Do I have any legal recourse???

  1. Ok, so I've got a pretty big issue with a former instructor of my RN program and I'm really wondering if I can get a lawyer over it!!

    To start out, my second semester in school, she had a question that I felt was incorrect. I followed protocol to petition the question, a senior instructor even agreed that my evidence proved the question was incorrect. The long and short of it... because of her ego, she ended up YELLING at me in her office and refused to drop the question. I wouldn't let it go, so I brought it to our head of nursing. I never heard anything back, but low and behold... Fall semester of the 2nd year rolls around... and that instructor no longer teaches there. However, she is still "staff" and oversees a few clinical groups. So, she's still affiliated with the college.

    Well... now here's the problem. Keep in mind, I never had this woman for my clinical instructor, just for lecture a few times.

    Now she is a nurse educator at the hospital I applied to. My friend works on the floor that I applied to, the ACU. I gave the supervisor my resume at an open house and filled out their online application. Everyone had heard back and gotten interviews, but not me... not a word. I talk to my friend, and he told me that he'd talked to his supervisor and she said "Oh, he had a great looking resume, I'm going to get in touch with him."

    ... well, two weeks later, he asks her if she's called me and she says she's gotten a bad reference on me.

    1. I never gave out references
    2. EVERYONE who's ever worked with me absolutely LOVES me
    3. This former "instructor" is the only person who works at the college AND the hospital

    So, I know it was her and so does everyone else. The problem is, how do I prove that she said something. More importantly, how do I make sure I'm not blackballed by this HACK of an instructor ... who *shudder* is now a nurse educator at the facility I want to work in.

    What do I do??? ... besides hire someone to kneecap her in the parkinglot, of course.
  2. Visit Dakkon76 profile page

    About Dakkon76

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 57; Likes: 9
    Specialty: 2nd Year RN Student

    33 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    Don't go with the kneecapping..........


    Does your state have laws about what references are allowed to say? If yes, then you do have recourse. You need to talk to an attorney and find out.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    There are some things better let go. I personally wouldn't pursue legal action at this point - look at another hospital. Do you really need to work in this particular hospital? I think this former instructor would make your life miserable. Picking your battles is hard but when you are going to have much stress associated with a new career, it just isn't worth it in my book.
  5. by   caliotter3
    Speaking from experience, I have to advise you to see an attorney. Blacklisting is almost impossible to prove and an attorney who deals with this will know how to go about dealing with it. Even if you go elsewhere, you should talk to an attorney b/c you may find that the negative influence manifests itself beyond that one hospital. Good luck.
  6. by   Dakkon76
    Quote from traumaRUs
    There are some things better let go. I personally wouldn't pursue legal action at this point - look at another hospital. Do you really need to work in this particular hospital? I think this former instructor would make your life miserable. Picking your battles is hard but when you are going to have much stress associated with a new career, it just isn't worth it in my book.
    I don't have a problem working somewhere else. I also don't have a problem working on her unit... what I DO have a problem with, however, is ethics and incompetence. The fact that she is badmouthing me for sticking up for what I knew was right and then having her give me a bad reference for doing exactly what a TRUE advocate should do... that goes against everything a nurse stands for in my opinion. I won't be badmouthed for standing up for what I believe in... especially when I do it in a professional matter and end up being right. I guess I forgot to mention the fact that the answer she stood so fast beside... could end up costing a patient their life... which is what I was so adamant at pointing out

    Anyway, I'll go for the throat in a case like this if I have a leg to stand on... not just because I don't like her, but because it's ethically and morally wrong as far as I'm concerned.
  7. by   CritterLover
    Quote from traumarus
    there are some things better let go. i personally wouldn't pursue legal action at this point - look at another hospital. do you really need to work in this particular hospital? i think this former instructor would make your life miserable. picking your battles is hard but when you are going to have much stress associated with a new career, it just isn't worth it in my book.

    i agree with trauma.

    go to a different facility. you don't want to work at a hospital where this nurse is a nurse educator.

