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Is there recourse for an RN who was terminated because she asked to have a withness while completing an admission assessment?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

I was terminated from a facility because I asked to have assistance in completing an admission assessment that I had to stop because the patient being verbally abusive and yelling at me. The patient didn’t want the CAN in the room and the patient has a history of lying about other medical professionals. The DON insisted that I go alone, and I declined to go without someone with me as a witness. I was the admission nurse. I was denied unemployment because the employer reported termination due to insubordination. I have always been taught to go as a team when working with such patients. I am appealing the unemployment compensation decision. Did I do the wrong thing by protecting myself from false claims by the patient?

Margaret

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Margaret,

Your decision to want someone in the room with you while you were doing the admission interview due to the patient’s verbal abuse seems reasonable from what you have included in your question. It may seem reasonable to the unemployment compensation agency as well. Insubordination can be broadly defined, but it most often includes willfully refusing to do something asked of an employee without a reasonable basis for the refusal.

In most states you can have legal representation in such an appeal. It might be wise to exercise this option if it is available to you. The attorney can help you emphasize the strengths of your situation. In addition, the attorney will be aware of other insubordination decisions of the agency and can advise you of how the agency has dealt with such cases in the past.

Whether or not you retain an attorney, be certain to point out you didn’t refuse to finish the assessment. Rather, you simply asked for someone to accompany you for your safety.

Cordially,
Nancy

By | 2015-01-16T00:00:00-05:00 January 16th, 2015|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments

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