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Impaired nurse - where to go?

Posted

Specializes in corrections and LTC. Has 25 years experience.

I have no idea what I or my fellow nurses should do now. Three separate times the same nurse was impaired on night shift to the point she could not function, did not pass meds, was unable to give report at shift change. It was noted all three times by different staff who relieved her. All staff involved went to DON, who gave this nurse a couple of days' notice that she wanted to see her on a certain day after her shift had ended. Of course the nurse made sure she was in good condition to talk to the DON.

Same nurse stole current prescription meds, when oncoming nurse asked where the meds were the nurse said they were in her car and went and got them. This was turned into same DON who came in 36 hours later to talk to this nurse.

Under the Nurse Practice Act we are required to report these things, which we did. The nurse is still there, still impaired. I do not know if the Administrator knows of these issues or not. I do not believe she does. I think it is our responsibility to tell her, knowing full well we will then have targets on our back from the DON. I can live with that.

Please give advice or suggestions.

kiszi, RN

Has 9 years experience.

I would bypass the admin and give an anonymous tip to the BON. This nurse should not be practicing unless she gets some help.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

You need to report to either your state's monitoring program if you have one, or to the BON. My state's program is linked on the BON website. I used to work with someone who was involved in ours, and she had to go to treatment and then for three years had to do random UA's, go to AA meetings (2 or 3 a week I think?), go to individual therapy, and her AA sponsor and supervisor at work had to submit quarterly reports. She got the help she needed, and her license wasn't disciplined unless she didn't comply w/ the program.

This nurse should not be practicing unless and until she gets help. A resident could get very sick or die if their meds are withheld. What if someone who is a full code arrests while she is on duty? If she can't manage to pass meds, how is she going to manage an arrest until EMS arrives? Plus, if she is impaired at work she is impaired on the road to/from work...and is therefore a danger to the more of the public than just her residents.

You can report her anonymously, but she needs to be reported.

ocean.baby

Specializes in corrections and LTC. Has 25 years experience.

Our state BON does not allow anonymous complaints.

sallyrnrrt, ADN, RN

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

do the right thing, follow directions of your BON

File a complaint with the BON NOW! Also file a complaint with the department of health licensing board. I have investigated numerous complaints of this nature and there is nothing worse than a nurse stealing drugs from helpless patients . Call the police if a nurse has drugs in their car. This is a CRIME!

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

IF you are not sure that Admin knows, there must be a way to go above the DON.

BON absolutely! The other question I have is this- How is she getting home after being relieved? I hope not driving?!?!

This is in the LTC thread so another option would be the ombudsman office.

ocean.baby

Specializes in corrections and LTC. Has 25 years experience.

Thank you all! I am going to Administrator today.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 43 years experience.

I believe that the "duty to report" means reporting to the BON. This nurse needs to not be working!

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

Thank you all! I am going to Administrator today.

Good Luck I hope she gets the help she needs.

CapeCodMermaid, RN

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health. Has 30 years experience.

I'm speechless that your DON hasn't acted. I've been in the position of having to have nurses brought to the ER for a blood test. It is not an easy thing to do and not easy to accuse someone, but you have to think of the residents this woman could injure or harm. She needs help. Call the BON.

If your DON isn't helping, call the cops and tell them and with any luck they may just have a car 'in the area' when her shift ends. You could also 'drop a line' to your local news station, they love stuff like this.

You could also let the families know. Whatever it takes.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 43 years experience.

I think the DON needs to be reported for covering this up, too.

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

What happened after you contacted an administrator?

ocean.baby

Specializes in corrections and LTC. Has 25 years experience.

Nothing happened once I told the Administrator. Even worse things happened after that and nothing was done. I no longer work there, and have reported the nurses, unit manager, DON, and Administrator (who is an RN) to the BON and state. I really wish it hadn't come to this, but it did.

sissiesmama, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG. Has 22 years experience.

Nothing happened once I told the Administrator. Even worse things happened after that and nothing was done. I no longer work there, and have reported the nurses, unit manager, DON, and Administrator (who is an RN) to the BON and state. I really wish it hadn't come to this, but it did.

I'm proud of u sticking to your beliefs and reported them.

Anne

NutmeggeRN, BSN

Specializes in kids. Has 25 years experience.

Nothing happened once I told the Administrator. Even worse things happened after that and nothing was done. I no longer work there, and have reported the nurses, unit manager, DON, and Administrator (who is an RN) to the BON and state. I really wish it hadn't come to this, but it did.

Good for you! YOU are an advocate for the residents in absentia of everyone else...much to proud of!