agency nurse asks..how to deal with difficult staff nurse

  1. 2
    What is best way to deal with a staff nurse that is increasingly becoming
    difficult. We each have assigned team. This nurse started friendly, extremely talkative on noc shift.
    Then began establishing her own policies and insisting I adhere to them. When I found out it was her thing ( adding more work and unnecessary) and not hospital policy I stopped doing it. My big mistake!! Now....she is on me about everything. Looks for mundane things, criticizes me in front of other staff - not in a productive way
    but demeaning. Interrupts when I am talking with my CNA's. When I was returning from lunch, she says she is giving my patient some tylenol because he has been in pain ( like I was neglecting). I said I just gave him some 20 minutes ago. Her reply is "well how am I suppose to know" and I remind her that is what MAR's are for...then she starts dissecting looking for my entry. Girl is a nightmare and has worked there for years. I had already accepted another month of work before her personality shift and now I am absolutely dreading going.

    I do not know if I should talk to her privately, tell her to stop it! because it does feel like harassment really. or bullying. its very stressful on top of already stress. the word is dread.
    I would like to know the most professional way to deal with this if anyone has ideas. my agency has policy once you accept shifts there is no turning back. Thanks
    dance4life and lindarn like this.
  2. 16 Comments so far...

  3. 8
    I don't think you should talk to her privately. I think you should STOP talking to her. Remove yourself as far as possible from her drama. Convey only the information that you absolutely have to.

    When you are speaking with the nursing assistants and she interrupts, just stop, mid sentence preferably, look her dead in the eye. When she has finished, start exactly where you left off.

    Stay focused, do your job. And remain apart.
    roxalot, lorena-inday, tokidoki7, and 5 others like this.
  4. 6
    She doesn't sound like the kind of person who will be receptive to you pulling her aside. Doubling up on Tylenol dosing is a med error -- if you documented the dose you gave, she made a med error by administering another dose. This gives you the opportunity to go speak with the unit manager, which will be a perfect entry into your concerns about her attitude and toxic behaviors. What do others on the unit think of this person? Despite her being on that floor for many years, it could be that she's the "trouble-maker" of the unit and needs direction from management about improving her behavior.

    I would also recommend reading the book "Communicate with Confidence" by Dianna Booher; in particular chapter 12 "Taking the sting out of negative feedback or criticism leveled at you" and chapter 18 "Responding to insults, boasting, insensitivity, gossip, and other goofs hurled at you". This may give you some insight on things you can say or do to put her in her place. It's not okay to criticize a staff member in front of others, as she is doing to you. If she has constructive feedback, she should be pulling you aside.

    I definitely recommend speaking with the unit manager as soon as possible. And when your month is up, I'd get the heck outta there!

    Sorry you're having such a difficult time with this person. You'll come across people like this all the time throughout life though, so it's good to learn how to deal with them. Again, I definitely recommend the book above. Other good books for personal and professional growth are as follows:
    "Stop Workplace Drama" by Marlene Chism
    "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
    "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson (and multiple other authors)

    Good luck!
    Amanda
  5. 5
    You could just have a parking lot meeting and eliminate the cost of tuition & book fees...
  6. 0
    There's a book called 'Dealing With People You Can't Stand' that may help. Off the top of my head I can't remember the author, but it could work for you if you find it on Amazon or something. Good Luck!
  7. 2
    Quote from Amanda.RN
    I would also recommend reading the book "Communicate with Confidence" by Dianna Booher;
    "Stop Workplace Drama" by Marlene Chism
    "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
    "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson (and multiple other authors)
    Please tell me you're in a management position. Otherwise, your level of familiarity with self-help books scares me.
    Kashia and redhead_NURSE98! like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from Vespertinas
    Please tell me you're in a management position. Otherwise, your level of familiarity with self-help books scares me.
    This.

    Is the type of attitude that is difficult to work with. Let's hear your great suggestion?
    redhead_NURSE98! likes this.
  9. 2
    I was hoping someone would say that.

    If you can't handle anything less than the most professional and polite conversation, then maybe you're the problem in some instances of communication breakdown.
    Kashia and BostonTerrierLoverRN like this.
  10. 0
    From a former police officer, tell her to mind her own damm business or ask her who died and left her as the boss or supervisor.
  11. 2
    Document.. document .. document with your recruiter.
    You should be in contact every 2 weeks.,,, even if everything is going well.

    You do NOT have to put up with this abuse, let your recruiter know. They will support you.
    I have broken a contract.. successfully.. because I documented that kind of bs before it became intolerable.
    Kashia and himilayaneyes like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top