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Is this even Legal?

Nurses   (2,712 Views 49 Comments)
by Roda dendron Roda dendron (Member)

1,168 Visitors; 23 Posts

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We normally have 3 nurses working per shift but i have a coming up shift where Im the only one on the schedule to work this particular day. I was told that they have tired to get other nurses to come help that day but are not having any luck. its a 16 bed unit. If im the only one who shows up that day not only will i be charge, admit, discharge nurse but ill also have 16 pts to assess and chart on. Is this even Legal? What do I do in a situation such as this?

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Kallie3006 has 6 years experience as a ADN and works as a Jack of all trades, master of none.

1 Follower; 5,028 Visitors; 360 Posts

If you live in Texas invoke safe harbor (I don't know if any other states have this).  If you go in and there is no one else and you are willing to possibly loose your job leave.  Do not take report, do not assume care of 1, 5,10 or all 16 patients because then if you leave it's abandonment.  If they threaten to turn you in to the board for abandonment they have no leg to stand on if you did NOT accept the assignment.  If they promise to have help by such and such time be prepared to not have anyone they could be saying this to get you to come or stay and you will be responsible for every single patient you have accepted the assignment on.  Or call in sick.....

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1,263 Visitors; 137 Posts

Call your state board of nursing.  Have you talked to your immediate supervisor?  And her/his immediate supervisor?  And so on....

If you don't take report on ANY patient they can't accuse you of abandonment, I think.  I would just sit there till at least two other nurses show up, hopefully more since they'll probably be floats.  

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749 Visitors; 32 Posts

that is insane. could they not float a nurse from another unit to help? if you feel unsafe taking care of 16 patients you should call in sick yourself

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1,168 Visitors; 23 Posts

Ive asked if anyone can float and My reply was "theres no one else who can float from another floor, we are going to call XYZ but they are short staffed too." And that was my ANM who told me that.

 

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Director of OB Services.

3 Followers; 112,651 Visitors; 13,038 Posts

What type of facility is this? Are your ANM and/or NM planning on coming in to work? 

What I would do is, when you get there, only take report on the number of patients you would normally take care of (6?). I would not accept responsibility of any more patients than that. Then, the house supervisor will just need to figure out staffing for the other patients. Presumably that will involve shuffling other nurses around and/or calling the manager and requiring that she deal with it, which is her responsibility anyway.

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3 Followers; 25,991 Visitors; 5,277 Posts

They COULD use an agency nurse. They are just going to see if you are a sucker. It's their JOB to prepare for things like this, but if you are willing to allow yourself to be abused, it's apparently perfectly acceptable to them.

NO WAY I would accept this. It will only keep happening if you do.

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3 Followers; 25,991 Visitors; 5,277 Posts

6 hours ago, Elaine M said:

If you don't take report on ANY patient they can't accuse you of abandonment, I think.  

They most certainly cannot, though as we on AN know, they often do like to try to convince nurses that they can.

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Kyrshamarks is a BSN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

1 Follower; 4 Articles; 21,678 Visitors; 578 Posts

Simple,. Call in sick that day.  Let them worry about the staffing.

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AnnieNP has 20 years experience as a MSN, NP and works as a Nurse Practitioner.

1 Follower; 3,008 Visitors; 369 Posts

Why isn't the nurse manager planning to work with you?

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6,272 Visitors; 313 Posts

I would not go into work that day.  Let "them" figure it out.

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

6 Followers; 31,721 Visitors; 3,011 Posts

One option is to preemptively write up a notice that you are accepting an unsafe assignment under protest.  You state on the form that you have already let your management know that your upcoming assignment is unsafe and you urged them to supply additional staff.  You state that you will do your best under the circumstances, but in any untoward event YOU WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE.  Show them the document before the shift in question, just to let them know you are serious.

Make several copies of this document.  If you arrive at work and still find you've 16 patients, present that document to your management.  If they're not even there, phone someone at home to remind them about the document.

Then you prioritize the best you can.  You phone management every hour and let them know you still need staff.  Do not get embroiled in a lengthy conversation, you don't have time.  State your case and hang up.

Send copies of your document to all the regulatory agencies you can think of: BON, JCAHO, the state licensing board; whomever has an interest in the running of your facility.

If you give them adequate heads up that you mean business, I suspect they'll beat some bushes and magically come up with some staff in the eleventh hour.

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