Accusation Against Male Nurse (Me)

  1. So here's the story. I am a male RN. Recently, I had a conflict while at work with a female CNA. For the sake of anonymity and simplicity, I will call her Jen. A relative of a patient of ours asked for his IV to be wrapped so that they can give him a shower (bless this family for being so involved in his care). I went off to find Jen in the break room and asked her if she was on break or on lunch. She said she was on lunch, so I replied "Ok it can wait then." I explained to the family that I couldn't wrap the IV at this particular time due to my having medications to pass to my other patients, but that Jen could do it when she came back from lunch. I even held the meds that I had in my hand up in the air for them to see. The family understood and said they can wait. I go off to pass my meds.

    After I finished my last or second-to-last med pass, I was walking down the hall towards the nurses' station when I hear Jen's voice, screaming "Lapzs! Why didn't you wrap the IV?! The family's so pissed! God! You're so unprofessional!" I stood there dumbfounded. The only words I could get out were "I had meds to give." Before I could explain any more, she scoughed, turned around, and made way for the supply room. I called out her name, but she ignored me and went inside. I followed her in, and on my way I noticed a patient's family member looking stunned (possible witnessed what she was yelling about). The following conversation ensues (as I recall to the best of my memory):

    Me: Jen. We need to talk.
    Jen: God Lapzs! You could have wrapped the IV!
    Me: First of all, if you have a problem with me, you take me somewhere private and talk. You don't yell at me in the hallway like that.
    Jen: I wasn't yelling!
    Me: Fine. But I told you. I had meds to pass.
    Jen: That doesn't matter. You could have wrapped it before! God you are just so lazy!

    She tries to walk around me to leave, but I stand in front of her to prevent her from doing so.

    Jen: Don't you EVER do that to me!!!
    Me: Fine. But we need to talk. We can't let this issue get out of this room. I already talked to the family. They were ok with it. Plus those meds were important.
    Jen: You still could have wrapped it before.
    Me: Do you want to pass my meds for me then? That is my job. That was my priority. If I could have wrapped it, I would have. And I already talked to them. This is your job. You're the CNA...
    Jen: I'm NOT just a CNA! I'm more than that!
    Me: Fine. So like I said, I had meds to give.
    Jen: No! You could have wrapped it!

    The back-and-forth goes on for a little while like that until she walks around me again and leaves. After that, the only time we talked again during the rest of the shift was when I asked her if she took a patient's blood pressure (she didn't document it) and she asked me about a patient's diet. I even talked to the patient's family afterwards and asked if there was a problem. They insisted there wasn't and asked me why I thought there was. I mentioned that I know Jen came to them a little while ago, and they said "Oh yeah she seemed pretty pissed."

    We both talked to our charge RN individually. The next day (Jen wasn't working but I was), the same charge RN tells me that I need to apologize to Jen or do whatever I can to mend things because Jen told our director about this event and that she was going to file an incident report because she felt her safety was at risk. Charge RN tells me that our director told her to tell me to file a MIDAS (our internal reporting service) so that I can defend myself. Charge RN says that she already vouched for me. I filled out my MIDAS report at the end of my shift.

    That's that. I am a 24 year old male RN and Jen is a 40-something year old CNA. I have been an RN on our med-surg/telemetry unit for two years. For pretty much all of that time, I was the only male worker, RN or CNA, on the floor on day shift. Jen and I have known each other that entire time. We were good friends and even took pictures together at work. Also, I'm confident most of my other female coworkers would vouch for me as well.

    What do you all think? Was I in the wrong here? Was she in the wrong? Is my career and license in jeopardy? I know we both could have definitely handled things better, but I felt that her non-stop yelling, insulting, and unwillingness to slow down and listen and talk prevented us from squashing this issue.
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  2. 151 Comments

  3. by   Orca
    Standing in someone's way when they are trying to leave an area can be intimidating. Personally, if this is all that it takes to make this go away, I would apologize and be done with it. I would be very selective about what I apologized for, however. It would be fine to say "I apologize for standing in your way when you tried to leave the supply room. I shouldn't have done that. I hope that we can treat each other professionally from this point forward." You are apologizing for the only thing that you did wrong in the situation IMO, and you are also sending a message to her that she has to behave professionally as well as you do.

    You did nothing wrong by delegating wrapping the IV. It is perfectly acceptable for a CNA to perform that duty.

    Her statement that she is "much more" than a CNA speaks to her attitude. Sounds like a nurse wannabe who never went back to school.
  4. by   Okami_CCRN
    I, unfortunately cannot agree with how you handled the situation both regarding the covering of the IV and your conversation with Jen.

