Question about abandonment

  1. I posted this in first year nursing forum but I thought I should do it here too. I had a situation with an agency nurse. Two weeks ago I had to write her up on med errors. Since then she has been very vindictive. Today when I came on to my shift she started yelling at me and berating me for being a new nurse that thinks "she knows it all" which is not the case. Anyway, to say the least I was very angry. I told her I was not taking report from her and I called my supervisor to come in and relieve me. After the call this nurse continued the harrassment and threatened my license saying I was abandoning the patients and would lose my license. I clocked in but did not accept report. The nurse left. I waited until my supervisor got there. I then filled out a concern report, put it under the DON's door and left. Is this abandonment? What would you have done? Please help! I need some advice.
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    About ksnurseling

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 10; Likes: 1
    Charge Nurse

    10 Comments

  3. by   Jolie
    What did your supervisor say when she arrived?

    I can understand that it is difficult to accept report from someone who is belittling you, and you might have legitimate concerns about the accuracy and completeness of the information she passed on to you. For that reason, I think you were wise to call in your supervisor to witness report and ensure that you were given an accurate summary of your patients' needs, as well as check to see that the patients were left in good condition (no infiltrated IVs, no one left in soiled linens, etc.)

    But I don't understand why you left at that point. Why were you unable to stay and care for these patients knowing that your supervisor had checked in on you, and the other nurse was leaving?

    I don't believe that this constitutes abandonment, since you never accepted care of these patients, and you made arrangements for your supervisor to cover for you. But, as a former nurse manager, I would certainly consider disciplinary action for refusing to work a scheduled shift. Your supervisor can't be expected to come in and take your shift every time you have a disagreement with another nurse.

    Please plan to meet with your supervisor and discuss constructive ways of working out conflicts with other staff members.
  4. by   TazziRN
    You have legitimate concerns, but I don't know if I would have left after the agency nurse was gone, unless she had you so upset you couldn't finish out the shift. In that case you should have discussed it with the supervisor, letting her know why you were leaving. It's not abandonment because you never accepted report on the pts. And even if it was, you would not lose your license for one offense unless perhaps a death resulted from it. You would be disciplined, but you would not lose your license. Don't let knowitalls like her scare you. And she's the knowitall, not you.
  5. by   ksnurseling
    Quote from Jolie
    What did your supervisor say when she arrived?

    I can understand that it is difficult to accept report from someone who is belittling you, and you might have legitimate concerns about the accuracy and completeness of the information she passed on to you. For that reason, I think you were wise to call in your supervisor to witness report and ensure that you were given an accurate summary of your patients' needs, as well as check to see that the patients were left in good condition (no infiltrated IVs, no one left in soiled linens, etc.)

    But I don't understand why you left at that point. Why were you unable to stay and care for these patients knowing that your supervisor had checked in on you, and the other nurse was leaving?

    I don't believe that this constitutes abandonment, since you never accepted care of these patients, and you made arrangements for your supervisor to cover for you. But, as a former nurse manager, I would certainly consider disciplinary action for refusing to work a scheduled shift. Your supervisor can't be expected to come in and take your shift every time you have a disagreement with another nurse.

    Please plan to meet with your supervisor and discuss constructive ways of working out conflicts with other staff members.
    I'll take the discipline as long as the situation is handled. I explained all to my supervisor and she was fully aware of the incident that began two weeks ago. I don't trust this nurse and I think her practice is unsafe. She is my relief every weekend. I will not tolerate being threatened or berated. I too have a management history but not in nursing. If one of my employees would have acted in such a way it would have been their last shift. The facility I work for is in such desperate need of staff, they will overlook behavior like this. Staff complaints do nothing. If my supervisor has to come work my shift then so be it. Maybe then problems like this will be addressed.
  6. by   Reigen
    Since you had not accepted the responsibility for the patients, you can not be charged with abandonment.

    I would be more concerned at the actions of this nurse that was directed at you.This is unprofessional conduct in my opinion. Her agency needs to be told what happened, if it means at calling that agency from home, and explaining the situation to the owner and manager of the temporary agency.

    You could also inform your supervisor, that you are uncomfortable following this nurse after her shifts, and feel that she places you in a hostile work enviorment due to her contined yelling threatening and harrassement.

    Good luck, been there myself with having to work with this type of professionls in the past.

    Reigen
  7. by   TazziRN
    After reading your second post, I think if I were you, I'd be looking for another position. This does not sound like a conducive environment for you, if management won't protect you and their pts. This is an agency nurse....they can easily request she no longer be sent to the facility and ask them to send someone else.
  8. by   Jolie
    Quote from ksnurseling
    I'll take the discipline as long as the situation is handled. I explained all to my supervisor and she was fully aware of the incident that began two weeks ago. I don't trust this nurse and I think her practice is unsafe. She is my relief every weekend. I will not tolerate being threatened or berated. I too have a management history but not in nursing. If one of my employees would have acted in such a way it would have been their last shift. The facility I work for is in such desperate need of staff, they will overlook behavior like this. Staff complaints do nothing. If my supervisor has to come work my shift then so be it. Maybe then problems like this will be addressed.

    So do I understand correctly that you opted not to stay for your shift because you would have to report off to her in 12 hours? Again, I can understand your desire to have a witness present for report and shift change, but still do not understand why that would prevent you from working your shift when this other nurse would not be present.

    I am not trying to berate you, just paint a realistic picture of what I have seen happen in similar situations. If your supervisor has to come in and take shifts for you because of an on-going conflict with this other nurse, you will be the one to go. I'm not saying it's right, but it is reality. As difficult as this other nurse is, she is working her shifts, while you are not. That is how the supervisor and DON are likely to interpret this situation, UNLESS you are proactive by requesting constructive input on handling this conflict, and documenting your attempts to do so.

    I wish you well!
  9. by   ksnurseling
    Just an update. I spoke with my DON this evening. I informed her of my concerns and she told me it had been handled. The agency has been called and that nurse is no longer allowed at our facility. I thanked her profusiously for standing behind me. I'm no shrinking violet and can stand up for myself but I felt like this needed to be handled by administration. I tried to do the right thing and not tell her to kiss my *%#@ (the nurse in question). It was better for me to leave that shift. It worked out to my favor. I can tell you it was a learning experience for me and will never let it happen again. Nor will I infringe on another's basic human rights like she did mine. I've always heard that old nurses eat their own, now I've experienced it. Thanks for everyone's input. I do appreciate it. :wink2:
  10. by   TrudyRN
    I'm glad she won't be back. I hope you have smooth sailing now.
  11. by   TrudyRN
    I once tried to get my state board to say whether or not a particular situation was abandonment. They referred me to their website, which was not clear to me. They refused to define the word precisely or address my particular question.

    I guess they like to have some wiggle room.
  12. by   Jolie
    Glad to hear that things have been worked out to your satisfaction!

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