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I was written up for not obtaining parental consent for a minor to be treated and a couple other violations. What can I do about this?

Friday April 6, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I asked a physician in the office if she could see a 17-year-old male complaining of pelvic pain. I was told there were no available appointments that day and the patient should call in the morning. I then asked the nurse if I could put this patient on the schedule and I would take care of the paperwork since he would be a new patient, which she said was okay. Also, I said I would fax parental consent to the mother before he could be seen. Before I could do that I was called to another facility. When I got there, I was told I was not needed, but did help see patients anyway.

Two weeks later, I was written up for scheduling a patient without written consent from a parent, even though I did have verbal consent from the mother. This verbal consent was not documented since this patient did not have a chart at the time. I did, subsequently get a signed consent form. I was written up for lack of written consent, blocking the schedule and some type of violation of the HIPPA law.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Tina,

It is very challenging for me to advise you on this situation as it is obviously very complex, based on the three letters you sent. The bottom line seems to be you believe you were wrongfully terminated. If that is the case, you should consult with a nurse attorney to see what recourse you have, if any. Find a nurse attorney by asking around (word of mouth); getting a referral through your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.nursingworld.org), whether or not you are a member; or from the American Association of Nurse Attorneys (www.taana.org). If you don't feel you can afford an attorney, you can contact the Legal Aid Society in your area.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.