Help....I'm being harassed in the workplace

  1. I am a travel RN and I began working on this particular med-surg unit in Oct. Around November I was asked if I wanted to sign a new contract that would carry me through Apr. '08 and I said yes. Shortly thereafter, I had a nightshift RN verbally assault me for no reason. I didn't report her but another RN did: nothing was done about it except the am charge nurse asked her what happened and she denied it. However there was a room full of nurses who witnessed this. The next week, the nightshift RN verbally abused me when I asked her which nightshift RN was getting my telephone. She began yelling and screaming at me telling me to find the list myself and this was again witnessed by a room full of nurses. This time no one stepped up. Fed up I went to the clinical team member and reported it. She immediately began defending the RN stating that it's her pet peeve for people to ask this when there is a sheet posted with this info. I began explaining that the sheet wasn't posted that's why I asked. The next week later the CTM told me that a patient had fallen that night and fractured her hip. So i reckon this was supposed to excuse her unwarranted act that night. A few weeks later, I let myself succumb to gossip. A nurse was telling me about her pca which happened to be my pca too. I normally refrain at all costs from gossip and i guess being on this unit was making me miserable and i temporarily lost my mind and told her the issues i was having with the pca (which were the same as her issues). Well the pca overhead us (even though we weren't loud) and came into the hallway and screamed at me then went to the CTM. The CTM was very harsh to me about it and right off the bat began defending the pca and told me i was unprofessional. I told her that if i was unprofessional then she was too because she screamed into the hallway at me and this happened around pt. rooms and everything. Yesterday was the last straw. the nurse manager told me to come into her office NOW. she tells me that 4 pca's have complained about me and that a confused pt. said i was mean to him, transportation was waiting for me for 30min to fill out a transportation sheet and i didn't answer my phone and that the confused pt was laying in a bed of urine saturated. she was very rude to me and i felt like they are on a witch hunt for me. I told her right at the onset "are you asking me or telling me" what happened. She then said i'm asking (although her tone said otherwise). first off i didn't ask this but if 4 pca's were complaining about me why am i hearing about this now (it's like a dumping-effect) why didn't she tell me as it happened? i am never mean to anyone. in fact i feel that people take my niceness as a weakness. i am very passive and people play on that. i told the NM that i am not this person she describes, i'm not mean to anyone. i told her that in fact the pca's are rude to me. when i ask them to do something they don't and i end up doing it. as far as the confused pt., i told her to check my charting. i focused my care with him and i was never rude to him. the pt. was lonely and didn't want me to leave the room. i told her that even though i was overloaded i stayed with him a while longer but he kept pushing the call light the moment i walked out and after the 3rd time, i told him that i had to go see my other pt's and that i would return but that he couldn't keep pressing the call light so frequently. he had issues with voiding freq. so i set up his urinal and told him i'd be back to check it. i also notified the pca and told her we both needed to check him freq. well he knocked it over. also i spoke to the pca about all of this and she told me that the pt said that it wasn't his nurse that was mean to him but the NM confronted me anyways. and about me not answering my phone well it was broke and I had been given 4 different phones that day. i told her that the unit clerks told me my 4th phone was fixed but i was still having trouble and that i didn't hear my name being paged. i also told her that i was at lunch and she said well why didn't you properly hand over your phone and give report to another nurse to cover your patients. i told her, on this floor i was told you keep your pt's and answer your own calls. i really don't want to stay on a floor like this. the NM was definitely trying to find fault with me. Is there any recourse that I have? can I go over the NM's head b/c this isn't right.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Is there any way that you can speak to your agency about what is going on, and the possibility of terminating your contract with this place? I don't know what else to tell you; it sounds like a horrendous situation and I don't think things are going to get any better for you, the way it sounds.

    OR, can you transfer to a different unit?

    I'm tempted to also say, just stick it out until April and then high-tail it out of there, but that is an awfully long time to be putting your license on the line by working with PCA's who are completely uncooperative with you.
  4. by   NurseCard
    Oh, and I forgot to mention that most hospitals do have people in place.. usually someone in human resources... that you can go to to report what is going on. What you are describing **IS** most definately harrassment. It's a hostile work environment.

