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What recourse does an RN have if requested by one facility, where she works PRN, to bring in a job description for her second nursing job?

Monday June 9, 2014
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Question:

Dear Nancy,

I have been employed by a rural hospital for almost 15 years, working med/surg, ED, labor and delivery, obstetrics and postpartum. I only work there PRN so I took a second job at a health center, doing clinic work with a midwife team. The quality review and human resources people at the hospital have asked for my job description at the health center to see if there is any conflict of interest that would violate their conflict of interest policy. The conflict of interest policy states nothing to the effect of reviewing job descriptions. Can they ask for this information, and do I have any legal rights if I don't think it is any of their business?

Lyn



Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Lyn,

Generally, employers are not pleased to have any employee work for another healthcare facility, especially if the other facility is seen as being in competition with the employer for patients. Moreover, when an employee works in two different facilities, with potentially different policies, job descriptions, and scopes of practice (hopefully both consistent with the state nurse practice act and rules), the employer has a concern for possible liability for the employee going beyond the scope of his or her practice in its facility because the other employer has expanded the nurse's role.

You indicated your PRN employer had a conflict of interest policy, which did not mention anything about reviewing job descriptions. What does the policy say? Does it allow an employee to work at another facility, but not one offering the same patient services it does? Does it limit the number of hours an employee can work at another facility? Does it prohibit the employee from taking a supervisory or administrative role in the other facility? The policy’s contents are important in determining what the PRN employer can review in order to avoid any conflicts with your
other position.

You should consult with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can provide you with the specific advice you need in this situation. Take a copy of the policy, your job descriptions at both facilities and any communications from the QR and HR departments with you to the consultation. Employers do have a right to establish the employer-employee relationship and maintain boundaries set up to keep that relationship secure. Whether this request exceeds your employer's rights is a question that can be answered by your attorney. He or she can then provide you with a plan of action to resolve this situation.

Regards,
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.