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Unsafe Nurse - what can be done?

Posted

Specializes in LTC.

I worked wiith a PRN nurse who had been fired for not giving meds to patients and throwing them away instead. I worked behind her once and found a bunch of pills in the sharps container (her MO at previous job). Also she was getting through 2 hr. med passes in about 30 minutes. When several nurses complained nothing was done about it. Now this nurse is working PRN at my current job. This is making me crazy! What can be done? I informed management about her and, again, nothing was done. What should I do? I really dread having to work with her.:confused:

I am a nurse and social worker and have had to investigate all types of adult abuse. You did not mention where you work, but I am going to assume it is a long term facility. You are in a troublesome situation; however, do I need to remind you that you are a

MANDATED REPORTER. :pntlft: If you agency will take no action, you must. Your patients rely on your being their advocate. :redbeathe

PiperLPN

Specializes in LTC.

Thanks, I just needed to hear that. The whistleblower always becomes the bad guy, and that's the chance I'll have to take.

Sugarcoma, RN

Specializes in Trauma/Tele/Surgery/SICU. Has 2 years experience.

I really empathize with you. You are in a tough position. I do not understand why it is so hard to persuade management to take action against unsafe nurses. Just for my own information who do you contact outside of the hospital? I am assuming it would be the BON, is this correct? And what can the BON do in this type of situation? Do they have the authority to undertake an investigation of a specific nurse?

Forgive my ignorance, just wondering how this type of situation works.

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

I doubt you can report her unless she does something.

I really empathize with you. You are in a tough position. I do not understand why it is so hard to persuade management to take action against unsafe nurses. Just for my own information who do you contact outside of the hospital? I am assuming it would be the BON, is this correct? And what can the BON do in this type of situation? Do they have the authority to undertake an investigation of a specific nurse? Forgive my ignorance, just wondering how this type of situation works.

:redlight: Here is a link about Nursing is a mandated reporter (there are others, just Google)

http://www.ct.gov/dss/lib/dss/pdfs/w-410.pdf and another

http://nursinglink.monster.com/news/articles/7343-mandatory-reporting-is-a-legal-requirement

When there is abuse or neglect of the young, old or disabled, reports are made to the social work department's child abuse or adult abuse hot line. Additionally, an abuse report form can be downloaded from the social work's website. The number should be easily found via phone # search or the report form found via on line search. The state should have one abuse reporting phone number and when called, you will be referred to the correct reporting number for your city/county.

Reports can be anonmyous, but because we are licensed, we must give our name and other identifying info..this is especially important so the investigators can follow up with us. Remember, if you see abuse/neglect and do nothing and the pt/client suffers harm/death, you may also be found culpable :eek:.

A nurse who intentionally withholds meds from their pt--say the pt needs cardiac or b/p meds--and the pt dies there is a good possibility of an autopsy and blood will be taken to screen for drugs/chemicals. If no meds or a low level of the med is found in the pt's blood when there should be a certain amount if the pt was getting it per orders, the death could be considered a homicide untill investigated otherwise. After investigation, if the level of the med was the cause of death, the death could be considered medical error, malpractice, negligence, manslaughter, or murder. If you were found to have knowledge but did nothing, you would be considered part of the cause of death.

:pntrghi:Not reporting abuse/neglect is more than being a whistleblower or losing your license--you could lose your freedom. Follow the law if you see, suspect, or have knowledge of abuse/neglect to the young, old, and disabled.

Edited by MeganS

PiperLPN

Specializes in LTC.

You are so wise and that summary just put the fine point and why I just reported the situation to the state. I feel a huge weight off my shoulders now. Thank you all for your support.

noreenl

Specializes in school RN, CNA Instructor, M/S.

I know it's not easy to report a coworker because as nurses we tend to want to nurture and in todays economy no one wants to be out of a job, but she brought it on herself and you are being the patient advocate that we all should be INCLUDING HER! you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing and I am telling you this as an experienced union rep for nurses for over 10 years,

We have to be held accountable for our own actions!

nursinger

Specializes in LTC. Has 40 years experience.

Is she doing the same thing again? huhsmileyf3.gif

PiperLPN

Specializes in LTC.

Yes, it's still going on, according to nurses that still work there.

PiperLPN

Specializes in LTC.

I know it's not easy to report a coworker because as nurses we tend to want to nurture and in todays economy no one wants to be out of a job, but she brought it on herself and you are being the patient advocate that we all should be INCLUDING HER! you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing and I am telling you this as an experienced union rep for nurses for over 10 years,

We have to be held accountable for our own actions!

Thanks for your support, I feel better about it now, and you are 100% right - patients comes first.

Mammy1111

Specializes in ER, Urgent care, industrial, phone triag. Has 9 years experience.

In 40 years as an RN (not all of them working years) I have reported 2 nurses. One was showing up on the job at midnight, drunk. It wasn't her first time but it was her last time when she came to relieve me. The managers were aware of this and had warned her already. I loved her as a person and I had known her a long time, but I couldnt' pass my assignment off to her when she was in that condition. She was fired.

The other was a new grad who was over confident and underqualified. His approach to patients was unprofessional and he was off putting to them. He attempted to tell me what to do and how to do it...as a brand new grad and that was the straw that broke the camels back. I reported him as unsuitable for work in my department and that he needed to sharpen his skills and his approach to patients. I never worked with him again. However, I did read on a later date that his license was withdrawn by the State, so I now know for sure that my instincts about him were correct. He worked hard for his license, but he came on too strong and too confident for an inexperienced nurse. I honestly believed that he would be a danger to patients.

We MUST as nurses protect our patients..in is priority. If that involves reporting a coworker who is unsafe, so be it. It is part of our jobs as patient advocates.

PiperLPN

Specializes in LTC.

Some people just shouldn't be nurses. Thanks very much for sharing your story. FYI: The investigation on this nurse is underway.

NamasteNurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

Thanks, I just needed to hear that. The whistleblower always becomes the bad guy, and that's the chance I'll have to take.

Call your ombudsman. No whistleblower problems, you are anonymous.

Maria Lenore,RN

Specializes in Geriatric Nursing.

We are patients advocate. I think you should not stop reporting this matter to the proper authorities....

Just because she is working, don't assume nothing is being done. document your findings and release them to your manager. Example if you find lopressor in the sharps and it was to be given at 9pm. go back and retrieve the vital signs and see if there was a change. If it was lasix look at the output. You must be a diligent sleuth if you plan on taking this on. This is an administrative problem, not a personal agenda. Proving that she didn't give the pills is hard. She can say I dropped them and had to throw them away. Pick your situations carefully. Accusations can come back and place you in jeopardy.