2 married ER nurses having an affair

  1. 2 coworkers married each with 2 kids. Male coworker spouse also works in ER but usually opposite for childcare issues. We (staff) suspect that she has no clue of what is going on and has been for 5 months.

    The problem:


    We (staff) feel uncomfortable working with them due to blatant affection, playing footsie at the desk in plain view, just to name a few. We (staff) already have morale problems in our department due to increase work load, short staffed, etc...This is an unsightly situation. What do we do? We are a close unit in a small hospital. We (staff) feel it is a problem because they are not showing professionalism while behaving like that at work. The wife who we think has no clue is the nicest, most giving person. She is a coworker that you would want 10 of.

    Any thoughts or has anyone ever had this in there ER?

    Please advise.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   erdaynurse
    If you are comfortable with either of the co-workers having the affair, pull him or her to the side and explain that you (staff) can not control what happens outside of work but that they are being highly unprofessional and putting you (staff) in an awkward and unwanted position. If they are not concerned about their unprofessional behavior at work, a supervisor should be notified and have a talk with them. Also, if someone is a true friend of the wife who has no clue, she needs to be made aware (even if it is an anonymous tip). Apparently everyone knows but her and she is being made to look like a fool.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from Sarah, RNBScN
    2 coworkers married each with 2 kids. Male coworker spouse also works in ER but usually opposite for childcare issues. We (staff) suspect that she has no clue of what is going on and has been for 5 months.

    The problem:

    We (staff) feel uncomfortable working with them due to blatant affection, playing footsie at the desk in plain view, just to name a few. We (staff) already have morale problems in our department due to increase work load, short staffed, etc...This is an unsightly situation. What do we do? We are a close unit in a small hospital. We (staff) feel it is a problem because they are not showing professionalism while behaving like that at work. The wife who we think has no clue is the nicest, most giving person. She is a coworker that you would want 10 of.

    Any thoughts or has anyone ever had this in there ER?

    Please advise.
    We currently have this in our OR. Seeing those two made me want to puke. You kn now, a few people would say "it's none of your business", but footsie, rubbing arms, was unprofessional and done in front of people so it wound up being our business whether we wanted it or not.

    And, strange as it may sound, i don't trust either one of these people. They are lying to their spouses, they haven't been that secretive about it, but, i don't feel i can trust either one to tell the truth, if they can't even tell their own spouses the truth, know what i mean?

    I would have went to the supervisor, but right when i was ready to:

    One of the participants got busted by his wife about 2 weeks ago (GOOD!! ). And now he's acting sooo devastated that his marriage is broken, yet, um, it's not like he was doing something to AVOID that!




    Anyway, if it weren't so obvious, i wouldn't say anything. But, it is, and it's not a matter of being nosey or such, it's a matter of professionalism. Even if they were husband and wife, the blatant affection would still be considered unprofessional. I'd go to the supervisor, and express concerns about how unprofessional this looks, avoiding any mention of personal morals.
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Oct 16, '06
  5. by   Larry77
    I had a friend who worked in the pharmacy who I made a CD for one time and one of the girls in the pharmacy (I still don't know who it was) was convinced that we were having an affair so she preceded to call my house and tell my mother-in-law (happened to answer the phone) that I was having an affair and it was making her uncomfortable. I think my mother-in-law bout had a nervous breakdown trying to decide what to do with this "information".

    I was not having an affair btw, we were friends only (now she is friends with my wife also), my only point is be careful with assumptions you do not KNOW they are having an affair what you KNOW is that their behavior is inappropriate for the workplace. I would have someone who is friends with one of the "offenders" talk to them and tell them how they are making people feel etc etc, just like others have said if that doesn't work I still would let the manager know somehow.
  6. by   barbie90210
    i would absolutely not get involved in any way. you could point it out to the nursing manager and if it disruptive she can deal with it. i don't think you should confront either one of them or tell the wife. i'm sure there are plenty of other things to become upset about - especially in the er. this is not a good idea - even if you are right. it's just another annoyance and there are plenty more where that came from. it's nice that you are loyal to the wife but they are all your co-workers. you don't want that kind of war.
  7. by   txspadequeenRN
    If it was me. I would alert the supervisor to the unprofessional behavior (footsies or blantant flirting) because this is work not a pick up place and people can get so wrapped up in the other person that patient care can suffer. Other than that I would stay out of it. Rumors fly and my guess it wont be long before she finds out anyway. Hopefully the supervisors will get a idea and maybe change this other woman work days if this turns out true.
  8. by   oneLoneNurse
    I question if anyone should tell the partners of the two who are supposedly cheating. They may already know and to rub their faces in it seems unfair and mean.

