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Is this a VALID reason to terminate someone?

Posted

I NEED OPINIONS. THIS REALLY MADE ME SO DEPRESSED FOR DAYS NOW. :(

Recently I got terminated on my 5th month for an incident that did not happened of my shift. I'm a new nurse. Barely on my 5 months on the facility I worked for(so im still on probation being an orientee).

DURING MY 5 MONTHS

For the first few months I was working hard. I got very good feedbacks from other staff member, from patients to families for being attentive to their needs and whatnot. All in all, I was doing really well. Even my manager and director commend me because they've been hearing good stuff from peers. Not to brag but I'm really the kind of person who likes to balance things out. I worked for a rehab/LTC and since it has gloom atmosphere, I try to put in a cheery attitude. So that really keeps my job a breeze. Despite all this efforts, I don't fit in to my working environment. Most of them have 5-10 years of experience. Mostly, they are beyond my age range. As I'm only on my 1 year. Some of my coworkers warned me about others being a snitch but I brushed it off. I'm just there to do my job. But then again, I kept this 1 or 2 time subtle informal counseling from my unit manager about this and that. But being new, I just signed away it not knowing it will go on my records. Again, it did not bother me because I consistently getting smiles and good feedback from them. It gave me this illusion that it's a team and everyone got each other's back.

ON MY 4th MONTH

Anway, a month before this incident, I got a nursing job under the new grad program from an affiliated hospital. Being a new nurse, I couldn't be happier. But all my coworker had been telling me that that I have to be a 6 months employee to get a hospital transfer. The human resource manager from the hospital said that they requested my director if they could make an exception for me. The director agreed on one condition; they have to find a replacement for me before I leave. After a month of waiting, they finally found a replacement for me. But on my final week of working in this rehab, this incident happened:

Last week, I was so in distraught I got terminated for 1 time mistake I'm not even aware of! An IV line that was found clogged last week of February. They found out that IV dressing wasn't change since from the patients admission to the facility (which was early feb). They said it was supposed to be change every week.

I was the nurse on duty during those shifts that it needed to be change. They saw on the treatment records my initials, indicating that I have done it.

Mainly, they blame the unchanged needle connector for getting clogged.

In my defense, and in all honesty, I took it as a PRN because a PRN was added in the instruction. So on those both shifts I only did an assessment,; the IV line was patent, clean and intact. I really thought it appears every day so I did not worry. Also, the change needle connector wasn't stated on the instruction. So even though the IV dressing was changed, it will still be clotted since it's not stated there. I also asked them how come other nurses didn't notice that the IV dressing wasn't change (I'm only part time and I'm not there all the time). Regardless of my explanations, they kept emphasizing how I did not do my job on those days. AND it really make me so nervous because my director is lawyering me.

For confidentiality, the incident happened like:

Day 7 of week 1, I was nurse on duty.

Day 7 of week 2, I was nurse on duty.

Day 7 of week 3, Other nurse was on duty. (No one initialed on this day)

Day 7 of week 4, IV line was found clogged. Dressing was found not changed.

Week 5, they did an investigation based on grievance. The next day they find I'm at fault and fired me.

Day 7 of week 5. Supposed to be my LAST day.

On week 5, they summoned me at the office. They told me that I am terminated for falsifying a documentation. (DESPITE MY EXPLANATIONS!!) I never been so devastated. What's more crushing was that they said I won't also be getting my hospital transfer. What's really aggravating about my situation was that they terminated me 1 day before my last day.

I am also confused with the number of compliments I am getting, they fire me over this kind of incident. When I told this to my friends, they told me it sounds like there's discrimination because normally, incidents like this has a process. Start of from a verbal warning, to written warning and to a suspension.

I did not get any counselling, nor warning... and I will gladly accept if it's suspension, but I feel like termination is an extreme consequence.

So I'm asking you guys if you think it is justifiable to terminate me over an incident that didn't happen on my shift? :((

For weeks since I got the hospital job, I kept following up with them because I feel like they were stalling me and I don't want to miss out the program. I also never get a return call from HR after at least 3 calls per week. But then again, my director reassure me she's communicating with them and that they extended the position for me. Being a motivated new nurse, I was hoping I'm not being a bugger. I can't help but to think it was all a set up because this all happens right after they found a replacement for me.

Do you guys think I irritated them for asking when my hospital transfer would be. I really feel like I pissed of my director and kept getting my hopes high so I won't leave until she find a replacement for me. Then decided to screw things up for me. What do you think? :unsure: :(

I don't know what to think anymore.

