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PDN *forced* to document off the clock


Specializes in Med-Surg, L&D, NB-100+ (home care & office). Has 26 years experience.

I need some input. Legal, ethical, etc...

My agency has a -- subpar, mostly unknown -- documentation app employees are required to download, on their personal mobile device, preferably cell phone. HUGE PIA, #1 due to the unceasing APP and mobile DEVICE upgrades/updates, eventually turning (for those that can stomach the app at all) a "marriage made in heaven" to "...may not be compatible." (HA! that's an understatement!)

My training for this app consisted of logging in and out; a few conversations with a few supervisors that really don't care what you have to say; (weeks of begging for more training/tips/advice); and a recent and entirely worthless one-on-one with a nrsg sup that didn't know what RRR meant under "cardiac."

FIRST DAY WITH TODDLER YESTERDAY: I requested an updated 485, twice, but January was all I got + moderate core strength, but flops when bored? tired? + siderails stay down! + based on Mom's surprise/curiosity as to why I kept checking the vent every hour, nurse's making up numbers.

The more I write, the insaner it sounds. I'm serious when I say, I have no clue how Medicaid approved this. We can't even see previous PRN meds given, so if a kid needs Tylenol...??

BOTTOM LINE: my employer thinks every single nurse, every single shift, every single time, regardless of client's status, or change in condition, should be able to finish their documentation, within their scheduled hours, and if they don't, they are strongly encouraged to finish in the families driveway, while sitting in their car. Never mind that families rarely have enough driveway or bandwidth for you to submit your shift from your car.

Can an employer make you work off-the-clock? I'm guessing not. Who determines how long it should or shouldn't take to document on any given client? What are my options? 

I sent a to-the-point, but polite email yesterday and received: "If you don't finish your documentation [off the clock] by 11am tomorrow, there will be disciplinary action."

43 minutes ago, RenaissanceNurse said:

"If you don't finish your documentation [off the clock] by 11am tomorrow, there will be disciplinary action."

"Allow me to spare you the trouble..." 

Nunya, BSN

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 39 years experience.

Sounds like you're playing with fire, or at least possibly losing your license.  Let's start with downloading a medical app to your personal cell phone.  If you lose the phone/it gets stolen and someone gets into the app they've found PHI protected by HIPAA.  Not sure who would be "responsible" here, you or the facility.  If this case went to a lawsuit for any reason your phone could be confiscated as evidence.  Not to mention you're paying for space on your phone for work (I say this cuz I have no more space for any apps without deleting one or more).  And is it legal to chart when you're not in the house?  You're out of your place of employment?  I would chart in the house, not in the car.

Siderails down and not being able to see previous PRN med times are safety issues that could get you to that lawsuit, even if Mom says it's OK to leave SR down.

This sounds like a mess.  I wouldn't even give 2 weeks notice.  And I'm not sure who'd you report this all to but I'd find out...after I'm gone.  Maybe start with Medicaid....?


Oh, and the documentation?  Well, you could be in trouble legally if you don't do  full and accurate charting, so I'd either work off the clock if you want to keep the job (hint, you shouldn't) or try and get faster at charting or just hang it up and quit.  You shouldn't have to stay late EVERY day with one patient but neither should your agency want you to chart poorly.  

Edited by Nunya

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

It’s nice of them to put in writing that they’re making you work off the clock. I’d send that to your state’s labor board with a formal complaint.

This job sounds sketchy as heck and I agree with the risks mentioned above with having the app on your personal phone.

Under no circumstances would I continue to work for this employer.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

Wow. There's so much wrong with this I don't even know where to start.  While expecting you to chart off the clock is only one of the very wrong things going on there  at least they were stupid enough to put that expectation in writing.  Save that text, forward it to your state's labor board.  Requiring staff to work off the clock is illegal for hourly paid employees. 

I would also report that along with the information that this employer is requiring you to chart on your personal device to your state's ombudsmen.  At the least they are required to investigate every complaint and I would think  the potential for HIPAA violations by expecting you to use your personal phone for documentation would trigger a deeper look into the practices of this employer. 

This may be an obvious conclusion but my final piece of advice is quit that job! If you are confident about finding another job immediately I wouldn't even bother with giving notice.