Just had a Consent Agreement go into effect, I feel like I'm hanging in limbo

Nurses Recovery


  • Specializes in ped/adult medsurg, specialty infusion.

You are reading page 2 of Just had a Consent Agreement go into effect, I feel like I'm hanging in limbo


2,170 Posts

Specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

I would like to add my expression of support for you. You certainly got a raw deal! When you're vulnerable, the people around you can be like animals, who seek someone who has a weakness and go in for the kill.

I'm a wannabe psych nurse, and although I've not worked on a unit, I find that I've always tried to apply what I know, in my work. It sounds to me like you were carrying out your roles as wife and nurse, well. That psych nurse had you buffalo'd by offering you consolation and then pouncing. That is a sure sign of "passive aggression". Beware of people who are just too nice!

You have a lawyer, and I hope he/she's earned your trust, as hard as it is to bestow trust on anyone now. I like to find out what experience a lawyer has, when he/she is working for me (I'm divorced from one). Be sure yours is an expert in Labor law, and not a product of a law school that garners little respect (like some night schools, and online "universities"). Unlike doctors, lawyers don't do residencies in a specialty. They join a firm that specializes in the area of law in which they're interested, and almost have an apprenticeship with one of the partners there, for many years before becoming one themselves. So find out if he/she's an associate or partner.

Then slip questions into your next meeting, like, "What happened with another client who had a problem similar to mine? Are you and the judges knowledgeable regarding the atmosphere in hospitals, and conditions under which nurses work?" I just went to a Labor lawyer about age discrimination I've experienced, and he volunteered that he was new in town. I asked him if he'd seen any of the judges here, and he replied that he had not. I suggested that he sit in their court rooms to see their perspectives, and decided not to hire him. Remember that your lawyer is your esteemed employee, and you have the right to find out what his/her game plan for your case is, in regard to how they represent you.

My divorce lawyer decided at the last minute, upon being asked by my husband's attorney if the case could be postponed a month, that he'd do that. He didn't even call me that Friday. I just happened to call his office to see what time I should be in court the following Monday and his secretary told me that my case would be "continued". I said that I didn't want that, and she said, "There's nothing you can do about it".

So I called a friend of mine who is an attorney, and asked her what I should do, as I had a trip planned the following month. She told me to go to court at 8 in the morning Monday, and when all the cases were called, stand and calmly say who I am, and that I was against a continuance, when the other lawyer said the case would be continued. (Since my lawyer hadn't asked for it, he wouldn't be there.) My heart was in my throat, but I did that, and the opposing lawyer hastily said, I'll see her out in the hall, your Honor."

When we were in the hall, I told him that I hadn't known the plan he'd made with my lawyer, and I'd made arrangements to be out of the country by the end of the month. Later I realized that what I'd portrayed that day, was that I was a woman who wouldn't be shoved around! That lawyer toed the mark with me, and everything I said I wanted, was done. My lawyer was as impressed with what I'd done, almost as much as I was.

The reason I'm writing this, is to let you know that it's important to hold your head high, when confronted with the issues they bring up, and give everyone the impression that your conversation with the psych nurse had been private, and she breached confidentiality. Seeing a psychiatrist (I've done that, too) is a sign of strength and willingness to face your "dragons". There is no shame and every reason to be congratulated about it. If you have a toothache, you see a dentist; and when you ache elsewhere, you see a doctor who can help you get better. Unless the medications prescribed for you had a warning label saying that you shouldn't drive, and/or you could be drowsy taking them, it was like any other medication, like an anticholesterol preparation.

Most night nurses experience fatigue at work, and since your obligations toward your husband involved interrupting your sleep, that can be understood, as long as you got at least 6 hours of it. When you have less time to sleep, your mind accommodates that, and longer REM cycles (which provide the most rest) occur earlier than usual, lasting almost all the time you're asleep. Ask your attorney to mention that, and provide him with articles from the internet about it.

Your employer had no right to have you tested for drugs and alcohol; and you were right to go along with that, ever the compliant employee. The results are very much in your favor. I had a bad experience when I worked nights, and tried to get on any other shift. Other nurses didn't want me to be on days, and some wanted to teach the childbirth preparation classes (without proper credentials), that I taught at the facility. They lied about me and before I knew it, I was out the door.

There is very little that can be done regarding "wrongful discharge" if your state has "at will" employment practises. However, you've been maligned and that's something that can be fought. When "character assassination" takes place without cause, it puts employers who do nothing to correct that, look very bad in court. Ask your attorney if he/she will stipulate that. Having your psychiatrist in court to testify (a letter will not suffice) that there was no reason from a mental health standpoint, to keep you from working the schedule you had, both employers owe you for the time you've lost, due to placing emphasis wrongly without basis in fact that you couldn't work satisfactorily. In this country, we must observe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty!

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg.

