Dear Nurse Beth,
I accidentally left work with a 0.5 ml vial of Dilaudid. Found it in my scrub pocket on my way home. Immediately notified charge nurse who in turn notified an administrator. Received text from administrator stating to return vial immediately to the workplace. Did as directed. Dilaudid was signed in as returned but not wasted until the administrator was to find out what to do.
Asked to have drug test upon me immediately. Request denied. Asked to have fluid in vial tested. Request denied. Two weeks later I was terminated for severe performance deficiency. Is this an incident that requires notification to the state board of nursing?
I am really sorry you lost your job. It goes without saying you did not follow procedure. The 0.5 mL of Dilaudid should have been wasted and not saved in your pocket for future use.
and yours is a perfect example of why. As nurses, we are constantly distracted.
Did anything else contribute to the termination besides this one incident? In and of itself, it is serious, but doesn't rise to the level of being fired.
I take it you do not have a union. Is this a fireable offense for all nurses in your organization, or were they targeting you? It's notable that you asked for a drug test. That would not be the first response of many nurses in your situation, but perhaps you anticipated your job was in jeopardy.
The organization can choose to report this incident to the BON, but it's unlikely unless they had some evidence of diversion.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
I understand where you are coming from. I was a staff RN for most of my hospital career but did have 4 years in position of unit director. Most drug users are either caught or highly suspected of use. I had two of the latter situations occur. Frustrated c one as she actually had a "viable" reason to start using, said for pure lack of another way to explain it, NOT as an excuse to divert and use. Had joint surgery, ended up c post op case of RSD (as it was then called). Pre-PYXIS, could see she was removing more drug than needed for patient/s. She refused to admit she had a problem and insisted she had actually given patients more than was ordered because "they needed it". Well, of course, THAT was against nursing practice, so she was then terminated. She could have admitted, taken leave, gone to Rehab and her job back eventually. (This was a long time ago. I feel things have become very punitive minded.) The other nurse was someone I had several concerns about but never anything I could put my finger on. Long story, just trust my gut on this one....anyway she eventually had performance issues (late, call-ins) and I was able to terminate her because of those issues.
Long as I am opining here, let me also say sometimes staff gets upset when you terminate someone (my first example) but because of confidentiality, I could not explain my reasoning for my action. Sometimes staff gets upset that someone is NOT being "dealt with" (my second example) but don't realize I am 1) aware of situations i.e. lates, absences, etc. yet just am waiting 2) to follow protocols etc. in order to terminate someone rightfully - if done incorrectly the person can file a grievance and possibly win if they can show that procedures were not exactly followed.
Last edit by Wisco50 on May 13
: Reason: Put emoji in, forgot that shows up as ? marks.