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Continued: Fired, they still find jobs as nurses

  • Article by: BRANDON STAHL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 9, 2013 - 9:31 AM

In 2003, Idovich applied for an RN license and did not disclose she had a history of alcohol abuse or that she had been fired from a job, according to the Nursing Board report.

She went to work for a hospital, which Idovich said was the most stressful place she has worked. According to the Nursing Board, Idovich resigned from the hospital after being told about concerns regarding medication errors, blood administration and communication.

Idovich went to work for a Brainerd home health care company in 2003, then resigned in April 2004. According to the Nursing Board, she cashed a check from the home of a client without authorization. Idovich said she was falsely accused by the company and did nothing wrong.

In 2006, Idovich was fired from a dialysis company. According to the board, she did not report for duty. Idovich said she lost her job after she called in sick.

At the end of 2009, Idovich was fired from MeritCare in Bemidji after she repeatedly accessed patients’ and colleagues’ medical records without authorization, according to the Nursing Board report. Idovich told the Star Tribune she only accessed her children’s records. “I didn’t know you couldn’t do that,” she said.

 

Caring for seniors

Idovich then began working for Heritage Community, a senior-care facility in Park Rapids managed by Ecumen. She was at Heritage for about a month before a co-worker smelled alcohol on her breath. She said she refused to take a toxicology screen.

Idovich said she wasn’t scheduled to come in to work that day, had “a few beers” and then got called in.

“I wasn’t doing any patient cares until I helped somebody with a patient,” she said. “Somebody must have smelled it and called the director.”

Idovich said the policy of the home was to refer employees with substance-abuse problems to treatment, rather than fire them. She said she called a state monitoring program for addicted or mentally ill health care professionals and reported her alcohol abuse and treatment history. Idovich enrolled in March 2010, but the Health Professionals Services Program did not have to alert the Nursing Board.

 

Reprimanded

In April 2010, Idovich was contacted by the Nursing Board for what appears to be the first time and asked to respond to her firing for accessing patient records at MeritCare. The Nursing Board issued a reprimand and ordered Idovich to pay a $750 fine.

The Nursing Board report does not indicate whether it looked into her previous firings and DWIs.

That was a glaring error, according to Melissa Becker, a registered nurse and a legal nurse consultant who reviewed Idovich’s case for the Star Tribune.

“The Board of Nursing relies too much on self-reporting,” Becker said. “If you’re simply looking for self-disclosure, you’re going to fail.”

In January 2011, Idovich was fired from Heritage Community for “failing to complete necessary paperwork for her leave of absence,” according to the Nursing Board report. Idovich said she was fired after she requested a leave due to a pregnancy and an illness, and Heritage learned she was looking for other work.

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