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Brent's Law NEWS
Is it OK for a physician to dispense meds in a cup with no written instructions as to what it is or how to take it upon patient discharge?
Question: Dear Nancy, In dispensing meds upon discharge of a patient from a mental health unit where I work, the physician puts pills in a cup and tapes it to the discharge papers for the patient to take at home. It is up to the RNs to give the papers and meds in the cup to the patient when they are being discharged. There are no instructions as to when to take the med or name of med written anywhere. The doctor...READ MORE »
What recourse do RNs have on working with a manager who was sent elsewhere for a while after being caught encouraging false documentation?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am a staff RN in MICU. We had a nurse manager who was removed from her position due to staff protests against her and after she was caught encouraging false documentation on a patient. She was reassigned to be an educator and moved to a different facility for a couple of years. She is coming back as our educator and will be teaching us classes. We believe none of the above incidents were...READ MORE »
What recourse do RNs working in telehealth have if the company they work for reimburses them for licensure in 18 states but not the others?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am writing to you on behalf of our collective team. We have read some of your previous letters and replies on the topic of telehealth nursing across state borders. We agree with your stand that we are practicing nursing in whatever state the patient is located on the other end of the phone. In reviewing almost every state's nurse practice act, it appears once you identify yourself as a nurse...READ MORE »
What recourse does an RN on a rehab unit have if accused by the DON of not giving pain meds even when it's tracked in the MAR?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am a nurse on a rehab unit. I work midnights. Lately my director of nursing has been approaching me stating I am not giving pain meds at night. Not only do I give them, I give them before they ask. She is talking about turning me in to state for abuse. I say it's in the medicine administration record and you can ask my CNAs. I have never been in trouble as a nurse for 13 years. I also asked...READ MORE »
What can an RN do who is the target of regular outbursts by one physician at the facility where she works?
Question: Dear Nancy, I've worked at the same hospital for 15 years, with 13 years in its ED. One ED doctor always yells at me and bullies me. A nurse manger witnessed the last flare up as did most of the ED staff and some patients. I wrote up an incident report, the doctor talked to my nurse manager and now I have to have a sit down meeting with him. I know they will just give him a slap on the wrist and let him go...READ MORE »
What are a nurse's legal and ethical options for handling unacceptable discharge plans for a family member?
Question: Dear Nancy, My mother was discharged from the hospital. Because I work as a nurse, I know she was sent home with an unacceptable discharge plan. She has no insurance and is in the process of getting a permanent residence. She also is a new dialysis patient .and the discharge plan is for her to pay cash at a dialysis center. It is not affordable. Her nephrologist did not clear for discharge, the details of...READ MORE »
Was it okay for my manager to not follow health-related recommendations about my work schedule from my doctors to the hospital's disability office?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am a floor nurse with generalized anxiety disorder. I take Klonopin to control this. However, sometimes the unit is a little overwhelming due to my above disorder. I accepted this job at a local hospital and was progressing well, per preceptor reports to me and the nurse educator. As I moved through orientation and was ready to come off, my nurse manager asked how he could be supportive of...READ MORE »
Is it worth trying to fight a termination six months after it occured?
Question: Dear Nancy, I had a medical problem that caused me to exhaust my light duty. Prior to having surgery it was known that I would be off work for at least four months and when I returned, I would never be able to return to the floor and needed a desk job with limited standing and walking. When I was released by my doctor, the human resources rep and I were looking for a new position. I used up my short-term...READ MORE »
What can care managers do to help patients when a physician's practice makes it difficult for them to make follow up appointments after ED visits and hospital admissions?
Question: Dear Nancy, I work as an RN care manager for a network that is contracted by our state Medicaid program. RNs are notified when a patient has been in the ED or hospital and follow up with them to make sure they have the knowledge and resources to prevent readmission. It is difficult for the patients to contact one of the physician's practice to make appointments and his patients have high ED use and...READ MORE »
Are there ways to gain part-time employment with law firms as a nurse consultant without the legal nurse consultant certification?
Question: Dear Nancy, I have been interested in pursuing my career in law, but paying for law school is not feasible at this time. Are there any other ways to gain part-time employment with law firms as a nurse consultant without the legal nurse consultant certification? Donna Nancy Brent replies: Dear Donna, Although certification as a legal nurse consultant would be valuable, many nurses provide consultation...READ MORE »
Is it legal for a nurse to sign as a witness on a consent form faxed from a doctor's office?
Question: Dear Nancy, My department has been having issues with consents faxed from doctors' offices. They are being sent to us without a witness signature. Our director has told us instead of obtaining a new consent we should confirm with the patient if the information was discussed with them and then sign our name on the fax as the witness. Is this correct and legal? Abbey Nancy Brent replies: Dear Abbey, The...READ MORE »
Is it legal for a hospital to withhold information that could implicate the nursing supervisor in a medical malpractice suit?
Question: Dear Nancy, Is it legal for a hospital to withhold information that could implicate the nursing supervisor in a medical malpractice suit? Robert Nancy Brent replies: Dear Robert, Your question is a little vague so it is difficult to understand exactly what you are asking. Some general comments can be made, however. Intentionally withholding information during any aspect of a filed case is neither ethical...READ MORE »
Can my employer terminate me without offering assistance, then report me to the state board of nurse examiners if I fail a drug test?
Question: Dear Nancy, I recently failed a drug test at work. I was terminated for violating hospital policy. I was never accused of impairment or endangering patients. Can my employer terminate me without offering me assistance (state peer assistance program), then report me to the state board of nurse examiners? My nurse practice act states the employer is obligated to report to BON if the nurse is suspected to be...READ MORE »
What recourse does an RN, who is a breast-feeding mom, have if the unit where she works is so understaffed she cannot take breaks to pump milk?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am a breastfeeding mom and work 12-hour shifts on a busy rehab floor. A new company bought our hospital and the staffing grid has changed. I do not feel safe leaving the floor to pump. There are two nurses for 14 busy patients and no tech, which would leave one nurse for 14 acute rehab patients. This is so upsetting, I have been depressed. What are my rights? Lilian Nancy Brent replies: Dear...READ MORE »
In an employer-sponsored clinic, can an RN provide services ordered on an RX or letterhead, even is she doesn't know the employee's doctor?
Question: Dear Nancy, In an employer-sponsored clinic, if a nurse does not have a professional working relationship with an ordering licensed physician or access to a client's medical record, can the nurse provide services (i.e. maintenance IM meds, lab draws, suture removal, etc.), which are ordered on an RX or letterhead? If not, what is required of the nurse to be able to perform such written orders? Roberta...READ MORE »