*sorry for typos and grammatical errors

Edited by lllenjolll

Straight No Chaser, ASN, LPN

Specializes in Sub-Acute & Long-Term Care Nursing. Has 4 years experience.

From what I can make of your post, it sounds like they had it out for you. I would go to HR right away and talk this out with them. Explain that you were fired for something that happened several weeks ago, and also be sure to let them know that your manager told you she had been communicating with the other department this whole time. I have a feeling she hasn't been.

SO sorry.

Unfortunately, the HR was the one who brought me the news. The investigation conducted by DON and my unit manager was brought to the main HR and arrived to a decision that I'm a let go because, falsifying of documentation. Which they make sound so severe in relation to WHAT really happened. :(

The HR of my employee and the hospital I get the job in was 1 entity. So I have no fight. :/

I read your post twice; I'm not understanding the details surrounding your situation...and details are everything. But honestly, at the end of the day...as you mentioned at the first of your post, you are on probation, so you can legally be let go for many reasons, even if your manager simply decided you weren't a good fit. The only thing the law will protect you with is if your termination was based on some level of discrimination, which in that case you have cause for action and should file a complaint with the department of labor or the workforce commission in your state. You would need to be fairly confident with evidence that you were discriminated against though. You could get a lawyer, but your situation doesn't sound like it warrants such action. If you were simply the 'scape-goat' for an incident that occurred, or you disagreed with your manager's decision...well, you fighting it will probably not gain you much.

Yes, it's a heart-wrenching, angering, and seemingly unjust...but I would suggest you move on. Take the high road; this situation may be a stumbling block in launching your nursing career, but it will not keep you from moving on an attaining new accomplishments at other fulfilling jobs. Pretty soon this will be just a memory.

-theRNJedi

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 9 years experience.

It sounds like the patient had a central line, and the dressing and cap wasn't changed for 4 weeks. You were the nurse for day 7 of weeks 1 and 2, and another nurse was on for day 7 of week 3. The only nurse who noticed it was the one on day 7 of week 4. In my opinion, all nurses who took care of this patient for three solid weeks (day 7 onward) should be written up.

Whenever I have a central line patient, I note date of insertion and date of last dressing change during report or in chart review. SOP for me. The nurses where you worked have very bad habits.

ETA: your inexperience with central line care is also evident. Changing dressings q7 days and cap changes is a standard of care. Was this not covered during orientation?

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

A few things:

Your friends say that it sounds like discrimination. On what basis?

It doesn't matter if you get lots of compliments - if they found you made a fireable offense, they can fire you, even if the patients love you and think you're wonderful.

As far as the question you asked in your title - ANY reason is a valid reason to be let go (aside from protected classes). It's likely written in the paperwork you signed with HR when you started: this is an at-will employment agreement and either party can decide to end the employment at any time.

I'm sorry this happened - best thing to do is pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start looking for another job. Good luck to you.

I'm not sure I'm understanding your description of the events fully, but it sounds to me like you're saying you initialed in the chart (multiple times) that you had changed the IV dressing when you hadn't. If that's actually what happened, then, yes, that is falsifying documentation and, yes, that is a big deal, an offense that people get fired for (and can get reported to the BON for). Having a "cheery attitude" and people complimenting you doesn't really mean squat if you are caught documenting that you provided care that you didn't provide. There is no "explanation" for falsifying documentation that makes it okay.

And (again, I apologize if I'm misunderstanding what you wrote) I hear you making a lot of excuses for yourself; you "don't fit into the working environment" (what is that supposed to mean?), the other nurses are older than you (what does that have to do with anything?), you were warned some of them may be "snitches," the incident "didn't happen on my shift" (it doesn't matter when it was discovered, your documenting of care that you didn't provide did happen on your shift), etc., etc., and I don't hear any recognition that what you did (again, if I'm understanding you correctly) was not just wrong but seriously wrong. You note that you had already been counseled by your manager twice about different issues but "just signed it away." It sounds to me like there were serious concerns about your performance and you failed to pick up on, or disregarded, the warnings that you got because people were being pleasant to you. This does not sound at all to me like you were suddenly let go for no reason; it sounds like they gave you a chance but decided there were too many issues with you practicing safely. People do get fired all the time for falsifying documentation; there is nothing unreasonable or inappropriate about that. As someone who is still on probation, you can be let go at any time for any reason (that isn't a violation of state or Federal employment or equal opportunity law), with or without cause. And it sounds like you gave them cause.

