A stye in your eye *semi-vent*

  1. So, I get a "note" from management. Yes, the policy was technically broken and I take full responsibility (and it had been my first time doing this procedure since starting my new shift). It had to do with dual sign offs (I'll leave it at that). To get some perspective, I asked ta couple more seasoned nurses/mentors for their insight because I was flabbergasted. They are shocked that this coworker went up to management about this issue and have even stated that they couldn't believe this coworker went to management over something extremely petty.

    And then I find out that she was apart of a really bad sentinel event (d/t negligence) not too long ago (think loss of limb). APN confronted her and she took a blase attitude over what happened and even defended her actions (in front of someone she was training!) and that is when APN took it up the chain.

    It kills me. I admit that I am not perfect, but to have someone with a stye in their eye complain about the speck in mine gets me. She not only made this mistake, but she didn't care. She reminded me of the policy (which, at the time, totally left my mind) and I thought it would be left at that.

    To seasoned nurses, how does one deal with a person like this? I am fighting the immature urge to confront her...but how do you deal with someone who throws people under the bus not for patient safety (b/c her sentinel event was enough to get her license tossed), but to make themselves look better? I have never had any negative instances with her before and I wasn't aware of her history, but this has thrown me off guard and ticked.

    I take responsibility for my actions and going forward will not make the same mistake again and will keep my distance away from this one.
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   klone
    Try not to look at it as someone ratted you out for breaking a policy, but look at it as you broke a policy. Reflect on why it happened and how you will avoid doing it again. Don't make it about her.
  4. by   klone
    And I believe it's a "plank," and not a "stye". Assuming you're making a biblical reference.
  5. by   Zyprexa
    Quote from klone
    And I believe it's a "plank," and not a "stye". Assuming you're making a biblical reference.
    From Matthew 7:3, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

    So yes, if it is a biblical reference, it is plank not stye (isn't that inflammation at the base of an eyelash?).
  6. by   ThePrincessBride
    I've heard both.

    I know I should look at it that way but I can't help but be pissed. This kind of behavior is what makes some nurses keep quiet and are reluctant to work as a team.

    In the future, I will avoid this nurse.
  7. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    I know I should look at it that way but I can't help but be pissed. This kind of behavior is what makes some nurses keep quiet and are reluctant to work as a team.

    In the future, I will avoid this nurse.
    It's a shame that there is no "ignore" button in the real world, right? But now you know, and forewarned is forearmed and all that jazz.
  8. by   calivianya
    I hate people like that. We have a couple of those.

    If one rubs me the wrong way, I try to give her the benefit of the doubt - like maybe she is hyper-reactive about things now because of what she did. Like she's a super patient safety advocate about that particular issue now because she has a huge guilt complex going inside, regardless of how she acts about it on the outside.

    You know how we have the family members from four states away come out of the woodwork and try to micromanage things when their relative is sick because they have feel terrible for neglecting that relative for so long? I think it's kind of like that.

    That doesn't stop it from being super aggravating, though.
  9. by   Scottishtape
    Although I know it would be hard, considering the circumstances, I do think it would be good for you, her, and your unit, if you sat down and talked to her about the situation so you can move on from this situation and be able to work together harmoniously.

    Maybe sit with her in the NM's office or a designated mediator, just so that you have a witness of the conversation, and there'll be a buffer there.

    I've had situations like that and when they don't get resolved, it just gets bigger and bigger and eventually boils over. At that point, it affects everyone.

    I'm sorry you're having a hard time with this emotionally.

    Good luck!
  10. by   xoemmylouox
    Try to move on. Stay professional with this coworker, but know your boundaries. I keep my distance from most co-workers because you never know who is really your friend at work vs the fake instigator. I've got to know someone pretty well before I become lax around them.

    Plus you admitted that you messed up. Just take it as a reminder and keep on keeping on.
  11. by   Double-Helix
    Safety events aren’t reported to make you look bad. They are reported to prevent them from happening again and keep everyone safe. I currently earn my paycheck in a quality/safety position where I am responsible for investigating safety events (including near misses) and develop action plans to improve the process or staff education. Safety events are, most of the time, a combination of inefficiencies in the system as well as human error. It’s important that they are reported so that those systems and processes can be evaluated for weaknesses that increase the potential for that error. I’m willing to bet that this sentinel event you’re blaming on the negligence of your co-worker is a bit more complicated than you think.

