I am a PICC nurse with a CRNI. A colleague was fired because she placed a PICC line in a patient who had a right shoulder joint infection. She placed it in the right arm per patient request. I see no issue with placing this in a vessel on the same side as an infection. She was told it was inappropriate to place it on the same side. Does she have any recourse?
Dear Nancy replies:
As you know, one of the complications of a PICC line can be infection. If one develops, the infection can easily spread into the blood stream causing a severe infection or even death. You did not indicate the specific location of the PICC line in the affected shoulder, but one would want to ensure the placement of the PICC line did not enhance the potential for further infection.
Your friend might want to speak with a PICC nurse who has expertise in such an issue and has either taught courses for PICC nurses and/or has testified in hearings or trials focusing on PICC placement. If the nurse expert’s opinion supports your friend’s placement of the PICC line, then she can attempt to challenge her firing. The challenge most easily can be done through the employer’s grievance policy or other established policies challenging an adverse employment decision.
One online resource (www.picclinenursing.com) provides a wealth of information on PICC lines. Its nurse authors, who established the company, Vascular Management Access, state they are experts in the insertion, care and maintenance of PICC lines. They may be helpful in providing an opinion about your friend’s PICC line placement.
Challenging the firing would be important, not only to possibly reverse the termination, but if your friend also is reported to the state board of nursing. She would need to retain a nurse attorney or other attorney to represent her against any allegations that the placement was not consistent with standards of practice or other allegations by the board.