Recently, I came across the name Amanda Trujillo. No, she is not a pop start, or an up and coming actress. She’s not a potential candidate for this years presidential election. She is a nurse. Or, rather, was a nurse up until last year, and she is creating quite the stir.
Trujillo is the Arizona nurse who was fired in April 2011 after providing education and making a hospice care consult request for an end-stage liver disease patient. This patient was slotted for pre-transplant evaluation and had poor understanding of the disease process and treatment options. Trujillo filled in the gaps for this patient. Trujillo then requested, at the patient’s own wish, a hospice team consult, documented her actions appropriately, and left a note (it was night shift) for the primary physician.
These actions — the education and the hospice team consult — drew the wrath of both the primary physician, who demanded her dismissal and her license, and also her nursing director, who told Trujillo she had ”messed up all the doctors’ hard work and planning for the surgery.” The patient-requested hospice care consult was cancelled. Trujillo’s employer subsequently fired her, and reported her to the Arizona State Board of Nursing for exceeding nursing scope of practice, though in fact, nurses previously had ordered a hospice care consult without consequence. In short, many nurses believe Trujillo was fired for educating and advocating for her patient.
As a nurse, I am a care giver. It’s my job be compassionate and give the best quality of care I can. Part of providing quality care is keeping my patients informed on their particular plan of care. As a nurse, part of my job is advocating for my patients. I get to stand up for them and make sure the doctors are doing what’s in the patient’s best interest. I help to educate my patients so that they can make informed decisions. It’s daunting to see a case in which a nurse stood up for her patient, tried to educate her patient on what was going in his medical care, and was subsequently terminated and lost her nursing license.
Nurses have few rights and little protection in the workplace. We are abused and bullied by nurse executives who cherish corporate profits. I treasure my license. I worked damn hard to get that, and it’s upsetting to know how easily someone got their license taken from them for simply standing up for her patient.