Procedure on this? Nurse and her abuser

Posted

Has 7 years experience.

Hello,

I am needing some advise on this. Sorry but this is going to be long.

When I was 7 I was molested and abused for about a year. He said I would be in trouble if I ever told, which is why it went on for so long. I was afraid and never told anyone, until I told my friend during a sleep over. She knew what was happening and told her mom, whom in turn told my mother. When my mother found out, she of course had him arrested.

We moved to FL after that. I finished school and went on the become a nurse there. My husband and I moved our little family of 4 back to Arkansas to be closer to some of my family. I am a nurse at a local family clinic while studying to get my RN. Last year this man that I put in jail for 9 years started coming to my clinic. I bumped into him in the hallway and immediately went to my office manager to inform her of the situation. I have been working for them for 2 years now and have seen my Dr fire people that he no longer wants to treat for various reasons. My office manager informs me that since he doesn't see my Dr and I am not his nurse that it isn't a good enough reason to fire him. They put a note in his chart to never schedule him with my Dr. He isn't aloud on my side of the building. He has ended up on our schedule twice now and moved to the other Dr schedule. He sits in the same lobby my patients sit in and walks the same hall.. Usually when he is there, I try to get someone else, if anyone is available, to get my patients so I don't have to see him or he see me. He has come in several times over the last year. It has gone to him just glancing at me, to smiling at me, and now trying to joke and wave at me. He came in this past Thursday with a leg injury and was placed in the shot waiting area(very small side room with a few chairs). I had a patient in there and that's where we give our allergy injections. We were short a nurse on this day and very very busy. I can't just hide behind my desk and wait for him to leave so that I can do my job. I had patients waiting. My patient that was in the shot waiting area was there for a physical for work. He needed an eye exam. We use the Snellen chart that is on the wall in that room. While giving him his eye exam, my abuser sat, who was sitting beside my patient, persistently smiled at me. He made the comment that he should move his leg so that no one tripped on it, my patient joking said "you never know, someone may kick or stomp on it." And the abuser looked at me and smiled and said "Yeah and she would probably be the first to kick it" while laughing. I said in a rude voice "You are right" and took my patient to his room away from that man.

I felt very uncomfortable, and feel like he is just taunting me. When I informed my boss that he had spoken to me, she just said I should have had someone else get my patients while he was there. I don't feel comfortable or safe at my current place of employment and don't really feel like my boss cares. I had nightmares about this man for years and I have started having them again. I don't like feeling so vulnerable.

Should they even be allowing him there? I understand that once I get my RN and work in the ER I will have patients that I don't like, but do I have to deal with this man?

We recently made an accepted offer on our first home and are due to close at the end of the month. As soon as we close I have decided to start actively looking for other employment. I am going to look at other clinics, our hospital (that doesn't hire many LPNs), and the nursing homes. Until then, what can I do? It took all that I had not to be extremely unprofessional in front of my patients to this man when all I really wanted to do was stomp his leg and to beat him with his own crutch.

caliotter3

38,332 Posts

I am sorry, haven't even finished reading your post. Based upon my own experience with abusers, I would have to advise you to leave that area. Nothing is worth having to live around that. Your husband should understand and support you in this.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 224 Articles; 27,608 Posts

First of all, I am so sorry for what you've experienced in childhood. No one deserves to be violated and stripped of their innocence.

You may not agree with what I have to say next. Although what your former abuser did was inexcusable and abominable, he has paid his debt to society by serving nine years in prison. Unfortunately, he has the right to visit places of business in the same town where you and he apparently reside.

There's a specific reason I live more than 1,400 miles away from my hometown: it is filled with enough constant reminders of a painful upbringing, and I'd honestly rather not live or visit there ever again.

You cannot change the past, but you can change your response to the present. Ignore this guy. You are continuing to grant him victory when you allow him to rent space inside your head. Do not react to his laughs and words.

Good luck to you!

BrandonLPN, LPN

Has 5 years experience. 3,358 Posts

Im not sure I agree with the idea that you should uproot your life and move to avoid any potential contact with this man. Like the Commuter said, you do not want to allow him to affect your life any more than he already has.

If he harasses you in any way whatsoever, you ought to get a restraining order. Given the circumstances, I can't imagine one would be difficult to obtain.