However, lots of new nurses have some kind of bad experience in their first job and recover from that and go on with their careers. I hope you will re-examine and think seriously about this situation and learn from it before moving on, so as not to find yourself in a similar situation in the future. Also, please be aware that people being pleasant and collegial in the workplace, or families being complimentary, is not any indication that everyone is happy with your work performance. They are just being professional and nice. It's up to you to know that you are doing your job correctly and competently (including recognizing constructive criticism when you get it, even if it's "subtle" and "informal"). Best wishes!

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

Well, you repeatedly improperly cared for, or in this case did not care for, a central line which is an enormous patient safety issue. You documented that you changed the dressing when you didn't which IS fraudulent. The patient has suffered a bad outcome. So yes. This was a valid reason to fire you. For the record the other nurses involved should have been disciplined as well. If they also documented fraudulently then they should be fired right along with you.

Sorry if this isn't what you wanted to hear but you have a professional and ethical responsibility to determine if you are qualified to care for a patient's every need and to correct your knowledge deficits when necessary. You don't know how to care for central lines (well, I'm guessing you do now) but you didn't ask for help or check your facility's policy. Central line dressings are to be changed once a week AND PRN if they become loose or soiled. That is what the order said. Did you honestly think a dressing could be left in place for a MONTH?!! Gross! And it is standard practice to check for blood return, flush the lines and change the caps at the same time. I'm assuming this wasn't done either which is why the line clotted. This is basic nursing but if you don't know and you weren't educated it's understandable. However winging it (which is absolutely what you did) is completely unacceptable.

So what do you do now? Well, first of all, you screwed up (haven't we all) so own it. Take responsibility for your mistake and learn from it. You do yourself a great disservice when you spend your time focusing on how unfair you think this is. It stops you from learning and growing as a nurse. Second, take a good honest look at the situation and determine what you did wrong. Third, figure out what you've learned from the situation. Fourth, decide what you will do if ever facing a similar situation again. This is how you turn a negative into a positive. This is how you become an excellent nurse. You can overcome this set back and become a better person, a better nurse because of it. A very sincere good luck to you!!!!

Yep sorry to hear this because a lot of times you dont see central lines very often in LTC/SNF settings so Im sure your not experienced and as a rule you all are probably not even looking at the dressings every shift if you arent running something so I realize how this happened to you, and unfortunately you are learning this in an extremely stressful way. Sounds like pt probably had a poor outcome and is persuing compensation or at least reporting the inappropriate care, so now the facility is covering themselves as best they can (and are completely within their rights to do so) so you have been let go.

You NEVER EVER sign a treatment you did not do. It doesnt matter that the term PRN was in the instructions, as a nurse you are responsible to read the entire order, ask questions if its not absolutely clear, AND have a reasonable knowledge base to know that a central line dressing can never be left that long.

If getting fired is the only thing that happens to you, be thankful. People have lost their licenses for less, although its not common or even likely. What you did was fraudulent and negligent and from the sounds of things probably resulted in harm, and thats what you really need to consider.

All the other crap about not fitting in but somehow also being well liked is just that - crap, no one cares and it doesnt matter.

Hi all. I just want you o know I appreciate all the insights you shared.

Yes. I initialed it twice. I'm only there 2 times a week. I don't know what has gotten into me why I signed it.

I am probably darn tired during those shifts, because 5 out of 8 regular shifts I do every month is always overtime because of our admission load. (we don't have admission nurse for months now and we have to shoulder that tasks beside working with our patients. (nurse patient ratio mostly is 1:17, max is 1:20). I feel stupid for doing a quick read and when I saw PRN, just shrugged it off and continue whatever I was doing that shift.

I know I have to accept the fact I got terminated and I was really in some denial and anger when I was typing my post. (If you observed closely I am trying to justify my side). Though there are part of me says I am grateful this happened to me as it really teach me some good lesson. Yes. I only get 5 days of training. I'm a new nurse so skill such as IV lines are never oriented properly to me. I just observed my supervisors do and of course, ask if I'm uncertain of something. I always asked them but I felt they are no help. I feel like I am patterning my habit to their habit. They make me feel like it's okay to do some stuff *which I'm not going to mention here* (due to heck loads of information redundancy and absurd tasks that was at the computer system) because that's what most regular nurses (some supervisors) do there. And I feel ashamed and hate myself for being a sheep with that kind of attitude at work. It really bites me back.

