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Retaliation for voicing concern over unsafe pratices

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by Keysnurse2008 Keysnurse2008 (New Member) New Member

Keysnurse2008 works as a MICU.

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You are reading page 27 of Retaliation for voicing concern over unsafe pratices. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

forrester works as a Academic.

4,021 Visitors; 197 Posts

OMG OMG OMG

What I am seeing here is the tip of the iceberg.

Here's what we know:

1)The "nursing shortage" is a manufactured lie.

2)Experienced, innovative nurses are ground to a pulp by the system, ON PURPOSE.

3)There is WAGE-FIXING rampant in the healthcare industry for RN's.

4)The Nurses Associations have been de-clawed, de-fanged and de-balled. There is no effective representation for nurses.

5)Retaliation is broad throughout the health care industry when it comes to quality improvement initiatives, and any action designed to adjust patient ratios to reflect safe staffing.

6)There is no nation-wide pension plan specifically for nurses; there is no nation-wide health coverage for nurses; there simply is "no money": no money for nursing educators, nursing programs, nursing legal issues, and nursing rights. There isn't even any g/d representative of the profession for our funerals when we die.

Who's got the cujones to take on this outrageous problem?

Sounds like you are catching on. I was fired (or I could resign) once for publishing an article in The American Journal of Critical Care (the day the article came out...I resigned instead).

I was "released without cause" after appearing on NPR radio to talk about the restructuring of the healthcare system.

I was almost released from a faculty position after daring to criticize the Organization of Nurse Executives group in our State.

Seems free speech only applies to non-nurses.

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herring_RN works as a retired registered nurse.

31 Likes; 3 Followers; 97,781 Visitors; 2,867 Posts

forrester, Welcome to allnurses.com.

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3,737 Visitors; 367 Posts

So sorry to hear about your experience.

Seems that is the way it is in nursing.

I basically went through it. Generalized term would be "complaining."

Whatever.

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forrester works as a Academic.

4,021 Visitors; 197 Posts

forrester, Welcome to allnurses.com.

Thanks, I hope we can start to generate some solutions on this board (there really ARE some) instead of just griping.

This country desperately needs nursing to lead, not follow, as we reform, restructure, or redesign our healthcare system.:nurse:

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746 Visitors; 18 Posts

I came across TNNurse's post from last November today, and felt compelled to check in- to give a brief update on the status of my own case, and to see how others were doing post-termination, post-mediation, post-settlement, post-blowing the whistle.

Well, my case is moving right along. At times, it feels as though it's moving slow... I suppose this is the "calm" before the storm kind of thing. During the holiday season my case seemed to be on everyone's back burner but mine. If anyone reading this post is just starting the "unfortunate" journey of dealing with the whiplash from patient advocacy, just remember to prepare yourself for peaks and valleys. There will be many of them!

A few times, I have found myself second guessing my decision. I think that's only natural... right? As my mind momentarily steps outside of the body, and I look at my life over the past two years... and I am so often amazed at how long this process has taken, how much longer it will take, and how much time, as well as energy I have lost due to simply blowing a whistle. This all could have... should have been avoided, had administration handled it differently.

I can easily feel sorry for myself, for my loss of a marriage, my children's loss of an intact family-unit, and of "quality time" with eachother. I can mourn my own losses of innocence, emotional well-being, and energy. While my heart, and mind begin it's healing process, I sometimes ask myself if what I gained in wisdom, is worth all I had lost in spirit. If I could go back in time and do it over again... would I?

Would I defend that friend that no longer stands beside me, or the patients who know no better. Would I pick up that whistle, and just blow? Honestly- I don't know what I would do. I would like to think that if I had to do it over again... I WOULD. But would I really? Honestly... the answer changes day to day. I do not know...

If you've walked in these shoes, I'm sure you understand, and if you haven't... I hope you never do.

The process of "the system" has a way of weakening even the most strong. I say that as a forewarning... not as a deterrant. I AM a strong individual... there is no doubt I am strong even still. Yet as I say that, I will also admit that within me, my spirit has been affected, it will always be affected, and I will probably always wonder "what if". Even when I feel the "umph" in my triumph- I will still wish to have never gone through those lonely valleys that "blowing a whistle" dragged me through.

