New and In Trouble. Please Help!

  1. Although I hate to leave a first impression like this, I'm afraid I have no choice. I've been an LPN for 2 years now (after 20 years as a Graphic Artist). I'm currently halfway through my A.S./RN. I am 40 years old, married, father of 4 teenage boys. I had been working for a home health agency on one ALS case Monday thru Friday from 7-3 this past year. I was terminated last November and reported to the Board for reporting of more hours than worked. I received a certified letter from an investigator. I promptly reported and gave my written statement after being grilled like a criminal. I guess the best way to explain exactly what happened on the job would be to post my letter to the board:
    On Saturday, March 12, 2005 I received a certified letter from your office regarding a complaint filed with your office pertaining to an issue that arose concerning my reporting of more hours than I had actually worked during Thanksgiving week of 2004 with my patient, (name omitted) via (agency name omitted). I am writing this letter to you with a full explanation in response to that complaint in an effort to resolve this issue and retain or regain my reputation as a quality nurse.

    Some time in mid-November of 2004 it came to my attention that the primary caregiver and live-in girlfriend of (patient), (name omitted) had taken money in the sum of $550.00 from his cash on hand without his knowledge, to lend to one of her sons to help pay his rent on his apartment. This money was given to him by his family who held a charity benefit on his behalf earlier that month. There was a constant fight between (caregiver) and the family of (patient) regarding this money. His family did not want this cash to be left at his house for fear of this exact situation arising, but finally gave in to (caregiver's) demands.

    I felt obligated to report this issue, not only to (patient) himself, but to his family and my superiors as well. When (patient) and his family confronted (caregiver) about this, she stated that she was going to replace the money before anybody knew it was missing, and the issue was left alone for the time being. My reporting of this issue had obviously angered (caregiver) who proceeded to retaliate against me by personally taking it upon herself to substantially reduce my hours with (patient)and eventually have me removed altogether.
    She did this by informing me on more than one occasion that week, that a nurse from another agency had asked her for some hours for that week to help with her tuition expenses. I was not informed ahead of time on either occasion. I was informed during my shift. This brought me to the current situation that I am now in, in the following way:

    Since this situation had arisen with (caregiver) I began filling out my paperwork for my shift during (patient's) naptime, rather than after my shift was over, so that I would not have to remain in those now uncomfortable surroundings any longer than I had to. That was my first mistake. When I was told that I could leave, I obediently did so. I knew that I was going to be phased out of that case by (caregiver), so "the sooner the better" so to speak. Unfortunately for me, I neglected to re-write my paperwork and timesheet before mailing them in at week's end. I had even left the appropriate copies of all paperwork at (patient's) residence. At no time was deception of any kind purposely performed on my part, as is evidence of that fact.

    The following Monday morning I arrived at (patient's) house to work my usual 7-3 shift. During that shift I had stated to (patient) that I didn't think it would be possible for me to remain there any longer as his nurse. (Caregiver)was listening to our conversation from upstairs, and promptly came down to tell me that it was fine with her if I resigned. She seemed quite elated actually. (Patient), however, became very upset to the point of crying. He (via letter-chart) begged me to please not leave, that I was the best nurse he had ever had, and that I was more than just a nurse to him. By the end of our conversation I agreed to stay on as his nurse. This obviously was not going to happen in (caregiver's) eyes. She promptly flew down the stairs and informed me of my paperwork error, and that she would report me to (agency) as a cheat, which she obviously did.

    I spoke with (supervisor of agency) about this situation. She told me that I would be promptly reassigned to another case, and that "I told you so" about (caregiver). Apparently several nurses had come to the same fate as myself when it came to (caregiver). I spoke with (pateint) about having no choice but to be reassigned, as per my superiors at (agency). Again (caregiver) was listening from upstairs and began gathering evidence of my time discrepancy in order to ruin my reputation, and reported me to my employer before I could explain my error to them first. (Supervisor of agency) told me that I was not to return to (pateint's) house, nor contact him or (caregiver) in any way, and that I would not be reassigned by (agency)to another case. She told me that even though she clearly understood the circumstances with (caregiver), that she was obligated to terminate my employment there and report the issue to the Board of Nursing. She wished me good luck, and that was the last I heard from either of them.

