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Brent's Law NEWS
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 »
Where does a private aide's responsibilities caring for a patient cause conflict with the facility's aides?
Question: Dear Nancy I work for a home care agency that also supplies aides to private patients in an assisted living facility to allow the patient to delay nursing home care. How is medical liability regulated in this situation? The facility has its own aides, but I am a privately hired aide. Where do my responsibilities to care for the patient cause conflict with the facility's aides? Mary Ann Nancy Brent replies:...READ MORE »
Is it legal for a company to force nurses to take 4 hours of PTO and work a 6-hour day even though they only need 2 hours of PTO?
Question: Dear Nancy, I work for an insurance company as an RN, and have a question regarding the use of PTO time. If I need to take an hour or two off of work, our managers charge us for four hours as they cannot handle the schedule of the nurses in half-hour increments. Is this legal? I would work 6 hours to take two hours off, but am charged 4 hours of vacation and do not get paid for the two hours I worked. Gwen...READ MORE »
Can a nurse be held liable for a recommendation she makes to a physician about wound care?
Question: Dear Nancy, In this scenario can a nurse be held liable for a recommendation she makes about wound care? She calls the physician and describes a wound. The physician asks what she recommends, and they both agree about her recommendation, and then the order is written. I have checked our state practice act and cannot find anything saying it is up to the physician to come up with the recommendation. The...READ MORE »
Who is at fault if an elderly patient falls trying go to the bathroom by herself because the bedside commode requested was never brought to her?
Question: Dear Nancy, A charge nurse on busy med/surg floor answered a call bell to see about an IV leaking. After checking the IV at about 10 a.m., the caregiver asked for a bedside commode. The charge nurse looked for the bedside commode but was unsuccessful. She asked the unit secretary to ask one of the nurses' aides to find one and continued on her way to other duties. Shortly after midnight that night, the...READ MORE »
Is a nursing home able to blame nurses for falls when inadequate staffing also is an issue?
Question: Dear Nancy, Is a nursing home able to blame nurses for falls when there is inadequate staffing? Luis Nancy Brent replies: Dear Luis, When a patient is injured and a lawsuit follows, everyone tries to point the finger of blame to the other defendants named in the suit. In this situation, it is assumed the defendants would be the nursing home, staff nurses involved with the patient at the time of the fall...READ MORE »
Who can a nurse speak with at the hospital where she used to work about getting paid money she believes she is owed?
Question: Dear Nancy, I worked at one facility, where another nurse and I alternated charge duty. We were supposed to be paid $1 per hour more for charge duty. After six months of employment, I went to the administrator and asked why I was not being paid the extra money for charge duty. She told me it was included in my pay. I was never told the money was going to be in my pay when I was hired. I resigned from this...READ MORE »
Should an RN supervisor take her manager's name off a discipline report after the reprimanded nurse signed the documentation?
Question: Dear Nancy, I am a nurse supervisor and had to discipline another nurse for a med error. I proposed the same kind of discipline I've recommended during my 20 years as a supervisor. My manager wanted it as a hard punitive discipline. I wrote the form myself, but included my manager's name. She asked me to take her name off the document, but did so after it was submitted to personnel and the nurse signed it....READ MORE »
Can RNs refuse to show prospective employers documentation that would divulge their age?
Question: I will be 63 in April and find myself in the unenviable position of looking for work. I thought employers were not supposed to ask an applicant any questions related to their age, other than if they're over 18. Yet they want to see your driver's license, ostensibly to make sure you're legal to work in the U.S., or they make you fill out a background check form, which requires you to list of date of birth....READ MORE »
Should a new nurse who was not given any feedback on her performance and then terminated consult an attorney?
Question: I was recently terminated from my position as an RN at an outpatient department. I was in orientation and had two weeks left to my probationary period. The two nurses who were supervising and orienting me must have told my supervisor negative things about me. I thought I was progressing although I did feel overwhelmed at first. I was never given a 30-day evaluation, although the handbook said to expect it....READ MORE »
Will a nurse with a DWI in one state where the DWI is not considered a felony be prevented from getting a license in another state?
Question: Dear Nancy, When I was 20 years old, I made the mistake of getting a DWI in a state in which I do not reside. In the state where I received the DWI, a DWI is not considered a crime, felony or misdemeanor. It is considered a motor vehicle violation. My lawyer said I would not have a criminal record and would pass a background check. I am a licensed RN in one state and want to move to another state. I am...READ MORE »
Could the fact that my boss at an insurance underwriting company is not a nurse be a problem? I am a utilization review nurse.
Question: Dear Nancy, I work as a utilization review nurse for an insurance underwriting company. My supervisor is not a nurse. Could that be a problem? Margot Nancy Brent replies: Dear Margot, In a perfect world, your supervisor would be a nurse. In today's healthcare environment, innovation, change and new organizational structures have resulted in nurses working in various organizations with non-nurses...READ MORE »
What can a nurse do if a co-worker changes the documentation time in her patient's medical records?
Question: Dear Nancy, I work 3-11 on a 21-bed locked mental health unit. About a month ago I noticed two of my nurses notes, time of documentation were changed from 1745 to 1445 and 1700 to 1400. I also noticed the same person had written under my note both times. I reported it to my nurse manager and the person was questioned by a human resources staff member. The person denied changing any times. This person has...READ MORE »