I had some trouble with a CNA...should I talk to the manager?

  1. At the hospital I work at, everyone on the nursing staff is on probation for the first 90 days of employment. Then, there are peer evaluations done by the RNs. If the employee shows that they work hard and do well, then they'll be considered permanent employees after 90 days. If they perform poorly, they'll be given another 45 days of probation to "shape up or ship out". Then it's either permanent employment or dismissal.

    I work with a CNA, hired for a different ward, but who floats over to ours occasionally, who recieved a lackluster evaluation after her first 90 days of employment. She's currently going through her 45 days. I became aware of all this when a nurse from this CNA's home ward asked me how she was doing over my ward, I gave her a briefing on her performance. She thanked me, saying that the nurses have to finish up the peer evaluations on her and any input is helpful.

    Not too long ago, when the CNA worked with us, I brought some photos of a party that the people on our unit had a month or so ago. The CNA came up behind me to look at the pictures and said, "I'd like to look, because I didn't go to the party." At that point, I said, sarcastically, "Oh, well, that's because you weren't invited." Then I started chuckling a little bit, turned away from her, back to look at the pictures and said, "Oh, I'm just kidding, everyone in the hospital was welcome to-OW! Did you just punch me?!" After I turned back to look at the pictures again, she had decided to hit me on my back with her fist, right over my scapula. I said, "Why did you do that? Please don't hit me. That really, really hurt. It's always been a little sore since hurting it playing sports in high school" At that point she said, "Oh, I didn't know you had a bad shoulder" and apologized.

    Now, yes, I admit, I probably shouldn't have been sarcastic. But, I know that right before she hit me, I was telling her that I was joking around and that she was welcome to go. I believe that she knew I was kidding around with her, and she just thought it would be funny to hit me for some reason. But isn't making jokes to someone, like I did, a little less offensive than hitting someone, like she did to me? It may just be the way I think, but I was raised to understand that there is no reason and no good excuse to hit anyone, and that there's certainly no reason to just sit there and take it. Having this mindset about people hitting others makes me feel like it's necessary for me to go to my manager, and tell her about the incident.

    But, I don't know if I should. I understand she's had her probabtion extended for not performing well, so going to the manager with this could play a big part in her being fired. Part of me thinks that I'm partly at fault, because of my sarcasm right before her hitting me. The other part stands by the thought that she really had no right to hit me, and that the way she reacted was completely out of line. I do know that if I was the manager, I'd want to hear about someone who's working on my unit who reacts in such a way. I guess what I'm requesting from all of you who read through this long post is if I should just go to the manager and tell her what happened or, just leave it be since the CNA is aware that I won't tolerate being hit anymore, and not say anything at all.

    Now, I'm just flabbergasted because I never thought, being a nurse working in a hospital with other health-care professionals, that I'd feel the need to write a post to request opinions and advice about a co-worker smacking me. The entire situation makes me feel like I'm in middle school all over again.
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  2. 81 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    No matter how sarcasdtic you were, she never should have done that. That's assault.
  4. by   flashpoint
    If it were just a "playful" punch I probably wouldn't say anything....this one sounds like it was a little more than "playful." I don't really know if I would report her or not...no one deserves to be hit, even if they were being rude (which you sort of were, but not really).

    Were there any of your coworkers around? Maybe someone else who was there can give you a better take on this.
  5. by   bth44
    Actually, this is kind of interesting, too. I tried to get feedback from my charge nurse about it that night. She said she was standing nearby, but wasn't pay attention. She's very knowledgable about things specific to nursing, but not helpful when it comes to interpersonal relationships or giving advice related to talking and dealing with people. The only feedback I got from her was, "Well, now you know that you probably shouldn't joke with her like that."

    But, the other CNA who was there and saw what happened said that they thought it was a bit much, saying that the punishment didn't really fit the crime, so to speak. And they were surprised that she did what she did.
  6. by   bth44
    Actually, this is kind of interesting, too. I tried to get feedback from my charge nurse about it that night. She said she was standing nearby, but wasn't pay attention. She's very knowledgable about things specific to nursing, but not helpful when it comes to interpersonal relationships or giving advice related to talking and dealing with people. The only feedback I got from her was, "Well, now you know that you probably shouldn't joke with her like that."

    But, the other CNA who was there and saw what happened said that they thought it was a bit much, saying that the punishment didn't really fit the crime, so to speak. And they were surprised that she did what she did.
  7. by   Gennaver
    Quote from bth44
    ...

    -OW! Did you just punch me?!" After I turned back to look at the pictures again, she had decided to hit me on my back with her fist, right over my scapula. I said, "Why did you do that? Please don't hit me. That really, really hurt.

    bth44,

    Report her, immediately is what I suggest. I am still a CNA and have been shocked to witness other CNAs manhandle patients. Yes, hitting you in this manner is a major red flag (what the hay?)

    It is not funny, you and she were not on 'knee-slapping terms' besides a punch in the back is not a knee slap and she was not hitting you because she 'got' a joke, she was hitting you because she was aggresive.