    Since this situation first arose last November I have been faced with terribly harsh realities. I submit that, due to a moment of haste, I am in fact guilty of not re-writing my paperwork to reflect my actual hours worked. But I have never, nor would ever purposely deceive my patient, employer, the Board, or anybody in any way. The reality of my reputation possibly being ruined by this situation has left me with feelings of depression. The reality of the record of my nursing license possibly being forever tarnished by this has added to these feelings. The reality of my very livelihood and thereby the welfare of my family being put at risk has left me in a state of constant fear for our future. The reality of the embarrassment and humiliation of not only losing my job, but the loss of trust and respect of my peers, my patient, and my family will forever be with me. The reality of just how fragile our field is, that 40 years of a good reputation can be forever blemished by a moment's haste is a true eye-opener to me.

    I beg the Board's lenience with me on this matter. I have freely admitted guilt and accepted responsibility for my haste from the very beginning. I have used this situation as a lesson well learned on the power of following up for one's own actions before a situation can arise. And I have, since this situation arose, made it my priority to attempt to regain the reputation and trust that I have held not only professionally, but in my personal life as well. I beg the Board to please allow me to continue my pursuit of regaining these qualities.

    I thank you for your consideration.


    --So, that's my story. Even if I would have re-written my notes and timesheets before faxing and mailing them in it wouldn't have mattered. The girlfriend had already removed the notes from the chart and mailed them in, knowing that even if I would have re-written them, something would be screwy with the whole situation in the eyes of my employer.
    Like I said at the beginning of this post, I went in to talk to the investigator. She told me it would take a month or more before I hear anything further.
    My question is - What will happen to me now? My life has become a nightmare because I let myself put my foot into a bucket of you know what. I have never been in a predicament like this in my life, nor have I ever lived my life in any way to warrant such a nightmare. i wonder what my sons and wife must think of me...........
    What can I expect to happen to me? Please respond.
    •  
  2. Visit Tanner64 profile page

    About Tanner64

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 3

    11 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Tanner64
    Although I hate to leave a first impression like this, I'm afraid I have no choice. I've been an LPN for 2 years now (after 20 years as a Graphic Artist). I'm currently halfway through my A.S./RN. I am 40 years old, married, father of 4 teenage boys. I had been working for a home health agency on one ALS case Monday thru Friday from 7-3 this past year. I was terminated last November and reported to the Board for reporting of more hours than worked. I received a certified letter from an investigator. I promptly reported and gave my written statement after being grilled like a criminal. I guess the best way to explain exactly what happened on the job would be to post my letter to the board:
    On Saturday, March 12, 2005 I received a certified letter from your office regarding a complaint filed with your office pertaining to an issue that arose concerning my reporting of more hours than I had actually worked during Thanksgiving week of 2004 with my patient, (name omitted) via (agency name omitted). I am writing this letter to you with a full explanation in response to that complaint in an effort to resolve this issue and retain or regain my reputation as a quality nurse.

    Some time in mid-November of 2004 it came to my attention that the primary caregiver and live-in girlfriend of (patient), (name omitted) had taken money in the sum of $550.00 from his cash on hand without his knowledge, to lend to one of her sons to help pay his rent on his apartment. This money was given to him by his family who held a charity benefit on his behalf earlier that month. There was a constant fight between (caregiver) and the family of (patient) regarding this money. His family did not want this cash to be left at his house for fear of this exact situation arising, but finally gave in to (caregiver's) demands.

    I felt obligated to report this issue, not only to (patient) himself, but to his family and my superiors as well. When (patient) and his family confronted (caregiver) about this, she stated that she was going to replace the money before anybody knew it was missing, and the issue was left alone for the time being. My reporting of this issue had obviously angered (caregiver) who proceeded to retaliate against me by personally taking it upon herself to substantially reduce my hours with (patient)and eventually have me removed altogether.
    She did this by informing me on more than one occasion that week, that a nurse from another agency had asked her for some hours for that week to help with her tuition expenses. I was not informed ahead of time on either occasion. I was informed during my shift. This brought me to the current situation that I am now in, in the following way:

    Since this situation had arisen with (caregiver) I began filling out my paperwork for my shift during (patient's) naptime, rather than after my shift was over, so that I would not have to remain in those now uncomfortable surroundings any longer than I had to. That was my first mistake. When I was told that I could leave, I obediently did so. I knew that I was going to be phased out of that case by (caregiver), so "the sooner the better" so to speak. Unfortunately for me, I neglected to re-write my paperwork and timesheet before mailing them in at week's end. I had even left the appropriate copies of all paperwork at (patient's) residence. At no time was deception of any kind purposely performed on my part, as is evidence of that fact.

