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cool88 cool88 (New) New

Okay my dear nursing friends, let me have it. I just started a new job at a level 1 trama center. I'm working in behavior health for the first time and I've been a RN for 23 years. That's a story within itself, however we had a meeting this morning at 0930, I was about to take my break and they told me i had to go, we were all going through the day. The night before i worked which is no big deal but I woke up at 0100 and could not get back to sleep so I decided to get some things done and made coffee. I was moving along all morning, working happy and motivated. I then went to the meeting and i could not keep my eyes open, they were rolling the back of my head. Long story short, I was sent home and i think im going to be terminated.

Please forgive my grammar, i can't type well on a smartphone

So you fell asleep at a meeting? If your new I can see how this can come off worrisome...perhaps speak with your manager? Explain you didn't sleep well the night before and sitting down made you crash.

I'm sorry, but I am confused. You think they are planning to terminate you because you were falling asleep at a meeting?

My manager asked me if i was on drugs...lol

Im new to the hopital

My manager asked if i was on drugs, she was very nasty and im new to the hospital

Im uses to working on a medical unit, psych nursing ia so different...

They get mad at me for helping patients

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Has 18 years experience. Specializes in Psych, Addictions, Elder Care, L&D.

My manager asked if i was on drugs, she was very nasty and im new to the hospital

Did you explain you had been up since 1 am and/or offer to take a drug test?

Yes, she was upset because i embarrassed her in front of her peers

If you had worked the previous night, then obviously you were tired. That is to be expected. It is especially to be expected if this meeting took place at 0930.

As another poster stated, if you offered to take a drug test, I don't know what their problem is.

I used to work at a for profit psychiatric facility, and they never said a word about us doing too much to help patients. Interesting.

Your supervisor seems very insecure. Watch out.

NurseCard, ADN

Has 13 years experience. Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health.

So let me get this straight... you were up all night before you went

to work? Or did you get a LITTLE sleep? Like maybe oh, 2-3

hours?

Either way, no wonder you started falling asleep once they made

you stop and sit down. I've been in that state, where I haven't

had much sleep but I'm up moving, I'm going, I'm fine.. and

then as soon as I have to sit down to chart, it hits me!

I'm sorry this is happening... I think you've just found

yourself in an unfortunate situation; something

happened that was beyond your control, and you

have an unreasonable boss who wanted to blame you

for it.

You might have wanted to call in to work due to

not having much sleep. But if you are new, I can

see how you might not have wanted to do that.

Good luck, hope things work out for you, whether

or not you get to keep your job!

My manager asked if i was on drugs, she was very nasty and im new to the hospital

I think it's ridiculous that is someone's first thought these days - suspicion seems to be way out of proportion to reality. Everyone knows a story and blah, blah, blah, there you have it.

On the other hand, the part of all this that is your explanation (the slow-down in activity coupled with not having slept well the night before) is the same thing that may seem fairly dangerous - - in her mind, were it not for the impromptu meeting, you would have been out on the floor taking care of patients. That would've prevented the problem, though, from your perspective - but it doesn't mean it's unreasonable for her to imagine you nodding off in someone's room or at the nurse's station were it not for the meeting.

A much more neutral inquiry was in order, though.

I think all you can do is apologize. I personally wouldn't be able to do that without expressing my disappointment in the accusatory tone of the inquiry she made...but I definitely can't recommend that course of action because it's fairly risky and stupid. :)

You know, I've dozed off in many a class and meeting. I mean, I didn't start drooling or snoring, but I did nod off briefly. If you've been up most of the night, this is understandable--lots of people function better when they have something productive to do other than just sit and listen to other people talk about often boring issues. Don't feel bad.

I'm sure their concern was that you were there to work but seemed too sleepy, maybe, to do the job safely. Honestly, I wish MY boss would let me stay home when I'm sick and sleep-deprived--I generally get told to come in, suck it up, and do the best I can, which I know isn't safe, but all the brass is interested in is warm bodies. Just tell your boss you were really tired--I honestly don't think they can fire you for being a normal, imperfect human being. Good luck.

TriciaJ, RN

Has 39 years experience. Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I think I would have told them that even though I felt tired, I thought I was well enough to work. But now realize I must be coming down with something and need to go home sick. That should have been the end of it. Drugs? That's a bit of a stretch.