    1. A family member requested the IV to be covered so that the patient could receive a shower. I am assuming you were in the patient's room. You left and went to find Jen; 5-10 minute task to track down the CNA when the same amount of time and energy could have been expended on doing the task yourself. I understand that you were in a med pass, but you stopped your med pass to flag down a CNA on a task that you could have completed in the same amount of time.

    2. When Jen tried to exit the room you blocked her exit. This is a huge issue, if she did not want to speak with you it was not in your place to force the issue but instead end the conversation and inform the charge nurse.

    As a fellow man, who happens to be a nurse I do not believe this has anything to do with your sex, but rather the choices you made on this shift.
  5. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I would be infuriated if someone had blocked me from leaving a room. That's not okay in any situation. Male or female. Yikes. I do think you should apologize for that.

    I'm not sure about wrapping the IV, because I think that depends on different factors. The relationship you have with the IV, the patient and his/her family, how busy you are, etc.
  6. by   Lapzs
    Appreciate your opinion!
  7. by   Lapzs
    I appreciate your opinion. Though, I should clarify some things:

    1. I was in the hall walking my WoW and myself down to pass meds. Not in the room but in front of it. I knew Jen was in the break room because earlier, I was about to end my lunch when she went in to start hers. So it took me all of about 10 seconds to find her to clarify whether she was at lunch or on a short break.

    2. Duly noted. Definitely not the best choice on my part. Obviously, high tensions led to errors in professionalism on both our parts.
  8. by   Lapzs
    Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
    I would be infuriated if someone had blocked me from leaving a room. That's not okay in any situation. Male or female. Yikes. I do think you should apologize for that.

    I'm not sure about wrapping the IV, because I think that depends on different factors. The relationship you have with the IV, the patient and his/her family, how busy you are, etc.
    Agreed. I think I should apologize as well, to save both our professional and personal relationships and to maintain harmony on the floor. However, I also feel that she should apologize to me as well for yelling at and insulting me. To say otherwise, though, I definitely wouldn't understand.
  9. by   dishes
    I agree with Orca, blocking and preventing an angry person from leaving a room and demanding that they discuss a situation doesn't deescalate a situation. It's usually better to approach a conflict by saying you want to work together as a team and would like to sit down for a minute and discuss the matter with them, ask if they have time to discuss it now, if not, are they willing to discuss the matter later? if so what time?
  10. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Quote from Lapzs
    Agreed. I think I should apologize as well, to save both our professional and personal relationships and to maintain harmony on the floor. However, I also feel that she should apologize to me as well for yelling at and insulting me. To say otherwise, though, I definitely wouldn't understand.
    Well you are owed an apology, but I certainly wouldn't approach the situation like that. I'd apologize for blocking her in and express that you hope, going forward, you can treat each other with mutual respect and professionalism. I would not ask for or demand an apology. If you filled out a report, too, I'm sure she'll be required to apologize to you as well.

    But don't let apologies hold your forgiveness hostage
  11. by   quiltynurse56
    Sometimes the best way to diffuse a situation is to let the other person leave. Then, after you both cool down, you can find a place to talk about it without being angry at each other. I am one of those people who would need to cool down in a scenario such as that.
  12. by   WKShadowRN
    I agree with previous posters but I'd like to commend you for at least seeking her out because it frustrates me when someone has a problem with me and they don't at least try to talk to me first.
  13. by   OrganizedChaos
    Quote from Lapzs
    I appreciate your opinion. Though, I should clarify some things:

    1. I was in the hall walking my WoW and myself down to pass meds. Not in the room but in front of it. I knew Jen was in the break room because earlier, I was about to end my lunch when she went in to start hers. So it took me all of about 10 seconds to find her to clarify whether she was at lunch or on a short break.

    2. Duly noted. Definitely not the best choice on my part. Obviously, high tensions led to errors in professionalism on both our parts.
    I'm not gonna reiterate how threatening blocking the CNA in was.

    As far as wrapping the IV, I would've just done it. I'm willing to bet it took you more than 10 seconds. In that amount of time you could've just covered the IV site & avoided this whole mess.

    This wasn't a shining moment for either of you two. But it has nothing to do with your gender.
  14. by   Emergent
    I think if you're in the habit of tracking CNAs down in the break room to do a simple task that you could have done yourself, that wears thin. It sounds like it was the last straw for Jen. I advise you to not be one of those nurses again.

    What I would have done would be to quickly wrap the IV. That's entirely within your job description.

    Then, to demand to hash things out mid shift with a protracted back and forth argument was another mistake, and of course blocking her exit was totally inappropriate.

    On Jen's part, her outburst was over the top. I think she must be feeling disrespected, she's older than you, and you are treating her like a servant to the point of interrupting her lunch to perform a menial task that you feel is beneath you.

    I'm sure you can both move on. Be gracious and forgiving.

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