The patient, whose untimely death lead to my termination is gone, his family has moved on, and they think nothing of the fact that I lost my job for speaking up because their husband/father died due to gross negligence. Rather than becoming MAD at the hospital, they are loyal to the community, and the catholic organization that the hospital hides behind.

So, I do wonder- why did I defend, when they don't even appreciate or recognize the efforts made in hope of preventing it from happening to others? If I care, but they don't... who helps keep the torch lit? Who helps "pass it on"? Who- besides a select few really cares not only about our own lives, but the lives of others? It can be a very discouraging time when you hit a valley, and the climb up can feel very steep. Be prepared, and don't get discouraged. =)

Realistically, I know that if the family KNEW the truth... they would be very angry, and they too would blow a loud whistle!! They would sue anyone, everyone, someone! They would be completely disgusted if they knew just how much their loved one actually suffered!

If they knew that he was innocently annoying a nurse, and therefore

given meds to "shut him up"- they would be mad!

If they knew he was never defibrilliated because the pads were not on the crash cart...

If they knew DHS didn't think it odd enough to investigate how it could be possible to have an ICU patient die, and yet, not have ONE rhythm strip of the entire event in his record... (in case you're not an ICU RN, every patient in ICU in on a 24/7 monitor)...

If they knew there were safety concerns brought to the level of the CEO's prior to his admission...

If they knew how much blood flowed from his body, onto the floor...

If they knew the nurse that negligently gave him sedation called out for her union rep rather than calling out for mercy during his departure, is still working as a nurse, and at that hospital...

If they knew... They would be so mad.

But, the fact is... they don't know... and quite frankly- I don't think many families really want to know the truth... because if they did, I think laws to protect medical whistleblowers would already be in place. The discipline would be much harsher, much swifter than what it is now. Our cases would be heard in a timely manner, and rather than going through "the system" at a snails pace, the wrongful death cases, malpractice cases, retaliation for whistleblowing cases would be expedited through the courts, so that by the time the case was heard, the truth would still be told with the same amount of passion, and conviction... because it would still be fresh in the minds, and hearts of everyone involved.

If you are reading this thread, it either because you are fighting a healthcare system who think they are unbeatable, you have fought the hospital who thought they were unbeatable, or you see a need for change in the "healthcare" system, and don't know if they're beatable or not.

Well, I'm still holding on to faith... so let's hope baby steps do make a difference. =)

As I stated, my case is moving right along. We did have a "settlement conference" over a month ago, and the hospital offered a substancial amount of money. From what I understand, it was likely more money than they've ever had to pay any other employee who has sued them in the past. Hmmm... does that make me feel vindicated?

How you place a dollar figure on a lost marriage, lost time with children, loss of a carefree spirit, and a career? I have no clue how I even came up with a monetary figure; I never thought it would be possible to put dollars on my emotional losses, but I finally reached enough of a healing point to be able to do the inevitable.

Let me start off by saying that a year ago... the figure in my mind, and heart was 400 times less than what it was when I entered the settlement conference. They should have considered themselves lucky... BUT- there was no meeting of the minds that day, and therefore- I will allow a jury of 12 to decide for all of us what is "fair", and "just". =)

Either way, I consider it a victory thus far, and my fight isn't even over yet. We are preparing for trial, still doing depositions... and WOW are those so incredibly hurtful to their case! The HR director has moved hundreds of miles away, the CEO has moved out of state, the manager "left" the building (rumor is she was fired), the assistant manager moved to another department, the employee in charge of medical records resigned her position, nurses have transfered out of the department, another employee filed a complaint with a EEOC for retaliation against her due to being my witness, and people I've never even met before know my name. "ROAR" =)

If this ends by trial... that would be okay with me. Even if after trial, they drag it on another year... two... three... by appealing the decision-

I would be okay with that too!

In case you don't know what happens when a lawsuit is filed, let me briefly fill you in: when a person files suit (in this case, against the hospital who has done a significant amount of medical record alterations, AND more)... EVERY patient record, EVERY nurse's name, EVERY given testimony, EVERY piece of evidence loses it's right of privacy, and is OPEN to the public. So... Every RN who aided in the alteration of documents, and/or retaliated will be on record as evidence to bring to the BRN. Every page that was altered on the patients record will be part of the public record. There is no HIPPA to protect confidentiality when a suit is filed. Full names (patients names are redacted from the medical record, but the actual record is placed on file), facts, documents... all truths are open to the public. So- in the loooong run... ANYBODY following my suit... who sues the hospital will be able to use MY case against the hospital to help their case.

