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Thread: Can I legally be charged for cancelling an assignment I felt unsafe with?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Can I legally be charged for cancelling an assignment I felt unsafe with?

    I accepted an assignment after being pressured into it by my recruiter at a top hospital in the US possibly the world.. I didn't want to rotate to nights. Although, I felt I could do almost anything for 13 weeks, I accepted. I was wrong. I came to the intermediate care unit to find it was primary nursing. Meaning 4-5 patients during the day and up to six at night and no techs or aids. At night 6 patient's no techs, no secretary. The director of the unit left those details out. Despite the fact that many patients were monitored most staff were not ACLS certified. There were no monitor techs. 95% of the staff were 2 years or less including charges. 80% of the staff are travelers. It was a "hospitalist unit" meaning the docs stayed on the unit. Most of them interns, fellows and doctors who have practiced 5 years or less. Despite bumping into your doctors several times a day and having rounds the doctors would not put orders in. One day I waited 3 hours for pain meds. One day I reminded a doctor all day for all my orders to leave at the end of the day to have her not put them in. One doctor refused to follow policy and procedure on two patients and yelled at the charge and told her his job was more important. At this hospital verbal orders were not allowed so a nurse could not take them. I had to explain to my charge nurse why obtaining an order for a full code patient who was dying(multiple organ failure) with angry family members to leave the unit monitored. The doctor didn't agree he should be monitored either. What If he coded!!!!Patient's and family members complained that there needed to be more help. One family felt the need to stay over night since he knew people were too busy. Report was recorded and you had to stay in report and listen to all patient's report. After that management and the doctors either held "tea time" or staff education. By the time you got out start your treacherous day it was 800 am. You had to get all your assessments, look at charts (full history was not always given in the report), give meds, do primary care, help each-other all before 1000 for rounds. Which you had to drop everything and go in to talk about your patients. Charting was excessive and they were training me to chart everything even if I didn't do it. Which is illegal. Forget about teaching you have no time. When I finally got the charting down the second week I was told I did my daily goals too early. HA HA. When I told my recruiter I wanted out but would stay to for them to find coverage for me she yelled at me and said Id be fined 1000s of dollars and that the hospital would not work with me they would not work with me. She said I was giving up. I said I don't care Its unsafe. I never want to be in that situation again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    If you don't want to be in that situation again, get out of travel nursing. That is about all I can advise you based upon all the things I've ever read about problems people have when traveling. You can expect that a good place would have little to no need for travel nurses, so this is going to be par for the course instead of the rare mess up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    I see there is nothing new under the sun. Tiana, I could've written your story when I got into nursing years ago and I wasn't traveling. While it shouldn't be generalized, hospitals that have staff retention problems make heavy use of contract personnel and often but not always, they are poorly treated. As Cali indicated, such is the life of a traveler. Good luck


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