Is this abandonment?

  1. Hi, I am a new grad who was hired by a home health agency. They gave me 2 patients to go visit. One was for 2x a week and the other 3x a week. The first patient is in the hospital so I couldnt go see her. When I checked the address of the 2nd patient, he was more than 30 miles from my home so I decided that this job was not for me because the patients are all too far from my home and it just isnt worth it. I called in and left a message saying I would rather not work for them because the patients are too far. They called back and left me a message saying to return the paperwork stating the patients info (which I will do first thing tomorrow) and that what I did was abandon my patients. Can I get in trouble for this?
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    About ra3583

    Joined: Mar '10; Posts: 6

    53 Comments

  3. by   Intern67
    Quote from ra3583
    Can I get in trouble for this?
    I sure hope so.

    Your actions, by your own description, are ridiculous. While there is nothing wrong with not wanting to work somewhere, to quit in the fashion you did is completely unacceptable. Even if you can win a case against abandonment, your employer would be correct to report you.

    Nursing job or not - why would you even consider doing something like this at any job? Have you ever had a job before? Why didn't you just suck it, up, turn in your notice and look for another job?

    Amazing.
    Last edit by Intern67 on Apr 20, '10 : Reason: grammar
  4. by   whodatnurse
    I don't know for sure from a legal standpoint, but it seems to me that it would be because you accepted the assignment, then didn't deliver on it once you assumed it.
  5. by   Always_Learning
    Unfortunately, I believe so. If you had given proper notice to allow for someone else to resume care, that would be one thing. But it doesn't sound like that's what happened...
  6. by   Crux1024
    Once youve accepted responsibility for a pt, not performing your duties, is considered abandonment. Did you quit on the same day you were supposed to see these patients? How much notice did you give? Why not go at least once and then decide if the commute was too far? You left a patient without (probably needed) nursing care, id say its at least a form of abandonment, IMO. I think the true definition would depend on your state BON.

    At the very least, it was unprofressional of you.
  7. by   Batman25
    Yes. I doubt they are going too report you to the BON but you accepted an assignment and then didn't show. You left the patient without care and your employer in a terrible bind. At the very least it's completely unprofessional. Be very grateful if it goes no further.
  8. by   Multicollinearity
    I wonder if some here are applying inpatient "abandonment" concepts to an outpatient setting. I'd be interested to see how abandonment rules apply to home health.
  9. by   Chico David RN
    let me say a couple of things, here, with some sense of gentleness and concern for you as a person and a nurse, as well as for your patients.
    First, you need to pull yourself up a bit and realize that responsibility is not always convenient or easy. The legal definition of abandonment is a bit fuzzy, but accepting an assignment and then failing to carry it out certainly flirts with the edges of abandonment at the least.
    Secondly, a home care job is totally inappropriate for a new graduate. And I blame your employer in that setting for hiring you far more than I do you for taking it. A homecare nurse needs a lot of independent judgement and experience. The average age of homecare nurses at my hospital is probably over 50 with an average experience of 25 years or so. That's not a minimum by any means, but a new grad has no business in home care.
    You need to be working in an inpatient setting where you have support and supervision around you. I am well aware that the job market is difficult right now. Even though the structural nursing shortage remains as real as ever, for the time being we have a temporary glut of nurses and jobs are hard to come by. My honest advice to you, if you can't find a decent inpatient job with a good new grad program is to do something else to make a living until the recession improves and the job market opens up - waitress if you have to, but don't start your nursing career in a totally inappropriate setting that could wreck it before it's properly started.
  10. by   Multicollinearity
    How much notice does a home health nurse need to give to avoid abandonment issues? It's an interesting question. It's even more salient considering how one typically doesn't give notice when quitting a job he or she just started but believes won't work out.

    I suspect abandonment in home health would mean a nurse not notifying the agency and just not seeing assigned patients.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Apr 20, '10
  11. by   Intern67
    "How much notice does a home health nurse need to give to avoid abandonment issues?"

    At least 24 hours to avoid abandonment issues.

    At least two weeks to avoid unprofessional behavior issues.

    "It's even more salient considering how one typically doesn't give notice when quitting a job he or she just started but believes won't work out."

    Actually, one does.
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from Intern67
    "It's even more salient considering how one typically doesn't give notice when quitting a job he or she just started but believes won't work out."

    Actually, one does.
    That depends upon the circumstances and situation. If they are still in training, probably not.
  13. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from Intern67
    "How much notice does a home health nurse need to give to avoid abandonment issues?"

    At least 24 hours to avoid abandonment issues.
    So a home health nurse who wakes up with the flu and calls the office to notify them she cannot do that day's visit is guilty of abandonment?
  14. by   SlightlyMental_RN
    This is an interesting question that the OP poses. I, too, am a newer RN, and I accepted a home care job. I went to the job only once, and due to privacy reasons I can't get too specific, but let's just say there were illegal substances being consumed in the house, domestic violence, and there was a convicted felon who just got out on parole that just moved into the house. No way in heck was I going to sit in a house for eight hours taking care of a patient with that swirling around me. I called my supervisor as soon as I got home from that shift and said, "Thanks, but no thanks." The issue of abandonment never came up, as she actually offered me a different position, instead. I turned it down...I've come to the conclusion that there is no way in heck that I'm ready to be out on my own, and I'll just stay at my other job working at the hospital doing psych. I truly think it's irresponsible of a home health agency to offer any home health job to anyone with less than 10 years experience.

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