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Reported for a swear

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Dawwn Dawwn (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

Hi, I've been a nurse for nine years. The facility I did work for was great. In four years I haven't been wrote up, made a med error and picked up extra shifts.

This is what I'm hoping to get some advice on. At the end of a shift that I had been kick in the stomach, had my hair pulled and had good size scratches down my arm, I was pinned in my chair up against the nursing station by a larger resident in a wheel chair. This resident had been persistent all shift.

Now we can try non pharmaceutical interventions however none of them seemed to work. I had wheeled him over to his own hall several times but he came back.I

What he wanted was to go into a females room. No can do! This is how I made the biggest mistake of my life. I looked at the ceiling and let out a swear. You guessed. I don't work there anymore and they plan on reporting me for abuse of a resident.

So having a rough day can go very wrong. Doesn't matter what happened. Really does encourage one to lie the next time. Stupid me was honest about it. Had anyone ever been here? I never would have imagined.

DextersDisciple, BSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

What exactly did you say...? Very extreme and a disgrace for overlooking the multiple assaults on the facilities part.

Edited by DextersDisciple

Did you file a police report for the assaults? Have you consulted an attorney? You need to fight back. This termination, wrongful or otherwise, could put a definite kink in your career.

DextersDisciple, BSN, RN

Has 8 years experience.

26 minutes ago, caliotter3 said:

Did you file a police report for the assaults? Have you consulted an attorney? You need to fight back. This termination, wrongful or otherwise, could put a definite kink in your career.

This x 100.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

11 hours ago, Dawwn said:

I looked at the ceiling and let out a swear. You guessed. I don't work there anymore and they plan on reporting me for abuse of a resident.

This is a very gray area, Dawwn: You admit to stating a profanity, but it was not directed at the patient.

I had something of a similar case back in the early 90's- saying something deemed as inappropriate to a doctor and getting suspended for it, also "patient abuse"- and ended up 1) receiving unemployment benefits for the time suspended 2) had the abuse charge expunged from my record and 3) received back pay for the time suspended.

Here's what I did: I filed for unemployment benefits. The department of employment security investigated the case.That's how I got unemployment benefits. In my experience, I have found adjudicators to be true humanitarians.

I went to the union. It took a year and a half, I had left the facility for, say, about six months, but the union was able to get the charge off of my record and get me back pay for the time suspended.

Dawwn, this is my opinion only: You should have not been terminated for patient abuse if your profanity was not directed at the patient because it does not meet criteria. Unless you directly threatened the patient, this is not patient abuse.

HOWEVER... the use of profanity in a professional setting does meet criteria for reprimand up to termination, according to my facility's employee handbook.

There are extenuating circumstances here, in that you probably used profanity as a means of stress relief. According to several online sources, profanity in the workplace is sometimes allowed for that reason.

I'm in the middle of filing a complaint for a hostile workplace right now and the use of flagrant profanity is one of my charges. However, unlike your situation, Dawwn, the profanity was used in a professional meeting.

Good luck, the best to you in dealing with this stressful situation, and please, let us know how it turns out.

They must be exceptionally well staffed to fire you for saying one swear word, or they don't care about staffing. I think you should file a police report also and I'll bet you'll magically get your job back. Then you'll have to decide if you want to continue to work there. If you don't file a report then things like this will continue and nurses have been killed by patients. It's up to you but I'd be calling the cops and a lawyer, most lawyers give free consultations. What do you have to lose?

Swellz

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown. Has 6 years experience.

I'm just hear to say that I said a few swear words on your behalf after reading your post. I'm so sorry you're going through this!

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

1 hour ago, Swellz said:

I'm just hear to say that I said a few swear words on your behalf after reading your post. I'm so sorry you're going through this!

I know. The OP should confront management and cuss them out!!

Or not.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

Who turned you in? What ever happened to having each others' backs? I do not condone profanity in a professional (or any, for that matter) workplace, but I would have approached you first and discussed it with you before going to management. And this was definitely not patient abuse, who made that decision. I agree that you should fight this, you don't want that on your record when it is not true.

Dawwn

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

I'm relieved to say that after talking to a lawyer I called corporate. Explaining I felt I was unfairly fired. Never once was I asked what led up to this. And given that I had a spotless record this should be considered. Also I had turned in my resignation a week prior so it's on record that I resigned. Not that I was fired. Also the DON told me she never filed it with the board. Only a lesser council of aging. Years of advocating for other people finally paid off. I've never actually advocated for myself before but will continue to fight this.

Can you indicate the response from corporate? Any hope to have the termination reversed or did they simply placate you with “We’ll look into this”?

3 hours ago, Dawwn said:

I'm relieved to say that after talking to a lawyer I called corporate. Explaining I felt I was unfairly fired. Never once was I asked what led up to this. And given that I had a spotless record this should be considered. Also I had turned in my resignation a week prior so it's on record that I resigned. Not that I was fired. Also the DON told me she never filed it with the board. Only a lesser council of aging. Years of advocating for other people finally paid off. I've never actually advocated for myself before but will continue to fight this.

But did you report the assault to the police?

55 minutes ago, Elaine M said:

But did you report the assault to the police?

I also wanted to know this.

Dawwn

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

The termination was reversed. As I had already turned in a letter of resignation and had planned to leave for another position prior to this happening. Corporate did not respond back the DON called.

Dawwn

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 10 years experience.

I did not file anything with the police. I guess you get so use to this in a nursing home you no longer think you have rights.

8 minutes ago, Dawwn said:

I did not file anything with the police. I guess you get so use to this in a nursing home you no longer think you have rights.

It's not too late.

Glad to hear they reversed the termination since they got what they wanted anyway, you gone.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

3 hours ago, Elaine M said:

But did you report the assault to the police?

Ya know, Dawwn, this would be a prudent thing to do. It would wrap the whole scenario up zip zip and make it for what it really was without a doubt:

The patient accosted you and out of supreme stress you used profanity. We are allowed a reaction equal to an action. The profanity was a big enough deal that it caused a major bump in the road and the aggression toward you should be interpreted as just as major of a bump.