I know you have been though alot and I really wish things hadn't turned out the way they have. That is the dumbest thing I have heard. If you are seeking help why did she call you out? I think its very admirable that you know the situation you are in and that you are seeking help. Plus I know you have trust issues but don't let this one lady hold you back.

Same thing happened to me, the one everyone called Mama and she seemed trustworthy, ratted me out in less than 2 days. Its a learning process and you will find people that you can trust.

I hope everything gets fixed quickly!You need a hug! :icon_hug:

jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

This is an awful situation to be in.... keep us posted as to how it turns out for you!


Glad you got a lawyer. I hope he/she is a good one. Do not talk to anyone at work about anything. Do not volunteer any info to anyone except for your lawyer. Do you have a copy of your negative drug results? If not, get a copy.

A hair analysis for drugs can be done to show long term that you are not and have not been a drug user.

Specializes in ICU.

I am very sorry this is happening to you.

And now that it has, you might as well get used to being treated like any other nurse with a restriction on their license. Even though the truth is you were tired,, the board has come to their decision and potential employers will see this on your license and treat you like a person that has restrictions, no matter what your story is.

That is just what happens. The BON is out to protect the patients, I agree that sometimes they go overboard. This is a situation that called for a stronger attorney. I think I would have fought it a little more. IF what you say is true, and there were no other reports, besides you being sleepy.......

But, one thing does make sense,, a tired nurse,, exhausted nurse, does have the potential to be dangerous. Think about it. You could have made mistakes, you could have harmed a patient. The BON is really just looking out for the patients safety. IF they didn't, then you would continue to come to work tired, exhausted, stressed out or whatever, and eventually that would lead to mistakes, and potential harm to the patients.

And you didn't plead your case to the board, there's no way for them to know what was going on, other than the investigation and results that they have. So, they had to discipline you in an appropriate manner according to their findings.

I still believe that you should continue to fight this... Lamazeteacher has some very good advice, above...


25 Posts

Specializes in ped/adult medsurg, specialty infusion.

Hey guys I just want to thank everyone for their support and advice. Still waiting to here from my current employer, now it is going on 5 days I have been on paid leave although it feels like an eternity. Just to clear some things up from my originial post..

1) I do have an attorney that specializes in these types of cases

2) I do work in a "right to work state" so their is little I can do about that

3) My negative drug and alcohol tests were submitted to the Board

4) I asked my psychiatrist about starting on the antidepressant and Ambien and letting him know I worked night shift, so some days I was going to bed at 9am, other nights, when I was off of work, going to bed at 11pm and he said to take my medications before I go to sleep so that it what I did.

5) Trust me, I submitted everything I could, My psychiatrist submitted multiple reports saying that I have no impairment due to my "illness" (Depression, PTSD) and that I was compliant with my visits and have no impairment due to these diagnosis.

6) My coworkers wrote letters to my manager (at my past job where this happened) saying they never witnessed any "strange behavior" and that I was a great nurse, great coworker and always helped out, etc.. According to my coworker who turned this letter in, my manager basically said "this is irrelevant, stay out of it and do not get involved or you can face disciplinary behavior also"

7) I had never been in trouble before at work or in my personal life

8) I still to this day, have been told that all complaints are "anonymous" , that I absolutely DO NOT HAVE the right to know who reported me (as in which coworker/coworkers) I am okay with that, I am past the part of being angry at the person. Some days I just want to know "WHY"?

9) The board meeting is over, I was advised not to come to the hearing or testify on my behalf because they (the board) would likely be harder on me and "emotions would be involved" etc... So I heeded my attorneys advice.

Once again, thanks so much to everyone. I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and this has really been a blow to my self esteem and my career. I just try to remember all the "thank yous" I have gotten from patients and families over the years and hopefully one day, when this is past me, I will be able to help other people in similiar situations and pull them through like you are all doing for me.

My husband tries to help me (emotinally) but he just doesn't understand the thoughts going through my head. He tells me things like "your a great nurse, there is no way this is going to ruin you" and tells me "I'm worrying too much about it and everything will work out" I know he is trying to be helpful but it honestly doesn't help. I basically worked my way out of a violent, horrible childhood, adolescence and ran like hell to college, put myself through college and thought I was on my way to changing my life for the better...

Sorry to ramble, THIS SUCKS! But you all make it better, it is nice to know there are people out there who don't even know me and are offering such love and support!


35 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg - Home Health - Education.

Hi Goto,

I understand you are in a "Right to Work State," so am I. In Florida there have been cases like yours brought into court on a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit, and the employee won.

I am sure your attorney has asked for and received everything from your previous hospital. They need grounds to terminate, even in a right to work state. Your co-worker who was told that if she became involved she would face disclipinary action -- THAT IS INTEMIDATION, and it is ILLEGAL. She can also bring a lawsuit, but she has to understand that they will probably find some MINOR thing in order to terminate her.