    The following Monday morning I arrived at (patient's) house to work my usual 7-3 shift. During that shift I had stated to (patient) that I didn't think it would be possible for me to remain there any longer as his nurse. (Caregiver)was listening to our conversation from upstairs, and promptly came down to tell me that it was fine with her if I resigned. She seemed quite elated actually. (Patient), however, became very upset to the point of crying. He (via letter-chart) begged me to please not leave, that I was the best nurse he had ever had, and that I was more than just a nurse to him. By the end of our conversation I agreed to stay on as his nurse. This obviously was not going to happen in (caregiver's) eyes. She promptly flew down the stairs and informed me of my paperwork error, and that she would report me to (agency) as a cheat, which she obviously did.

    I spoke with (supervisor of agency) about this situation. She told me that I would be promptly reassigned to another case, and that "I told you so" about (caregiver). Apparently several nurses had come to the same fate as myself when it came to (caregiver). I spoke with (pateint) about having no choice but to be reassigned, as per my superiors at (agency). Again (caregiver) was listening from upstairs and began gathering evidence of my time discrepancy in order to ruin my reputation, and reported me to my employer before I could explain my error to them first. (Supervisor of agency) told me that I was not to return to (pateint's) house, nor contact him or (caregiver) in any way, and that I would not be reassigned by (agency)to another case. She told me that even though she clearly understood the circumstances with (caregiver), that she was obligated to terminate my employment there and report the issue to the Board of Nursing. She wished me good luck, and that was the last I heard from either of them.

    Since this situation first arose last November I have been faced with terribly harsh realities. I submit that, due to a moment of haste, I am in fact guilty of not re-writing my paperwork to reflect my actual hours worked. But I have never, nor would ever purposely deceive my patient, employer, the Board, or anybody in any way. The reality of my reputation possibly being ruined by this situation has left me with feelings of depression. The reality of the record of my nursing license possibly being forever tarnished by this has added to these feelings. The reality of my very livelihood and thereby the welfare of my family being put at risk has left me in a state of constant fear for our future. The reality of the embarrassment and humiliation of not only losing my job, but the loss of trust and respect of my peers, my patient, and my family will forever be with me. The reality of just how fragile our field is, that 40 years of a good reputation can be forever blemished by a moment's haste is a true eye-opener to me.

    I beg the Board's lenience with me on this matter. I have freely admitted guilt and accepted responsibility for my haste from the very beginning. I have used this situation as a lesson well learned on the power of following up for one's own actions before a situation can arise. And I have, since this situation arose, made it my priority to attempt to regain the reputation and trust that I have held not only professionally, but in my personal life as well. I beg the Board to please allow me to continue my pursuit of regaining these qualities.

    I thank you for your consideration.


    --So, that's my story. Even if I would have re-written my notes and timesheets before faxing and mailing them in it wouldn't have mattered. The girlfriend had already removed the notes from the chart and mailed them in, knowing that even if I would have re-written them, something would be screwy with the whole situation in the eyes of my employer.
    Like I said at the beginning of this post, I went in to talk to the investigator. She told me it would take a month or more before I hear anything further.
    My question is - What will happen to me now? My life has become a nightmare because I let myself put my foot into a bucket of you know what. I have never been in a predicament like this in my life, nor have I ever lived my life in any way to warrant such a nightmare. i wonder what my sons and wife must think of me...........
    What can I expect to happen to me? Please respond.
    My heart goes out to you-I am so sorry you are going through this.Seems to me if other staff have had problems with these people then the agency should have terminated their contract instaed of put their employees in jeopardy...I think you need a lawyer-FAST...You are talking about your future and you can sppare no expense to protect your livelyhood at this point.Good Luck-keep us posted....
  4. by   nursemike
    Good luck. Your letter was very eloquent, and I hope the board will be as impressed as I was. Thank you for sharing this painful experience--who knows how many of us you will have spared a similar experience.

