Fired from job

  1. I must not know how to get started on this thing. I want to get some advice about a problem I am having as an LVN. I worked for hospice for only 6 weeks. One nite they sent me to a lady whose husband was having pain. This was at 2300. The minute I got there the wife screamed at me for calling her mam. I tried very hard to remember not to do that. And she constandly screamed at her husband to stay in bed because she had to get some sleep. She couldn't talk without screaming. She told me hospice had done nothing for her and she didnt' know what medicienes he had. She had only been with the program a week. I showed her where he could have 7.5/500 vicodin, 1mg. ativan, 0.5 xanax, and 10mg. Ambien. I explained he could have all of them at once. Maybe that would make him more comfortable and he would stay in bed. She kept screaming at her husband to stay in bed. He was sitting almost completely vertical and his feet were nearly to the floor. I suggested lowering his head and raising his feet making it harder for him to crawl out of bed. She started screaming at me that she would never to that so I put him right back the way he was which was only an inch difference anyway. I used a straw with my finger over one end to hold water in it while trying to get the pt. to take his medicine. The wife screamed at me not to touch his nose. I didn't think I touched his nose. Anyway after all of that she was real nice and told me to be careful going home. When I went to work the next day they fired me saying the wife called that morning saying I tortured her husband and held his nose and when he told me to stop I refused. The man never said a word the entire time I was there. I was devestated. I cried so hard I couln't find my car in the parking lot. Now they are sending me letters saying there will be a peer review and maybe report me to the board. The man died the following Weds. Not a mark on him anywhere. By the way they are not saying I had anything to do with his death. they brought up the fact that I gave him all of those medicines at once and he had no trouble taking them. That was true. And he was allowed to have the meds all at once. They were ordered that way. He hadn't had any in over four hours. And the wife stated he was in pain. He never said anything. Please someone tell me do I have a lot to worry about. If this goes to the board I will get an attorney. I am not going to the peer review though. They only want to gawk at me and stare. If they were having it somewhere else I would go but they know what they are doing by forcing me to have to face everyone and be humilated for something I didn't even do.:uhoh21:
  2. Visit goingnuts profile page

    About goingnuts

    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 43
    Mostly nursing homes.
    Specialty: nursing homes, home health.

    59 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    I moved your post to its own thread in General Nursing Discussion for more responses. We wish you the best of luck. Glad to hear that you are thinking of seeking help from an attorney.
  4. by   Boston-RN
    That's aweful. One reason I'm hesitant on every doing home health. I wish you the best.
  5. by   Brooke13-RN
    I don't have any words of wisdom, just that I wish you the the best of luck. I find it hard to believe that this place would fire you without even asking for your side of the story. That is just incredible. I'm glad that you are going to seek legal help if you need it. It sounds like you were in a difficult situation to begin with with the wife and you handled it wonderfully. I'm sorry that you are being treated this way.
  6. by   Silverdragon102
    Sorry I have no advice for you except maybe get involved with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Sorry that you are going through with this and I hope things get better for you
  7. by   one2one
    Wow, what an awful experience for you. I'm wondering what the other nurses who dealt with this family have to say. Surely if they had been in the hospice program for a week, another nurse had also been involved in the situation. Maybe the pt's personal physician could add some insight into the family dynamics and the wife's behavior in the office or hospital setting. Was the pt hospitalized at any time in the weeks prior to beginning the hospice program? Maybe the hospital nurses or social worker could give some input. Sounds like maybe the wife was having severe "caregiver stress". Surely the hospice you worked for has had similiar dealing with other difficult families. Anyone who has been in nursing any length of time runs into difficult family situations.
  8. by   TazziRN
    Wow....I did home care as a CNA many years ago, and something similar happened to me. I was accused of abusing an elderly dementia pt by her daughter, who said I was so rough I bruised the pt. Thedaughter was friends with one of the higher ups in the home care agency. I was lucky, though....my boss called me in and had me write up my side, and it made sense. She handled it by not assigning me to that pt again, and she told her superiors that the matter had been dealt with. I'm so sorry that your supervisors weren't as open to hearing your side. It sounds like the pt's wife was stressed out to the max.
  9. by   gradgitated
    My goodness.....how awful for you. Sounds like the wife was having an extremely hard time coping with her husband's illness and was intent on making somebody else suffer right along with her. I think that it is a very good idea to get a lawyer involved, and I would suggest that you find one who has some experience with this type of situation. As for the peer review, I can't say that not attending would necessarily be in your best interest. Sometimes people take the "reveiw-ee's" abscence as an admission of guilt. Personally, I'd show up just to make sure that my side of the story is presented accurately and completely. However, your lawyer could give you a more informed opinion on that.

