Is this pt abdandonment? What is your opinion? - page 3

So within the last few days, a nurse who works in an critical care setting went to break, which is suppose to be 45 mintues and was gone over 3 and 1/2 hours. After about 2 hours, the nurse... Read More

  1. by   MollyJ
    I honestly don't think labeling this issue at this point is as important the question of whether or not admin is taking the whole issue very seriously.

    If I were a supervisor and she was on the professional assistance program, I would definitely make sure they knew of her lapse.

    A 2 hour break is, at least, leaving your work station without letting someone know you'd be gone _that long_ whether or not your patient was "covered" or not.

    As a supervisor, I would consider this a very serious offense and depending on this nurse's background, might even consider it grounds for dismissal.
  2. by   -jt
    <As a supervisor, I would consider this a very serious offense and depending on this nurse's background, might even consider it grounds for dismissal.>

    Yes. It just might not be something she would lose her license for under pt abandonment because technically she did turn the pt over to another RN. Still it should go further than just a dismissal - which would let her be free to jeopardize other pts someplace else.
  3. by   CEN35
    well technically, the other nurse was covering. so no it's not abandonment.

    however, legally, "if it's not charted, it wasn't done." so if either one failed to chart that casre was being assumed by nurse "x", while on could then become abandonment as far as the law is concerned.

    the only thing i can say? someone ought to thank god nothing happened!

    jfr, in our facility, sleeping on company time is grounds for termination. since she was gone for 3.5 hours, i think it would be easy to assume more than 30-45 minutes was sleep time for her.

  4. by   flowerchild
    Why is it that some people get away with anything and everything? Yes, I agree she abandoned her patients when she dumped them on the other nurse (Not safe!). I know I'm the type who'd get charged if I left my patients for a 30 min. break and was gone for 45. LOL. Why does this person still work as a nurse after all the problems? I've never worked for such a forgiving employer! THANK GOD NOTHING HAPPENED! When I read the post that started this thread, I too thought, gotta be drugs. What other reason could someone have for being so wreckless with peoples lives??? Where I come from people go to jail (felony) for driving wreckless and endangering others....
  5. by   JailRN
    Management puts up with it and expects the other nurses to cover for her, makes allowances for her bx, transfers her from unit to unit? What kind of monkeycrap is this?????
    Im sorry but if she worked for me she would be drug tested immediately and the suspended until further notice and then the state boards would be notified of the incident...
    There is no excuse for such behavior, where the He@@ did she think she was at the beach?, and to say that she fell asleep well that alone would get you canned in my area....
    She needs to have her license revoked. No question about it..
    But thats just my opinion
  7. by   Teshiee
    I agree, it sounds like a drug and or alcohol issue. I spoke to the board of nursing when someone was trying to say I abandoned a patient when I did not. I understand that if you notify your supervisor and there is someone to cover that patient in your absence then it is not patient abandoment. Since there was a nurse there to cover her patient she assume responsibility to that patient. It is a good thing that patient did not code or went critical I would hope they would severly discipine that nurse because that is a big liability acute care facilities don't need.
  8. by   teeituptom
    Howdy yall
    from deep in the heat of texas

    Lets keep it simple


    doo wah ditty
  9. by   CaliNurse
    Abondonment, Endangerment, & Neglect! This is patient ABUSE! This is not the normal covering of breaks. This should have been an occurence report, a disciplinary action and a call to Adult Protective Services. We are all Mandated Reporters. When we are aware of abuse and do not report it we can be fined and we can even spend time in jail over it. I don't mean to sound harsh. We have many regulations do follow in health care. If we pulled that we would be looking for our next job.
    She knew just who to ask to cover for her. Peer pressue is strong. She knew when she would get away with it. Our director would have first inquired if she had a health condition and next a behavior or substance abuse issue.

    If it was me I would call and report the abuse now before someone else calls and list me as a person who has knowledge of it.

    Keep us updated!

    Good topic to discuss.