    It sounds to me like you wouldn't have much to lose by contacting the local prosecutor, regarding the girlfriend's embezzlement. If the patient is unable to protect himself, financial abuse is as prosecutable as physical abuse. I don't mean to suggest you should be vindictive, but I wouldn't shed many tears about legitimately discrediting your accuser, especially if there were any chance it might help your case. Beyond that, in my state, a health care professional has an affirmative obligation to report even a suspicion of abuse of a child or incapacitated elder. I would suggest you at least discuss those points with an attorney, when you see one.
  5. by   Larry
    As a male nurse you can often be seen as interfering, and misunderstood. Whereas a female nurse might have been more diplomatic.

    I am not familiar with your protocols in the US, but I wonder did your patient have a social worker? Could you not have called a meeting or case conference about the client, and what you suspected?

    We all, unfortunately at times are on the receiving end of complaints - in my country they nearly always take the client's side.

    Don't you have a union or lawyer who can properly advise you?

    In future, you need to be careful of getting involved with the patient, the family and the caregiver - your concerns you should have raised with the agency, and not gone back to that assignment. As for telling a client you are not coming back - you should not have said this - in nursing we are all replaceable.

    I understand that you appear very sincere, but also a little naive I think - even if things get a lttle difficult as they might, you need to change your mind - think positively and maybe take a few days off and get away somewhere.

    I hope I haven't upset you - as I know this is a distressing time for you - but as a colleague you need to think about yourself first, your family second and get a good representative to deal with it for you.
  6. by   jmd
    So how much time are we talking about and for how long was that mistake made for?

    Are we talking a week, a month, 5 years? It sounded like it was a week or so that you miswrote your time.
  7. by   Tanner64
    Hi JMD,
    I made the mistake two days in a row last November. Never before, and obviously never since.
    Thanks to everyone who replied so far. Anybody have any idea about what I'll go through from here?
    By the way, I was not paid for the hours in question (total of 8 hours).
  8. by   barefootlady
    Please seek legal advice as soon as possible.
    Please report caregivers use of patients money to authorities, especially APS, for further investigation.
    My prayers are with you. I do not feel you were deliberately trying to defraud the company or the patient. I do feel the company put you and other employees as riskby continuing this assignment.
    Please let us know what happens.
  9. by   karengr
    Quote from Tanner64
    Hi JMD,
    I made the mistake two days in a row last November. Never before, and obviously never since.
    Thanks to everyone who replied so far. Anybody have any idea about what I'll go through from here?
    By the way, I was not paid for the hours in question (total of 8 hours).
    I am so very sorry for all the distress you are going through. I too, am an LPN, studying for my RN, and working in home care through an agency, so I know first hand what your life is like. Families can be cruel and vindictive, thinking nothing of lying and slandering your good reputation, while all too often, agencies facilitate this abuse. And yes, it IS abuse!

    I've had a couple ugly situations in the past 8 weeks, that have just left me shaking my head in amazement. The most recent one being a single mom moving with her disabled son, and taking it for granted that I would carry the heavy boxes, etc., down a huge flight of stairs in front of a Victorian house, walk through mud in my white shoes, and climb into the enormous truck to place the boxes. I work for a nursing agency - not a moving company! Fortunately my agency backed me on that point, but the mom began setting me up and making statements that I was neglecting her son and being verbally abusive to me. My DON did not back my plea to leave (to protect my license). Finally, the witch ordered me out of her house - Thank God!

    I thoroughly documented everything and sure enough - the ***** lied and said I had seriously neglected her son in various ways! Unbelievable! Fortunately they are moving out of state after a couple weeks w/her sister and the poor agency in Tampa has already been given a heads-up, since she's caused trouble for years w/virtually every nurse sent out there.

    BON's need to be aware and take into consideration that some of these family members and caregivers are hateful, vindictive, ungrateful monsters, who think nothing of abusing the poor nurse who is there to help. Sounds like you made an honest mistake to me - not anything worth having your reputation tarnished over. If I were your DON, I'd go to the BON and back you.

    BTW, our timesheets are actually our nursing flow sheets. My problem is that I forget to put my time down, but I have the times in my nurses notes. This has helped when I need to fill in my hours worked several days later.

