Does anyone else see discrimination? Long Post but please read!

  1. I just need to vent and hopefully some of you great nurses out there can help me!

    I am currently a nursing student in my junior year enrolled in a BSN program. And over the past summer I worked as a student nurse/PCA at a very prominent hospital in the area. One day as I was coming on to start my shift when the clinical nurse specialist told me that she and the nurse manager wanted to speak with me, which I was fine with...a little confused but whatever. I never would of thought I was in trouble because I never had any issues with the staff or patients, or so I thought. In fact I always got high praises, letter and flowers from patients coming back to visit.

    Since the nurse manager wasn't on the floor when at the beginning of my shift, I started my daily routine of taking vitals etc. When she returned I was brought into the office and was told that a complaint was filed against me in the beginning of the week. Anyway, apparently the complaint was that when I was doing my 3:00p.m. vitals on a patient, I never recorded them in the chart, and that I never completed them in its entirety. The person that complained (to my understanding) was the wife of a patient who was a nurse on a different floor of the same hospital. Of course, I denied the allegation to the fullest because it was completely untrue. And she had no proof, it was her word against mine. I even requested the chart and lo and behold the vitals were charted and initaled by ME. I was actually told by the day nurse who started his vitals to just finish them up, but with me not knowing what she completed I did them over myself. While I was in the meeting I never got to explain anything that happened, I was talked over, and told I was lying. I tried explaining to them the wife wasn't in the room when I was taking them so how could she have known? The wife probably didn't see me do everything including write them down, considering she was always in and out the room. So at the end of it all I was told that I was being suspended with pay until she could "investigate" the situation. I simply obliged and went home (very sad and angry) and prayed that she would see the truth.

    Now a little background. I am the only African American person on the entire floor. And I always felt that was an issue for a few of the nurses, but me being me I still treated them the same utmost respect. I tried talking to them during free time, and made cookies for the 4th of July, and went out of my way to help all of them even if I wasn't assigned to that particular nurse all in an attempt to warm them up to me. To my surprise I walked in on a few situations where I was being talked about with them saying the only reason I got this job was because of affirmative action, and one time I was referred to a "N....." (yes, the "N-word", something I NEVER say). It hurt of course, but I took it like a grain of salt and held my head high still respecting them and doing my job the best of my abilities. The nurse manager never got to know me on a "personal level" as I contributed it to her always being busy. But I realized that she was always more welcoming to the other student nurse/PCA who started with me who was coincidential causcasian often inviting her to lunch, and plain showing favoritism. Again, I never said anything, I just did my job not wanting to make a fuss or come off as a pansy. To me the nurse manager was very influential to the staff nurses in a negative way. She only engaged in the staff she liked etc. I honestly think the "investigation" consisted of her just asking around about me to a bunch of women who didn't like me to begin with. I am not one to pull the race card considering the time we live in, but I just can't shake the fact that discrimination is exactly what I experienced.

    Fast forwarding to the day after the meeting less than 24 hours from the inital meeting. When I was at home, I received a phone call from the nurse manager saying that I was terminated for "not making progress within 90 days of hire." However, what was more odd about it all was that she called me in her office about 3:30p.m. the previous day and she leaves at 4-5:00p.m. If there was an "investigation" made since her decision came less than 24 hours, when did she have time to look into it considering she wasn't even in the hospital? Being in shock all I could do was cry because I was so upset and hurt by everything. I asked her what the "investigation" consisted of she never answered the question directly which was suspicious to me. But again, I swallowed my pride, took the outcome and thanked her for giving me the opportunity to work with them. According to another nurse manager on another floor, if I was being fired for that reason the CNS or NM was required to give me at least one warning. Something I never received.

    I called my mother at work in tears and told her what happened. And she started to cry with me, because the money I was trying to earn that summer was to help pay for school. As a result of this all I had to work full time Fall, 2006 to earn that money back. She told me to call HR and check on the policies. Of courses, all the policies that were recited back to me protected the decision of the NM. I filed my incident with a state agency, and when I got the hospital's response to everyting amung a bunch of legal documents etc. I saw that I am no longer eligible for rehire for that healthcare system here. Meaning when I do get my RN that eliminates 3+ hospitals that I can work at all because of this. It is literally little ol' me a nursing student against this HUGE organization that happens to be one of the biggest employers in the state.

    I have never felt this way before in my entire life. I truly hope that no one has to ever experience this. Please give me insight on your opinions regarding this. I can use it right about now!
    Last edit by SoontobeAdrienneRN on Mar 13, '07 : Reason: Spelling error and wanted to add something
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    About SoontobeAdrienneRN

    Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 28; Likes: 2
    Currently I am a Case Manager

    46 Comments

  3. by   gtalpis
    I would surely feel bad if it would have been me in your situation. But sometimes things do happen not the way we wanted to be & we feel disappointed and degraded. But then, i guess ,if you are a believer, nothing is impossible before him "GOD". Just take it positively and consider it that somehow what had happened may be outweighed by what will you achieve later on. Well, i know this isn't much but i hope you'll gonna be fine.. Goodluck & GodBless!!
  4. by   SoontobeAdrienneRN
    Thank you very much gtalpis, your words are very comforting. It means a lot to hear that. Thanks again!
  5. by   tridil2000
    Quote from gtalpis
    I would surely feel bad if it would have been me in your situation. But sometimes things do happen not the way we wanted to be & we feel disappointed and degraded. But then, i guess ,if you are a believer, nothing is impossible before him "GOD". Just take it positively and consider it that somehow what had happened may be outweighed by what will you achieve later on. Well, i know this isn't much but i hope you'll gonna be fine.. Goodluck & GodBless!!

    write down everything including that pt so you can have the chart pulled as evidence. then get a lawyer.
  6. by   nitenurse911
    Take heart in knowing that all hospitals and all nurses do not behave this way but I will say that all nurses are not as supportive of each other as we need to be and cattiness has not declined in the 25 yrs I have been practicing- note the number and frequency of males being promoted to charge and management positions with less experience than their female counterparts. There is still sexism and racism to be overcome and it pains me that African-Americamn nurses and other minorities have felt the need to form their own associations in order to feel legitimate and heard amongst the larger forum. If we can't be for ourselves, who will be for us? Certainly NOT mangement
  7. by   mytoon38
    Hi soontobe rn!

