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Did an RN who completed a written, but not verbal report abandon her job? An LPN coworker was to give the relief LPN the verbal report.

Wednesday April 2, 2014
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

Based on the following scenario, who abandoned their job? The relief LPN accepted the narcotic keys during change of shift. The LPN became hostile to the RN and left the nurse’s station and refused to return for the report. The RN did not want to create a disturbance in the presence of the patients. The RN completed the written report,with an agreed understanding that the LPN co-worker would give the relief LPN the verbal report, which she did The RN left 45 minutes after her end tour.

Liza



Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Liza,

It is difficult to make a comment about a particular situation like yours without having many more details. For example, where did the LPN go? Why did the LPN become hostile? Did she still have the narcotics keys with her when she left the nurses station?

Job abandonment generally is defined as leaving one's position prior to the normal "off duty" time and without reporting it to one who must be informed of one's leaving, such as the CNO, the nursing supervisor or the administrator if one is in a long-term care facility. Additions to this definition, of course, are added to by the employer.

It also is important to keep in mind that as an RN you retain the ultimate responsibility for patient safety and are the one in charge. LPNs in most states function under the direction of the RN or other healthcare provider such as a physician. It is unclear if an RN was to relieve you, but it sounds as though the only healthcare provider in the facility or on your unit and ready for duty was the
relief LPN.

Your submitted question begs the question of whether someone, perhaps even you, were disciplined for leaving under the circumstances you did. If you were disciplined, you can grieve your discipline through your employer's disciplinary procedures. Be certain to follow time requirements for filing a grievance and responding to any decisions that might be adverse to you.

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.

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