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After I resigned from my position, the board of nursing contacted me with allegations of medication errors. What should I do?

Wednesday January 16, 2013
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I turned in my resignation notice and a week later changed my mind. My manager told me to rescind my resignation in writing. After about two weeks of chaos, I called and told my boss I would not be returning. I had been a nurse there for four years and was written up twice in the past five months for minor medication errors. My manager said there would be consequences for my actions. My last day was at the end of March. On May 18, I received a notice from the hospital that a peer review meeting had been scheduled for May 10. I never received the first two notices, so I waited for the determination. On July 11 the board of nursing contacted me with allegations of medication errors occurring between 2010 and 2012. While employed there I received favorable evaluations and raises. At the last staff meeting our manager told us any write-ups would be out of our file at the end of the year. Another allegation was that I didn't give some 7 a.m. meds, however I was told giving the 7 a.m meds was just a courtesy to the day shift. I worked the night shifts, was never late to work and only called in three times in four years.

Amy



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Amy,

The situation you describe seems quite up and down in terms of your employment and practice while at this facility. Regardless of how it sounds, you are now in a difficult place, due to being reported to the board of nursing and the fact that the peer review obviously did not go well for you.

You should seek legal representation from a nurse attorney or attorney who works with nurse licensees and who can defend you. The attorney you select will want to review all the documentation you have from your work difficulties, including any final determinations that were made at that level. Be certain to tell the attorney about not receiving the first two notices.

Also, it is unclear what it means when the manager says that administering 7 a.m. meds is a courtesy to the day shift. Yet, you said you gave some but not all of them. The issue of the time of report notwithstanding, what determines whether the administration of medications is done or not done? and by whom? It seems that there should be a hard and fast rule about their administration, either day shift administers them or night shift administers them. Having a fluid approach to who does their administration and when seems a little too loose, especially when medication errors are a high risk for nursing personnel and, in your case, you were written up several times for medication errors. Facility policy should be followed, if there is one.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.