The hospital's credibility would be put into question because they are... after all... the hospital who "alters patients records"....

Also, the freedom to tell my "story" without a gag-order hanging over my head is worthy of serious consideration. When you settle out of court, you agree to "shut up". Like TNNurse, I think seriously about self-publishing my experience. The details of the torture they put me through, or the manner in which patients suffered due to their actions would be "nameless" rather than attached to it's rightful owners if a settlement were to be reached. The blatent disregard for life, the respect for privacy, the alterations of medical records, time cards, and employees files are nameless... private if I settle outside of the courtroom.

Another change in my life is that I've recently obtained my CLNC. I am now trying to make a difference by working alongside attorneys, to help patients AFTER the suits are filed... Ironic isn't it? I can HONESTLY say that the terrible things my previous employer put me through, is also what has given me the expertise for my new career! I am so GOOD at researching medical stuff, investigating backgrounds, examining medical records, hospital policy and procedures, standards of care, etc...

As the saying goes... At the end of every rainbow is a pot of Gold, and in every cloud there is a silver lining. =)

I'll keep you posted. =)

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746 Visitors; 18 Posts

I came across TNNurse's post from last November today, and felt compelled to check in- to give a brief update on the status of my own case, and to see how others were doing post-termination, post-mediation, post-settlement, post-blowing the whistle.

Well, my case is moving right along. At times, it feels as though it's moving slow... I suppose this is the "calm" before the storm kind of thing. During the holiday season my case seemed to be on everyone's back burner but mine. If anyone reading this post is just starting the "unfortunate" journey of dealing with the whiplash from patient advocacy, just remember to prepare yourself for peaks and valleys. There will be many of them!

A few times, I have found myself second guessing my decision. I think that's only natural... right? As my mind momentarily steps outside of the body, and I look at my life over the past two years... and I am so often amazed at how long this process has taken, how much longer it will take, and how much time, as well as energy I have lost due to simply blowing a whistle. This all could have... should have been avoided, had administration handled it differently.

I can easily feel sorry for myself, for my loss of a marriage, my children's loss of an intact family-unit, and of "quality time" with eachother. I can mourn my own losses of innocence, emotional well-being, and energy. While my heart, and mind begin it's healing process, I sometimes ask myself if what I gained in wisdom, is worth all I had lost in spirit. If I could go back in time and do it over again... would I?

Would I defend that friend that no longer stands beside me, or the patients who know no better. Would I pick up that whistle, and just blow? Honestly- I don't know what I would do. I would like to think that if I had to do it over again... I WOULD. But would I really? Honestly... the answer changes day to day. I do not know...

If you've walked in these shoes, I'm sure you understand, and if you haven't... I hope you never do.

The process of "the system" has a way of weakening even the most strong. I say that as a forewarning... not as a deterrant. I AM a strong individual... there is no doubt I am strong even still. Yet as I say that, I will also admit that within me, my spirit has been affected, it will always be affected, and I will probably always wonder "what if". Even when I feel the "umph" in my triumph- I will still wish to have never gone through those lonely valleys that "blowing a whistle" dragged me through.

The patient, whose untimely death lead to my termination is gone, his family has moved on, and they think nothing of the fact that I lost my job for speaking up because their husband/father died due to gross negligence. Rather than becoming MAD at the hospital, they are loyal to the community, and the catholic organization that the hospital hides behind.

So, I do wonder- why did I defend, when they don't even appreciate or recognize the efforts made in hope of preventing it from happening to others? If I care, but they don't... who helps keep the torch lit? Who helps "pass it on"? Who- besides a select few really cares not only about our own lives, but the lives of others? It can be a very discouraging time when you hit a valley, and the climb up can feel very steep. Be prepared, and don't get discouraged. =)

Realistically, I know that if the family KNEW the truth... they would be very angry, and they too would blow a loud whistle!! They would sue anyone, everyone, someone! They would be completely disgusted if they knew just how much their loved one actually suffered!

If they knew that he was innocently annoying a nurse, and therefore

given meds to "shut him up"- they would be mad!

If they knew he was never defibrilliated because the pads were not on the crash cart...

