Gross Out Co-Worker

  1. OK, I know I've posted about this before but things have gotten worse! My co-worker has nauseating, foul gas and she passes it in close proximity to people. I don't know if she has some kind of health issue, but her gas makes your eyes water. Last night one of the techs actually had a dry heave because it is so nauseating. What I find particularly irritating is that she toots all day long---now I know sometimes one can slip out when you don't want it to, but if I know I have to toot, I excuse myself and go to the rest room. She seems totally uninhibited about this, as she never ever excuses herself.
    Secondly, she is always laying towels down on the seats in the station, because she has 'accidents'. Sometimes she has these accidents on our seats. I understand incontinence but there are products to help with that. And it's not just urine---she has also bled on the chairs and then go change her clothes. I have as heavy a period as anyone, and I know that bleeding through like that can be contained. Unless it's some kind of different problem.

    Thirdly, she talks with her mouth full, crumbs all stuck to lips, half chewed food rolling around in her mouth CONSTANTLY. It is disgusting! Sometimes when she is talking she even spews a little bit of food in your direction.

    Let me say that this person is nice enough, she means well most of the time but has been stepping on toes by making nursing decisions although she is not a nurse. For example, when I pt would not take his meds, she negotiated with him to take CERTAIN meds, which was not really a good thing because the order was for the meds to be given together. She did this in front of me, without discussing it with me first, and so put me in a difficult position in front of the patient who was very volatile. She also went to my boss and told my boss that I was sexually assaulted and so I should not have certain kinds of patients. I told her that IN CONFIDENCE (she's a therapist) and I feel it was not her business to go to my boss and tell her my personal information. Moreover, I do not want my boss thinking I am too fragile to handle certain types of patients.

    Does anyone have any advice for dealing with this person? Like I said, she doesn't mean any harm, but she is wreaking havoc on the unit!
    Thanks!
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  2. 75 Comments

  3. by   puggymae
    The next time she toots I would fan my face and say something - she keeps doing it because you guys ignore it. Maybe since you do ignore it she doesn't think it stinks - I don't know. As far as the towel bit that is nasty - and I would say something to her about it the next time she does it. If you are not comfortable with confrontation then your boss should do it - there is no reason to allow that kind of behavior.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    This is no longer a gross-out issue, this is a health hazard to those around her.

    What does your boss think about this person?
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    Do not pass GO, do not collect two hundred dollars---you need to go straight to your department supervisor and tell him or her about these problems with your co-worker. That's the best way to resolve things, because this woman obviously knows what she is doing and doesn't care. That nasty towel business is also an infection control issue that needs to be addressed by the supervisor.

    Better yet, get some of your other co-workers together and make a group complaint.

    Good luck.
  6. by   **nurse**
    Wow. As rude as it may seem to comment to someone about offensive behavior, and uncomfortable, with some people you just have to do it. Try it quietly as possible, practice non confrontational if you need to, but you are going to have to go there. This therapist is having some problems with BOUNDRIES as well. She will know all about boundries if you tell her that she overstepped hers when she broke your confidence to your boss, and when she steps into your nursing role. Good, bad, good- I appreciate your wanting to help, but I need to negotiate meds myself. I know you are good with patients and I'd like to be able to use you for behaviors like so and so's (yelling, hitting, whatever). Start keeping notes too, because she may well want to turn stuff around on you when you put your foot down. She doesn't sound very emotionally healthy. It's all about being functional though, and if you all call her when she oversteps her limits she may well be able to reign herself in and stay in them better.
  7. by   RGN1
  8. by   MuddaMia
    :yeahthat:
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Marla gave great advice. It's beyond gross, this is an infection control issue, which is something your dept manager needs to handle.
  10. by   Meerkat
    Thanks for your responses. (By the way, I laughed out loud at the little vomiting icon!)
    One thing your responses made me think is that I need to be more assertive. Just sitting there and inhaling the toxic fumes is not going to get anything done about the problem. It's really uncomfortable for me but I just need to flat out say something.
    I think some other people have already talked to our boss...in fact I think that's where the idea to put the towels down came from. The boss can't really do anything about that can she? I mean What else could she suggest?
    I feel bad for this person. But her social grace is horrible and offensive.
    Again, thanks!!:wakeneo:
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    The boss can't really do anything about that can she? I mean What else could she suggest?
    Quite honestly, since this is now a health hazard to others, the DON can wind up in deep doo-doo for allowing this to continue.
  12. by   777RNThatsMe
    She should suggest that this therapist use some incontinence panties instead of towels b/c it's a health issue...if she is so bad that she's soaking the pads...she needs to seek medical attention and fix it. That's dangerous.

    As for the fumes - you guys need to get together as a group and with your BOSS present..and have a meeting to gently say.....what is happening best you can. If she is a therapist she should be able to relate. OR just go to the boss as a group and say something and have the boss REcommunicate/REthink her strategies.

    Bottom line you all have to do your job in healthcare and this gal needs to control her issues....best she can and it doesn't sound like she is???

    And dont be afraid to correct someone who is NOT a nurse ...who tries to act like one...in front of your patients. Bottom line YOU are the nurse -- and you don't want to have a med error b/c you were afraid to stand up...or...even have the patient be less treated (taking all meds together if required) than they could/should be b/c someone interrupts your nursing process! Therapist or not....they aren't a nurse!

    Next time I'd just interject and say something like.... (to her) I appreciate your trying to help. And then turn to the patient and ADD the info the patient needs such as... "But these meds are designed to be taken together....to work together so it's best to take them all together."....or add even more patient education if need be at that point. She doesn't get embarrassed infront of the patient for trying to help and you get your info across to the patient and at the same time if she's paying attention she'll realize she doesn't know enough on the meds and needs to let you inform the patient.
  13. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Meerkat
    It's really uncomfortable for me but I just need to flat out say something.
    I think some other people have already talked to our boss...in fact I think that's where the idea to put the towels down came from. The boss can't really do anything about that can she? I mean What else could she suggest?
    I feel bad for this person. But her social grace is horrible and offensive.
    Again, thanks!!:wakeneo:
    I've seen similar situations over the years.Recently I have seen staff development handle the issue because the floor staff were uncomfortable doing so.I have also seen an aide sent to occupational health. Lots of remedies on the market for that excess gas--or maybe it's her gallbladder...Some people are just too ignorant.As for her table manners-if everyone else gets up and moves she will get the message.Same for the belching and farting in your faces-every time she does it you all have to say something....I can understand letting out a little squeeker from time to time (we are all guilty-I just blame it on the residents:wink2: ) But it's like covering your mouth when you cough/sneeze...You have to get in the habit of holding it in until you are around the corner.If no one makes a big deal about it to her face she really does not realize or care how nasty she is......Good Luck
  14. by   Meerkat
    "Squeeker"---I love it!

    Great answers! Thanks!

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