    i wouldn't consider legal recourse unless you find that you are having a hard time getting a job elsewhere. it just isn't worth it.
  8. by   Soup Turtle
    I can't believe you caused yourself all this trouble over a stupid question!
  9. by   CritterLover
    Quote from dakkon76
    i don't have a problem working somewhere else. i also don't have a problem working on her unit... what i do have a problem with, however, is ethics and incompetence. the fact that she is badmouthing me for sticking up for what i knew was right and then having her give me a bad reference for doing exactly what a true advocate should do... that goes against everything a nurse stands for in my opinion. i won't be badmouthed for standing up for what i believe in... especially when i do it in a professional matter and end up being right. i guess i forgot to mention the fact that the answer she stood so fast beside... could end up costing a patient their life... which is what i was so adamant at pointing out

    anyway, i'll go for the throat in a case like this if i have a leg to stand on... not just because i don't like her, but because it's ethically and morally wrong as far as i'm concerned.


    ok, it wouldn't be worth it to me, but apparently, it is worth it to you .

    i'm thinking that you will have a very difficult time proving your case. there are just too many variables. you may have a difficult time even finding an attorney to take your case. but, if it is how you want to spend your time/money.........it is your time and money.
  10. by   MikeyJ
    Quote from TurtleSoup
    I can't believe you caused yourself all this trouble over a stupid question!
    I must agree with TurtleSoup. This doesn't at all give this instructor the right to speak poorly of you to hospitals; however, I must concur that going over an instructors head about ONE question is kind of ridiculous.. even if you were right. I am all about standing up for oneself and being an activist for what you believe in, but I think I would have just accepted the fact that you got one question wrong.

    To make a really long story short, I ran into this type or professor during my Anatomy & Physiology II class. She absolutely LOATHED me, and was arrogant and inconsiderate toward me. When I got a few questions wrong on an exam and showed her the right answers in the book, she looked at me and said "thats a pity.... but you still don't get the points for them.. sorry". She did this all the time and would mark me down on my essay questions. Luckily I ended up with a "B" in her class, but I knew better then to go above her head at the university level. A university/college is a very political environment, and I knew she could make or break my grade.. so I kept my mouth shut. Unfortunately, that is the best option sometimes.. to keep our mouths shut.
  11. by   KellNY
    While you do sound absolutely lovable, Dakkon (and I mean that, especially with the kneecap and going for the throat bit), good luck finding an attorney who'll take your case based on what someone told your friend, who then told you, which was that someone gave a bad reference. Sound a little convoluted...hard to prove...?

    Did you lose a large amount of money because of this? Was your reputation permanently damged? You did? It was? Okay, now prove it. You can't. And neither can a lawyer, which is why no one would take the case. And even if someone did take the case, I doubt that a judge would agree to hear it. It's another huge waste of already thin stretched resources.

    I'm really not sure why you should get any money out of this. You're angry at your former instructor and want someone to pay for you having been yelled at. Her being unsafe has nothing to do with a lawsuit. The hospital hired her, obviously they were at least somewhat impressed by her skills, education, experience, etc.
  12. by   MikeyJ
    Oh, I wanted to add one more thing!

    I work in a court house and I am in small claims court all the time (I am a court mediator), and judge's usually chuckle when someone files a suit against someone for "defamation of character". Why? Because it is nearly impossible to prove -- unless you have reputable evidence that shows something was written or published to defame someone, then there really is no case.
  13. by   zumalong
    Ok--I am coming at this from both sides. I have questioned instructors and professors alike if I thought a question was not correct. I have also been the educator/instructor who made up the questions. I could have spent an extra hour going around and around with students to change the answer to what it "could have" been. However, then I am taking away valuable time in order to teach another topic. Nursing questions are judgement based and can be interpreted so many ways--the boards don;'t allow you to "question" their decision--and when it comes to a real live person--you do the best you can with the knowledge, common sense, and experience for each situation.

    This said--I have also seen much incompetance both in the classroom and out of it. Even if this person said something slanderous about you--how could you prove it. Why would you want to work somewhere that you think they already have negative connotations about you??? Life is too short. There are plenty of jobs out there. Don't sweat this issue. Maybe they just didn't get to your application yet, or hired all they needed at the present.

    Most people like this instructor you are describing show their true colors very soon in their employment--which is why she might have a new job now. This means that she will probably not work at this position for long. Wait it out--get experience somewhere else where you are not dealing with an old thorn in your side.
    Last edit by zumalong on May 23, '07
  14. by   TazziRN
    Quote from TurtleSoup
    I can't believe you caused yourself all this trouble over a stupid question!

    Could you have made just a little effort to say this in a kinder way????

close