Best wishes.

dream'n, BSN, RN

Specializes in UR/PA, Hematology/Oncology, Med Surg, Psych. Has 29 years experience. 1,149 Posts

I am so sorry you are going through this. I think your office manager is a miserable, unsympathetic person. I would get out of that job ASAP and not only because your abuser goes to this office, but also because your place of employment isn't showing any respect to you. Remember that you are a strong woman now, but I can understand how this has caused you to feel vulnerable again, such as you were as a child. You feel stuck with your job and having to deal with him. Honestly, I believe this is serious enough threat to your mental health to take control and throw down the gauntlet at your job. I would let the office manager know that you will be resigning if she does not handle this situation. I would also tell the physician I was working with the same as hopefully they won't want to lose a good employee and may stand up for you. As a child you were helpless, but now you must take steps to not feel victimized by this man again by using your strength and personal power. FYI-What are the laws where you live regarding obtaining a Restraining Order?? If you could obtain one, your employer would have to deal with this situation.

And the fact that he has paid his debt to society, does not mean you should forgive him or have to deal with him in any way, shape, or form.

Some jobs are just not worth it.

Edited by dream'n

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,836 Posts

You need to take this back to management again, because he is harassing you in the lobby. You are not safe, your workplace needs to protect you. If he isn't allowed on your side of the building, then why is he there? Document the times and comments, tell HR, tell your manager.

He may have "paid his debt to society", doesn't mean he isn't still the person who abused you, and is obviously enjoying your discomfort. Don't wait for a restraining order, go get one now (he is showing up at your workplace!).

Wile E Coyote, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical care. 471 Posts

In reading your description, it certainly seems your abuser is getting a thrill out of rattling you.

What I didn't read was any signs of paralyzing fear, self-hate or shame on your part. I'm admittedly reaching quite far here, but can't help but note that you sound like you are well-equipped to handle what must be awful triggers. (Not to minimize the struggle, mind you)

I'll also add that your loved one's have shown incredible restraint, as evidenced by said abuser's ability to remain among the living and to form cogent thoughts. :)

I just now googled terms like "seeing your abuser" or similar and hit on pages of info from laypeople on up to topic experts. Perhaps spend some time researching what more experienced folks have said worked for them or people they've counselled.

I do agree that escalating this issue to your doc could get better results.

Gooselady, BSN, RN

Has 23 years experience. 601 Posts

How dare that . . . man even look you in the eye? I hate to imagine what you are going through, and I can't imagine myself being any different. If I were in your shoes, I'd want to get MAD, angry (how dare he??) and that anger, which is perfectly normal and understandable, gives you a sense of power and control. The good kind.

Really let yourself rip into this pathetic POS, in your own mind. Be angry. And see how that affects you, perhaps it will help you get through the upcoming weeks until you can find another job OR you might find yourself pushing through the fear and out to the 'other side'. The very idea of this creature impacting your life NOW makes my blood boil. He deserves to have some big scary male (a doctor or coworker) speak to him, erm, firmly, and tell them if he even LOOKS at you this person will make him very sorry. Someone needs to set limits on him -- not YOU. You shouldn't HAVE to feel frightened and triggered and perpetually on guard! He is the one who did wrong NOT YOU. You have nothing to feel ashamed of, you are a serious Survivor.

I wonder, even if he isn't assigned to your doctor, if you could get your direct supervisor involved and go to this . . . man's doctor and tell them what is going on. People are likely to be supportive of this, this is one of those things where there isn't much if any sympathy for.

How much do you like this job? Are you willing to fight for it? Does your direct supervisor know what is going on, and that you are seriously considering leaving your position over this?

I'd ask for MORE help, and if you feel comfortable, push this about getting him assigned to a different office. He's the one who's done wrong, not to mention he is deliberately HARASSING YOU, yes he is.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 224 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Im not sure I agree with the idea that you should uproot your life and move to avoid any potential contact with this man.
OP was living in Florida for many years, but uprooted and relocated back to Arkansas to be closer to extended family members.

