Has anyone ever been accused of stress abuse mistaken for substance abuse on the job?

  1. i wish i knew where to begin......

    i am a dedicated nurse, love my job (should i say loved my job). i worked as a nursing supervisor at a busy emergency department for many years. i did an excellent job. received great anually reviews and compliments from supervisors, and peers.

    recently, in a period of less than a year.
    1. my marriage broke apart
    2. i divorced
    3. i had to regroup financially
    4. i refinanced my home solely
    5. i took on sole responsiblity for caring for a home, and all it's responsibilities
    6. i travelled to visit my parents whom i had not seen in 16 years(1200 miles away)
    7. when i arrived at my parents my father was gravely ill, went immediately to the hospital
    8. my father was transferred from to a major medical center 60 miles away via emergency transport
    9. my father suffered a major heart attack
    10. after 1 week i returned home, my father still hospitalized
    11. two weeks later my father is transferred to a nursing home...against my better judgement, but i had no say
    12. i began a relationship with a new man
    13. my father became ill and was rehospitalized 3 days after being transfered to the nursing home (from july until january he was hospitalized with massive gi bleed and mi's 5 times)
    14. i met another man, and attempted to end my other relationship
    15. the 2 men i was seeing both worked where i did, in the same department (what was i thinking)
    16. i was only dating one at a time, but the one i was trying to end relationship with would not stop contacting me, and i felt obligued to communicate with him
    17, man #1 began to threaten to tell man #2 about man #1
    18. man #1 found out i was starting to get serious about man #2....threats got more intense.
    19. man #1 shows up at my house on two occasions without invitation
    20. man #1 on second uninvited visit is intoxicated, threatens fo leave and drive drunk, can hardly walk, threatens to kill me, threatens to "end it" for "all of us"
    21. the day after showing up at my house intoxicated man #1 is at work working where i work as is man #2, man #1 spends hours calling me on the phone my work phone and my cell phone, telling me he is going to "end this" he demands that me, man #1 & man #2 "meet in the office at 3 o'clock, and i'll put and end to this"
    23. after more that 8 hours of calls, unable to get man #1 to leave me alone, i answer one more call and hear his voice, i collapse at work
    24. i am treated by collegues for "a stroke" given clot buster medication.
    25. everyone at work finds out about my "love life"
    26. man #2 finds out about man #1
    27. both man #1 and man #2 show up at my house to pick up my 17 year old son and bring him to the hospital.
    28. man #1 & man #2 have verbal confrontation in icu at hospital where i work,
    29. all this time i am unable to speak or move my right side (hence why i was treated for a stroke)
    30 .details of threats and harrassment at work come out about man #1.
    31. man #2 is man #1's supervisor, who calls department director, who calls hospital administrator on call.
    32. man #1 is suspended
    33. 12 hours later i regain speech and movement
    34. i did not have a stroke "complex migraine" is diagnosed.
    35. police are called report made re: threats by man #1
    36. man #1 continues threats with text messages.
    37. man #2 takes me home from hospital but first to file for restraining order from man #1
    38. after a week i return to work
    39. i go to state attorney to give informaton and sign papers for court restraining order
    40. man #2 can deal with situation...dumps me (so deserved)
    41. go to court....postponed for 2 weeks because man #1 not prepared
    42. i'm not sleeping....1 -2 hours nightly
    43. court date again...order received
    44. father is in hospital again
    45. ex-husband notifies me he is being laid off and has to "take care of himself" won't be able to pay credit cards, boat loan, and possibly not the mortgage loan for the home he received in divorce.
    46. christmas is in the middle of all this
    47. i'm still not sleeping.
    48. i am working minimum 4 day a week.... 12 hr, 8 hr, and 4 hr. shifts. (meetings and staff evals in additions)
    49. i have called in sick to work between september and january 4 times i get called in and written up. i'm a poor example to my staff.
    i seem "scattered" "perhaps the job is too much for me" "they are complaining that you are not helpful or unapproachable" i mistakenly tell my manager and director that my job "is everything to me"
    50. one week later i am called into managers office.....met by director, manager, and hr person. "we are going to drug test you!" supposedly after they talked to me the week before i went out and did or said "something"
    51. escorted from er, with hr (how embarrasing) to employee health....pee in a cup, swab mouth for alcohol. suspended pending results.
    someone will call me....it takes about 3 - 5 days. then can return to work if results negative.
    52. over a week later, called to come into hr, taken to employee health. drug screen negative. but now they want me to undergo a fit for duty evaluation with a psychiatrist. if i pass that i can return to my job, and am expected to perform all functions fully. dr. sends recommendations. full duty, etc.
    53. i resign......it is obvious that they don't want me there.

    anyone else been accused of substance abuse when it was actually stress abuse.....
    what did i do wrong here?
    what could i have done differently?

    i want to research, and do an article for the nursing journals, etc so i can educate nurses on this topic what to look for, how to handle nurses in this situation. what to do and not to do...