  10. by   Sodie
    The question that I have is- did the other RN recieve report on the patient? You said that the partner RN covered her patient while she was gone, but how much updated information about the patient was given before she left. In SC, I believe that you are suppose to leave your patient in charge of another nurse, even if you run to the lab or something. This includes giving some kind of report to a nurse when you leave. About two years ago this actually happened at my institution with a contract travel nurse. She went to lunch and did not return for hours ! After about an hour, the nurses working with her noticed she had not come back to the floor. They sent out a "search party" including the manager and the nursing supervisor. Some of our patient care workers looked for her as well. Come to find out, she had been seen on several different units visiting with other nursing staff that she had become freinds with. She basically traveled all over the hospital visiting. When one of the case workers found her, she escorted her back to the unit. The hospital sent her home. They cancelled her contract with the agency immediately. Another interesting twist to the story is that while she was "missing in action", the other nurses decided that they better count the narcotics and there were some drugs not accounted for. When she returned to the unit, she was confronted by the manager about that. I do not know what happened with the drug count, because it was handeled privately. It is scary though !!!
  11. by   suzielee
    In my 2nd year of nursing schooll (last year) I was assigned a patient fresh out of ICU . This patient had been kept in the hallway by the nurses station all night because he was having some serious GI bleeds (esophageal, pancreatic and bowel cancer) When I came on the ward with my fellow students this patietns nurse and 2 others disappeared on a 2 hour break. My teacher was supervising students on 2 different wards so she was not readilly available for assistance. Sure enough this guy started to crash. All vital signs indicated hemorrhage. DO you think there was anyone around? Sure enough he had a massive esophageal bleed. I notified all staff but they took there sweet time (Kept telling me to tell my nurse-she wasnt around) My teacher later informed me that the patient was literally minutes away from death before they got around to cauterizing his bleed. What do you guys think of that? I was completely freaked.
  12. by   JMP
    Small update

    Nurse in question is now on "sick" leave-let you know if she shows up next week when we are due back.

    All is quiet and hopefully it is being handled by management - we all hope so.

    Critical care is tough enough without these types of issues- but it has to be dealt with.
    originally posted by itsjustmezoe
    i'm sorry but if she worked for me she would be drug tested immediately and the suspended until further notice and then the state boards would be notified of the incident...
    there is no excuse for such behavior, where the he@@ did she think she was at the beach? and to say that she fell asleep well that alone would get you canned in my area....
    she needs to have her license revoked. no question about it...
    but that's just my opinion
    my first thought was that this person has to be on doubt about it!!! my second thought was: how many times did this go on before she actually got caught??? people just don't behave this way without there being a pattern. my next thought was: how are the assignments given out??? does the nursing staff work in groups or teams??? just want to know because if the covering nurse was a partner in a care team...then the patient wasn't abandoned...however, the co-worker was. she was taken advantage of for sure!!! this person should be filing charges with the state board of nursing stating that their license was compromised by this individual. otherwise, she may be charge with reckless endangerment of patients for not being adequately able to care for her own patients & that of the nurse she was covering for. i strongly believe that is individual has had this particular nurse cover for her in the past & knew a "good thing" when she saw it. like mike stated, if there was no documentation which states that one nurse has turned the patient over to the covering nurse or no documentation about the patient made by the covering nurse, there could be a case of neglect, endangerment, patient abuse, & abandonment.

    having prior hx of substance abuse, this individual should've at the very least, be tested. and i agree with everyone else when they say that using the excuse: "i fell asleep" doesn't fly either...that's bull sh*t!!! most hospitals doesn't allow for "sleeping on the job" during breaks with a few exceptions; i.e. the 11pm-7am shift (most times, the cafeteria is closed & there isn't any place to "go", so folks often times will take naps during their breaks), or for an employee with documented conditions such as illness or pregnancy.

    another question that i have is: do you have to clock-off during your breaks or are the breaks included as a perk??? some facilities require nurses to clock-out, especially if they intend to leave the premises, to say, go to a restaurant or store. they don't want the responsibility should something happen while the employee is off the premises. some will argue that it's none of the employer's business what the nursing staff is during on their breaks, especially if they have to clock-out for breaks. i say that is true, but up to a certain point. it's understood that what you do on your break is your business; however, if & when it compromises the patients & staff, then that person has cross a line of no return & then opens themselves up to be scrutinized.

    i personally believe that this individual does have some personal issues that they have to work-out & just firing her & removing her license is a bit strong, but she has prior substance abuse hx & depending on the results of any test, if any where conducted, would settle any questions whether or not if she was on something during this incident...even if she only had a glass of wine during lunch & wasn't legally impaired. if it turns out that the nurse in question was substance free, then she still should be disciplined for "taking advantage" of her partner & be given some time-off. people have to be responsible for their actions...this person is an adult & should know better!!! yes, there are people with seizure disorders, sleep apnea, or other condition in which they're able to work...but they know that they can't do certain jobs that require 100% of their attention; i.e., a school bus driver or a truck driver aren't allowed to be hired, if they have seizure disorders...yes, it doesn't seem fair or right, but the safety of others out-weigh the discomfort of a few. if it should turn-out that this person have a physical problem or illness that require an extended break time, then the nm should consider moving out of the critical care unit.

    but, my gut feeling is that this person only was thinking about herself & the hell with everyone else, including the patient!!!
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Aug 17, '02