I wanted to explain what happened to me... - page 3

Hey everyone... I want to thank everyone for the prayers. I'm sorry I haven't been able to explain why I needed them and what I meant by saying I was in trouble, but I have recovered enough... Read More

  1. by   busyernurse
    Hey Lori - I have been following your posts since you oeiginal conflict at work. It is a horrible situation to be put in, and this was so humiliating for you. I freaked out this AM when I read your entry, because this same thing happened to me on August 23rd. I got called in to the DONs office by 10 AM after being off for 6 days. During those days, my 15 year old cocker spaniel mix had to be put to sleep. I don't have any children of my own, just 3 step children, so my dog was my "child". The bigwigs said that "a person thought that you may be impaired, " but she was speaking in only general terms. When I asked, she couldn't tell me when this happened, what I allegedly did, ect.

    So, I was escorted to lab by my director and the HEAD SECURITY guard. So much for being innocent until proven guilty!! The UDS was a witnessed specimen, and while I was peeing, the other security guards were upstairs searching my locker, purse, lab coat pockets, everything. The DON also said over and over, "We are calling state boards, but they will take pity on you if you call and admit what you did." I made them angry when I said repeatedly "What did I do, what do want me to tell them?"

    Then I was suspended w/ out pay "untail further notice." They wouldn't let me drive home, I had to call my husband. He is also an RN, and he believed me when I explained the alleged incident. But, if they thought I was impaired, why was I the only RN on a BUSY 28 bed med-surg unit?? I would have had the potential to harm more peolpe, and more of a chance of lawsuits performing patient care that day if I had been high.

    Anyway, I stayed at home for 3 weeks, until I got a call to come talk to HR and the CEO, or COO- I get all the titles mixed up. At this meeting, I was terminated and they again threatened with calling state boards. I had been interviewing for other jobs, and finally found one. I was out of a job for over 4 weeks and that hurt financially!

    PLEASE speak with an attorney ASAP!! I called mine on my cell standing just outside the administration. I have followed up with him routinely since, and he was also overjoyed when I called w/ UDS results. That was negative for everything. I was also terminated with the clean UDS. None of this made any sense to me, other than they wanted me out and this was the best chance they found.

    I know this was long, but I had something telling me to let you know what happened to me, and maybe you wouldn't feel alone in your situation. Like I said, call your attorney, and take some time for yourself, maybe an outlet for stress and frustration. And above all keep your head held high. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG!! Feel free to PM me, if you need to vent or just talk. I am praying for you -- I am still dealing with the fact that some of my coworkers thought the I actually was guilty of what they accused me of. Plese don't let this bother you. Oh, the day I went back after my days off, I "looked sedated". I was just said because I had lost my dog that I'd had for 15 years -- not that the director bothered to ask, instead of assuming the worst.

    So, that's my story, I hope it helps a little, and my husband and I are sending you hugs and prayers. PM me if you need to talk! Anne
  2. by   CseMgr1
    What happened to you as well as Busyernurse makes me sick. It never ceases to amaze me how people in high places waste so much time in going after innocent people such as the two of you, while the real criminals in our profession are making off like bandits in the dark and laughing up their sleeves at their incompetence to boot. Even if they are caught, it takes an Act of Congress to get them fired. I don't get it. I quit a well-paying job as a Clinical Manager during the summer for this very reason, when a nurse who had been caught and admitted to falsifying documentation was reinstated by the Vice-President over the objections of my supervisor who had caught her red-handed. "An honest mistake", it was announced. We were also told to keep our mouths shut about it. Well, I couldn't, and I told my supervisor that I was not going to risk losing my license or be hauled into court by the Feds as a co-conspirator for defrauding the government. I quit.

    Get both yourselves lawyers and take everyone involved to the cleaners!
  3. by   muffie
    one day at a time and positive thoughts for you. take care
  4. by   santhony44
    That's an awful way to be treated. They should have to not only take you back, but pay you for the time you missed. Probably won't happen, though.

