Nursing Talk

Dear Cassandra,

My car was low on gas, and I didn’t have time to go to the gas station on my way to work. I took my purse with the $40.00 of cash with me into the client’s home. At the end of my shift, I discovered that the cash was missing. How can I prevent this from happening again?

—Devastated in Des Plaines


Dear Devastated,

I’m sorry your gas money was stolen. It’s not just the financial loss. It’s the violation of trust and the intrusion into your personal space.

Once I heard a police officer speak to a group of women about ways to avoid being a victim of theft. He stated that women have a relationship with their purses that goes far beyond purses as fashion accessories or mule packs. He described how some practices make purses easy targets.

Have you ever gone into a shoe store or a shoe department and put your purse on the chair while you got up to look at the shoes on display? Your purse is marking your territory, saving that chair for you. It is also an easy target for a thief who can steal your wallet while you are admiring the shoes.

How many times have you seen a woman put her open purse into the basket of the shopping cart at the grocery store? Then she walks halfway down the aisle to pick up a jar of brown mustard. Even if she sees the thief take the wallet or purse, is she going to be able to run fast enough to catch the thief?

Have you ever hung your purse on the hook on the back of the door in the toilet stall in a public restroom? It is no problem for a thief to reach over the door and grab the purse. How quickly could you react when you are otherwise indisposed?

Taking your purse into a client’s home is asking for trouble. You are there to care for the client, not to guard your purse or money. Do not carry your purse into the home. Instead, put your money into your pocket or other concealed place. If you must carry a purse, do not leave it in the client’s living room where neighbors, delivery men, family, or children have easy access to it.


Note: First published on American Home Health's news, October 2011.

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