And the fact that he has paid his debt to society' date=' does not mean you should forgive him or have to deal with him in any way, shape, or form. [/quote']This is small-town Arkansas. If she resigns from the clinic position, she'll still likely run into him if she secures employment at the local hospital, another clinic, or one of the SNFs. There's no avoiding this man.

macawake, MSN

Has 14 years experience. 2,079 Posts

While giving him his eye exam, my abuser sat, who was sitting beside my patient, persistently smiled at me. He made the comment that he should move his leg so that no one tripped on it, my patient joking said "you never know, someone may kick or stomp on it." And the abuser looked at me and smiled and said "Yeah and she would probably be the first to kick it" while laughing. I said in a rude voice "You are right" and took my patient to his room away from that man.

(my bold)

From your previous posts I gather that you live in a smallish town. Does everyone in town know that your abuser is a convicted pedophile? (These things are usually difficult to keep secret). If not, I think your patient's comment to him was rather odd. Suggesting that someone stomp on someone's leg doesn't seem like much of a joke. I'd understand trip over or accidently kick, but stomp on is an act of aggression.

(I ask these questions because I'm trying to understand the dynamics of what's taking place at your clinic and in your town).

Your abuser is displaying some rather unsual behavior for a pedophile. Taunting a former victim of his crimes in public and in front of witnesses and joking about how you'd be angry with him is strange. Pedophiles are usually very aware that they're considered the scum of the earth and receive nothing but contempt, even in prison. Depending on their psychiatric profile they might continue with the control/power games in private given the chance, but it's brazen to do it in public.

Is this man cognitively intact? The level of arrogance he's displaying is disturbing.

I had nightmares about this man for years and I have started having them again. I don't like feeling so vulnerable.

I'm so very sorry OP. No child should ever have to experience what you have. I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to have to be prepared to see this man's face anytime you're at work.

Until then, what can I do? It took all that I had not to be extremely unprofessional in front of my patients to this man

I think it's asking too much to expect that you maintain a professional demeanour infront of this man. Your employer has been made aware of the situation and I think as employers and even as decent human beings, they should make sure that you don't have to come in contact with this man.

We recently made an accepted offer on our first home and are due to close at the end of the month. As soon as we close I have decided to start actively looking for other employment. I am going to look at other clinics, our hospital (that doesn't hire many LPNs), and the nursing homes.

Even working for a different employer you still run the risk of running into this man.

I realize it's not easy as you're already in the process of buying your new home and have family ties to the area, but if it were me I'd seriously consider moving away from this town for my own peace of mind. As unfair as it may seem since you're the victim and if anyone should move it should be the abuser, you still have to deal with the situation you're in. It's a crappy one, and I'm sorry you're in it.

Best wishes!

Edit. If you do decide to stay, I think that jadelpn offers good advice.

Edited by macawake

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

What I am suggesting by the following is not legal advice, just a thought going forward. Be aware of if this person is coming and hanging at the clinic because you are there (ie: coming 20 minutes before appointments, that type of thing). Be equally aware if he spontaneously "shows up" at any place you are.

I would think, and again I do not KNOW this, that he would have to be registered as a sex offender. I would go to your local police department and make an appointment to speak to the officer in charge of "tracking" sex offenders in your area. Just have her/him in the loop as far as safety measures in place, and your more recent situations where he was skating on VERY thin ice as far as making comments to you that were not appropriate. PLEASE do NOT make a privacy/HIPAA violation by naming where you work, that he is a patient there.....NONE of that--as you do NOT want to be let go because you have make a privacy error. Just a general, "now that I am back in Town, what are your suggestions so we are safe, as I can not get into specifics, however, there are times that I am in the same area as this predator, and can not leave. Contact is very limited, however, there is a great deal of potential for interaction that I can not control."

Someone in law enforcement who has more knowledge on the restrictions of his release needs to be spoken to. Just again be very mindful of HIPAA/privacy violations, and to discuss going forward the circumstances surrounding his release and how you can keep yourself and your family safe now that you have moved back to town.

I am very, very sorry that this has happened to you, and now it would seem the nightmare continues. There are many times that sexual predators will continue to attempt to use grooming/manipulative techniques to continue to be sure they still "have it". Sick stuff.

I would also highly suggest if there's a sexual abuse survivor group in your town, go. It can really help put things in perspective for you.

Edited by jadelpn

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 6 years experience. 2,055 Posts

I think you should tell the manager, the doctor, and whomever else is in authority at the same time, either in person or in writing, that if this patient is not barred from the office, you will resign.

Not in a threatening way. In a matter of fact way.

If they decide to keep a child abuser and let their nurse go then they get what they deserve. You leave and don't look back.