    I don't take Ambien because I took it once and stayed up a while. I got drunker than the proverbial skunk! If I'd done as you did and taken it by mistake, I would probably have killed myself before I ever got to work.

    You made an honest mistake and they should not hold that against you. They also should have done a bit more to discover why you acted "impaired." Medical conditions can cause symptoms, too. If it had been, say, low blood sugar, you could've ended up in a coma while they were worrying about drug abuse. I've known a diabetic nurse to act impaired when she took her insulin and forgot to eat; she made a mistake with her meds, too, but no one held it against her.

    I'm really sorry all this happened, and hope that a better job is just around the corner for you!
  5. by   BabyRN2Be
    Oh, ((((((Lori))))))

    I'm so sorry that you are going through so much. Having a dying relative and then made to feel like a criminal at work. I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you, and if you need ANYTHING, please feel free to PM me anytime, OK?

    Trust in the Lord, hon. He will see you through this.

  6. by   MAP1
    Lori, I feel very bad about what has happened to you. the problem with nurses is we always feel the strong responsibility to get to work no matter what and here is an example where you should have taken that night off. I wish you well and will keep you in my prayers.
  7. by   CHATSDALE
    lori, type this all out just as you explained it to us, if they call you in and fire you pull this out of your purse and request that it be included in your record..if you don't have a copy of the lab report tell them that you want that also

    that way you will have something to show a prospective employer because this don looks like she could slamdunk you in a heart beat

    keep us posted our prayers are with yu and your grandmother
  8. by   Beary-nice
    Take care Lori...what a horrible ordeal...I'll be thinkin of you.

  9. by   Grace Oz
    Wishing you all the best for a positive outcome.
  10. by   tryingtomakeit
    Lori, I think you replied to a thread I started a while back about some of the problems I was having on my unit - remember, I got drug tested the day after confronting my nurse manager about unsafe staffing. The entire hospital, including me, had been tested only a short time before because we sold to another company. When I was tested the second time, It was supposedly a "random" screening. Funny to me that the test was one the day after I confronted my manager. Also, I have asked around and no one else has been "randomly" tested since me. I was totally humiliated because the supervisor came to "escort" me to be tested after announcing what was going on to all my coworkers as well as an MD who was at the nurses station with us.

    I think there should be more strict guidelines on testing employees. Also, an RN from the ER was terminated shortly before my incident because of missing meds on his shift. He wasn't the only one with access to the meds and he tested negative. His personal belongings and his vehicle were searched, with his permission, that night and nothing was found. To make matters even more ridiculous, he had won the "nurse of the year" award earlier that week! What had really happened was that he had been up for almost 24 hours before that night because his wife was ill, but he wouldn't call in because he knew how short staffed the ER was.

    Things really need to change for nurses!
  11. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    Hey everyone,

    You all have been so wonderfully supportive of me. It means so much to me. Other than my dh of course, you're the first ones who didn't treat me like a criminal.

    I called my DON today after she received the report, and she said that she will meet with me tomorrow at 11am. I am SICK of not knowing! I worked my @ss off over a year for this place, on salary yet working 10-20 hours of UNPAID overtime each pay period. At night I am on my own to handle any unforeseen circumstances involving staff or residents (all 165 residents!) and I have always done the right thing. I made a MISTAKE. She has to realize I would never work on ambien intentionally!

    I just don't know what to do. I've been out of work now for nine days. I can't afford it- and dh was working PRN at the same place, for obvious reasons he hasn't been called for any days so our income is zero. I'm scared and desperate and have no money for a lawyer. I can't just go find another job until I know whether or not I've lost THIS one, and they seem determined to string me along as long as they possibly can! Thank the Lord I have been throwing spare change into an enormous bottle for the last year and a half, that $320 in change has made the difference between us squeaking by thus far and us losing our house.