Your situation does SUCK, but I still think there is a legal way to get back at the hospital for firing you. Ask your attorney what the actual laws are regarding wrongful termination. I bet there is some law that you can hang this hospital out to dry.

This really makes me mad. I have been a nursing executive in a right to work state, and our policies required that evidence of policy violations be documented, and that the following steps be taken.

1. Verbal counciling

2. written warning (if for the same offense -- if for a different offense, you have to start over with #1).

3. 2nd written warning with supension up to three days, and documentation that employee has been notified that another infraction will result in termination.

4. Termination.

I continue to hold you in my prayers. I wish there was more that I could do, because it is unfair to you. Please check out the Federal Laws regarding wrongful termination also. They apply in a right to work state.

God Bless,


pagandeva2000, LPN

7,984 Posts

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I am also sorry and horrified to hear this. It is like you became sub-human to these people and that is not fair. Most of us have some sort of stress at some point in our lives and there is nothing wrong with seeking help when needed. And, this is why nurses are so freaking paranoid...sometimes confiding something that seems to be so innocent can ruin one's career and earning power.

I wish you the best and please remain in touch with this site.


25 Posts

Specializes in ped/adult medsurg, specialty infusion.

I read some of the replies and want to let you guys know a few more things

- The hospital that this occured at is part of a large group of hospitals across the US, I did consult attorneys about wrongful termination and they basically laughed at me, they said, yea its wrong, but anyone (any attorney) who has gone against this corporations attorneys, have been drug through the mud and put through so much emotional turmoil (publicity in the papers, news, etc...) that it would not be worth it. I contacted more than one attorney and no one would go against this corporation. The basic message I got from them was -let this be water under the bridge and move on.....

-Also, I feel the hospital went about this completely wrong. I had been there for years and hadn't even had a VERBAL warning about anything! I was preceptoring students, working as a charge nurse, WHY ON EARTH would they have me doing all of this stuff if I was such a NUTCASE!

Then, my manager actually put me back on the schedule to come back to work, the day before I was to go back, my phone rang, it was the DON (who by the way I had never met in my life). She called me and told me to come meet with her right away, she wanted to "touch base and see if I was okay since I was coming back to work the next day" I went right in and thats when I got the ax! Basically said, "so many rumors are flying around about you that it wouldn't be a healthy work environment" She then told me I would be fired and given a bad reference, or I could resign and they would give me a good reference. Being completely overwhelmed and not knowing my choices (and not knowing they would later report this to the Board) I resigned, moved on, got another job been their for a year, and know my new employer doesn't know what "they are going to do with me" although I have no restrictions that would keep me from doing my current job!



2,170 Posts

Specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

Night duty = fatigue, simply because all of society and indeed our own circadian clockwork isn't set up that way.

If you walk the hallways of any facility, you will see mostly zombie-like employees doing what they have to do, in a somnambulent state. If an emergency occurs, their adrenalin kicks in and they're instantly alert, only to be more fatigued afterward. I know there are nurses out there who say they do fine on nights, and staying up days. It's a medical and psychological fact that they can only do that so long........

Those who are best on nights, have families who take care of things for them, keep the home quiet durung the day. Those who live alone still have to do housework and provide their own food.


2,170 Posts

Specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

You don't need lawyers who doubt their own abilities to "beard the dragon". You can research all cases against the corporation that owns the hospital, and see if they ever lost a case, yourself, at the largest courthouse's library (not as onorous as it sounds, thanks to computers). Tell the attendant what you need and she/he'll help you. Those records are open for the public. When you find the case(s) that was won against them (it doesn't have to be the same type of matter), call the attorney who won, ASAP!

You may be called the "Joan of Arc of Nurses", but you won't be incinerated, I promise. You will be lauded for sticking to your guns.

Specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG.

GotoGirl - Hello- just wanted to check on you and see how you were holding up. I am glad to see the support you are receiving from the members. I just wish there were something more we could do. That is a nightmare, you have been going to work every night taking care of patients, at home helping your husband, and in the little free time you have you are seeking help for yourself so you can be as healthy as you can while taking care of others. This is how you get repaid by your coworkers, ect.

I have worked night shift, and it is not something I could do very often. As a rule, most of the nurses that I know that work or have worked nights say they just don't really get "good rest" when they do most of the times. I know there are exceptions but I wouldn't be one of them.

I have been in a place similar to yours, and had a co worker (she was not a friend) tried to do something similar to what happened to you. This person harrassed me (in my opinion) to no end, andf I think I peed in a cup so often, the lab personnel knew me better than anyone else. This co worker used the little bit of information she heard when she was eavesdropping outside my manager's office that my (at that time current) husband and I were divorcing.

I don't mean to sound bitter, but it just burns me up when they are trying to do the right thing and something like that happens to you.

Please know you and your family will be in our prayers, and I hope this situation is somehow resolved.

Anne, RNC :banghead:

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