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A resident caught in the middle of employee disciplinary action

December 12, 2011
by Kathleen Mears
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Last Wednesday the nurse aide students began two days of clinicals. Their instructor and the floor aides supervise the students, who are assigned residents, while the regular floor aides assist and care for those with special needs.

Before breakfast the students were passing out trays in the dining room and getting ready to feed residents. Susan (pseudonym), my aide, was supervising the dining room. As the nurse, Thomas (pseudonym), came in to pass medicine, he got instantly upset at Susan because a tray was within the reach of an unattended resident who had a choking incident a few weeks prior. Susan assured Thomas it was a mistake and said she would watch the resident he was concerned about. Thomas turned glumly and left the dining room.

After breakfast the regular aides put me in the bathroom. When my call light was on for several minutes, I wondered what was going on. I knew the aides were at break and realized I would be waiting a bit longer. My left hip began to hurt from sitting so long.

I heard a student ask the resident next door whose call light was on. When the resident said it was mine, the student encountered Susan in the hallway and asked if she could help me. Susan let her help but then said she would do my mouth care, and the student left.

After my mouth care was finished, Susan left to get two aides to assist with my transfer. She knew my hip was hurting and assured me she would be back quickly. A few minutes later Susan and the other aides came in. I heard Thomas tell Susan, “Clock out and go home.” But Susan said she needed to help transfer me into my power chair.

Thomas stood inside my room watching them. He questioned me about a bruise on my hip and asked if it hurt. I told him it did.

While Thomas was in my room I could feel the tension. When he left I asked the aides to close the door. Susan said Thomas wanted to send her home because of what had happened in the dining room. I could tell she was shaken, so I told her to just stay cool and leave if that is what Thomas wanted.

Later the aides told me that Thomas and Susan had gone to the office and then Susan left. In all my time living in nursing homes an aide has not been disciplined in my presence.

Susan is a good aide and I hoped the situation could be worked out. Thomas later told me that he was upset because all of the aides went on break at the same time. He said he had confronted Susan in the hallway and asked her to leave; when she did not, he followed her to my room and brought the confrontation to my living space.

Afterward, as I sat at my computer, my stomach was churning. I hope in the future I am not involved in any disciplinary actions between a supervisor and staff.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...