patient was properly charged. If not, we get little "love notes" saying what needs to be changed, so we ourselves go and fix them.

On the floor, if there were charting issues, our manager would just normally fix them herself, but it would be under HER name, not charting under ours.

I said that managers have privileges to sensitive information......not that they should go under their name to change things and abuse their privileges. Your manager did it correctly.

Those computers log you in every time you enter that chart. You leave your signature everywhere. Fortunately it will also log the user that entered the record, changed the password, then used that pass word to enter which chart and what action was taken. However that doesn't make it ok. What this person did and was allowed to do is unethical, unprofessional, and illegal as it is tampering with a legal document.:no:

This is one of the reasons I don't like electronic documentation. My handwriting is my unique signature and you can't go in and erase my documentation....you would have to amend the record with a late entry...If you make sure you document and leave no empty paper.......blah blah blah.

I have worked at these small CAH (critical access hospital) and CAH like facilities that has administrators and "others" that are in the inside group that, uhm, how shall I say it.....are big fish in the mud puddle.....and abuse their positions and interpret their rules their way....and act accordingly for their own agenda (or is that the government, wall street and the Banks:uhoh3:...I get so confused these days ). They will do what they please, when they please, if they please, for what they want for their own means. They are "Gods" of their tiny little domain and their little puddle is the only body of water on earth.

I have seen chart manipulation, not falsification:rolleyes:, for improved reimbursement ;) by appointed "auditors"...need I say more????

But these facilities have their own brand of punishment as well....they will make book (creative documentation) to fire any one who doesn't play by their rules. Your CNO isn't being completely honest with you....she told you she knew about it so.......she also knows how this was done. Making up some lame story that sounds plausible to the inexperienced ear is typical of underhanded behavior.....it is nothing but a bait and switch.

OP...... I would contact your malpractice insurance immediately if you have it (all nurses should). I would start making your own book about conversations people, comments and times.......and I would check the policy for how often you can change you password because I would start changing it more frequently. If you don't have malpractice get it now!!! for future issues and for a peace of mind going forward wherever you work.

You are in a pickle for if you raise too much of a rukus...they will not be happy and it could jeopardize your position. You really should contact an attorney for the best advice....The American Association of Nurse Attorneys (TAANA) | LinkedIn

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

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There is nothing wrong about a late-entry, so I don't understand the rationale. We did it with paper charting (simply noting that it was a late entry) and with electronic charting, it's automatically dated...I usually just write a blurb as to why it wasn't entered earlier.

First, the charts shouldn't be locked. That defeats the purpose of a password. If a nurse collapsed and had a medical emergency and something happened to the patient, then how do you get back in? That is the silliest thing I have ever heard of.

There is no reason to lock them. For example, my manager can change my charting...however the system DOCUMENTS what is changed and the fact she changed it and she goes under her own password. So there is a record of what was done.

I would call HR and the legal department like another poster said. You need this documented. Your license isn't at risk as long as you REPORT your password and login isn't secure. One of the requirements of EHR and HIPAA is that your password is secure.

If it is not, then your facility is in violation.

If you do not report it, you won't have any defense if something goes wrong...right now you do.

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116 Posts; 2,724 Profile Views

As someone who has worked in IT for some time, this seems a bit fishy to me as well. I'm not a nurse yet, so I don't know what sort of system you are using. In general practice a charting system (which is essentially a database) should have a permissions structure so that others can go in and change things on a record... BUT only certain things, and when they do so not only is it recorded under their userid, but any previous entries are still retained and everything is timestamped so that you have a historical record. So,

1) If this is how your system works and the manager did stuff under other people's name when it was supposed to show hers, then I would be highly suspicious and yes I would raise the biggest stink with as many people as possible. It wouldn't hurt to collect all the other co-workers whose passwords and/or charts got altered and do this as a group effort. At the very least, IT shouldn't allow this and they should have their own management chain that someone would have to fight to get it to happen.

2) If the system you have doesn't work like that, or doesn't differentiate between user logins and real people, or allows anyone to just go in and reset passwords, then it's either set up wrong by IT or the system itself is incredibly flawed.

My $0.02

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4,412 Posts; 33,813 Profile Views

It is most company's policy to not share your password with anyone. That could mean termination for you. I would call the ethics hotline of your parent company, I would speak to risk management. And late entries we need to make in locked charts, WE are responsible for going in and doing ourselves. I would speak to both HR and IT about the glitches in your account. Something smells fishy to me about this whole thing. COVER YOUR BUTT.

Make sure you document this interaction! Certified letter or email cc back to you for a date and time stamp. You don't want them to decide to turn guilt around and make you the fall guy. Save all electronic files as well as print a hard copy out.

Be careful to not accuse, but to state what you see happening, like a nursing assessment. You want to be sure that if they are in trouble and you get accused in the mix, that you can produce your attempts to make management aware of this. All good to produce to save your license should anything at all come of this stuff.

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innocence16 has 20+ years experience and specializes in ICU.

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This is illegal and you have rights. Go to risk management, fill out a report asap . I have never heard of such abuse!

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roser13 has 17 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

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This is illegal and you have rights. Go to risk management, fill out a report asap . I have never heard of such abuse!

3 year old thread. I doubt that the OP will be taking your advice.

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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3 year old thread. I doubt that the OP will be taking your advice.

OP hasn't visited the site since September of 2013.

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