Unsafe future nurse! What do you think??

Nurses General Nursing


I am a nursing student four months away from graduating, and I've run into a "situation" of sorts with another student in my class; it is causing great concern to me, and I was wondering what all of you experienced, professional nurses would think about this. A friend of mine, 'Melissa', is in my class; we've been attending nursing school together since the start of Basics. There are a number of things that lead me to believe that she will be an unsafe nurse, including the fact that she frequently sleeps throughout class, refuses to study because her 'television was calling to her', and spends many a lecture hour playing on her Palm Pilot rather than taking notes or paying attention. I know for a fact that she has completely FABRICATED various items of information while charting during clinical hours, including vital signs and patient status, because she is simply not paying attention or spending time properly assessing her patients. This list could go on FOREVER. She has said that 'everyone' guesstimates vital signs, etc. and uses that as her excuse, or says that 'he looked just fine and I didn't have access to the bp machine' or similar such nonsense. Somehow, she has managed to pass three semesters of a two-year program, albeit by the skin of her teeth, and I have no doubt that she will somehow manage to eek by on the NCLEX, becoming an actual nurse responsible for patient care. Now, recently, things have been occuring that have me very worried, and I don't know if there is anything I can really do about this, but I needed some professional opinions to ease my conscience. This reqires a bit of foreshadowing, so bear with me. ;>) She has been working as a nurse tech in a local ER. Though she has been doing satisfactory work (I'm assuming; she has yet to be fired or reprimanded...) the only thing she seems to spend her time doing is trying to hit on the med students and interns and paramedics (this is a large teaching hospital). We have not yet learned how to start IV's; this is out of our legal ability as a nurse tech, and we have yet to cover it in school (that is what we'll be learning in this last semester). However, the nurses in this ER are frequently busy and overwhelmed, and often ask her if she can start an IV and they will sign off for it. Because she is anxious to 'be a real nurse', she often does not correct medical staff and patients or their families when they address her as 'nurse'. Naturally, she is performing duties out of her scope of practice; it was only inevitable that she would begin to start IV's without properly learning how to do it. She took it upon herself to take a vial of Lidocaine, a TB syringe, and an IV catheter/kit home with her from the hospital. RED FLAG NO. 1: She is stealing supplies (including anesthetic!!!) from work. She convinced her ex-husband that she knew what she was doing and only needed extra practice (he was wary, naturally, but trusted that she was being honest), and sat him down to start her first IV HepLock. She withdrew 0.2 cc of Lidocaine (WITHOUT CONSULTING A DRUG BOOK; SHE ADMITTED THAT SHE *GUESSED* THE AMOUNT NEEDED!!) into the TB syringe, found a vein in the antecubital area, and injected the needle ON TOP OF the vein, rather than to either side. Her husband yelped loudly when she did it, and she withdrew the needle, afraid that she'd gotten it into the vein. She had already begun to press they syringe, so no doubt if she HAD accidentally stuck it into his vein, some Lidocaine was now flowing through his vascular system. (I also have a strong instinct that she DID puncture the vein; don't ask me why- it was just the first thing I thought when she told me this.) She then took the syringe WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN STUCK INTO HIS ARM AND WITHDRAWN, EXPOSING THE NEEDLE TO AIR and injected half of the remaining Lidocaine on either side of the vein into the tissue. RED FLAG NO. 2: She inserted a CONTAMINATED (contaminated by the air and by the bacteria/germs on his arm) needle BACK INTO his arm to finish the injection. After his arm became numb, she then took the IV catheter, started the IV, got a flash, then pulled it out and put a bandaid on his arm. Okay, anyone seeing yet why I am worried here?????? She called me, excited, and told me EVERYTHING and acted like nothing was wrong, even though I was terribly shocked at her bad judgement, to say the LEAST. It gets worse. I asked her about taking the Lidocaine from work, and she said that THAT WAS NOTHING, that she had access to a number of drugs/antibiotics on the cart at work, including (I can't remember exactly) Stadol or Haldol or something of that nature. She said she'd been tempted to take some home just to try it out. OH. MY. GOD. Okay, so then she continues to talk, telling me that Ancef is also on the cart, and now that SHE KNOWS ABOUT IV'S, she is planning to take some home with some IV supplies just in case she gets sick, so she can begin her own IV and self-medicate when she has the flu/cold/etc. She said that the doctors at work do it all of the time, in the ER, so why can't she do it at home? OH. MY. GOD. RED FLAGS! RED FLAGS!! I am so shocked at hearing all of this, that I don't even know what to THINK!!! What do YOU think? Before you respond, understand this: She is not joking. She is totally serious. I am not overreacting. I know her very well, and this is all true (in fact, I don't doubt that it's worse, but she just didn't tell me ALL of it). These are but the most recent examples. I fear for her patients. She is irresponsible and dangerous, in my opinion. I had to get this off of my chest, and I appreciate anyone who reads this responding with their opinions. Thank you.

I went to nursing school with a girl that sounds much like this girl. She always goofed off in class, when we got out of class instead of going home and making notes and studying, she ran the roads till late at night. And it never failed that the night B4 a test, she would call me and want me to help her study, or want to photocopy my notes.:( She passed every semester with a C. She was LOUD, OBNOXIOUS, RUDE, and thought she knew it all. We took a NLN competency test B4 we took NCLEX and she passed by 2 points...with a 55. Much to my surprise she did pass NCLEX....I think our instructors were even shocked.:eek: It made me wonder if they were just passing people because of the nursing shortage. Needless to say she went to work as a nurse, and had a big bad ass attitutde...she knew everything!!!! She even told nurses that had been practicing for years what they were doing wrong, and what they should be doing instead.Nurses there began to dislike her. Well she had her license for 2 weeks, and made a med error. :D She had double dosed a pt with a narc. and knew she did, and wouldnt admit it. Luckily another nurse that she was training with seen it, and knew what she had done. Moral of the story is that whether your instuctors or her co workers catch her now, when she gets into the real world, she will be caught....hopefully B4 she hurts someone. She will probably be much like the stupid new nurse that I know and get in trouble soon, and probably end up losing her liscense.:D

All I can say about this situation is run, don't walk to one of your instructors or directors and report this person immediately!! Would you want her practicing on someone you love?

