Nurse Shuffle worked as a registered nurse in a state-run organization for fifteen years. In 1970, the state made a decision to close and transition all state-run hospitals to the private sector. The state required a number of nurses to remain employed with the new facility for a period of eight years. Nurse Shuffle was one of the state employees to continue employment under the new ownership. The facility Nurse Shuffle worked at was transitioned to a long-term acute care facility (LTAC). Nurse Shuffle remained as a staff nurse in the LTAC, which was a small facility with thirty-five inpatient beds.
In the years that followed, Nurse Shuffle became depressed over matters in her personal life. Given the mounting life pressures, she contrived ways to obtain controlled prescription medication from the medication drawers of patients. This practice became more urgent for Nurse Shuffle, who contrived more blatant, desperate measures to obtain controlled prescription medication. Eventually, she was caught, and she also confessed to having an addiction problem. Since Nurse Shuffle was a state employee, the administration decided to not terminate her but offered her an option of treatment at an addiction center. The facility would satisfy the due process protection afforded to government employees.
In the next ninety days, the LTAC facility closed down. Nurse Shuffle was released from rehabilitation treatment services but was without employment. She decided a change was needed and sought employment with a healthcare professional agency that provided nurses with healthcare facilities throughout the country. Nurse Shuffle accepted a one-year temporary position at a large teaching hospital as a nurse working the night shift in a surgical stepdown unit. Unfortunately, the strain of acclimating to a new setting and the night shift was too much to cope with, and she found opportunities to remove controlled prescription medication from the facility for personal use. Again, the behavior was discovered, Nurse Shuffle was prosecuted, and, as a consequence, her license was revoked.
An investigation revealed that there was no information on the file for the previous controlled prescription medication offense at the LTAC. Since the LTAC facility was in its waning days, some top human resource personnel left for other opportunities and the department was understaffed. The remaining personnel were lower-level clerks, who were unaware of the policy or procedure, and hence, no information was reported to the state for licensure purposes. The LTAC believed that Nurse Shuffle was entitled to due process since she was a government employee, and hence it her offered addiction treatment to resolve the matter. The employment agency conducted the standard state nursing license verification, and Nurse Shuffle failed to offer any information regarding the substance theft matter. The teaching facility where Nurse Shuffle accepted the assignment relied on the agency’s verification process because Nurse Shuffle was not considered the facility’s employee.
- Interpret and explain the basis of due process protection and why it might or might not apply to Nurse Shuffle’s situation. Express your opinion regarding whether Nurse Shuffle should have been terminated or afforded the option of an addiction treatment program.
- Explain the applicability of the FMLA to Nurse Shuffle’s situation.
- Discuss the responsibility of the teaching hospital’s requirement to verify the licensure and professional credentials of Nurse Shuffle. Compare the verification burden for an agency employee versus a regular employee.
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