If they knew DHS didn't think it odd enough to investigate how it could be possible to have an ICU patient die, and yet, not have ONE rhythm strip of the entire event in his record... (in case you're not an ICU RN, every patient in ICU in on a 24/7 monitor)...

If they knew there were safety concerns brought to the level of the CEO's prior to his admission...

If they knew how much blood flowed from his body, onto the floor...

If they knew the nurse that negligently gave him sedation called out for her union rep rather than calling out for mercy during his departure, is still working as a nurse, and at that hospital...

If they knew... They would be so mad.

But, the fact is... they don't know... and quite frankly- I don't think many families really want to know the truth... because if they did, I think laws to protect medical whistleblowers would already be in place. The discipline would be much harsher, much swifter than what it is now. Our cases would be heard in a timely manner, and rather than going through "the system" at a snails pace, the wrongful death cases, malpractice cases, retaliation for whistleblowing cases would be expedited through the courts, so that by the time the case was heard, the truth would still be told with the same amount of passion, and conviction... because it would still be fresh in the minds, and hearts of everyone involved.

If you are reading this thread, it either because you are fighting a healthcare system who think they are unbeatable, you have fought the hospital who thought they were unbeatable, or you see a need for change in the "healthcare" system, and don't know if they're beatable or not.

Well, I'm still holding on to faith... so let's hope baby steps do make a difference. =)

As I stated, my case is moving right along. We did have a "settlement conference" over a month ago, and the hospital offered a substancial amount of money. From what I understand, it was likely more money than they've ever had to pay any other employee who has sued them in the past. Hmmm... does that make me feel vindicated?

How you place a dollar figure on a lost marriage, lost time with children, loss of a carefree spirit, and a career? I have no clue how I even came up with a monetary figure; I never thought it would be possible to put dollars on my emotional losses, but I finally reached enough of a healing point to be able to do the inevitable.

Let me start off by saying that a year ago... the figure in my mind, and heart was 400 times greater than what it was when I entered the settlement conference. They should have considered themselves lucky... BUT- there was no meeting of the minds that day, and therefore- I will allow a jury of 12 to decide for all of us what is "fair", and "just". =)

Either way, I consider it a victory thus far, and my fight isn't even over yet. We are preparing for trial, still doing depositions... and WOW are those so incredibly hurtful to their case! The HR director has moved hundreds of miles away, the CEO has moved out of state, the manager "left" the building (rumor is she was fired), the assistant manager moved to another department, the employee in charge of medical records resigned her position, nurses have transfered out of the department, another employee filed a complaint with a EEOC for retaliation against her due to being my witness, and people I've never even met before know my name. "ROAR" =)

If this ends by trial... that would be okay with me. Even if after trial, they drag it on another year... two... three... by appealing the decision-

I would be okay with that too!

In case you don't know what happens when a lawsuit is filed, let me briefly fill you in: when a person files suit (in this case, against the hospital who has done a significant amount of medical record alterations, AND more)... EVERY patient record, EVERY nurse's name, EVERY given testimony, EVERY piece of evidence loses it's right of privacy, and is OPEN to the public. So... Every RN who aided in the alteration of documents, and/or retaliated will be on record as evidence to bring to the BRN. Every page that was altered on the patients record will be part of the public record. There is no HIPPA to protect confidentiality when a suit is filed. Full names (patients names are redacted from the medical record, but the actual record is placed on file), facts, documents... all truths are open to the public. So- in the loooong run... ANYBODY following my suit... who sues the hospital will be able to use MY case against the hospital to help their case.

The hospital's credibility would be put into question because they are... after all... the hospital who "alters patients records"....

Also, the freedom to tell my "story" without a gag-order hanging over my head is worthy of serious consideration. When you settle out of court, you agree to "shut up". Like TNNurse, I think seriously about self-publishing my experience. The details of the torture they put me through, or the manner in which patients suffered due to their actions would be "nameless" rather than attached to it's rightful owners if a settlement were to be reached. The blatent disregard for life, the respect for privacy, the alterations of medical records, time cards, and employees files are nameless... private if I settle outside of the courtroom.

Another change in my life is that I've recently obtained my CLNC. I am now trying to make a difference by working alongside attorneys, to help patients AFTER the suits are filed... Ironic isn't it? I can HONESTLY say that the terrible things my previous employer put me through, is also what has given me the expertise for my new career! I am so GOOD at researching medical stuff, investigating backgrounds, examining medical records, hospital policy and procedures, standards of care, etc...

