A manager's perspective "I talked to my mgr about XYZ and nothing was done!"

  1. I saw this in another thread that's active right now. I wanted to address it, but that thread is pretty big and I didn't want it to get lost, because I think this is important, and a sentiment I've seen expressed a lot here, as well as among staff where I work.

    Me and a few other nurses have complained about her, but we were basically blown off with nothing done about it.
    Please do not assume, that if the person about whom you complained is still there the following week or month, that you were blown off or nothing was done.

    Your manager cannot share with you any disciplinary actions against other employees. If your facility has a progressive discipline policy, or it's a union facility, it can take months, sometimes YEARS, to get rid of a problem employee. And it takes meticulous documentation, and making sure all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed. And throughout this process, it's quite likely that the problem employee will be working alongside you this entire time, and by outward appearances, it would seem like there were no consequences for whatever it was the employee did.

    I'm not denying that there are managers out there that prefer to avoid conflict, or choose to sweep things under the rug over having tough conversations and holding people accountable. But not all managers do that, and I think it's helpful to know that even if it is not apparent to you that a disciplinary action has occurred, that doesn't mean that your manager is not addressing the problem.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   VivaLasViejas
    Oh, my. Reminds me of the CNA I had who was a no-call no-show at least once a week, and was unreliable on the job too. She was lazy and it seemed she could never be found when her co-workers needed help. On top of it, she had an attitude problem and residents and staff alike complained about her. I went the progressive discipline route per facility policy, and was all ready to fire her until corporate stepped in and said they needed more documentation. Like there wasn't a record as long as your arm in her employee file!

    In the meantime I had nurses and aides literally yelling at me to get rid of her, and of course it didn't look like I was doing anything because I couldn't talk about disciplinary actions or anything else regarding this CNA. It was supremely frustrating. Then a resident's family member came to visit one day and caught her handling him roughly, and I was able to suspend her pending investigation. That was the straw that finally broke the camel's back and corporate agreed to let her go. I can say that she was the only employee I was ever happy to fire, though I certainly didn't demonstrate that to her. From start to finish this process took almost six months, which was five months too long IMHO.
  4. by   Here.I.Stand
    I've never been a manager, but definitely see how that would be frustrating. This past spring, this kid punched my 12 yr old son in the locker room. He reported it to the asst principal; she likewise told him that she can't tell him what consequences the boy received, but assured him she took the incident seriously. At work, I would think it takes something pretty egregious to march someone out straightaway.
  5. by   JKL33
    People don't and wouldn't/shouldn't know that "nothing was done" or that something specific was done. Someone else's disciplinary process is none of their business. But in fairness, I assume that many times what they mean to say is that nothing changed, which is a different matter than whether or not they are allowed to know about measures being taken.

    Your frustration is understandable - and so is the idea that people don't particularly enjoy working with troublesome co-workers.

    At one point in my career I was aware of a situation which involved hands-down the scariest behavioral and patient care issues I've ever witnessed. Reported and/or corroborated by all co-workers. It went on for years. I assumed things were being done and knew that the handling of such was a private matter. The situation continued. For years.

    So, if staff had complained that "nothing was done" - - they would've been incorrect, but only technically-speaking. Nothing effective was done to stop the situation. It eventually "ended" (sort of) but not on a timeline that anyone in their right mind would consider appropriate.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Aug 29
  6. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from klone
    I saw this in another thread that's active right now. I wanted to address it, but that thread is pretty big and I didn't want it to get lost, because I think this is important, and a sentiment I've seen expressed a lot here, as well as among staff where I work.



    Please do not assume, that if the person about whom you complained is still there the following week or month, that you were blown off or nothing was done.

    Your manager cannot share with you any disciplinary actions against other employees. If your facility has a progressive discipline policy, or it's a union facility, it can take months, sometimes YEARS, to get rid of a problem employee. And it takes meticulous documentation, and making sure all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed. And throughout this process, it's quite likely that the problem employee will be working alongside you this entire time, and by outward appearances, it would seem like there were no consequences for whatever it was the employee did.

