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What can an RN do if she has been terminated from employment based on false allegations?

Friday March 28, 2014
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Question:

I was terminated from my place of employment based on some false allegations including that I failed to carry out an order to administer Tylenol and Benadryl. I proved this to my supervisor by looking at the Medication Administration Record on the computer that I entered information in the computer that the the patient was NPO. I can't give a patient PO medications if they are NPO. That would have been a medication error and going against doctor's order. Later that day, the doctor changed the patient to NPO except medication. I offered the medications to the patient, but she refused them. I explained to my supervisor I could not force a patient to take her medication.

I don't wish to have this in my file. I was thinking of contacting an attorney and want to know what you think. By the way, union representative that was present was of no help and made it clear my supervisor was not removing that statement.

Carolyn

Carolyn

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Carolyn,

Because your union representative already has told you that the supervisor would not eliminate what you asked from the termination letter, your next recourse would be to contact a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state to help you with this matter. It appears that the termination is based on some false allegations but the issue will need to be evaluated to see if the attorney believes the termination can be reversed.

One of the things the attorney may discuss with you is what you did in addition to documenting the patient was NPO so no medication was given. Did you contact the physician? Perhaps doing so, and notifying the supervisor with this state of affairs, rather than just documenting that she was NPO, might have avoided this problem and protected you.

Another issue you did not include in your question was whether you documented the patient's refusal of the medication after the physician wrote the order that medications could be given even with the NPO order. Again, doing so might have avoided this situation.

It is also interesting that your union representative did not go to bat for you. There may be provisions in the union contract with the facility cover this circumstance, and that might be the basis of his/her comment Be sure to take the bargaining agreement with you when you meet with your attorney so the attorney can review it generally and for any specifics that might apply to this situation as well.


Sincerely,
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.