So much of what I do as an ER nurse involves information.
As an RN, I am responsible for providing patients with information about their illness/injury, their medications and their follow up instructions.
Patient education is paramount; I find out what they know, then provide education to fill the gaps.
If they cannot access medications or follow up care, I provide information on how to access those needs.
That is called patient advocacy.
It’s the backbone of nursing, everywhere. Every hospital, every state, every country.
So you can imagine how confused I was to find out an Arizona nurse Amanda Trujillo, RN, MSN had been fired by Banner Health Del E. Webb Medical Center for doing exactly that, advocating for her patient by PROVIDING INFORMATION.
That’s right. Very simply: during a shift, she discovered a patient knew nothing about the details of a major invasive surgery. Not what the surgery entailed or what life would be like after the surgery (“complex lifetime daily care”). They did not know they had the option not have the surgery or that other options were available to them.
The patient requested further information and Ms. Trujillo provided it, including arranging for a case management consult, and documented all of this to the hilt (even the nurse investigator noted this).
The patient changed her mind, didn’t want the surgery. The doctor blew a gasket, threw a tantrum in the nurses station (sound familiar, nurses?), demanded Trujillo be fired, and her license revoked.
Bingo! Instead of supporting their nurse, Banner Health fired her.
For providing information and giving the patient the opportunity to learn more about their condition and their options.
For empowering her patient.
Within her scope of practice.
Within the nursing code of ethics.
As I said in my last post, I’m sputtering angry.
But my anger was turned onto the physician – and that is misplaced anger.
Let the doctor throw his anger all over the place, he will do what he will. If an empowered patient angers him, that’s just sad.
The problem here is Banner Health.
For not supporting patient advocacy.
For not supporting that particular patient’s right to decide.
For not supporting their nurses.
For firing a nurse for doing what she was supposed to be doing.
Her ethical duty.
Next post: this goes viral and how to support registered nurses’ right to advocate for patients.
Because next time, that patient could be you.