    I'm not denying that there are managers out there that prefer to avoid conflict, or choose to sweep things under the rug over having tough conversations and holding people accountable. But not all managers do that, and I think it's helpful to know that even if it is not apparent to you that a disciplinary action has occurred, that doesn't mean that your manager is not addressing the problem.
    Thanks for bringing this up. I, too, have seen the threads where the poster complains about a colleague and then ends with "I told the manager, but nothing is done."

    Terminating someone requires a LOT of documentation and a LOT of paperwork. All too often, the person who complains about a colleague isn't willing to go on record with the complaint. There isn't a lot the manager can do without documentation, and if you're not willing to provide it, you shouldn't be then complaining that "the manager didn't do anything."

    Documenting on a colleague is uncomfortable, I know that. It should be. It should not be an easy thing to potentially mess with someone's income. But if you're complaining to your manager, you should be willing to stand up and be accountable. Which probably means that you should be bringing facts to your manager, rather than feelings. "Sally made me feel stupid" is not a valid reason to go to your manager. "Sally told me 'you are too stupid to be a nurse' right in front of my patient and his family" is a different thing. "I observed that Brenda was slurring her speech, drooling and couldn't keep her eyes open immediately after she removed narcotics from the Pyxis to medicate her patient. She also has some blood oozing through her long sleeved shirt on her left arm. The patient states he got absolutely no pain relief from the injection that she gave him, and his blood pressure and heart rate were still elevated." Not "Brenda is using her patient's narcotics."

    If a co-worker is seriously screwing up over and over, have the courage to document the facts. If someone makes the rare mistake, just learn from the mistake.
  7. by   llg
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    I've never been a manager, but definitely see how that would be frustrating. This past spring, this kid punched my 12 yr old son in the locker room. He reported it to the asst principal; she likewise told him that she can't tell him what consequences the boy received, but assured him she took the incident seriously. At work, I would think it takes something pretty egregious to march someone out straightaway.
    At least the assistant principal said that she took it seriously and implied that she had followed up on the report of bad behavior. I think that is what most people need -- not details of the exact conversation or disciplinary action -- but assurance that the problem was taken seriously and addressed. A victim should be able to receive that much assurance from their manager even if the specifics must remain private.
  8. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    I have said some awfully negative things about "management" in my day - mostly because I have had some terrible managers, but also because it's easy to project blame/frustration toward the higher-up folks.

    Y'know what, though? Y'all can keep that management thing. I would not want the responsibility.

    Also, I've had some amazing managers and am so very thankful for them!

    As y'all were...
  9. by   caffeinatednurse
    Not to mention that sometimes what one person complains about to a manager or supervisor it turns out to be all smoke and no fire. I can't count on one hand how many complaints I've received about nurses and CNAs that were really attempts by one staff member to sabotage another staff member. In cases like that, I will listen intently, but there should be no expectation that it will go any further with anything...other than monitoring that person more closely for more attempts to sabotage their co-workers. (Usually these people are unwilling to write anything down about said complaints - they just want complain to their supervisor and then tell all of their coworkers about said discussion.)

    But I've also seen the process that you're referring to, and it can be an agonizingly slow process. Staff just do not understand that even when someone is purposefully messing up their job and everyone else, you still have to give them every chance to correct their mistakes. And even then, if they've been there for a very long time, the process of termination can take a long time. It takes a lot of write-ups and close monitoring (which usually unveils even more troubling evidence for their termination) to be able to legally terminate someone.
    Last edit by caffeinatednurse on Sep 4
  10. by   LetLoveNReasonUnite
    I think at the heart of this issue is that employees that tend to say such things feel like in some way they were ignored. "Doing something" does not necessarily mean getting rid of the employee that made the mistake or caused the problem. You don't need to explicitly say, "Yes, we had a talk and discussed ABC and he or she is going to do XYZ", as that is really none of the complainant's business. I think its important to get the full story, including precise details, relay the information back to the complainant and say that you will follow up with it. I think communicating in such a respectful manner to both the complainant and the person being complained about, will have a good impact. I make an effort in my job to try to make it so no one feels like they are ignored, while at the same time not compromising confidentiality.

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