@holypeas Yes. Everyone had not been checking the date of the dressing and just basically relay it to the next nurse. I don't know if they also got terminated since they're fulltime.

Whenever a treatment is left undone, I do it. *I've seen a lot of unchanged dressings (wound) for almost a week and I always do it. But it's a shame that I missed this one of all the treatments I try to cover for my other co-nurses.

I REALLY LEARNED MY LESSON HERE. I just wish they just suspended me and not termination that's why I felt it is SO ufair.

My family said I should be grateful this happened to me early in my career so it will helped me realized how sensitive my job is.

I'm moving on though. I got 4 job interviews this week. I'll definitely carry this experience to my future jobs.

Thank you all.

Hi all. I just want you o know I appreciate all the insights you shared.

Yes. I initialed it twice. I'm only there 2 times a week. I don't know what has gotten into me why I signed it.

I am probably darn tired during those shifts, because 5 out of 8 regular shifts I do every month is always overtime because of our admission load. (we don't have admission nurse for months now and we have to shoulder that tasks beside working with our patients. (nurse patient ratio mostly is 1:17, max is 1:20). I feel stupid for doing a quick read and when I saw PRN, just shrugged it off and continue whatever I was doing that shift.

I know I have to accept the fact I got terminated and I was really in some denial and anger when I was typing my post. (If you observed closely I am trying to justify my side). Though there are part of me says I am grateful this happened to me as it really teach me some good lesson. Yes. I only get 5 days of training. I'm a new nurse so skill such as IV lines are never oriented properly to me. I just observed my supervisors do and of course, ask if I'm uncertain of something. I always asked them but I felt they are no help. I feel like I am patterning my habit to their habit. They make me feel like it's okay to do some stuff *which I'm not going to mention here* (due to heck loads of information redundancy and absurd tasks that was at the computer system) because that's what most regular nurses (some supervisors) do there. And I feel ashamed and hate myself for being a sheep with that kind of attitude at work. It really bites me back.

@holypeas Yes. Everyone had not been checking the date of the dressing and just basically relay it to the next nurse. I don't know if they also got terminated since they're fulltime.

Whenever a treatment is left undone, I do it. *I've seen a lot of unchanged dressings (wound) for almost a week and I always do it. But it's a shame that I missed this one of all the treatments I try to cover for my other co-nurses.

I REALLY LEARNED MY LESSON HERE. I just wish they just suspended me and not termination that's why I felt it is SO ufair.

My family said I should be grateful this happened to me early in my career so it will helped me realized how sensitive my job is.

I'm moving on though. I got 4 job interviews this week. I'll definitely carry this experience to my future jobs.

Thank you all.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I still hear you making excuses and blaming others. I hope that you will take a clear-eyed look at the situation and realize that this was your mistake, not anyone else's responsibility. You are a licensed professional and responsible for the care you provide and professional and legal standards to which you're obligated. None of the things you mention, low staffing, heavy workload, limited orientation, coworkers setting a poor example, being tired, doing other nurses' treatments at other times, etc., etc., etc., relieves you of that responsibility. I hope that the other nurses involved were also disciplined, but it's not "unfair" that you were fired, and it's not "a shame" that you failed to provide safe, necessary nursing care and, essentially, lied about it in the client's chart, it's a serious and dangerous error on your part. Falsifying documentation is one of the most serious offenses a nurse can commit. Given that it did result, in this case, in harm to a client, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn that your previous employer is reporting this to the BON, in addition to firing you (if only to cover the facility's collective butt).

I hope that, before you start another job, you do consider this experience a "wake-up call," truly recognize how serious a matter this was, and think seriously about what you need to do differently going forward to make sure you don't find yourself in a similar situation in the future. Best wishes!

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Anyone who is on probation can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason or any reason at all.

You documented that you provided care when you didn't actually provide the care. That's falsification of documentation. That is a good reason to fire someone.

You admit you've been spoken to about other errors, and even signed written warnings. That's the process: verbal warning, written warning, consequence. You were warned, you just didn't pay attention.

Falsification of documentation is a big deal. You don't seem to get that.

YOU made the mistake, not someone else. It has nothing to do with the age of your coworkers, whether or not someone is a snitch or whatever else you choose to blame it on. You need to step up and take responsibility.

The other nurses who didn't assess or change the dressing may also be in trouble, but if they didn't initial having done the care, they didn't falsify documentation. Therefore their offense isn't as serious as yours.

If the other nurses are in trouble, you won't necessarily know about it because the disciplinary process is confidential.

