Kentucky Nurse Charged With Murder

Angie Szumlinski News

Yikes! That should be your first reaction, right? But listen, that’s not all! The nurse being charged is a “travel nurse” or sometimes referred to as “agency.” This nurse worked in multiple hospital locations in the state of Kentucky at the same time AND continued to work at a hospital after being accused of killing a patient! Okay, true, you are innocent until found guilty in a court of law by a jury of your peers, I get that and don’t disagree, however, this case should raise concern for anyone using outside agencies for staffing. 

Licensed nurses are and should be held to a standard where if there is a “good faith belief” or a “reasonable suspicion” that an injury or injuries are the result of abuse or neglect, it should be reported. In the case we are discussing here, a medication error occurred, and a patient subsequently passed away. Is this abuse or neglect? I am not going to play judge or jury here but, in all likelihood, yes, a jury will believe it is. The patient did not have an order for the medication administered, was 97 years old, and the outcome was catastrophic. 

At the end of the day, so many of us are using agency/travel staff out of necessity. Obviously, our goal is to eliminate the use of “visiting staff” as soon as possible but what are we doing to ensure the staff we are using meet licensure requirements and background checks, etc.? It might be a good time to look at your policy on agency staff, designate a staff member to be responsible for ensuring all “guests” who have direct contact with your residents have verification of license, background checks, etc. You can never be too safe! Stay well and stay informed!  

For more information: Death at California senior home after dishwasher soap served instead of juice | California | The Guardian