    On the other hand if the two are acting unprofessionally that is a management issue.

    Real issue for me is does anyone know for sure these people are having an affair ?
  9. by   rn/writer
    As far as the work aspect goes, their behavior would be inappropriate even if they were both single. The fact that they are not just adds to the problem.

    Someone, preferably a manager, needs to make it clear that the flirting and footsie-playing needs to stop. This is high school--no, junior high--behavior and it's just plain inconsiderate toward patients and co-workers.

    How certain are you that an actual affair is going on? Have they been seen together outside of work? Has either of them confided in any of you? As the previous poster mentioned, it can be risky to make assumptions. You'd want to be awfully careful before starting something that would be nearly impossible to take back.

    On the other hand, if you are CERTAIN that they are crossing the line, it could be that they are getting an additional thrill from the "forbidden fruit" aspect of the situation. How much more fun to have an "adventure" than to work on a boring marriage. Add to that the excitement of "fooling" others, and you have an intoxicating mixture. Just as physical drunkenness can throw good judgment out the window, so an emotional high can influence people to do stupid things.

    If they are under the impression that their shenanigans are still a secret, you and your co-workers need to set them straight. The corporate message ought to be, "You're not fooling anyone but yourselves. You don't have our approval. Please start behaving like professionals and stop reminding us about things we'd rather not know."

    If they know you are all aware and just don't give a hoot, then it's time to call in a manager.

    The thing you DON'T want to do is respond in any way that sinks to their level. Eye-rolling, snarky comments, anonymous notes and such feed right into their immaturity. Better to be distantly professional toward them but still treat them with basic respect. That is, respect for them as fellow human beings, not respect for their actions.

    The less everyone around them notices and reacts, the less the payoff for them. If the rest of you can convey the idea that you thought better of them and are saddened and surprised that they have chosen to act in this destructive manner, there is a chance that they might see a truer reflection of themselves. They won't see two misunderstood soul mates finding thrills and good times in the face of marital disappointment, but rather two misguided and self-centered cheaters who are willing to hurt others for the sake of feeding their own selfish appetites.
  10. by   TazziRN
    This has to be addressed, because if staf have noticed it, so have patients. You can do one of two things: pull them aside together and tell them that if it doesn't stop management will be told, thereby giving them the chance to rectifiy the situation quietly, or go straight to the dept manager. This is, believe it or not, considered sexual harrassment at our facility, if even an onlooker is made uncomfortable.
  11. by   ahsitters
    Unless you have actually seen them having sex you have no proof to base your assumptions. Maybe the couple has an open marriage. There are a whole lot of questions you need to answer befor you throw around accusations. If you must say something Tell them that the flirting is making you uncomfortable given that they are working and leave it at that. If you tell their spouses I guarantee it will turn out badly.....for you. Sometimes you have to let people live their own lives. That's just my
  12. by   HairCanada
    My advice...Not your Business!!!!

    You have enough to worry about taking care of patients and CYA.

    Part of the problem mat be that you are at a small hospital, and therefore have to be exposed to it more than if you were at a larger facicilty.

    But, my magic crystal ball says that it will eventually end badly, [they always do],...and you dont want to be anywhere near that situation when it finnally happens...lest the Jerry Springer wheel crushes you in a spoke!
  13. by   RazorbackRN
    [quote=ahsitters]"Unless you have actually seen them having sex you have no proof to base your assumptions"


    So, you think that it's not cheating unless they are having sex?? Surely not.

    Please clarify...
  14. by   TazziRN
    Quote from HairCanada
    My advice...Not your Business!!!!

    You have enough to worry about taking care of patients and CYA.
    It's very much her business if it makes her uncomfortable. Not the fact that the two may be having an affair, but that the rest of the staff is having to be witness to their antics.

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