A question of ethics

  1. [font="comic sans ms"]i work as a part time night nurse on a long term care unit. i have learned that a day shift rpn has been furnishing her home with funiture and plants from the residents. i am not sure how she has obtained the items because i don't get how that would come up in a conversation with a resident who has expressive aphagia. i heard that she told a resident his plant was dying and she'd take it home. staff saw her leave the resident's care suite with the plant over her shoulder. on another occasion, the family of another resident helped her carry a recliner chair to her truck and took that home too. i'm not sure what else she has furnished her home with.

    every year, there is an auction held by the nursing home to sell the old belongings and items that have been donated to the home. there is also a large garage sale held by the residents and tenants of the seniors complex. i felt that was a more appropriate time for this nurse to purchase the furniture. nothing was documented in the nursing notes either.

    i don't know why this bothers me. i had trouble with this particular staff before too. she had told a number of residents that she had to get a second job because i stole her shifts. it was totally not true because they have to go by the union contract and seniority. this bother's me because i feel there is a better way for her to get furniture than to burden the residents with her personal situations so the residents feel compelled to help her out by giving her their stuff. i don't want to be grouped in with that. i don't tell the residents my personal problems. i don't want them to worry about me. plus, i believe it reflects poorly on the rest of the team.

    i'm not sure what to do about this particular situation. i wish she would stop asking the residents for their stuff. should this bother me or should i just stay out of it? i would rather stay out of it but on the other hand, i don't know why i can't stop thinking about this. it seems so wrong.... unethical. this particular staff has financial difficulties. she told me and apparently, everyone knows of her financial challenges. she even told me that a resident offered to loan her money to help her out. i don't know why she even told the resident. i think this places an unfair burden on the residents. i'd never want to bother them with my problems especially when my job is to help them feel better. i don't get her.

    any ideas on what i should do?

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    About nurse_clown

    Joined: Aug '05; Posts: 232; Likes: 48
    RN- Oncology/Palliative Care


  3. by   oslogirl
    Hi. I would be bothered by that too. It just seems unprofessional to get too personal with clients, even though you do see them everyday. Does your place of employ have a policy in place regarding the receiving of gifts from the residents? Is it clearly being violated? If so, then take the matter to your supervisor. If she is'nt violating policy, I would just leave it alone, leave her to her own behavior, and do your job to the best of your ability. Love that chocolate cake!
  4. by   FLArn
    Report her immediately to the DON. This is highly unethical, in my opinion abusive and quite probably just plain illegal. While in long term the residents often want to know if we are married, have children or grandchildren, etc; I only share positive stories with them as you pointed out it is not for them to share our burdens!
  5. by   JBudd
    Do you have an ethics committee? or review board? Is there an anonymous number you can call to report things (our hospital does, don't know if its routine in LTC).

    If not, I would go to the DON in private, ackowledge you only have a few facts of your own (the plant and the chair episodes you witnessed), but that you are concerned based on what this staff person has said in your hearing. Ask the conversation to be kept confidential.

    Silence is complicity.
  6. by   LHH1996
    it is very unprofessional and she needs reported. you don't need to let everyone know you are the one who reported her. just discuss with your DON than let he or she handle it. Try to let it go!
  7. by   Sash123
    You have every right to be concerned. She is being very unprofessional and if it was me I would feel obliged to do something about it. In our hospital trust we have a Fraud Prevention Team which could be informed anonymously. Or you could just talk to your line manager. At least then you have told someone else your concerns.