    I’m also willing to bet that the anger you’re feeling is misplaced. You want to lash out at the person that reported you because you feel like she had no right to do so because her past error was worse? That’s not how it works. Her previous mistake should not be justification for turning a blind eye to other safety concerns- and neither should your error ever cause you to do the same. Whether you feel like what you did was “that bad” or not, the fact is you broke policy and your statement that your co-worker reported it to “make herself look better” is nothing but an evil intention you’ve imagined to justify your anger toward her.

    The fact is, you feel embarrassed and fearful that this event has damaged your reputation or puts your job in jeopardy. You’re channeling that embarrassment and fear into anger toward your coworker. Why? Because anger is an easier emotion to deal with. Guess what? Your coworker felt the same embarrassment and fear when she was confronted with her error. She chose to turn those emotions into denial and righteous indignation. Not much different than what you’re doing now by focusing your energy on blaming her instead of your own responsibility for the event that occurred. Think about that a little bit before you continue calling the kettle black.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    So, I get a "note" from management. Yes, the policy was technically broken and I take full responsibility (and it had been my first time doing this procedure since starting my new shift). It had to do with dual sign offs (I'll leave it at that). To get some perspective, I asked ta couple more seasoned nurses/mentors for their insight because I was flabbergasted. They are shocked that this coworker went up to management about this issue and have even stated that they couldn't believe this coworker went to management over something extremely petty.

    And then I find out that she was apart of a really bad sentinel event (d/t negligence) not too long ago (think loss of limb). APN confronted her and she took a blase attitude over what happened and even defended her actions (in front of someone she was training!) and that is when APN took it up the chain.

    It kills me. I admit that I am not perfect, but to have someone with a stye in their eye complain about the speck in mine gets me. She not only made this mistake, but she didn't care. She reminded me of the policy (which, at the time, totally left my mind) and I thought it would be left at that.

    To seasoned nurses, how does one deal with a person like this? I am fighting the immature urge to confront her...but how do you deal with someone who throws people under the bus not for patient safety (b/c her sentinel event was enough to get her license tossed), but to make themselves look better? I have never had any negative instances with her before and I wasn't aware of her history, but this has thrown me off guard and ticked.

    I take responsibility for my actions and going forward will not make the same mistake again and will keep my distance away from this one.
    No one is perfect. But if you broke the policy, own that and deal with the fallout as gracefully and with as much integrity as you can. The other nurse isn't important, although I fully understand the urge to let the air out of her tires or something. It's about YOUR practice, and you want your practice to be the very best you can make it. If you want to be truly evil, thank her sincerely for calling attention to your error so that you can fix it and never make the same mistake again. Trust me -- it will mess with her mind!

    Management knows all about the sentinel event, so she's not making herself look any better even if she might THINK she is. There's also the possibility that she was more affected by this sentinel event than you think, but she's too prideful to let on to anyone else how much she cares. I learned this the hard way when a friend was involved in a sentinel event.

    And third . . . don't trust her again. Just don't trust her. Watch your back. This was always the most difficult one for me. It would never even occur to me to throw someone under the bus, so I was never alert enough to watch for the possibility. One particular nurse threw my husband under the bus, though, and I've had an eye out for her ever since. She tried to throw an orientee of mine under the bus on two separate occaisions (two different orientees) but I was able to document (or have the orientee do it) thoroughly enough to de-fang her.

    There's one particular person you have to watch out for everywhere. Usually it's not as bad as all that, but I must confess that the Evangelicals who tell me I'm going to hell for not attending their church with them and the Mommie's who insist everyone buy candy for their kid's schools both have me on high-alert status.
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from Zyprexa
    From Matthew 7:3, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

    So yes, if it is a biblical reference, it is plank not stye (isn't that inflammation at the base of an eyelash?).
    I suspect the wording depends upon the edition of the Bible.
  14. by   ThePrincessBride
    Thanks for all the replies and putting it in perspective for me.


    You are right, Ruby. It is about my practice and I do want to be the best nurse possible as I love bedside care and helping patients. I would be devastated if I harmed a patient, and I need to own up to my mistakes.

    I agree with everyone who has said she probably has a guilty conscious, especially since this patient died soon after this sentinel event (for something else). I am trying to come from a place of understanding and not anger and revenge (because that will make things worse).



    After she reported me, she wouldn't even look at my direction all day. My inner five-year old wanted to let her have it!

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