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Patient Abuse/Nepotism

Nurses   (1,634 Views 32 Comments)

Ethical_RN is a ADN, BSN, APRN and specializes in medsurg.

163 Profile Views; 11 Posts

Hello, I am a registered nurse in need of some advice.  In my place of work there is patient abuse, and staff abuse that has been going on for some time now, it is my belief that nepotism is keeping the abuser from the receiving the justice that they greatly deserve.  The abuse is being committed by a fellow RN.  I'll start with the first incidence I know of, the RN was assigned to care for a man on hospice with not much longer to live, the patient had no motor function from the neck down, and had a excessive amount of salivation requiring frequent oral care.  At change of shift the oncoming RN found this patient with gnats all over his face with a "kleenex" box wrapped in a washcloth tucked under his chin , this was reported, nothing ever came of it.   Another patient the abusive RN cared for required transfer to ED and died 2 days later, the nurse left this patient outside during the winter time for the majority of the shift, Foley bag ready to burst, patient skin reddened from the cold, unstable vital signs.  Another patient of this abusive RN simply asked for a muscle rub cream to be applied to his leg, this RN decided to rub an excessive amount onto the patients genitals, this caused the patient a great deal of pain, some of the cream ended up in the patients urethra, the nurse laughed and bragged about it, when this particular instance was reported to management, the nurse manager said "he must have accidentally put the cream on the wrong body part or maybe he looked at the wrong order" the nurse manager even found the instance slightly funny ( this patient does not nor ever has received any cream to/for the genital area).  A different RN made a complaint to management about the abusive RN  stating that the RN threateningly backed her into a corner in a highly confrontational manner, the manager blew this off, the nurse suggested to the manager to watch the video recording as this event happened directly in front of a camera, the manager never watched the video, nothing ever came of it.  Many patients on the unit frequently request/almost beg to have this person as their nurse.  Patients say that this nurse is rough with them, rushed, this nurse frequently leaves the floor to smoke and is often not readily available for the patients.  The abusive nurse has a family member that is a nurse manager on a different unit, that manager is friends with our nurse manager, both managers and the abusive nurse are friends with the manager's boss, who overseas all of the units in our section of the hospital.  All of the atrocities have that this abusive nurse have committed have been reported to management, and nothing has ever been done about it.  People are afraid to report to any "higher-ups" because we do not know how deep the rabbit hole of nepotism goes.  The ethical nurses who have reported on these instances have been the targets of many forms of retaliation from management, including bullying, hostile working environment, changes to the nurses work schedule, false accusations despite documented proof (time stamps, camera recordings..etc) and many other forms of retaliation to the nurses who try to make a difference. If anyone has any advice on how to proceed please share, thanks... concerned RN   

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5 Followers; 2,991 Posts; 19,226 Profile Views

You are legally required to report any abuse you witness to the BON and I believe the state as well. This can be done anonymously. If you do not report it yours and your co-workers’ licenses are at risk and you may face criminal charges if this abuse is investigated by the authorities. 

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9 Followers; 3,346 Posts; 24,491 Profile Views

So many details for such a straightforward problem. If you believe there is patient abuse going on you have a duty to report it to appropriate authorities.

Given the difficulties you report, finding a new job also seems reasonable.

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Ethical_RN is a ADN, BSN, APRN and specializes in medsurg.

11 Posts; 163 Profile Views

I've been told in the past that State investigations are blocked by, or handed over to Federal organizations when the organization being investigated is federal? So its not such a straightforward problem @JKL33  especially when the appropriate authorities to report it to are the ones retaliating against the whistleblowers. 

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TriciaJ has 38 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

12 Followers; 3,327 Posts; 34,312 Profile Views

You need to make a call to the BON.  Yesterday.  I would find a new job, then rattle all the cages I could think of.  Call the family members of the abused patients.  Find a friendly media outlet.  Are they Joint Commission-accredited?  Call them up, too.

Get yourself out of there and blow the whistle on them.

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Ethical_RN is a ADN, BSN, APRN and specializes in medsurg.

11 Posts; 163 Profile Views

@TriciaJ the dilemma is that I don't want to leave, I care so much for the residents, I want to do whatever is in my power to make their lives better and end this abuse, I'm in the process of figuring out who exactly I need to/should talk to, I'm not alone on this I do have some help.  It's just such a catch-22, doing the right thing can get yourself black-balled and out of a career, but not doing the right thing allows abuse to continue, trust me not doing the right is not even an option on my radar, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to go about it, thanks for your input btw. 

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Ethical_RN is a ADN, BSN, APRN and specializes in medsurg.

11 Posts; 163 Profile Views

I just want better for these patients.....

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

5 Followers; 10 Articles; 14,561 Posts; 160,587 Profile Views

Here is my 2 cent advice:

a. Issues you've written about here should have been documented  IN WRITING  objectively to the Unit Manager.   Reporter often does not know what Management is doing about situation: collecting more information, indirect observation + or using progressive counseling. 

Does your facility have a PATIENT ADVOCATE that you can direct patient complaints to?  If not, an OMBUDSMAN (required by Medicare regs) information often posted at entrance to facility or near time clock that report can be made to. Additionally, report can be made to Board of Health/ state licensing department re patient abuse occurring --they usually respond onsite within 1-2wks and perform active investigation.

Make sure your I's are dotted and T's crossed as you plan your exit to different employer as you do not want to be involved in patient abuse/neglect lawsuit.

Best wishes in handling this delicate work situation.

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Ethical_RN is a ADN, BSN, APRN and specializes in medsurg.

11 Posts; 163 Profile Views

@NRSKarenRN so are you saying that pretty much no matter what that when i report this I will most likely have to find a new employer?

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

1,261 Posts; 11,813 Profile Views

15 minutes ago, Ethical_RN said:

@NRSKarenRN so are you saying that pretty much no matter what that when i report this I will most likely have to find a new employer?

If you don't report this you'll be legally liable as well. And honestly, do you want to continue to work for such a place?

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CharleeFoxtrot has 7 years experience as a ADN, RN.

486 Posts; 6,278 Profile Views

18 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

If you don't report this you'll be legally liable as well. And honestly, do you want to continue to work for such a place?

This. Beyond the moral obligation to report abuse nurses (and other professionals) are required to report by law. Failure to do so is punishable by law.

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