  2. Visit nurseterry profile page

    About nurseterry

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 3
    Specialty: Emergency Nursing


  3. by   ShaBBy23
    you've been to hell and back. i'm so sorry that the industry has treated you in such a manner. it's a shame that there wasn't any type of support for you, especially after all that you've given of yourself to your employer.

    shame shame on them!
  4. by   Davey Do
    Some time ago, I remember seeing a sort of life stress rating scale. Things like divorce, death, illness, relocation, new job, and the like held the highest number of points. You, nurseterry, would have rated off of the charts.

    It's easy to understand how this magnitude of stress would affect your ability to function adequately.

    It's going to take a lot of time and energy in order to assimulate all this information and use it toward your growth and development. Find someone you trust- friend, relative, professional to help you through this stormy aftermath. My suggestion would also be to check out the 12 Step Program "Emotions Anonymous". Find a Sponsor within that program who will help you learn the Principles to practice in all your afffairs.

    I'm sorry to hear you needed to resign your position thereby adding more stress to your already chaotic life. Hopefully, this interim period will give you a chance to regroup and get your bearings. Use this time for yourself. Do what you need to do to get yourself back on track. If we loose ourselves playing this game of life, we have nothing.

    Peace and love to you, nurseterry.

  5. by   nursel56
    Damn. I wish we had seen this back in September of last year when she wrote it.

    Nurseterry, wherever you are, I pray you got the help you needed and you weren't railroaded out of your job. Probably some reaching out on the part of both sides of the equation (your employer and you) as that tremendous cascade of life-changing and stressful events was happening may have kept it from being run hopelessly off track.

    I hope you got the counseling and the legal advice you needed to stop man #1 from harrassing you and stalking you at work.
  6. by   Blackcat99
    Sorry to hear about the way you were treated. I got stressed out working and taking care of my mother who had alzheimer's. I was asked to take a drug test and I did. I was insulted of course so I left that job shortly after being tested.
  7. by   caroladybelle
    I regret that this happened to you and that you felt the need to quit.

    What did you do wrong? I suspect that you know......

    All of this happened in less than a year?

    Some would say that with a marriage/ breakup and it's fall out, you should have waited a bit before getting involved with someone. Often judgement is not good after such trauma and we may not make wise decisions and assess our new partner as well as we should.

    Second, it is really not a good idea to: date at work, date two men that know each other in rapid succession, and try to keep it under wraps with one of them. How is it that man 2 did not know about man1 especially since one of them is the others supervisor. Man #2 should have known up front. Then there would be nothing to "blackmail" with.

    An ex shows up invited once, you tell them to leave and not return. They show up a second time drunk and threatening, you do not speak or acknowledge them and CALL THE POLICE.

    They start to harass you all day at work by phone. You warn them after the first and./or second call. You then notify security/ your sec and manager, and you accept/answer NO MORE Calls. Turn the cellphone OFF.

    I have to wonder what kind of facility gives clot buster without confirming a CVA. There are many things that can cause the paralysis that you describe.

    While it may sound mean, I do not blame management wanting a tox screen and fitness for work assessment. Their first concern has to be the safety of the patients, your coworkers, and you. And episode of paralysis at work would trigger that even without the sundry drama, to ensure pt safety.

    It is not your fault that man#1 became a psycho hosebeast. You can do little about that. You can, however, control how you deal with it: by having been open And above board with man#2, by giving a warning about involving police/management, and then following through by calling them if harassment continues. By not doing so, the situation escalated and man #1 could have ended hurting himself, staff and/or you. Management sees that as faulty (and dangerous) judgement. In addition, an eval might insure you get help from employee assistance, which might include stress management and better coping skills/decision making skills.

    I have worked for employers that would have found a way to fire you outright. That yours cared enough for you and those around you to screen for safety and try to assess fitness - by quitting outright you may have cut off and avenue of help with your issues as well as left yourself jobless.

    I keep you in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that you find the peace that you seek. It is not your fault that you were harassed and you have been through many stressful issues. It may not seem fair to you but I do see many legitimate reasons for your employer to want a fitness assessment and tox screen. It may have benefitted you.