    Report her, and let us know what happens.

    At one job another CNA was met outside the parking garage elevators by one of our 'bully' CNAs who then keyed her car and intimitated to assault.

    No, this is not tolerable, do not ignore it.

    Gen
    p.s. it is a shame
  8. by   EricTAMUCC-BSN
    I guess what I'm requesting from all of you who read through this long post is if I should just go to the manager and tell her what happened or, just leave it be since the CNA is aware that I won't tolerate being hit anymore, and not say anything at all.


    So, you were hit and that is obviously not right. Battery is a powerful device often commited by those who feel they have no other alternatives. In the animal world aggresion is a part of life however it is unacceptable in our world and often dealt with by unwaivering punishment.

    It is a technique used by the individuals who hold the most power and individuals who are the most repressed. Individuals who have not learned the interpersonal skills required by the work place need to learn these skills. This person whom you speak of has not acquired these skills, in addition the likelihood is great that battery is a form of communication within their proximal environment.

    Therefore you have answered your own question already. In addition serious consequences should immediatley follow repeat offences as you are aware.
  9. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    I definately think you should report it- and have the other CNA do a witness statement. I mean, it isn't like you have known this girl for years (or even months) and you were pals. There is no acceptable explanation for hitting someone you hardly know (even in fun) over something that trivial. The nurse who told you that "now you know not to talk with her like that" is way, way off base. Besides, she will be dealing with patients who are very likely to say much, much worse to her- and what will she do then? She is unpredictable and dangerous, and needs some anger-management training and impulse control, IMO.
    Lori
    p.s. if you didn't already have a sore shoulder from playing sports, was the punch still hard enough that it would have hurt? Not that this changes any of my above response, I am just curious.
  10. by   Roseyposey
    First, she should not have hit you; that is totally unacceptable for the workplace and should not be tolerated. Whether or not you report her I guess is up to you. But....are you this mean to everybody or just her? Maybe you can also use this as a learning experience; from your own account, it sounds like you totally humiliated her in front of a group of peers. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it's just my
  11. by   Chad_KY_SRNA
    Had I been the CNA, depending on what type of night I was having and my mood at the time, a comment such as the one you made, even if I knew it was sarcastic whit, would have really hurt my feelings and made me feel very unwanted. I am goofy like that but I have always been that way. I don't know that I would have hit you but I would have been PO'd for a couple of days. I am a perfect example that some people can't take a joke. It may seem silly and harmless to you but as a new person on the unit she probably would love to feel accepted, welcomed, and liked. Its hard to make friends in a new place. Being lonely sucks! I would talk to her as a grown mature adult and explain to her that I was only joking and ask her to please not hit me again, and tell her that of course she was invited to any future "parties". She sounded sorry for hitting your sore shoulder and as long as she does a good job, I would not report it to anyone.
  12. by   jkaee
    Quote from JKCMom
    First, she should not have hit you; that is totally unacceptable for the workplace and should not be tolerated. Whether or not you report her I guess is up to you. But....are you this mean to everybody or just her? Maybe you can also use this as a learning experience; from your own account, it sounds like you totally humiliated her in front of a group of peers. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it's just my

    I agree, while there is no excuse for her hitting you, I think you acted a bit immaturely, as well. I know that you were just kidding, but there are some people out there that don't take sarcasm that well, or get it when it's directed towards them. I think that's why your charge nurse said what she did. Now you know that there are people out there that you can't be sarcastic with, and especially in the workplace, you may need to leave the sarcasm at home....or at least until you really get to know the people you are working with.
    You are young, and I can say from past experience that learning how to deal with all types of people was the hardest thing I had to learn when I just graduated. The thing is, she apologized. From your posts it doesn't seem like she's starting anything else with you. Let it go, and learn from it. Are you prepared to possibly ruin someone's life financially because of an incident that you instigated?


    P.S. I want to make it clear that I am in NO way condoning anyone hitting anyone else.
  13. by   RazorbackRN
    Quote from JKCMom
    First, she should not have hit you; that is totally unacceptable for the workplace and should not be tolerated. Whether or not you report her I guess is up to you. But....are you this mean to everybody or just her? Maybe you can also use this as a learning experience; from your own account, it sounds like you totally humiliated her in front of a group of peers. I'll probably get flamed for this, but it's just my
    I totally agree with this statement. That was VERY rude of you, even if you were kidding. She's rather new around there so I'm sure it made her feel like a total outcast.

    However, she was wrong for hitting you. She needs to learn to better contol her emotions and handle anger in a more acceptable way. Maybe you should just go and talk to her and assess her feelings towards the situation since she has now had time to think about it.
  14. by   sbic56
    I think you should speak with this coworker rather than report her. She was wrong, so were you. Lesson to be learned by both here, I think. She needs to control her temper, you need to treat people more kindly. You were pretty cruel with that remark. I'll bet if you apologize, she will, too. I can't see making this become the reason for her supervisor having to make the decision for terminating her; that should be patient care related.

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