Murder in Chatswood

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I am sure everyone has by now heard about the murder that occurred in Chatswood on the 27.4.10.

stalker

This murder took place around the corner from my workplace (that is a scary thought in its self) but reports state that the murder may have been by the victim’s patient.

The report doesn’t say that she works in the mental health field but it does say that they suspect that it was one of her mental health outpatients.

It is very worrying to think that the patients we look after, whether we work in mental health or not, can get a hold of where we live, who our family members are and our personal details. How does this happen? How is it that our personal details are so accessible to the people that we look after?

I have a very close friend that works at Long Bay as a mental health nurse. She once told me that they are not to bring in their mobile phones to ensure their security and to keep as little detail of their personal life out of the facility. This may make it harder for her patients to track her down in the outside world but in reality all they need to know is her full name and they can track down her address, phone number, and who her family is. It is not hard.

When I was in training I did a placement at Rozelle Acute Mental Health Hospital and one of the nurses there told me about how she had to move house because one of her patients stalked her when he was discharged.

According to law our work place is not allowed to disclose any personal details to anyone, including fellow work mates but in today’s day and age is this enough?  When this law was passed we didn’t have internet and whilst back then this may have been enough to protect nurses from patients or their relatives from finding us but now it is all too easy to look someone up on the internet and find all of their details. So how are we supposed to protect ourselves? Would it be wrong if nurses remained anonymous at work? Or, we use nick names instead of our real names?  And our  name badges have our selected names on it instead of our real names?

How are we to protect ourselves from patients finding us and causing emotional/physical  harm?

Do you have any suggestions? Have you experienced a scary situation with a patient or their relative? Please share your stories or Ideas.

Image source (http://www.fotosearch.com.au/photos-images/stalking.html)

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9 COMMENTS

  1. see, this is precisely why I refuse to wear my work provided name tag.. it has my LAST NAME printed in large letters, I happily wear my work ID which has my full name on it (which I am thinking of putting a lovely colourful sticker on top of my last name) as it hangs of my pouch and is harder to read.. that said, how many patients when they ask “who was on last shift, her name was “Anne”” and the person replies, “oh, you mean Anne Bloggs”.. it is scary how easily our details are divulged.. I am completely against having full names on name tags/ID badge.. surely a first name and staff number would suffice…

  2. A few years ago I worked at a community mental health centre in the inner west of Sydney where I noticed that reception admin staff routinely gave out the full name of mental health clinicians to any caller if requested, and when I raised this as a security issue my concerns were dismissed as if they were quite paranoid!!!

  3. shoils I agree,that Techno changes have made it’open-shooting’re information gathering.
    If we are granted permission to’assume nick-names’ we have to remember Pts’ rallies and our signitures are on Pts’Files and med sheets signed off.These can be seen by most visitors.:( ADDED to this is the fact we have new MO’s all the time ‘doing rounds’so just how are they expected to remember names”not real names”that is?

    So do we all get stressed out on this concern or put in place a workable system for our own security?:)!! Freedome of Information via Electrol Rolls: asking you next shift ‘buddy nurse’an open ended’not complex question by a very assute Pt …you can just ‘blurt out the real name’ ;;opps..too late!

    There is a total and complete lack of privacy in Wards for nurses and Pts. And we nurses have much to answer for in that’we never stop gossipppiiinnnggg’ and sounds and voices carry! So if you want to call some one by their real names do so..OFF the Wards please.

    I was followed home after a night shift so instead of driving home I drove straight to my Local Area Command Police and reported the MV Rego Plates.Never happened again. Found a pshc Pt in my front garden digging plants on a Sunday arvo. Saw he need help so called the local ‘guys-in- blue’. Poor guy was on day-release and got lost;he was an ex-gardner.:)

    Too much stress on us breaks down the ‘rules we all must up-hold’.Cracks do happen,info gets out.Layers of extra names;non-official name ID;place of employment changes in Areas:what next to cope with.

    I also need to point out and suggest the Law if strong enough should protect us,but it is not strong enough. E.g.the rapist is about to be set free. Why? The Law says so!
    Hence ‘if’ the person or persons who killed RNS nurse are charged and convicted will mittingating circumstances see their release within 18-24 mths? Who can tell and so we remain in fear of working and going home each day.

    So I ask: ‘Do we care?’ or ‘who else cares for nurses?’

    May She Rest in Peace +!

  4. I know where i work we are required to display our full name on our ID badge many of us cover up our surname with a sticker of somesort but if you don’t it would make it easy for someone who really wanted to to find out who you are and where you live… Scary.

  5. I totally disagree with displaying your surname on your name badge. There are lots of weirdos out there. Our area health service wants to put a picture up on the wall indicating who is in charge of the ward during your shift. Just shows how queer they are and have no idea what frontline nurses have to put up with.

  6. This is an issue I have raised numerous times, only to be told “you have to wear your ID badge with your full name where it can be seen by anyone”. I was stalked by a very aggressive and angry family (yes more than one)after one of them had shouted at me and made me fear he would physically assault me. My car was damaged and I had to endure loud unpleasant comments when I walked past any of them. Other staff were also verbally abused by this family. I completed incident reports on all occasions but nothing was said to these people and ward staff were given no protection from them.

    • + 1 IM There are probably lots of instances where even a slight disagreement with a patient / resident / relative could boil over into something rather unpleasant. I agree with all of those who are against full names being on ID’s and I further object to those one’s ith photos on too! Furthermore I will not wear one of those lanyard gizmos either as I have always said that they (although meant to break apart on pulling) can be used as a garrott or even swung with the metal “dogclip” on the end to strike one in the face – get lacerated or worse lose an eye? and especially when dealing with acutely ill psych patients or the intoxicated in the ED for example.
      I personally think that our “employers” should consult us as coalface workers on such matters before any decision is made on this and other like issues. But I believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny so perhaps I’m dreaming! lol!!

  7. I have a social name and a professional name. It happened without deliberate planning but I’m not about to change it.

    When I received my qualifications I was married. I seperated from my Ex husband and was having a baby in another relationship, I didn’t want my child to have my ex husbands name so I changed my name by deed poll (or whatever they call it thses days) before my child was born. I continue to practise under my married name as that is the name on my qualifications.
    As it turns out patients can’t find me. My social name is the one I use for everything other than work. Perhaps nurses need to have a practice name and a social name.

  8. on the social name i am using my maiden name but it tends to confuse a lot of people when they know me by my maried name not my maiden name that and AHPRA

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