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Treating an ex family member

Nurses   (1,444 Views | 26 Replies)
by nurse_lime nurse_lime (New) New

506 Profile Views; 13 Posts

I work for a psychiatric crisis center. This is actually my 6th year anniversary

 

i am contingent now. At the psych facility we receive packets to come in and be psychiatrically evaluated. I was working a midnight shift.  We have a pending list of patients to come in and sometimes if we read their charts and we see they could easily be decerted we can call them in. 
 

I happened to see my dads ex wife. We never got along while they were married. Also did haven’t seen her in 16 years. I decided to call her in for being curious and also I knew she would be be a quick decert. 
 

 

she came in and I had to assess her.  We chatted caught up, I explained the process and I said if you ever needed anything here’s my number. My heart was in the right place. 
 

few days later a friend of mine whom I used to be really close with but now she’s a supervisor and doesn’t know how to act so we’re fallen out. Anyways she wrote a recipient rights on me because it’s a conflict of interest which isn’t true because I’ve taken care of many people I know. 
 

needless to say the recipient rights went no where 

 

so today they needed a nurse and I went to work 3 hours into my shift I noticed I couldn’t get into the program. I was inactivated. I asked a supervisor and he looked into it. 
 

he came up to me and told me I was suspended pending investigation but was unable to tell me why. This was news to me 

 

so I blew up my nursing supervisors phone- we are pretty close and I explained to her my file a and I asked if she knew about it and she said yes.  WhiCh baffled me as to why she didn’t tell me 

 

well apparently my fathers ex wife came to my job and told them I contacted her. I had sent her a text  a week after discharge asking if she was ok and I wanted to know if I did something wrong   Because I was being accused oF guiding her what to say.  Which I didn’t. If she needed help she needed it.  She said she was sleeping and would contact me later. I never contacted her again. This was all via text. 
 

so she went to my work and showed them the text.  Per my supervisor she doesn’t know if she can save my job. 
 

I know I was Unprofessional and crossed a boundary but in my defense it was an old family member and my heart was in a good place. But then again I never should’ve contacted her regardless. 
 

I am distraught and so mad at myself for my stupid actions. I kind of want to resign right now just to get it over with. But I would like other people’s opinions. And please don’t be harsh I’m already beating myself up as is.  

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7 Followers; 3,337 Posts; 23,190 Profile Views

I wouldn't resign just yet but you might want to retain an attorney. Even if you resign there very well could be board actions. This could get ugly fast.

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13 Posts; 506 Profile Views

It wasn’t a hippy violation. I Had her number. And she was ok with contact afterwards 

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7 Followers; 3,337 Posts; 23,190 Profile Views

It's HIPAA and it's going to be your word against hers. Who do you think they will listen to?

Also even if they can't prove a HIPAA violation it was most certainly a boundry violation. Still in the purview of the board.

Edited by Wuzzie

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13 Posts; 506 Profile Views

Please explain the hippa portion to me so I understand. I never disclosed any information and as far as I know if she was willing to talk to me after discharge with her consent what’s the problem 

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,384 Posts; 79,576 Profile Views

Yeah. Sorry about the situation, nurse_lime, but as you said , "I know I was Unprofessional and crossed a boundary but in my defense it was an old family member and my heart was in a good place. But then again I never should’ve contacted her regardless."

As soon as I've found out a family member, ex or not, is a patient, I distance myself and do nothing to jeopardize confidentiality.

Sorry & good luck to you, nurse_lime.

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7 Followers; 3,337 Posts; 23,190 Profile Views

You got in a chart you know you shouldn't have. You put it right out here for all to see when you said you were "curious". Somebody else could have done it. This was a minefield you shouldn't have walked through. Do you have proof of consent to contact? Apparently the ex-wife has an issue with the entire situation or she wouldn't have reported it. You asked for opinions. I'm giving you mine. If you don't agree with it it's no skin off my nose.

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13 Posts; 506 Profile Views

I have access to all patient packets that are faxed over from hospitals I fill out these blue sheets with what’s going on psychiatrically and if there’s medical complications as well. There’s usually one nurse working and that was me.  So that’s my job. That’s not hippa 

 

I have verbal consent.  But the issue isn’t because of me it’s because of the ugly divorce she went through with my fAther. 
 

they had a horrible marriage and divorce. So this was  a way to get back at my father even though it doesn’t hurt him 

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,384 Posts; 79,576 Profile Views

5 minutes ago, nurse_lime said:

Please explain the hippa portion to me so I understand. I never disclosed any information and as far as I know if she was willing to talk to me after discharge with her consent what’s the problem 

HIPAA is overkill protecting patients' confidentiality. Any contact outside of the realms of the professional relationship is a violation.

In other words, HIPAA believes that if you say the word "murder", you've committed a murder.

(Disclaimer: My subjective perspective.)

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FacultyRN has 12 years experience.

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You said you never got along with this person when she was married to your father, stated "I decided to call her in for being curious," and work in a sensitive, personal field where people aren't interested in being a source of your curiosity. Of course she probably felt like she needed to be nice in her interactions with you; if not, she'd worry that you'd pass along her personal psychiatric information to her ex.  Then, after learning you were in trouble, you contacted her again to ask if you'd done something wrong?!

This demonstrates poor judgment on many levels, and is 100% unprofessional and a boundary violation. 

 At this point, the best you can do is take responsibility for your inappropriate actions, accept your consequences, and move on.  Hopefully your consequences will only involve your place of employment and not the Board.  

Editing to add: Your statement "They had a horrible marriage and divorce. So this was a way to get back at my father" makes me rethink my comment about hopefully no Board involvement. Are you honestly blaming the mental health PATIENT for reporting her discomfort about your curiosity-inspired intrusion instead of fully owning this situation for what it is - an inappropriate mess you personally created? The patient is not in the wrong here, in any way, regardless of her (perceived) intentions.

Edited by FacultyRN

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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19 minutes ago, nurse_lime said:

Also did haven’t seen her in 16 years. I decided to call her in for being curious and also I knew she would be be a quick decert. 

With all due respect, it is hard to say your heart was 100% "in the right place" when you also admit that one of the reasons you called her in was because you were being nosey, essentially. 

I would be absolutely livid if a healthcare worker whom I have a  history with contacted me after such a personal thing as a psych eval simply because they were, essentially, being nosey and wanted to see how I was doing AND then put me on the spot and see if they did something wrong. And yes, I would feel my privacy was violated and professional (and personal) boundaries were crossed. 

Your first mistake was calling her in specifically because you "were curious." Your second mistake was giving out your personal number in case she needed anything (assuming you don't give this to every random patient that comes in). Your third mistake was reaching out to her on her own accord, not just to check in on her like you say but to really get answers because you feel like you did something wrong (neither of which are appropriate reasons). Hopefully you can see your many grave serious mistakes here and never make them again.

I agree with Wuzzie, I would definitely retain a lawyer just to CYA. I would also start looking for new employment - More than likely you are going to be terminated.

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7 Followers; 3,337 Posts; 23,190 Profile Views

4 minutes ago, nurse_lime said:

I have access to all patient packets that are faxed over from hospitals I fill out these blue sheets with what’s going on psychiatrically and if there’s medical complications as well. There’s usually one nurse working and that was me.  So that’s my job. That’s not hippa 

Like I said even if they can't pin a HIPAA violation on you they certainly have grounds for a boundary violation and the board will not like that. I would get an attorney. 

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