What do you mean they get mad at you for helping patients? Helping them do what? Please clarify.

NurseCard, ADN

Has 13 years experience. Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health.

I think I would have told them that even though I felt tired, I thought I was well enough to work. But now realize I must be coming down with something and need to go home sick. That should have been the end of it. Drugs? That's a bit of a stretch.

What do you mean they get mad at you for helping patients? Helping them do what? Please clarify.

My first thought was... in a medical facility, you are taught that

the customer is always right.. and you bend over backwards to

please your patients... bring them water, coffee, snacks, what have

you.. help them do this and that and that...

Psych is a totally different animal. You don't get to bend over

backwards to help your patients. They have to be more independent.

Further, you don't get to provide them with snacks, drinks,

coffee, whenever they want it. It's all a total shock.

I've been there. Anyway, that's how I read what she said.

Yes...unfortunately in psych we call that "enabling" and it's detrimental to everyone involved - they become more dependent, and you get the life sucked out of you! One of the most important parts of working in psych/behavioral health is learning how to set healthy boundaries and clear firm limits.

Hmmm... definitely not a good first/early impression. Your supervisor's mind probably jumps to drugs because she works in psych and sees a lot of it. A lot of people working in psych get a little jaded. I don't think its fireable, but I'd not try to make excuses or justify it, just apologize and make sure it doesn't happen again. It's true that if you fell asleep so easily in a meeting, you were likely not safe to be caring for patients on the floor.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

You are human. You nodded off in a long, boring meeting.

If your manager does not get that... you are better off getting out now, that later.

Best wishes.

If I had a nickel for every boring meeting I have nodded off in over the years I could retire. I find virtually all meetings boring, and in short order I am nodding off. Should be no big deal, everyone who is honest will admit to it at least once. And many times I have worked extremely tired, as long as I was moving I was okay. Again, no big deal!

I was in a similar situation, but I was pregnant lol. They wrote me up.

Edited by nursekbrown

JerseyTomatoMDCrab, BSN

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in med-surg, IMC, school nursing, NICU.

Im uses to working on a medical unit, psych nursing ia so different...

They get mad at me for helping patients

Helping them how? Like enabling them to not do what they are capable of doing themselves?

Try using the "quote" button at the bottom of a post so we can know to whom you are replying.

I can't imagine you would be terminated for falling asleep in a meeting if you worked the night before. I never had a manager who made us stay for a meeting that was any later than 7:30 AM.

Can you speak with your manager and explain the situation? I worked night shift 1st 5 years as an RN, as long as I was doing something I was OK but if I had to sit in a meeting I could have fallen asleep easily, I do not recall having had to go to meetings after my shift but I am sure there would have been a time or two.

I hope you do not get fired over this, I would like to think that people actually realize night shift staff are going to be more exhausted after work just from the hours being inconsistent with what human beings are hard wired for, we are not nocturnal by nature.

That being said when I was a new nurse they were not looking for drug impairment behind every yawn! My God, nowadays I would call off if I did not get any sleep lest someone mistake being tired for being loaded.

This, I believe, is the unfortunate fallout of the general 'opiate crisis' hysteria. I work in corrections wherein most inmates have issues with drugs/alcohol and from where I am sitting methamphetamine is still number one but the government, having failed miserably on their '80s 'war on drugs' which did not make a dent in drug use, changed their focus from meth (since they cannot control that) and turned the focus to opiates. This got the DEA a fresh infusion of money to go after doctors (doctors don't shoot back, keep good records and have assets to seize.) I had a Morphine pill roll under a pyxis a few years ago and everyone, including the pharmacist came to help find it. I asked what happens if we can't find it, the pharmacist said they would have some explaining to do with the DEA. When I suggested that those little pills must get lost sometimes he said that was not an option. It took 45 minutes but we found that dusty little pill and the hospital was spared an investigation. It really made me realize how big the opiate hysteria was becoming.

And...my 1st thought upon reading your post was that some pinhead with zero actual experience in addiction will decide falling asleep must mean you are impaired. Geeze, people can fall asleep just from being tired! It is like we have returned to the Nancy Reagan 'just say no' campaign in overdrive.

If I were in your spot I would just pay for my own drug test to avoid being dragged through the dirt for the 'crime' of being tired, you need to get in front of this and have evidence that you were not impaired. Best of luck!

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