    I've been honest with them the whole time I've been there. When they hired me, I told them UPFRONT about my back problems and the fact that I had narcotics prescribed but chose not to take them within twelve hours of work. They hired me KNOWING this, and for over a year I have shown myself to be very responsible! I recognized problems with quality control at work and created and implemented 14 different tracking forms (including random call light audits to see how long it took for someone to answer them, compliance round checks, and total care cards which I put under helpless residents to see how long it took a CNA to find them, all of which I handled myself rather than putting paperwork on the LPNs). I haven't missed work in I don't know how long- I even worked every holiday although as salary I could have stayed home and gotten paid the same anyway. I knew they needed me. Hell, when I broke my thumb in three places AND dislocated it last year, I called in for that night only (broke it at 8pm, called in for that 11-7 shift) but was back the very next night on nothing but Advil and Aleve, and a whole lot of pain tolerance.

    I'm sorry to babble like this, but I feel so betrayed. I really thought I was valued there, and everyone just turned on me without giving me a chance to prove my innocence!

    If I could afford a lawyer, I would get one in a heartbeat. Right now though, I don't even know how we are going to pay our utilities. DH has been putting in applications around town, but the newly graduated summer crop of LPNs seem to have wiped out most job opportunities, and even if he was hired tomorrow the time we've gone without work just might ruin us- we've been renting to own our house and paying money each month into a seperate escrow account, if we can't pay our rent we lose our escrow account too, which is in the neighborhood of $5K, when it reached 10K we would have owned the house and paid mortgage instead. I'm terrified right now that we are going to lose it all. The reason we have been living paycheck to paycheck is because of all those bills plus dh's child support, and we have been putting every spare cent into that escrow account in hopes to get the house sooner. But even if I got a lawyer, Alabama is a "right to work" state, so they can fire you for any reason or NO reason. I don't think legally I'd have much to go by... but I have given the last year of my life to my employer, and they've spat on me in return.

    I just don't know what to do. I'm so scared.
    Last edit by LoriAlabamaRN on Sep 21, '06
  12. by   rehab nurse

    how are things? any news?

    still hoping for a positive outcome for you. i feel so terrible that you are being treated like a criminal. you did nothing wrong.

    i have found, at least in my experiences with nursing, and especially with LTC facilities, that the nurses are treated like children. i don't want to make a generalization (sp?) because i have met KIND DON's. but they seem to be few and far between. i am also currently looking for a new job, because i am tired of being treated like you are. no matter how i redeem myself, jumped through hoops for my employer for over 5 years, been LOYAL, i am treated like a nuisance. it really is disheartening. i loved (or thought i did anyway) nursing, and taking care of the elderly. i have taken pride in learning how to care for them properly, and earning respect from my colleagues and physicians. but i just can't stand the harrassment i am receiving for doing no more than taking my FMLA leave for LEGITIMATE medical conditions. i can't help that i ended up with a back injury. i can't help that i have a laundry list of disabilities, that i need a whole slew of treatments and time off for. i do the best i can, and it seems that it's just not good enough. i am actively seeking alternate employment, because the new DON at my work has me on her "people to fire" list.

    i actually just got a call from my supervisor (shift sup) because she walked into a "meeting" of the admin staff, who are looking for "any loophole you can find" to fire me. i am just so disgusted with nursing right now. i really feel bad for you Lori. I hope that you find a job where you are VALUED for your contribution, because your current managers obviously don't care. It will be their loss, not yours. You'll move on to bigger and better things, I am sure of it!!!

    Take care, and hugs to you from someone who cares.
  13. by   smk1
    I'm so sorry about all this! As far as money, is the weather still nice enough for a garage sale? we had one this summer to come up with some extra money and made 400 dollars. Also posted things on Craigslist (which is free) and people bought a mountain bike an x-box and video games, old cell phone etc... I know it isn't much, but take a look around and see if you have some things that you could sell.