I'm a CNA (obviously), and as some of you here may know, I am also male. Currently, I am one of only two male CNAs at my facility. The other is dating a nurse, although she is not his supervisor. Anyway, the past few days, I've taken notice to something. The girls I work with are just now starting to get comfortable with me, and a few have started flirting a little. 4 in particular, to include 3 CNAs and 1 LPN. 2 of the 3 CNAs are married with kids. The other CNAs is completely single with a young child. So far it's just been innocent flirting from the CNAs. Smiles, pet-names, hugs, blown kisses, attempts at starting deep conversations, and a couple of times a quick pat on the rump. That was all fine, until today...
The LPN I mentioned started flirting with me today. I'll call her Susan (obvious name change, nothing close to her real name). She was talking to me yesterday and asked me if I was so-and-so's husband. I said no, that I was her ex-husband. She did the whole "Oh, I'm so sorry, when I saw y'all together, you seemed like you genuinely loved her" bull. I just kinda smiled politely and walked off, not wanting to relive painful memories. Today I get to work, and I'm put on a different hall than usual. This hall is mostly women, 95% of which will not let me care for them. Needless to say, I was spending a bit of time out in the hall. Susan was the hall nurse. She was smiling at me, staring at me, calling me over to talk to her, etc. To her credit, she didn't bring up my past relationship as I thought she would. However, about an hour into my shift, she comes out of a room, walks straight up to me, and hugs me. I was a bit uncomfortable with this (being as I do find myself physically attracted to her but don't want to poop where I eat, so to speak), so I backed away. She got the hint and let go. However, not ten minutes later, I'm standing just outside a resident's room, having just come out of the room next to it, when she comes out, looks up at me, and takes my hand in her's. I looked at her, at our hands, and then up the hall to see the charge nurse, Nicole (name changed), staring at what's going on. I withdraw my hand and walk away. Susan goes on about her work as if nothing has happened. She continues to stare at me, smile at me, call me over to her, etc. Everytime I go over to her, she's touching on my arm, touching my chest, etc. Nicole was apparently paying attention, as about halfway through our shift, right after meal trays were passed, she calls Susan to the desk. I was working lights during supper and was told to be somewhere else as Susan was walking towards the desk.
I don't know exactly what was said, but Alice (name changed), another LPN, told me that Nicole basically talked to Susan about inappropriate behaviors at work, not bringing up specifics. Soon after supper, I was assigned the task of being a rehab resident's personal sitter. That was fine with me, as it got me away from Susan, relieving the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing. That was around 6. Around 8, the resident I was sitting decided it was bedtime. I was walking up to the nurse's desk to talk to Nicole when I overheard her talking to Brittney, one of the married CNAs that likes to flirt with me, about Susan's behavior. Brittney was livid. She was trying to keep her voice down, obviously, but was still talking loud enough for me to hear her from around the corner. She explained to Nicole that Susan needed to back off, that if anyone was going to flirt with me it was going to be her, if anyone there was going to get me to open up to them, it would be her. I slinked back towards the resident's room and started walking back towards the nurse's station on the side of the hall where Nicole could see me walking up there. She silences Brittney and I tell them the resident has gone to bed and that if he got back up, to call me. Brittney smiles at me and out of reflex I smiled back. I realized my mistake and walked back to my previously assigned hall. Susan continued to smile at me and stare at me, but didn't talk to me or come close enough to touch me. I sense that her conversation with Nicole sank in a little.
Now, I'm not a great looking guy or anything. I'm 6'4", overweight, kinda shy and awkward, and really NOT looking for anything like this at work. Don't get me wrong, the attention makes me feel good about myself, but it doesn't inflate my ego and it isn't something I'm craving. IF I was to meet any of these girls in public and they were all single, I would flirt back. But the fact is, we all work together, and I am NOT trying to get fired. The company doesn't particularly have a fraternization policy, but I know the administrator very well and know for a fact that she won't put up with it. I'm the newest hire on my shift, so if anyone were to be terminated for this behavior, it would be me. Or atleast I would hope it would be me. I know the two married CNAs are the bread winners in their families. But other than Brittney and Susan, I know for a fact that it's just a little harmless flirting with the other two. However, it is Brittney and Susan that I don't know how to deal with. I have tried making it clear that I'm not interested, but it doesn't seem to be working. I think they both know that I am attracted to them, despite how hard I have tried to hide it.
Now, my question. What should I do? How do I not-so-subtly let these two girls know that while I am flattered, I refuse to let anything happen with anyone I work with. I have even considered spreading the rumor that I'm gay. I mean, half the women up there think I am, anyway (why does a man have to be gay to want to be a nurse? Or is this just a southern thing?). I just don't know how well that'll go over if I start dating while I'm working there. It's a small town, everyone knows everything. Also, most of these girls know my ex, went to school with my ex, etc. For some reason, there seems to be this "If he made HER happy enough to marry him, he must be a helluva guy" attitude.
Sep 10, '12
by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
1. Tell them that your personal policy is never to date people that you work with. Repeat as needed. Stay as professional as possible about it. If they start making things too uncomfortable for you, you may need to bring it up to your supervisor.
2. Make sure you continue not to flirt back. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that "harmless" flirting is really harmless--the last thing you need is for them to get a mixed message.
3. Do not spread any sort of rumors about yourself that aren't true (e.g., you're gay, already dating someone, etc.) unless you are prepared to live that part for as long as you work there, if not longer. Especially since, as you said, you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone's laundry. And you never know who will be working at your next job.
Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 10, '12