    I sincerely hope that this situation will turn out well for you and that you will let us know how things progress.
  10. by   Nursing in 09
    Quote from goingnuts
    I must not know how to get started on this thing. I want to get some advice about a problem I am having as an LVN. I worked for hospice for only 6 weeks. One nite they sent me to a lady whose husband was having pain. This was at 2300. The minute I got there the wife screamed at me for calling her mam. I tried very hard to remember not to do that. And she constandly screamed at her husband to stay in bed because she had to get some sleep. She couldn't talk without screaming. She told me hospice had done nothing for her and she didnt' know what medicienes he had. She had only been with the program a week. I showed her where he could have 7.5/500 vicodin, 1mg. ativan, 0.5 xanax, and 10mg. Ambien. I explained he could have all of them at once. Maybe that would make him more comfortable and he would stay in bed. She kept screaming at her husband to stay in bed. He was sitting almost completely vertical and his feet were nearly to the floor. I suggested lowering his head and raising his feet making it harder for him to crawl out of bed. She started screaming at me that she would never to that so I put him right back the way he was which was only an inch difference anyway. I used a straw with my finger over one end to hold water in it while trying to get the pt. to take his medicine. The wife screamed at me not to touch his nose. I didn't think I touched his nose. Anyway after all of that she was real nice and told me to be careful going home. When I went to work the next day they fired me saying the wife called that morning saying I tortured her husband and held his nose and when he told me to stop I refused. The man never said a word the entire time I was there. I was devestated. I cried so hard I couln't find my car in the parking lot. Now they are sending me letters saying there will be a peer review and maybe report me to the board. The man died the following Weds. Not a mark on him anywhere. By the way they are not saying I had anything to do with his death. they brought up the fact that I gave him all of those medicines at once and he had no trouble taking them. That was true. And he was allowed to have the meds all at once. They were ordered that way. He hadn't had any in over four hours. And the wife stated he was in pain. He never said anything. Please someone tell me do I have a lot to worry about. If this goes to the board I will get an attorney. I am not going to the peer review though. They only want to gawk at me and stare. If they were having it somewhere else I would go but they know what they are doing by forcing me to have to face everyone and be humilated for something I didn't even do.:uhoh21:
    I have a very close friend who was a has been a CNA for 17yrs, was often employee of the yr, left the nursing home due to politics(she was fired because she was the union steward) went to work for hospice. she had asked not to be sent to her old nursing home for a few months, they had agreed. well, the very first day they sent her there, the nursing home called hospice, said she was not welcome there, and hospice let her go, saying if you can't go there, you can't work for us. I am beginning to wonder what criteria hospice has for their management. I think anyone who would handle your situation the way they did is not competent to lead nurses. Good luck with this, don't let it eat you up, it will pass and you will get a better job with competent management. the fact that they can not realize the wife was at best stressed if not a bit over the edge is a sign they have no idea what hospice nurses deal with. take care,
  11. by   cookie102
    wow! i feel so bad for you, i agree with the other writers, go to the peer review, compose yourself and hold your head high--you want "your side" presented well....something makes me wonder if this agency had it out for you and used this situation to their advantage, i work home health/hospice and have for many years, worse case senerio that i can see is the nurse would have been put on suspension...best wishes, keep strong
  12. by   NRSKarenRN
    Wow! What a difficult situation you faced that night. Sounds like a wife who was at her wit's end and severely sleep deprived...suspect new Hospice client too. Had a family like that once so can emphasize with you.
    We often provided LPN's or HHA for overnight shifts when patient actively dying or family overwhelmed.