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

i would say she is crazy, and unsafe, and if you didn't report her........well that would be downright terrible.

I am also a student and thought about what I would do if I was in your situation.

The solution I came up with was this.....

Make two anonymous phone calls (or have someone else do it who's voice isn't recognizable).

One to the hospital DON and one to the Dean of your school.

This will at least plant the "seed" and they will be watching this person.

I fully understand why you are on the fence as to what to do and I agree that something must be done, but you (I think) are also afraid of any repercussions that may occur to you. By making the anonymous phone calls it "removes" you from any identity and then in the future if you need to come forward you can do so.

Hope this helps!


Yikes...What a situation to be in! I am in agreement with the other poster's who suggest going to your instructor....PRONTO. I am sure they have dealt with this type of behavior before and know how to handle it. If you would rather remain annonymous then write a letter. Either way, do something! Not only do you NOT NEED to be worrying about this situation throughout your last semester of nursing school but also, would you be comfortable waking up in the ER if something happened to you and seeing her standing over your bed! You owe it to yourself, your fellow students and future patients! Good Luck...Keep us posted!



Specializes in OB/GYN,L&D,FP office,LTC.

report her asap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

:o Kristi, what an unenviable situation to be in. I agree with all those who say you should tell someone; preferably your instructors. They NEED to know your concerns. I would also print out all the posts from this forum so you have it "on record" that your only concern is for the safety of patients now and in the future. I would rather risk repercussions for "squealing" on another student nurse than risk something like what happened to the woman who lost her baby. Please have the courage of your own convictions and tell someone who is in a position to do something NOW! You obviously care a great deal for all the right reasons. No one is going to try to make you out to be BillyBadButt.

Good luck in all your endeavors. We need more caring nurses like yourself, and we certainly don't need nurses like the one you are telling us about. Help to weed her out and/or teach her what she is doing is dangerous, morally wrong and criminal! If she is making up this sort of thing and outright lying, well that too needs to be addressed. It is not normal to lie to this magnitude. At any rate, the bottom line is patient care is compromised by such a cavalier attitude and as patient advocates, we have a responsibility to prevent any harm coming to patients where we know them to be endangered. Doctors are not the only ones who believe in "first do no harm." Again, good luck and God bless you.

Specializes in Renal, UM, CM.

please turn her in before she could actually become the nurse for somebody in my family, my friends, or myself. :eek: :eek: :eek:

she'll probably stay 'local' to you. do you want her practicing her style of nursing on your family?

send this thread to one of your nursing instructors. distance yourself. get yourself a hotmail address if you need to send it anonymously.

don't sit back on this one. she could really, really harm somebody. possibly kill them. you don't want that on your mind.

debbyed has hit the nail on the head with her post.

ps: it's good to know the profession will be getting such a ethically balanced nurse like you.

:D welcome!! :D

:p OH! MY! GOSH!!! We had a girl in my nursing school like this, she was caught cheating on exams RED HANDED and a was given another chance and another chance and yet another chance because one, her dad gave money to the college and two, she was on all kinds of committees. She works at the bedside now and went to grad school straight out of undergrad and is looking for a postion as a director. From my fellow nurses that I went to school with who work with her now say they can't wait to see her go because she is very unsafe as a nurse yet she made it through school and passed NCLEX and apparently got through grad school also!

RUN!!! To your instrutor the dean whoever and save countless lives by not subjecting them to an unsafe nurse.!!!!

:eek: You must report this individual to an instructor immediately. If you intructor won't take action, go to the DON of your institution. If no action is still taken , go to your state board. Be sure to document all your contacts and get names. The nursing profession is stessful enough, we don't need to babysit an obviously deranged and demented person. This would be the nurse that kills a patient. :eek: I had a LPN that I used to work with that was horribly incompent. There was a nursing shortage. She would make mistakes left and right.:( We wrote her up several times, our managers respose was we can't afford to lose another nurse. We took the matter to the DON she reviwed it for several weks, in that time this LPN hung a Cardizem gtt as a bolus and killed a patient. We documented all of our attempts to rectify the situation and when the court case started, none of us were called to testify:( She lost her job and her license but it was too late. The only thing I regret not doing is going to the board of nursing. We could have saved that patient.

Yikes, report her now. The instructors as well as the ED supervisor need to know who they are dealing with. Just think how you would feel if she harms a patient. Tell them what you know and let them decide how to deal with the information. As a nurse you of course are patient advocate first and foremost and that in my opinion includes doing what we can to protect patients from unsafe nurses.


I dont envy the position you are in. Fact is, she needs to be reported over and over until someone listens. I too have been trying to decide what i would do. The problem with reporting her anonymously is that you don't know if they believed it or not. I think that i would go directly to my teacher and spell out the whole thing to her. Then check up with her to see if anything is being done. If nothing seems to be done, go up higher and higher until something is done.

I hope that i am never put in your position, however, something needs to be done. Please don't sit on this any longer. I hope that you have already reported this. If not, there is no time like the present.

Take care


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