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Worried about a work situation...


alatas

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I have a question about a work situation.

 

I work nights at a hospital as a Nursing Auxiliary, doing basic stuff like toileting, feeding, measuring vital signs. This is the lowest nursing grade there is.

 

Last weekend, during a night shift, one of our patients was due to have surgery first thing in the morning. After he'd gotten ready, he gave me some personal effects (ring, keys, wallet, iPod) to lock away safely. Our ward has a cupboard that is kept locked at all times (the key is kept hidden at the nurses station and only nurses/doctors/domestic staff would know where it is). I put his stuff into a plastic bag, put a sticker on it with his name/address/date of birth/hospital number. Then I locked the bag in the cupboard, double checked I locked it afterwards and returned the key to its safe place.

 

Today I got a call from a nurse, asking me if I remember the patient giving me his stuff because it's gone missing from the cupboard. I told him I'd received the patient's stuff, put it in a bag, labelled it and locked it away safely.

 

I am worried now that this will have aftereffects for me. Why? Having had time to think about it, I didn't fill in a 'property form'. These are filled in when patients give stuff to the hospital for safe-keeping; I have come accross them when patients die and I need to check that the items on the form are in the room so relatives of the deceased get the items back.

 

I wasn't told by the nurses to fill in a form like that, and I didn't remember at the time that these forms existed so didn't ask about whether I needed to complete on (I have never filled one in for a live patient, and only dealt with them after a patient's death). Now I am very worried that the hospital will take this as an excuse to make me liable for the disappeared items. I guess with a completed forms the items would still be missing, but at least the patient would have something to show to his insurance to claim money back? I dunno. The nurse I spoke to today didn't mention a property form, and didn't ask if I filled one in. But what if they can't find the items and then one person suddenly thinks "hey, there was no property form filled in??", so they have someone to direct the patient's annoyance at and punish?

 

It has been my experience that in the hospital I work there is a tendency to shift blame onto more junior members of staff. As I was the most junior member that night, I am worried that I will have to take the blame for the disappearance as the patient is bound to be unhappy about the missing items, and someone needs to be shown as being responsible for them. I am not responsible for the disappearance, as I locked the items away safely, but if a form should have been filled in and I did not do this, I am worried the hospital will come down hard on me for this. Even though it is not *directly* related to the items going missing.

 

So I am wondering:

 

1) Could the hospital accuse me of lying when I say that I took the items, bagged, labelled and locked them away (even though this is the truth)?

 

2) Could me not remembering the property form, and the nursing staff not reminding me, be held against me (ie as me not doing my job properly)?

 

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate any advice you may have.

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do they have a camera that monitors that area? they should.

 

how long have you been there? if you were never trained on what to do with the form, that's their fault. but if you knew about it beforehand, that's your fault. this could come back to you as you admitted to checking the stuff in, but you have no proof. i'm not exactly sure how a form would be proof either though.

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I have been there for 2.5 years.

 

We had a week-long induction but that covered basics such as making beds, health & safety, washing, feeding, etc. There is a wealth of stuff (different types of forms, where to drop off samples of blood etc.) that you just pick up by working and only find out about because the nurses will ask you to do something and you won't know how to do it. So you say you don't know and they tell you.

 

It was like that with the property form. The first I heard about them was when a patient died and the nurse asked me to get his form and double-check all the items on the existing property form were in the room, so the relatives could take them home. She explained that the form gives the patient's details, lists what items he/she brought into the hospital, and then the person filling in the form signed the thing (if it's an Auxiliary, they need to get the form countersigned by a nurse) and I *think* the patient signs the form too.

 

Maybe the nurses working with me last weekend assumed I knew about the form and didn't mention anything about it because of this. I didn't realise at the time though that I should probably have filled in a form - despite never having done this before - and now I am worried that I SHOULD have remembered and asked a nurse whether I'd need to get one filled in. It was a case of having heard of something once before, not remembering it last weekend, and now me having no proof I haven't stolen the items.

 

I guess the form would prove that the hospital received the items, and if they lose them the patient would be able to claim money back somehow? I don't really know what my hospital's policy is on that. Then if the hospital staff lose the items, the patient gets compensated. If the hospital gets a lot of grief from a patient who has no proof that the hospital received his items (and therefore COULD be making it up), they would surely be keen to pass on their frustration...and fire me because I didn't get a form filled in.

 

I also guess that I hypothetically COULD have filled in the form, put the items in the cupboard, then taken them out again and taken them home, and when asked about them just said "I put them in the cupboard, here is the property form to show receipt of the items." You're right in that the form simply says the items were received...if someone other than me then went and took them afterwards, the form would not be able to show who took the items. Just that SOMEONE received them from the patient. I don't know if there are cameras overlooking the cupboard - I would need to check that out. Would be helpful if there were!

 

I am frantic now...what if the hospital decide that I have stolen these items??? I haven't, but if there is no CCTV proof then what?

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well, if there is in fact a signature by the patient required, you should be 100% clear. they could have just randomly given their stuff to anybody. but even that form is bogus to me.

 

i'm not sure who is at fault here to be honest.

 

you say you received them so that kind of leans towards your problem. there is a crap form that needs to be filled usually. lame. the patient just randomly gives stuff away...so....

 

i wouldn't worry too much about it at this point though.

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