    As former hospice nurse here is my advice:

    1. Nurses have every right to defend themselves from accusers. Write up the events formally in professioanl tone as you have written them here. Explain each point you are being accused of. Remember, what ever you submit will be thourghly examined and could be sent to BON so review for hidden meaning phrases you use. Send this "rebutal" via mail certified return receipt requested and ask to have it included as part of your employment file.

    2. What type of report did you get from person who called you with assignment? What did you document in your nurses notes at the time? Did you discuss this situation with patient's Primary Nurse/clinical manager after your shift since unusual bevaior for a caregiver?
    Do you have a copy of doccumentation, if so attach to above statement and include in mailing.

    3.
    I am not going to the peer review though. They only want to gawk at me and stare. If they were having it somewhere else I would go but they know what they are doing by forcing me to have to face everyone and be humilated for something I didn't even do.
    Having a license means we are accountable to the public AND other professionals for our actions at work. Worse thing you can do is NOT go to the peer review hearing and account for your actions. This would be viewed as admission of guilt and unprofessional behaviour and not looked on favorably if they decide to report you to board of nursing. By explaining your side of the story and justifying your actions, you are defending yourself and may even stave off that call to board of nursing.

    However, you should not go to the hearing ALONE. You need a witness who can objectionalbly recount what is said in meeting, even take notes for you. Ask a nursing colleague or friend to accompany you....spouse/parent if no one else is available to you. If you have malpractice insurance, call the carrier NOW. Since you state you were fired, I'd even consider hiring an attorney now as your nursing career is at stake.

    5. Role play with a trusted friend all the "negative" angles you can think of and come up with answers. Practice answering questions into tape recorder /video camera so you can hear how you sound/come across under "questioning". This way during peer review you won't be frazzled or feel as caught off guard.

    You feel you acted in professional manor in justifying giving all the prescribed meds together. I've not given both xanax and ativan together usually...one or the other... unless patient has HX of long term use and out of control behaviour. Think out rationale and write down in personal notes for yourself why you gave all the meds together.


    {{{{HUGS}}} to help you get through this situation. Hoping my colleagues will chime in with advice to help you.
  13. by   nuangel1
    i am sorry you are going thru this .but like others asid get a lawyer.also karen makes excellent suggestions.
  14. by   nurse_clown
    [font="comic sans ms"]i too am sorry you are going through this. another reply mentioned "caregiver stress". that seems like the most likely reason why she was behaving like that. we see a lot of that where i work. hopefully, you have documented in the notes her behaviours. i wouldn't stand down on this one. people are going to complain but if you are confident and document well, there shouldn't be a problem. and when they deem that you shouldn't have been fired, i'd take legal action as well. wrongful dismissal shouldn't be tolerated especially by professionals. actually, upon reading your post a few times, i can't see how you made any errors. you discussed with the wife the choices for comfort. you ensured his comfort by using the tip of a straw for him to take his meds. and you positioned him for safety. and what's wrong with calling someone "mam"?

    families do care about their loved ones but sometimes, they become very angry and agressive. developing skills to deal with this is important. that wife shouldn't have complained. sometimes, i point that out to the unruly families. when i first started working in oncology/palliative care, a man was trying to climb out of bed. his daughter was so mad about what happened earlier in the day and threw a dirty soiled diaper at me. i was shocked and asked her if i really deserved that, seeing as i just came on shift. she apologized later (well a week later).

    like i said earlier, i'm sorry that this has happened to you. hopefully, you will get that lawyer and stand up for yourself. i wouldn't accept any of this. i don't really think this was your fault. some people just want all the control. that was apparent when she yelled at you for calling her "mam". she's a control freak and the situation was out of her control. not your fault but unfortunately is your problem. don't own it and make it your problem. hopefully, you documented to cover your *ss.

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