There’s a movement right now. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a refreshing time where people are feeling strong enough to come forward and face their abusers. Our industry is fraught with abuse, from patients to co-workers, but it doesn’t stop there. As editor of this magazine, I receive dozens of letters every month from Nurses talking about their own cases of false accusations, including stories of their friends.
On the following pages, we recount 6 cases, where Nurses have been wrongly accused, fired and forced to resign. We’ve also included cases of other individuals who’ve been wrongfully accused. From a Father accused of sexually abusing his child, to a husband of 73 years old accused of rape and battery.
What was most important about this article, was highlighting the aftermath. The psychological effects that can scar someone for life, that us as Health professionals end up caring for.
Ms L from Pottsville:
‘I was a CNA when this happened to me.
I was working full time night shift in a nursing home and going to nursing school full time during the day. My unit had gotten a new resident that got admitted two hours before my shift started so no one knew anything about her. About an hour into my shift her call bell rang so I answered it.
She was already on the toilet in her room and started screaming at me that she had been sitting on the toilet for over an hour and nobody came to answer her bell. I told her that her bell had just gone off before I came into the room and I would help her off. She proceeded to scream at me and call me all the classic names, “lazy, fat, bitch”.
Nothing new so I just continued to help her and got her back to bed safely. Didn’t really think much of it since I worked on a behavior floor I figured she was there for a reason.
Rest of my shift went fine. Next night I come in and I was told not to go to my unit, go straight to the supervisor. There I was told she accused me of yelling at her, neglecting her and being rough with her cares. I was immediately suspended for investigation and had to leave. I wasn’t allowed back at work for a week. I tried to focus on school but everyone at work had heard what had happened and my phone was blowing up asking if I had been fired. Rumors were being spread like crazy and now I had apparently hit her as well. Finally I get called back into my director of nursing who told me that they were allowing me to come back to work and the only reason I wasn’t fired is because the residents family stated that she is very confused and she used to say things like that all the time at home.
Coming back to work was terrible, I had to get a unit change, everybody treated me like a criminal. I still work there currently as a nurse. The resident is still there and every time I see her I get major anxiety. I understand that they are confused and most of the time they don’t know what they are saying but it is terrifying that in a moment of confusion your whole career could be in jeopardy. I am terrified to be alone with an upset resident. As soon as I sense something might be misconstrued I ask for another staff member so I have a witness. Even though I was innocent you always feel like people look at you differently. Nursing is a very rewarding career but very scary.’
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Michael Harbron is the Editor in Chief of Scrubs Magazine.
By Michael Harbron