    Good luck! You sound like an excellent nurse and we need more male nurses in our profession, so hang in there!
    Karen LPN
  10. by   jmd
    I made the mistake two days in a row last November. Never before, and obviously never since.
    Thanks to everyone who replied so far. Anybody have any idea about what I'll go through from here?
    By the way, I was not paid for the hours in question (total of 8 hours).

    Not that I have been in that situation and can offer any help but I am still guitly of writing 2004 on checks occasionally Seems like an extremely innocent mistake that I will likely make many times. Heck, if I get my kids names correct that is reason to celebrate :chuckle
  11. by   NoCrumping
    The timesheet for a nurse is a legal document. It will come down to if they believe you. You might still get a reprimand of some sort... Please keep us posted. I got nauseous reading your post. To think of the situations we are put into as nurses, even at something so benign sounding as home health nursing. (I myself work in this field, currently on med leave).
  12. by   NoCrumping
    Tanner..... the agency I work for has the client/caregiver sign the timesheet as well as the nurse.... did the caregiver sign your timesheet with the hours in question on it? Or does your agency not require their sig? I ask because this allegation was made against me, falsely, by a mom who was mad that I was leaving..... But she signed all my time slips, so there was nothing that could be done....
  13. by   statrn42
    Quote from Tanner64
    Although I hate to leave a first impression like this, I'm afraid I have no choice. I've been an LPN for 2 years now (after 20 years as a Graphic Artist). I'm currently halfway through my A.S./RN. I am 40 years old, married, father of 4 teenage boys. I had been working for a home health agency on one ALS case Monday thru Friday from 7-3 this past year. I was terminated last November and reported to the Board for reporting of more hours than worked. I received a certified letter from an investigator. I promptly reported and gave my written statement after being grilled like a criminal. I guess the best way to explain exactly what happened on the job would be to post my letter to the board:
    On Saturday, March 12, 2005 I received a certified letter from your office regarding a complaint filed with your office pertaining to an issue that arose concerning my reporting of more hours than I had actually worked during Thanksgiving week of 2004 with my patient, (name omitted) via (agency name omitted). I am writing this letter to you with a full explanation in response to that complaint in an effort to resolve this issue and retain or regain my reputation as a quality nurse.

    Some time in mid-November of 2004 it came to my attention that the primary caregiver and live-in girlfriend of (patient), (name omitted) had taken money in the sum of $550.00 from his cash on hand without his knowledge, to lend to one of her sons to help pay his rent on his apartment. This money was given to him by his family who held a charity benefit on his behalf earlier that month. There was a constant fight between (caregiver) and the family of (patient) regarding this money. His family did not want this cash to be left at his house for fear of this exact situation arising, but finally gave in to (caregiver's) demands.

    I felt obligated to report this issue, not only to (patient) himself, but to his family and my superiors as well. When (patient) and his family confronted (caregiver) about this, she stated that she was going to replace the money before anybody knew it was missing, and the issue was left alone for the time being. My reporting of this issue had obviously angered (caregiver) who proceeded to retaliate against me by personally taking it upon herself to substantially reduce my hours with (patient)and eventually have me removed altogether.
    She did this by informing me on more than one occasion that week, that a nurse from another agency had asked her for some hours for that week to help with her tuition expenses. I was not informed ahead of time on either occasion. I was informed during my shift. This brought me to the current situation that I am now in, in the following way:

    Since this situation had arisen with (caregiver) I began filling out my paperwork for my shift during (patient's) naptime, rather than after my shift was over, so that I would not have to remain in those now uncomfortable surroundings any longer than I had to. That was my first mistake. When I was told that I could leave, I obediently did so. I knew that I was going to be phased out of that case by (caregiver), so "the sooner the better" so to speak. Unfortunately for me, I neglected to re-write my paperwork and timesheet before mailing them in at week's end. I had even left the appropriate copies of all paperwork at (patient's) residence. At no time was deception of any kind purposely performed on my part, as is evidence of that fact.

