So here's the story....
I am a CNA working in SW Arkansas at a skilled nursing facility. I work overnight 10-6 and have seen many things I do not agree with. A few of my coworkers have been neglecting patients, sleeping on the clock (in patient rooms on unoccupied beds), not doing brief changing rounds for up to 6 hours, when they are supposed to be every two hours... and i was absolutely horrified! So i decided to write in a journal a few things while I'm on shift. Now let me tell you, at first I did not intend on speaking to the CNA supervisor about this, because I didn't want everyone hating me or to lose my job. But tonight it went a little too far..
I was shadowing on a new hall i had never worked, and i use my journal also to write down things about my patients... to get familiar with their needs. I had my journal on a desk I was using and another aide asked for my help, I left it there and when I returned, it had been gone through and the page descripting my last horrible shift was missing... I immediately asked my supervising nurse a question, and it goes as follows..
"Can I ask for your advice?" I say
"Yes go ahead"
"I have a journal i document things in and use for work here on the table and someone has gone through it and taken a sheet out"
"Well it wasn't me. But let me tell you up front, I don't like snitches."
I say "Okay. Well I just want to know who took my paper and I need it back"
She proceeds to tell me that what I wrote is inappropriate and quotes it word for word. So I know she has read it. To which I respond "not only is it against my judgement the things I've seen done here, its called neglect and it's AGAINST THE LAW." She tells me that if i say anything I'll get my "tail whooped" and i respond "Im not worried about that, i am in my workplace" and she says "Well you need to be worried about it!"
So after being threatened I tell her I can not stay there and be abused by the rest of the staff, because they are all surrounding me talking about me. So I am leaving the nursing home.
As soon as I get to my car, I call my supervisor and tell her I'm leaving for the night after an argument with my nurse and being threatened.. and all she says is "Well Rachel you know thats considered job abandonment we'll have to speak about this."
Now its 3AM so I'm going to speak to her in person tomorrow, but honestly now I'm worried I'll lose my certification if they report me for job abandonment and itll follow my medical career looming over me forever. So i guess it all boils down to my question....
Can i be reported for abandonment and reprimanded, when i felt unsafe and was threatened by coworkers (with authority)... also i was technically not assigned any residents, as I was shadowing or orientating if you will...
Thanks for any answers!
Aug 13, '14
I'm sorry you've found yourself in this position.
I don't think you can be reported for abandonment since you were on orientation, and were not assigned any residents/patients. Also, I doubt the administrator wants to send you to the state with the information you have about their facility.
A simple piece of advice. If you work LTC/SNF, you're going to see things that make you want to cry. Not all places, but enough that you'll work in one eventually. You have three choices if you happen to find yourself in one of the bad ones. Quit, stay and keep your mouth shut doing the best you can, or report the facility. Reporting the facility will cause you trouble you can't imagine.
Let us know what happened after your meeting with your supervisor.
Aug 13, '14
"Too many people stand back instead of stand up".
Always, always stand up for the patients and their right to quality care.
I'd focus on someone getting into your personal property. That could be considered theft!
Don't let anyone . . . .anyone . . . talk you out of doing the right thing here.
Aug 14, '14
A journal for keeping track of things about patients that you want to remember is one thing, however, if you are carrying it in and out of the facility with you it might represent a HIPAA violation. Doesn't your facility use report sheets? We do, and there is a shred box where we are supposed to put them before we leave.
But diaries are for 12 year old girls and anyone older than that should have learned long ago not to put anything they don't want seen in writing and then leave it where other people can find it. That was just poor judgement on your part. If you're going to report the facility, or incidents to your management, then document your concerns more securely until you turn them over. If you're not going to report, then there is no point to documenting anything.
Aug 15, '14
Journals are not just for 12 year old girls. Professional journaling happens all the time and can be helpful when one works under difficult situations. Should there ever be a law suit your personal notes describing the events of the shift might save your behind.
Reading someone's personal journal without invitation to do so IS typical for 12 year old girls. Destroying your personal property is illegal. That should be the focus of your interview with the supervisor, not the specifics of the contents of the journal.
Clearly the people you work with cannot be trusted with the smallest thing, like respecting the property and privacy of a co-worker.
Aug 15, '14
We are on the same page here toomuchbaloney.
Journaling is a normal occurrence and not just in junior high. Opening up a journal that belongs to someone else and then tearing out pages is vandalism and/or theft. It is wrong.
Agreed - focus on that. I'm curious to hear from the OP.
Aug 18, '14
I'm with duskyjewel on this one. Making notes is one thing, but carrying a journal in and out of the workplace with peoples' names and information in it is a HIPAA violation, and leaving it where other staff and perhaps even residents can easily read it is just foolish. That doesn't mean legitimate concerns shouldn't be reported to the appropriate managers, but the OP also should understand that a new and inexperienced employee who openly complains about everyone else's work is going to have VERY large target on her back.
That being said, the charge nurse's behavior was completely unprofessional and also needs to be reported. The OP is fortunate that she didn't have a resident assignment, otherwise it would be abandonment. As far as I'm concerned, this whole incident was handled poorly by everyone involved. Scary to think that someone's grandma or grandpa has to live in a facility where "professionals" act in such a juvenile fashion.