The other nurses didn't take proper action.

You didn't take proper action and lied about it.

You even said on the other thread that you were fired without warning for not changing a dressing but left out the previous warnings and the fact that you lied in the medical record. Your written word is absolutely not trustworthy. Dishonesty is neither safe nor teachable. Managers tend to not want to take the chance or time to build an employee's integrity.

SierraBravo

Has 3 years experience.

It sounds like the patient had a central line, and the dressing and cap wasn't changed for 4 weeks. You were the nurse for day 7 of weeks 1 and 2, and another nurse was on for day 7 of week 3. The only nurse who noticed it was the one on day 7 of week 4. In my opinion, all nurses who took care of this patient for three solid weeks (day 7 onward) should be written up.

Whenever I have a central line patient, I note date of insertion and date of last dressing change during report or in chart review. SOP for me. The nurses where you worked have very bad habits.

ETA: your inexperience with central line care is also evident. Changing dressings q7 days and cap changes is a standard of care. Was this not covered during orientation?

This is exactly what I was thinking, likely a mediport. Which begs the question, would the OP have known to do a sterile dressing change, let alone a needle change? I'm going to go out on a limb and say no.

OP - it sounds as if you are partially getting it, and that's good. But as others have said you need to fully understand and accept the gravity of what you did without offering up any excuses such as short staffing, being tired, etc... At that point, you can begin to grow and move on from this experience.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

It's a common misconception that a "valid" reason is needed to terminate someone's employment. You can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, save for a few specific reasons (race, gender, disability, veteran's status) prohibited by law.

That said, falsifying documentation is a pretty valid reason for termination. Not performing the required dressing and cap changes on a central line is a huge safety issue. You initialed that you did it, leading the nurses following you to believe that it had been done on schedule. If the dressing was dated and no one noticed that it hadn't actually been changed, they dropped the ball as well, but you made the bigger mistake by falsifying documentation.

Angeljho, MSN, NP

Specializes in Mental Health Nursing.

I kept this 1 or 2 time subtle informal counseling from my unit manager about this and that. But being new, I just signed away it not knowing it will go on my records.

I think you may have thought this was an informal counseling but you were really getting a verbal warning followed by a written counseling - or what you might call a "write up". You were new, so you didn't know better. Always clarify whenever a supervisor asks you to sign any form of counseling so you know exactly what it is.

When I told this to my friends, they told me it sounds like there's discrimination because normally, incidents like this has a process. Start of from a verbal warning, to written warning and to a suspension. I did not get any counselling, nor warning... and I will gladly accept if it's suspension, but I feel like termination is an extreme consequence.

While it's true that verbal is usually first, followed by written, and so on - the severity of the incident is also a factor. If a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication and the patient happens to be allergic to that medication, a verbal warning will not be considered; that's grounds for termination. I understand that you are new, but the incident is not minor. Also, signing for anything, means you've done it; so thinking the dressing was a PRN order only served to work against you because you still signed off.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 42 years experience.

You said they saw your initials on the treatment record indicating you had done it (changed the dressing). If you did, in fact, initial that you had done it when you really hadn't, that IS falsification of documentation which is the reason you were given for termination.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

I'm not trying to be mean, but I still hear you making excuses and blaming others. I hope that you will take a clear-eyed look at the situation and realize that this was your mistake, not anyone else's responsibility. You are a licensed professional and responsible for the care you provide and professional and legal standards to which you're obligated. None of the things you mention, low staffing, heavy workload, limited orientation, coworkers setting a poor example, being tired, doing other nurses' treatments at other times, etc., etc., etc., relieves you of that responsibility. I hope that the other nurses involved were also disciplined, but it's not "unfair" that you were fired, and it's not "a shame" that you failed to provide safe, necessary nursing care and, essentially, lied about it in the client's chart, it's a serious and dangerous error on your part. Falsifying documentation is one of the most serious offenses a nurse can commit. Given that it did result, in this case, in harm to a client, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn that your previous employer is reporting this to the BON, in addition to firing you (if only to cover the facility's collective butt).

I hope that, before you start another job, you do consider this experience a "wake-up call," truly recognize how serious a matter this was, and think seriously about what you need to do differently going forward to make sure you don't find yourself in a similar situation in the future. Best wishes!

THIS.

Do you have malpractice insurance? I ask this because your previous employer, especially in LTC, may report you to the BON for this; it happened to a former co worker of mine; be prepared to have to explain to the BON your actions, of that happens.

Best wishes.