Fired for caring too much? Need help!

I am a Registered Nurse and was fired for giving a patient pain medicine.
The patient is 21 years old and was in the process of passing 4 kidney stones at the same time. I was giving her Dilaudid (opiate-derivitive of Morphine) and Phenergan (anti-emetic, anti-nausea) every hour and it wasn’t working. I called the admitting physician multiple times and refused to come and adress the patient’s pain. I notified my entire chain-of-command, including the Emergency Room Physician who would not give me an order.
I watched this girl squirm in agony for 7 hours until I couldn’t take it anymore. I got into our Pyxis (medication lockup) and pulled out 30mg of Toradol (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) and gave it with Dilaudid and Phenergan.
The girl finally calmed down for 2 hours and actually took a nap.
I was suspended for the weekend and fired the following Tuesday for practicing outside of my scope.

I would hope that if I were ever in that much pain - someone would do the same for me. The Board of Nursing (after a lengthy hearing) agreed and my license is unscratched. But I am still without a job after 12 years of Emergency Room Nursing.

I have a ton of support from former co-workers, the patient and her family, etc. but I don’t know what to do with this information.

What would you do?

Full story here
Submitted comments here
Patient’s Mothers’ comments here

Please; I don’t need critisizm for what I did, my job is to help people. I need advice on what to do next. Thank you in advance for your efforts.

Legally wrong. Ethically correct.

So you are asking for legal advice on an anonymous public message board?

Well first file for Unemployment

Actually that is the first thing I did. However, it was declined due to misconduct. Which is what was reported to the ESC by the hospital.

I see two choices, find another line of work, or go to med. school and become a doc so you can legally prescribe meds. I, personally, would not want a nurse caring for me that administered care against doctors orders.
If you believed that the drs. involved were wrong you should have filed a formal complaint, not taken things into your own hands. It really doesn’t matter how compassionate or right you believe yourself to be.

Unfortunately Nurses give medicines all the time to patient’s without orders. Usually the order is obtained later. My mistake was being honest about it.

I’ve been married to two RN’s, I find your statement, at least an exaggeration, and possibly completely disingenuious. Your “mistake” was committing an act that you knew to be illegal. Now you’re trying to rationalize it.

Did I mention I didn’t need critisizm?
If you’re unable to help I understand. Personal attacks are not needed.

My best advice is to find a new job as an RN. From the information that you’ve provided, it seems like your skills and attitude are outstanding, but you do need to make it clear to future employers that events like this won’t happen again.

I’m personally torn on this specific case and I don’t feel that I can condone or condemn your actions, but future employers aren’t going to want a, “loose canon” in their organization. Say that it was a misunderstanding about what ongoing medications you were supposed to be administering, act suitably chastened, and find a new job.

As the Moderator in General Questions, I have to agonize about where to move threads that are in the wrong spot. And, believe me, when you’re asking for opinions, you don’t belong in General Questions. But I digress…

I first thought to put this thread on hold until I could research whether you are really who you say you are. From what I can see, looking at perpetual calendars, reading the archives of Greensboro(NC) newspapers, etc., this happened just a month ago, in April. So, there’s precious little to Google or search newspaper archives to see if you are presenting a balanced story. While I esentially think you are, I think this one will survive better in Great Debates, where posters, some of whom are real-life doctors can respond, as well as pretty savvy individual posters on this board.

If you only wanted cheerful suggestions about how to best get on with your life, I’m afraid you came to the wrong board. But the posters here WILL give you their best advice. Take this for what you will. I hope you keep reading the thread, but I’ll understand it if you don’t care to.

samclem Moderator for General Questions.

Note to tomndebb and other GD mods–I don’t see this as surviving IMHO, and it doesn’t need to go to the PIT(yet).

Not in my world. Verbal orders, sure, but giving a drug after being told not to? Of course, I wasn’t in you position, since I always had a doc within reach to drag by the ear to the bedside.
Rather than give the Ketorolac, I’d have held the Promethazine, since it’s an opiate antagonist, the Hydromorphone would have worked better. (Of course she might have barfed on you.) I know Monday morning quarterbacking isn’t helpful now.

Were you reported to your state board? If you’re still licenced, put it behind you and look for another job. I’ve known several nurses who were fired for mistakes that were able to get others jobs fairly fast.
Don’t dwell on the fact that you were left out in the cold by uncaring physicians, they are part of life. Our job is the teach them the compassion they missed along the way, it isn’t always easy.
Good Luck.

Take on some private duty gigs while you’re trying to land another org position.

I don’t know the extent to which every hospital in your region will know your name all too well; if that’s a factor, make a list of metropolitan areas you’d consider relocating to, and target your job searches there.

From your link to the Mother’s Comments she posted

I notice that Lauren had just come out of Duke Hospital 5 days prior to her being admitted to your hospital. From the mother’s account she had “2 stones removed from the left kidney.” How were those stones removed?

Lithotripsy I believe.

While I think your heart was in the right place, I think the restrictions are probably a good thing. Think about it-what if a patient had a reaction or what have you, when you did what you did?

The patient had a home prescription for Toradol and it had also been given twice prior to my shift, so knew she wasn’t allergic to it.

If the OP had stated that he screwed up and then explained the circumstanes, asking how to proceed, I might have some empathy for his position, but he seems to maintain that everyone else is wrong and he is right. I think that implies that he might repeat his actions in the future, ignoring drs. explicit orders and acting independently. I find that possibility very troubling and I’m not about to condone such an attitude.

Still not your call to make, IMHO.

I told you I screwed up. I told you legally I was wrong. I told you what I did was outside of my scope. Again… I’m asking for help, not critisizm.

Perhaps you (A.R. Cane) should read the whole story, as posted previously.

I am not a trouble-maker, just a Nurse who cares deeply for my patients. How long can you watch someone suffer in agony? Not long… if you have any heart.

Please re-read post #10.