? Incompetent Nurse..(part vent)..long

  1. Hi all, this is in part an opportunity for me to vent, in part a request for other nurses to comment on whether they are seeing the same in their institutions. I care about my place of employment a lot, and would have a hard time going to work anywhere else, in part because the closest hospital is approx. 70 miles from here.

    I work in a small critical access hospital that employs approximately 10 full time RN's, all of which are good nurses, that are very consciencious and take good care of our patients (we all have our better or worse days), except one nurse.

    This has been an ongoing problem over a few years, this nurse continuously makes med errors, is rude to patients, families and co-workers alike and is not at all open to new policies or procedures. (A common comment I hear from her is "This is not my job, i am not going to do this). She never volunteers for anything, holds grudges for ever, conveniently disappears when there is a patient in ER or is being admitted. And if you ask her at the end of the day, she had to do it all by herself. She will not ask for help and would rather stick a patient 10 times attempting to start an IV than to ask a co-worker.

    In the last few weeks she has had several episodes of crying, she feels as she is being treated unfairly. These crying jags apparently do not alarm anyone in administration to the fact that there may be a problem with her coping and her ability to handle stress.

    There have been many complaints made to our DON and the Hospital Administrator (I know, because I made some of them myself), but they make excuses for her such as "You know this is a bad time of the year for her", or " you have to understand maybe her med levels need to be checked"
    (she is on medication for bipolar disorder). There has been an investigation by the Board of Nursing, which cleared her of any wrongdoing.

    What do you think, is it me that has a problem?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   SuesquatchRN
    Nope. You're working with a mentally ill nurse whose meds ain't right.

    I had one like that in my last facility. really nice person but, man! DON'T deviate from the program or she'd melt right down.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Nope. You have a problem coworker that admin is protecting in a wrong way. They should support her if she has a problem, but they should also be making sure that she is mentally healthy enough to work.
  5. by   Cattitude
    She definitely has a problem and admin. is covering for her. Even with her illness, if she is not competent to wrk, she shouldn't be allowed to. Unfortunately, admin. may feel they have their hands tied if she is being covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act and it sounds like she is.
    Good luck and don't let it stress YOU too much.
  6. by   caliotter3
    Once worked for a DON who was stealing psychotropics. She threw tantrums and our workplace was "out there" b/c of her leadership, but the administrator/owner (a LTC fac) was not 100% himself.

    I can only suggest that you are very careful about how you do your job around her. When she is "off" and does "off" things that might involve you in the aftermath, document, document, document. Since other jobs are not readily avail what other avenues are open? Obviously, this person is being protected. Another person I knew was a "golden employee", to all mgmt. She did not get dealt with until she killed somebody. So everybody around her suffered until she was fired, but nobody suffered as much as her pts. So again, document, document, document.
  7. by   CHATSDALE
    i know if yo have a physical problem adm will require a drs excuse to work, seems like this should not be any different...???
  8. by   caliotter3
    Not to jump on a person just b/c they have a certain kind of disability and it appears that they may be getting accommodated (even if they are getting "too" accommodated) under the law; but just to think, how many people are literally railroaded out of their jobs or sent on their way for the wrong reasons? Jobs are so hard to come by in many places, it is a shame that good nurses who are good employees are not gainfully employed at all, while others run rampant in the workplace.
  9. by   obliviousRN
    I'd suggest a written complaint with copies to your DON, CEO, hospital board, State Board of Nursing, and union (if you are union). Give factual information, not emotional.

    Such as:

    Ms. Smith's actions effect her patient care in this way: blah blah blah
    Ms. Smith's actions effect the staff in this way: blah blah blah
    Ms. Smith's actions are a detriment to creating a team at ABC Hospital because of this: blah blah blah

    Give specific examples and not hearsay.


    And keep writing the letters over and over if need be. Get all the other nurses or staff members to sign them together. Present a united front (or as much of one as you can). Be professional in the presentation.


    Good luck!
  10. by   obliviousRN
    OH! One more thing.

    Stress the value of an emotionally stable work environment. "Studies show.....blahblahblah". Stress the fact that Patients (of whom are the most important piece of the puzzle) are adversely effected by her actions.
  11. by   Freedom42
    The problems with this woman's behavior aside, am I the only one who thinks it's odd that administrators respond to complaints by telling people that she's bipolar and on medication? That seems awfully unprofessional and a violation of her privacy, unless she's also talking about it openly.
  12. by   WinksRN
    If she has a mental Illnes an employer cannot fire you for it, only offer help.They could get a law suit big time for it and charges pressed against them if she attempts suicide or something else drastic because of their insensitivity. Although I dont understand how she isnt being reported for mistakes that are possibly made by her being mentally ill. Too bad that this women has no other means of work, they need to place her in a position where she doesnt have direct dealings with patients,,Nursing is known to create jobs when they want to, why not now?
  13. by   cowpoke_rn
    I worked with a nurse similar to your situation. You could always tell what kind of mood she was in by the color scrubs she had on (bright pink vs. gray) and the amount of makeup she was wearing or not wearing. She would have an occasional meltdown....but otherwise is a very good nurse. If you an tolerate the mood swings, that is :angryfire :spin: lol!
  14. by   charebec65
    I have a friend who is a physician and is scizoaffective. When the illness was under control she was awesome as a physician but unfortunately, she could not stay stable. Needless to say, she no longer practices medicine and fortunately she never harmed a patient. It seems though that even with the ADA, they could only protect this nurse so much.... Her med errors alone could kill someone.

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