    I am so sorry you had to go through that! It sounds like you were in a very hostile work environment!

    Yes, I do see obvious discrimination! Being called the N word, is totally unacceptable! I would call a Civil Rights atorney and file a complaint with the EEOC too! Please don't allow them to do this to you! This should not be allowed to go on!

    Do you mind if I ask where you live? I am just appalled that this still goes on anywhere!:angryfire

    I am so thankful that I had parents that always taught me that "we are all created equal." I am older (in my 40's) and I never was taught to be prejudiced! I thank God that I had parents like that! We are Italian, but I always had friends of every race and religion and never heard a single racial slur in my home! When I went to school and heard someone say one, I went home and asked my Dad what that meant! He explained that the people that use those terms are ignorant and full of hatred and that he never wanted me to use those words! I think I was like 5 years old!

    I know racism does still exist, but when it is in a healthcare worker I think it is 100 times worse! How can you give good care to ALL patients if you feel that you are superior to someone just because their skin color is different???

    Well, good luck! I wish you the best! :spin:

    Mytoon38
  8. by   nursemary9
    I am just so sorry this had to happen to you.

    I agree with a previous poster--write EVERYTHING down & get yourself a lawyer! If you can't afford one, maybe try legal aide, or something similar you might have in your area.

    I work with staff from all different ethnic backgrounds & we do all try to get along; I'm not saying we're perfect, but we do work at our relationships.

    I hope all will be well with you; I hope you let us know how things go.
    Good Luck in Nursing!!

    mary Ann
  9. by   SoontobeAdrienneRN
    I somewhat attempted the lawyer thing. But when I consulted with them and was told everything I had to gather (i.e. paperwork, statements etc.) the hospital was less than willing to help me obviously. The literally threw every lawyer at me with legal mumbo jumbo. Again, many of the policies they had were to protect ANY decision that was by management, and not the former employee. And because the unit coordinators (the only people who somewhat stood behind me) didn't want to lose their job, they backed down; understandably. Because of all of this it set me back a semester in school.

    P.S. Oh, when I asked for the name of the complainant (the other nurse) I was not given it to protect her privacy, which once again leave me no where...
  10. by   GardenDove
    I agree, the whole thing sounds fishy, and the whole 'N' word scenario is very disturbing. Maybe go talk to your local NAACP and see what help they can offer.

    Maybe it's not racism but just that you are being personally targeted, but either way it sounds horrendous.
  11. by   justme1972
    I think you are right on target...it was racism. The "talking to" should have stopped as soon as the chart was presented with the vitals and your initials beside of them. I cannot believe that they twisted it around to where you were lying.

    (I edited this b/c I can't read )

    Is there someone above the HR department that you can call about this? HR only knows what was told to them by the Clinical Nurse Specialist and the Nurse Manager...and you have no idea of what version of the story they got. That doesn't make sense that they would suspend you for not charting (when you could prove otherwise...thus the purpose of the initials), and then terminate you for not making progress, when that wasn't even the reason for the suspension.

    I would wager that "not making progress" was the reason that HR got, and the charting never made it into your permanent file, b/c it was made up.
    Last edit by justme1972 on Mar 13, '07
  12. by   Roseyposey
    Quote from SoontobeAdrienneRN
    I somewhat attempted the lawyer thing. But when I consulted with them and was told everything I had to gather (i.e. paperwork, statements etc.) the hospital was less than willing to help me obviously. The literally threw every lawyer at me with legal mumbo jumbo. Again, many of the policies they had were to protect ANY decision that was by management, and not the former employee. And because the unit coordinators (the only people who somewhat stood behind me) didn't want to lose their job, they backed down; understandably. Because of all of this it set me back a semester in school.

    P.S. Oh, when I asked for the name of the complainant (the other nurse) I was not given it to protect her privacy, which once again leave me no where...
    Don't get discouraged; that's what subpoenas are for. I would definitely file a complaint with the EEOC and let their lawyers sort through it. It might even be worth your time to make a phone call to your local ACLU office - they may be able to at least give you some advice. What happened to you is horrible and makes my stomach turn. I can't imagine even if you did forget to complete one set of vitals on a patient that being an offense worth terminating over. Good luck.
  13. by   gr8rnpjt
    What a shame that we have not progressed enough as human beings. I cannot get my mind around the fact that there are still nurses--educated people who cannot look past the color of another's skin to see a real team player and a great future nurse who would be an asset to any unit.
  14. by   Leselberry
    I'm really sorry to hear that that happened to you. I agree, I really think you should get a lawyer and file a complaint. Do whatever you have to do. I understand that this eliminates three hospitals for future jobs, but I am sure you wouldn't want to work in that particular hospital again, anyway. I know I wouldn't. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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