    The following Monday morning I arrived at (patient's) house to work my usual 7-3 shift. During that shift I had stated to (patient) that I didn't think it would be possible for me to remain there any longer as his nurse. (Caregiver)was listening to our conversation from upstairs, and promptly came down to tell me that it was fine with her if I resigned. She seemed quite elated actually. (Patient), however, became very upset to the point of crying. He (via letter-chart) begged me to please not leave, that I was the best nurse he had ever had, and that I was more than just a nurse to him. By the end of our conversation I agreed to stay on as his nurse. This obviously was not going to happen in (caregiver's) eyes. She promptly flew down the stairs and informed me of my paperwork error, and that she would report me to (agency) as a cheat, which she obviously did.

    I spoke with (supervisor of agency) about this situation. She told me that I would be promptly reassigned to another case, and that "I told you so" about (caregiver). Apparently several nurses had come to the same fate as myself when it came to (caregiver). I spoke with (pateint) about having no choice but to be reassigned, as per my superiors at (agency). Again (caregiver) was listening from upstairs and began gathering evidence of my time discrepancy in order to ruin my reputation, and reported me to my employer before I could explain my error to them first. (Supervisor of agency) told me that I was not to return to (pateint's) house, nor contact him or (caregiver) in any way, and that I would not be reassigned by (agency)to another case. She told me that even though she clearly understood the circumstances with (caregiver), that she was obligated to terminate my employment there and report the issue to the Board of Nursing. She wished me good luck, and that was the last I heard from either of them.

    Since this situation first arose last November I have been faced with terribly harsh realities. I submit that, due to a moment of haste, I am in fact guilty of not re-writing my paperwork to reflect my actual hours worked. But I have never, nor would ever purposely deceive my patient, employer, the Board, or anybody in any way. The reality of my reputation possibly being ruined by this situation has left me with feelings of depression. The reality of the record of my nursing license possibly being forever tarnished by this has added to these feelings. The reality of my very livelihood and thereby the welfare of my family being put at risk has left me in a state of constant fear for our future. The reality of the embarrassment and humiliation of not only losing my job, but the loss of trust and respect of my peers, my patient, and my family will forever be with me. The reality of just how fragile our field is, that 40 years of a good reputation can be forever blemished by a moment's haste is a true eye-opener to me.

    I beg the Board's lenience with me on this matter. I have freely admitted guilt and accepted responsibility for my haste from the very beginning. I have used this situation as a lesson well learned on the power of following up for one's own actions before a situation can arise. And I have, since this situation arose, made it my priority to attempt to regain the reputation and trust that I have held not only professionally, but in my personal life as well. I beg the Board to please allow me to continue my pursuit of regaining these qualities.

    I thank you for your consideration.


    --So, that's my story. Even if I would have re-written my notes and timesheets before faxing and mailing them in it wouldn't have mattered. The girlfriend had already removed the notes from the chart and mailed them in, knowing that even if I would have re-written them, something would be screwy with the whole situation in the eyes of my employer.
    Like I said at the beginning of this post, I went in to talk to the investigator. She told me it would take a month or more before I hear anything further.
    My question is - What will happen to me now? My life has become a nightmare because I let myself put my foot into a bucket of you know what. I have never been in a predicament like this in my life, nor have I ever lived my life in any way to warrant such a nightmare. i wonder what my sons and wife must think of me...........
    What can I expect to happen to me? Please respond.
    Well, that's a mouth full. I feel your letter was very well stated, but remember the Board of Nursing does not advocate for you, they advocate for the patients. I'm not going to go into it (too much), but I have very close dealings with the Board of Nursing. Not by choice. The Nursing Board comes off very STAUNCH, you will see and feel, like a cold breeze after you get out of the shower, that they will never take your side. So, if you don't expect them too, you won't set yourself up for dissapointment.

    The Board is very Black and White, but underneath all that cold steel, they do see you as an individual, they just won't show it. NO WARM AND FUZZIES FROM THEM. I feel your letter was put together perfect. All I can say is, and I will, in 2002 I was arrested for buying drugs, (not work related), it took them 16 months to finally vote on a contract for me and impliment it. I felt like I was being charged all over again. So for now, enjoy what you do, for I feel you will be a great RN, Oh by the way I was 38 when I got my RN, and I'm 42 now and had to step down from a Mgmt postion that I loved. I don't have a crystal ball, but if I did, I would see a LLLLLLLLLOng and Bright future in Nursing for you.

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