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Would this be considered abandonment?

Nurses   (1,435 Views | 31 Replies)

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Hi 👋🏼 nurses ! 
So I work in a poorly managed post acute/LTC we don’t even have DON at this moment (within the past 3 months it’s the third one that quit). I work 7-3pm only RN for 120+ pt’s and very often it happens that the next shift is either 2 hr late or non show. Last Sunday I worked by myself and of course nobody showed up for 3-11 pm shift, administrator made me stay even though I didn’t want to and ended up doing 16hr shift ( I have a baby at home to take care of). They paid me extra but I really don’t want their bonuses I just want leave on time. The most frustrating part of this is that nobody informs me about who is coming to the next shift and usually at 4 pm I start calling ppl and finding out that there’s no one to work. I’m so frustrated, my question is: If I clock out at 3 pm and go would that be considered an abandonment? Technically my shift is over at 3, I just feel bad for residents that’s why I stayed but I can’t be doing this over and over again. 

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7 Followers; 3,456 Posts; 24,465 Profile Views

Yes that would constitute abandonment and you would likely end up before the BON or worse. Find another job.

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

12 Followers; 3,553 Posts; 36,448 Profile Views

Once you've accepted an assignment (like when you come on at 7 am) it's yours until someone shows up to accept it from you.  Walking off is abandonment and your employer is taking disgusting advantage of this.  It sounds as though they don't even bother to cover the next shift.  (But they cover the one after that all right because legally they can't stick you for 24 hours.)

I'm not sure what you mean by being "paid extra".  Hopefully you mean time and a half for all of the second shift.  But that is beside the point.

You need to find another job ASAP.  These people don't own you; they just think they do.  If I kept repeatedly getting stuck like that and couldn't get home to my baby I would be livid.

Start looking for a different job today.  Ideally you can give your two weeks' notice today, too, if you can financially swing a possible period of unemployment.  Good luck.

PS:  Once you're out of there I would report these people to everyone I could think of to report them to.  Including the labour board.

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173 Posts; 5,053 Profile Views

Thank you for the response. Yes, I think it’s time for me to go. I spent there only 4 months and I’m a new grad. It was an opportunity for me to get some experience right after my NCLEX and now I need to move on.  

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scribblz has 13 years experience as a BSN, CNA, LPN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, Geriatrics, home infusion.

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That sounds completely unsafe! Definitely give your resignation ASAP, run don't walk! 

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1 hour ago, Twinkle007 said:

I’m so frustrated, my question is: if I clock out at 3 pm and go would that be considered an abandonment?

Yes; that would meet the textbook definition of abandonment--leaving patients without reporting off to an RN for continuance of their care.

Professionally-speaking it's best to give a proper notice, but an "effective immediately" resignation is appropriate for such an unsafe scenario. It sounds like the 120 patient load isn't a new development though? Yikes.

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43 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

sounds like the 120 patient load isn't a new development though? Yikes.

Yes,  I am responsible for all IV’s since LVN’s can’t hang them, I do transfers/change of conditions and I carry emergencies/codes, answers phone calls and coordinate pharmacy. I usually don’t take breaks because there’s nobody to cover, and then I have to do the time adjustment paper. The only plus of that place is that time goes fast and I’m getting practice with IV and meds, they pay on time but it’s the lowest pay for RN’s where I live. I wasn’t picky as a new grad and got this job a week after NCLEX. 

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10 Posts; 531 Profile Views

Yes by definition patient abandonment. You may also want to research how many hours straight RNs are allowed to work. Management is also obligated to ensure safe staffing is present. You cannot abandon patients but they cannot also make you work past a safe amount of hours. Also: run! This job is not worth it. 

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3 Followers; 5,653 Posts; 27,531 Profile Views

You are being abused, no doubt about it. That just really boggles the mind.

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71 Posts; 747 Profile Views

This is actually state dependent. CT Board of Nursing has declared that if your shift is over and you have made it clear that you are not accepting the next shift, then the employer cannot charge you with abandonment for not accepting mandatory overtime (it also said in the statement that it is an employer- employee issue and that the employer fire you). Staffing is the facility's responsibility, not the individual RNPatientabandpdf.pdf?la=en

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On 2/9/2020 at 10:53 PM, egg122 NP said:

This is actually state dependent. CT Board of Nursing has declared that if your shift is over and you have made it clear that you are not accepting the next shift, then the employer cannot charge you with abandonment for not accepting mandatory overtime (it also said in the statement that it is an employer- employee issue and that the employer fire you). Staffing is the facility's responsibility, not the individual RN

That's a nice/interesting document; I appreciate that they have stepped up and called out bad behavior.

But in their statements they do not (in black and white) essentially change the definition of patient abandonment. That is to say, they are kind of on a roll and then all of a sudden stop short of saying that walking away from patients at the end of the shift (when one is being told there is no replacement) is not patient abandonment. I suspect that's because it still is. (?)

They say:

Quote

Failure of a nurse to work beyond her/his scheduled work shift will not constitute patient abandonment as defined by the Board.

They outline the impetus for their statement at the beginning of the statement: Employers using mandatory OT or mandatory extended shifts as their first-line staffing plan and then when staff balk telling them that they will be reported to the BON for "patient abandonment" if they don't agree to the extended hours. So, from my reading they seem to be addressing the inappropriate use of mandatory overtime and the inappropriate threats that go along with it more than they are addressing actually walking away from patients. The quoted statement above, in context, basically says if you are advised that you will need to work 16* instead of 8*, you can inform your employer that you will not be doing that (and that they need to find someone to come in instead of using you as the staffing plan) and they can't fire back that you will stay or be reported for patient abandonment. Great/wonderful.

But that ^ scenario is not the same as: "Welp, no one is here and I'm leaving."

Even if it does say what I'm pretty sure it isn't saying (that you freely walk out of an LTC full of patients leaving literally no nurse) there's no way I would do it. I would inform them that I was calling the Ombudsman (or whomever you all call for pt rights violations), the state and whatever emergency resources were available, even 911--and then I would do those things/raise absolute h*ll before I would just walk away from all the patients.

I can't believe the document is actually allowing that. What say you all?

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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Don't leave before you're relieved, but once you are, leave for good.

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