Is this pt abdandonment? What is your opinion?

  1. 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 supervisor was called, security was called and no one could find her. They looked everywhere......... other floors, outside.......... no RN.

    About 1 and 1/2 hours later the RN comes strolling back into the unit, and looked suprised that people had been searching for her....... she had NO IDEA what time she went on break- states she fell alseep and had no idea what time it was then.

    She changed her story twice about where she was, since the first place she stated she was had been seached many times by many people.

    The manager has been notified. Her charting is a nightmare- I have not seen it, but have been told it is almost impossible to read, words scratched out, not making sense.

    Her pt is OK (covered by her partner RN) however the partner RN was very busy with her own critically ill pt..........and believe me, I would not want one of my family member to have her as a nurse.

    What do you guys think of this?
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    About JMP

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 740; Likes: 2
    RN, ICU


  3. by   BadBird
    I would think this is not abandonment because another nurse was taking care of her patient. I wonder if she has a drug or alcohol problem?
  4. by   JMP

    well the drug thing I understand, is in her past. I just worry about the pt's. Yes, another RN covered her pt, but the nurse covering was doing just that "covering" for a break- the two pts where never intended, or should they have been, doubled.
  5. by   ERNurse752
    The drug/alcohol thing crossed my mind too...could the manager have required her to be tested at that time?
    I would think it would still count as pt abandonment, even though another RN "covered" for her.
    At least no harm came to the pt...this time...
  6. by   fedupnurse
    Sounds like abandonment to me. I work in a unionized facility and anyone who pulled a stunt like this would be suspended on the spot and fired 3 days later. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior, short of being kidnapped!
    Yes I would say it is patient abandonment......amazing it could actually happen really......why have not management pulled her up about her sloppy paperwork before?

    And yes I agree, it does sound suspicious, was she 'on the nod' somewhere?.......... Surely you could pick it up if a fellow co worker is under the influence of something? Shuddering to think that there are some out there like that..........
  8. by   Anaclaire
    In our state, if she had asked another licensed nurse to look after her patients and that nurse was aware of the patients needs (basically had been given a report on the patients), then she didn't actually abandon the patient. Each facility, however, has its own ability to set standards of care for their employees... and taking a long break when no one can find you would certainly be grounds for disciplinary action in most facilities. In our state, once you accept an assignment and receive report on a patient, you are then responsible for him/her unless you can transfer their care, with a report, to another licensed nurse... otherwise, it's abandonment. Our state also judges each incidence on an individual basis.

    I agree with the suggestions that there must be either a drug/alcohol or mental problem going on here. It would have been great if the manager/person in charge could have checked her out for drugs/alcohol/mental problem at the time of the incident.

    I'm sure in Alabama, the nurse would be severely repremanded for reasons other than actual "Abandonment" per se.

    It's unbelievable the things we have to put up with at work!!!!!

    Best wishes,
  9. by   l.rae
    yes, l think a case could be made for may be a tenative case, but still......drugs and alcohol crossed my mind too.......LR
  10. by   RNinICU
    This woman definitely has a problem, and should not be allowed to care for patients until the whole mess is straightened out.
  11. by   duckie
    Has she ever fallen asleep on duty before? I'm looking at this from a sleep apnea point due to the death of my 41 year old co-worker recently. Maybe the folks around her could try and monitor her behavior......let's give her a chance before we all jump to conclusions. My co-worker would fall asleep everytime she would sit down to chart and it was not readable most of the time. Please keep an eye on her, you could just save a life if you find that this is a problem. PLEASE until you know otherwise, keep an open mind.
  12. by   JMP

    Well pt safety comes first. This nurse, is borderline on her BEST day. She has been moved thru the hospital a number of times for incidents involving drugs, sick time and questionable behaviour.

    I think her chances are over and it is time to take a hard line with her.

    If indeed she has a problem with sleep apnea, or any other problem DEAL WITH THEN outside the hospital setting- not in a critical care setting- that is just common sense.
  13. by   duckie
    Perhaps she could be moved somewhere else, doing a desk job and then monitored. I guess my nerves are still raw from loosing my friend. I'm not there, you are, I don't know her history, you do. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm questioning your opinion, but loosing a co-worker at 41 throws a person into shock and maybe my thinking is one sided right now. Please don't be offended by my post?????
  14. by   JMP

    No offense, and sorry to hear about your co worker.

    I guess with the beginning of the week, Monday hopefully this issue will be addressed at the management level. It needs to be.

    I hope it can all be straightned out and whatever "problem" this nurse has, it needs to be dealt with- now.