    One thing I like about where I work is that my hospital has ZERO tolerance for this type of thing.
  5. by   goodgyrl
    Thanks so much for your posts. I have contacted my agency but they haven't gotten back to me yet. The thing about agencies is that they are all about the money and I'm hoping that they won't believe/side with the hospital. I am a very quiet person and pretty much stay to myself to avoid getting caught up in clicks and this has opened me up as a target (I presume). Also I'm too busy caring for the patients and I am very thorough with paperwork so I don't have extra time for socializing. But I am definitely going to look up their policies on workplace harassment and proceed from there.

    It makes me upset about all of this drama because I had just worked out a pay change with my agency for $4.00 more on the hour which was to begin at the start of my 2nd contract in Jan.'08. But I am thinking of my license and I don't trust the Nurse Manager or the Clinical Team Member here and I need to make a decision accordingly.
  6. by   TazziRN
    Personally, I think you have recourse to break the contract you extended. At the time you signed it you were not aware you were in a hostile environnment, and your assignment did not do anything to resolved that problem. Therefore, what they have done is illegal and voids the contract.
  7. by   Mulan
    I would talk to human resources, say you feel a hostile work environment, (that is against the law).

    If nothing happens, talk to the CEO.

    Even if it is her pet peeve, how can anyone defend or justify someone yelling and screaming at you? That is not normal behavior.
  8. by   Mulan
    I would talk to human resources, say you feel a hostile work environment, (that is against the law).

    If nothing happens, talk to the CEO.

    Even if it is her pet peeve, how can anyone defend or justify someone yelling and screaming at you? That is not normal behavior.

    This posted before I meant it to, I would do the above and see what happens, and then transfer to another floor or get out of there if the atmoshpere doesn't improve.
  9. by   SICU Queen
    Break the contract and walk.

    Good luck.
  10. by   RN1989
    I hate to break it to you, but this is what you should always be expecting when you are a float/agency/traveler/contracter. Is it right? No. But it is the norm. Whether they act as though they like you or not, you are an outsider. Any time you complain about one of them, it will come back on you threefold. Kinda like I can say something ugly about my family but I'll beat you up if YOU say the same thing about my family. You can try to break the contract which may harm you for another contract if another hospital decides to contact this one (hospitals I work with do this with potential travelers). For your career and future jobs, I recommend you document each and every shift and just suck it up till either the contract is finished or until you reach a point where you feel your license and future jobs will be in jeopardy if you do stay because they are mounting such a strong attack on you.
  11. by   penguin2
    Just a thought: It could be that one of the reasons this facility is short-staffed & using agency nurses is b/c of problems like this.
  12. by   Scrubby
    I have to ask are you a union member? If so then tell them what's going on because they HAVE to be impartial. Sounds like you have already been prejudged.

    Sounds like a pretty horrible situation and like most of the staff are ganging up on you. My only advice here if you want to stay on this unit is to keep you head down, don't speak to anyone unless it's work related.

    Document everything that has happened, even the NM defending the nurse who screamed at you. If she screams at you again you need to tell her she is completely out of line and walk away from the situation.

    I agree you should go to human resources about this horrible place your working in. Unless it goes higher up then nothing will be done about this and the next person who works there will probably go through the same thing.
  13. by   EmmaG
    Quote from Mulan
    I would talk to human resources, say you feel a hostile work environment, (that is against the law).

    If nothing happens, talk to the CEO.
    No, as a traveler you contact your recruiter and clinical liaison. Everything should be handled through the agency.

    Oh. And document the crap out of all of this...
  14. by   EmmaG
    Quote from SICU Queen
    Break the contract and walk.

    Good luck.
    Ah, you gotta jump through the hoops though. Otherwise you could be looking at having to pay off the contract (happened to a fellow traveler). With my company, the clinical liaison was on call 24/7 and would answer immediately. There should be NO wait when you put a call in to them.

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