Amy’s Life in Brief

Just got a call from work….
July 4, 2008, 2:41 am
Filed under: instincts, job, mandatory reporting, MSW, peer pressure | Tags: , ,

I’m a little bit frustrated with myself and with the system after this call.  There was a difficult case this week and now, in hindsight, I think maybe I just fell under the spell of peer pressure from some coworkers.  The coworker who I fell under the spell of was not another social worker but a couple of nurses.  They felt the case needed to be reported to the authorities and I was just a bit unsure.  I deferred to their experience and made the report.  I made myself as clear as I could that we were reporting simply because of the type of injury, not because we had concerns about the home environment or family situation.  I was told by the agency I was reporting to that it sounded like nothing other than a reportable injury and probably wouldn’t be investigated.  This was yesterday, late in the morning.

Tonight, about an hour after I got home from work, the evening house supervisor (YIKES! I said to myself) called me.  Apparently the POLICE!! were at the hospital wanting to talk to the social worker and see pictures of this injury.  I was dumbfounded!  First of all, numerous supervisory type people have met with the agency in question and have asked them to notify us if there is going to be further investigation so that we can have the appropriate people available to them.  They’ve also asked that it be done, except in extreme emergency situations, during normal business hours.  For example, social workers are only on staff at our hospital between 8:30 and 5:00.  Anyway….I talked to the police officer over the phone and let her know that I had no concerns and neither did the treating MD…it was just reportable simply because of the type of injury. 

I also asked her why they got the referral from the agency after business hours.  She stated they got the referrals whenever the agency decided to send them over and then they would investigate them at that point.

So, now I’m sitting here worrying that the poor family has had to be interrogated by the police when I had told them, based on the info I received from the agency, that most likely nothing was going to happen.  And I’m wondering how to document my conversation with the house supervisor and the police.  All very annoying!

And I’m second-guessing myself about whether I should have made the report at all.  I didn’t have any concerns, so why make the report simply because it was a reportable injury?  I don’t know…very frustrating!


2 Comments so far
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Classic CYA, that’s why you make the report. Although I agree nurses can sometimes be a bit pushy. I’ve had them get flat out angry at me because I wouldn’t hospitalize patients they felt needed it (as in forward on to pysch ward.)

Hindsight is 20/20. Trusting your gut is easier said then done when you have people hovering. Perhaps you can staff with your own supervisor next time instead of following the nurses lead?

Comment by Reas

After talking to the MD that specializes in child abuse later on in the evening, I felt a bit better about making the report. Between this and other issues we’ve had with the agency in questions, I think it’s more of a systems problem on their part. In a perfect world, if they thought it was so urgent that someone should have met with the family, they would have come to the hospital the day the accident happened. I would have been available, the medical records would have been easily accessible, as well as the treating physician. But, to wait about 48 hours, and then decide they had to get the police involved the night before a big holiday…I don’t know what they were thinking.

Comment by oregonamy1972

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