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What can an RN do if compliance issues exist at a workplace?

Dear Nancy,

My manager is making me and three other new hires use another nurse’s name to sign into the computer for our documentation. She has not entered us in to the computer system so we can sign on as ourselves. This has been going on for three months. We have reported the issue to the compliance line and HR, but no one is doing anything. I think they realize that they have a problem but are not acknowledging it. They are trying to ignore it. I am afraid my all of our licenses may be in jeopardy.

Carl

Dear Carl,

Signing in on a computer with another’s name, whether by a code, number or actual name, is not acceptable practice legally or ethically under any circumstances. It is extremely interesting that the manager has ignored your concerns and this practice has been going on for months.

You did not indicate if your manager was a nurse or other licensed healthcare provider. If your manager has a license, you can report that manager’s conduct to the board that administers and regulates her practice act. Clearly, if the manager is a nurse, this could be seen as dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct that is likely to harm, deceive or defraud the public. It is also not consistent with recommended practices when using EMR and standards of practice for nurses when using informatics in healthcare.

You are right in being concerned for your and your colleagues’ licenses. All could be disciplined for continuing to carry out this practice. Possible bases for discipline could include falsification of patient care documents and making false, fraudulent or deceptive statements in the patients’ records, in addition to unprofessional conduct allegations.

The sooner a report is filed with the appropriate board, the better it will be for you and your colleagues. If you are concerned about reporting this person to the appropriate board, you can seek guidance from a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can help you accurately report it. For your information, such reports are most often confidential so the manager will not know who filed the complaint.

Sincerely, Nancy

By | 2015-06-26T14:12:45-04:00 June 22nd, 2015|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|1 Comment

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.

One Comment

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    Pau Price LPN April 15, 2019 at 4:06 am - Reply

    In a situation like this the mere thought of confidentiality is absurd. There are only 3 new nurses that are being victimized by this manager so that boils it down to one of 3. Only swift and stern action will prevent retaliation. Even then only maybe. You ignore the fact that the institution will also be in “hot water” and they will fight back.
    All 3 of these new hires should report this malfeasance but also look for other employment.

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