As the saying goes... At the end of every rainbow is a pot of Gold, and in every cloud there is a silver lining. =)

I'll keep you posted. =)

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8,572 Visitors; 645 Posts

Wow...You're so very, very brave. You dared to stand for the truth against the odds and because of that you're already a winner.

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oktravelnurse has 12 years experience and works as a registered nurse.

1,430 Visitors; 55 Posts

Thank you so much for your update. I've thought about you often. I admire what you are doing and wish you the very best. If nurses don't stand up for the patients who will? We are all human and make mistakes but covering up the truth is not right. God Bless you

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13,813 Visitors; 1,355 Posts

Whistle, I wrote you a PM.My case is dragging on also, its been 3 years since my termination for refusing to falsify a legal document.My case is being litigated under the WI Healthcare Worker Retaliation Protection Act.My lawyers have not asked for a dime and they get paid when I win my case, by the EMPLOYER.If I lose they dont get paid and we appeal further.

The law provides for backpay with interest, as I said before , lawyers fees and possibly up to two years of front pay.This is a good law as far as state laws go. A federal law would be better as it gets heard with a jury in federal court and allows for punitive damages, much more monies, which seems is the only thing these nursing home corporations truly care about.

It's a tough road to go down when one decides to follow their ethical leanings. Few will thank you, some will tell you you were wrong to not lie and shouldv'e taken the easy road and not bucked the system.You risk being blackballed from ever working as a nurse again, there are many consequences of blowing the whistle.

If not protected by a union, you are a sitting duck, don't fool yourself and think you can take care of yourself in the workplace, because that notion would depend on an ethical and moral employer, sadly few and far between.

I have been very fortunate to have supportive family these past three years and lawyers who are very dedicated.I have had much physical issues after this D/T stress, BUT I would not change a thing, I would do it again .My self respect remains intact.

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RN Power Ohio has 15 years experience.

6,926 Visitors; 285 Posts

I think we should start a chronicle of incidents where nurses are retaliated against for speaking up, acting in best interest of patients, organizing, etc.

This way we can use these accounts to take to our legislators, administrators, newspapers and anyone else who will hear us to help support our cases.

If they are all in one place, factually and thoughtfully written then it will be a great tool for us.

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746 Visitors; 18 Posts

I think we should start a chronicle of incidents where nurses are retaliated against for speaking up, acting in best interest of patients, organizing, etc.

 

This way we can use these accounts to take to our legislators, administrators, newspapers and anyone else who will hear us to help support our cases.

 

If they are all in one place, factually and thoughtfully written then it will be a great tool for us.

Yeah, I would agree with you RN Power Ohio- although posts with ID's or specifics can't be posted here (as I've learned through trial/error =) )- people would have to be willing to send info via PMing.

I have often thought about having a group of however many people call the same number of a well established media figure once a day, for a 30 day period, asking for them to run a story about retaliation in the medical field, or what really happens behind closed doors once someone blows a whistle. If a habit is created in 30 days... wouldn't "the media" finally listen to us after being contacted/messages left by numerous nurses, etc after 30 days?

I sent my "story", and copies of my suit, letters, etc on CD to several politicians, and well recognized figures in the media- but went unheard. One RN is not even a squeek in the wheel... it would have to be SEVERAL, MANY, NUMEROUS different people to make a squeek, and many more to make it loud enough to create such a noise that "they" can't help but listen, and elicit change!

That's honestly what I think it will take for laws across ALL states to make unified changes, in order to protect those who stand up for safety/lives.

I don't think it's "fair" for different states to offer different levels of protection. The government employees have MAJOR protection, and even have a place to call that handles retalitatory complaint specifically... why is that? We are saving LIVES, yet where's our Federal number to call?

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1,439 Visitors; 16 Posts

I think the underlying question is: "What is a nurse?" At the end of the day, the basics are: "The nurse is the patient's advocate."

HOWEVER -:uhoh3:My dilemma: When the needs and advocacy for my patients is in (increasingly) direct conflict with the source of my paycheck - what are we supposed to do?

I think that is the core issue affecting ALL nurses right now. The original author of this thread gave a prime example and an increasingly familiar example of this dilemma.

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