I have a real problem with ancillary staff and am at my wits end. I need help.

  1. I hesitate to submit this issue, as I know that most Techs, Aides, and HUCS are dedicated and professional, and that I could NOT do my job without these coworkers. Therein lies the problem. On the Critical Care Unit where I work we have many professionals in these positions who are wonderful, hardworking, thoughtful, empathetic and professional. Most of them are. We also have two who have driven me to distraction the last 10 years, and I no longer know how to cope with them.

    These two HUCS are long-time employees of my institution (not as long as I have been employed here, but close.) Both are friendly with management, and have frankly gotten away with murder for most of their employment. Neither one actually comes to work to do their jobs. Both appear to work primarily to bolster their social lives. Both are "talkers", which is fine if it doesn't interfere with one's ability to perform their assigned tasks. Unfortunately, both have discovered that they are above reproach (apparently) and are able to do whatever they wish, or nothing at all, and no one will challenge their performance.

    One is a mid-50s lady who has been divorced for a long time and has been searching (for a long time) for a man. Any man. Doctors preferred. When a physician, or some other man, is present on the pod, she is unwilling or unable to perform any of her work tasks. She moves her chair up close to said gentleman, and embarks on an embarrassing attempt to throw herself at whatever male is present. If requested to do her tasks, (i.e.: glucose checks, retrieve blood from the blood bank, print out order sets, etc. ), she looks at whichever nurse made the request, but never drops a beat in her intimate conversations with the physicians, whom she always addresses by their first names. It seems some of them have been embarrassed by her antics, while others seem to find it quite flattering. HUCs are responsible for blood sugar testing on our Unit, and when asked (at 0830) "Did you get the 8 AM gluc?", if she responds at all, we are lucky if she can be moved from her chair to do the glucose check by 9 AM. I certainly don't mind doing my own gluc checks, but when I'm giving blood and titrating vasoactive drips, all the while preparing an unstable patient for O.R., I just can't be everywhere at once.

    Today I asked her to go to the waiting room to bring in a family of a man who was dying, but she could not be bothered. She did not move from her chair. (She was busy throwing herself at the physician at the next computer.) When confronted with the lack of response, she stated "I looked, but they weren't there." This was a blatant lie, as I had found the family waiting by the door in tears hoping to see their father/husband before he died.

    This particular HUC, and another one as well, appear to have "special dispensation" from our Unit Directors. Any complaint about their unprofessionalism, or the fact that they just do not do their jobs, is turned back on the RN with "Well, sometimes you just need to do those tasks yourself. She/He "is a valued member of our staff, and your expectations are unfair." Bear in mind that the other HUCs and PCTs have no difficulty performing the same tasks in a timely and efficient manner, usually without any prompting.

    I am at the end of my rope! I am so tired of being angry all the time at work because I have no support to care for my patients! The truth is that I really NEED a professional to be working in the HUC capacity, because adequately performing my job depends upon having a HUC coworker who is professionally performing their job. We are a team. I NEED them to work with me to provide safe and quality patient care.

    I know from experience that speaking with these particular people results in a passive-aggressive work slow-down or stoppage. I also know that speaking with my Unit manager has absolutely NO effect. I am so tired of struggling, and leaving work angry (and late) due to lack of help. I truly do not know where to go from here.

    I would appreciate any constructive advice offerred.
  2. Visit billswife profile page

    About billswife, BSN, RN

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 490; Likes: 1,309


  3. by   caliotter3
    You need to find another job. Nothing you do or don't do is going to make a bit of difference here and you need to stop letting this affect your own peace of mind. Move on. If able to, provide an extensive or succinct run-down during an exit interview.
  4. by   Emergent
    I did a Google search for HUC. I got Hebrew Union College, Hydrologic unit maps, and a way of sexual pleasuring with the mouth.

    So, I ask, what is HUC?
  5. by   caliotter3
    Quote from Emergent
    I did a Google search for HUC. I got Hebrew Union College, Hydrologic unit maps, and a way of sexual pleasuring with the mouth.

    So, I ask, what is HUC?
    At one time I knew, but have forgotten. You know, knowledge dissipates with age.
  6. by   billswife
    Health Unit Clerk
  7. by   Emergent
    Quote from billswife
    Health Unit Clerk
    Ah! Well, an entrenched unit secretary is a formidable foe. Really, you need to find a new job. These types are hopeless cases and will make you lose your mind.
  8. by   ArrowRN
    Our hospital implemented something called "Crucial Conversations" to deal with situations like this. Basically a company came in a "trained us all" on how to use the technique. It's an old communication technique which addresses problem without being confrontational. I haven't really used it but you should research it see if it helps. Most annoying people like who you talk about are also on my unit and they usually leave my unit after a few months so I know they don't stay long, but you talking about 10 years of this and it's taking it's toll on your job if that is all you think about.
  9. by   iluvivt
    I certainly would not be forced out by some unlicensed lazy, in heat coworkers! If the writing is on the wall and there is no option to change these women or get rid of them then you need to work around them. Ignore them for the most part and figure out a plan to get it done yourself.Do not think you can't swing it because you must for your piece of mind.I would enjoy acting as if they did not exist and I do not need them.The lazy good for nothings will have to live with themselves.It is shameful she did not get that family!
  10. by   Avid reader
    Can you communicate via email to the manager or her supervisor? Main worry here for me is patient care and resulting suit. If emails available, then begin with specific incidents of tardiness and resulting neglect and send copies to yourself. This way it's communicated in a legal format covering you from further potential problems. The onus of responsibility shifts to the manager who in most cases have excellent levels of self preservation. After a few concerned emails, then manager's supervisor can be informed with evidence. Always collect objective evidence especially with emails if possible notifications. Good luck.
  11. by   iluvivt
    Apparently the "tell the manager" approach has not produced any results.In that case you sometimes have to develop a strategy that is completely under your control so you are not constantly stressed. One way is to avoid working with them as much as possible. I had to do this as one of my male coworkers was hell bent on trying to get me in trouble.In fact it validated for me he was the culprit because all my problems at work came to a screeching halt! I still can't stand that evil little troll for all the hell he put me through because of his intense jealousy.
  12. by   BSNbeDONE
    Grab a legal pad. Begin taking physical notes of everything that you've asked that was not done. Date and time each entry. Have a witness to each of these occurrences with you whenever possible. Do this for each shift that you work with these individuals for a week or two. At the end, make copies and give one to the HUCs (you should have one running tab for each of them), give one to your manager, and keep a couple of copies for yourself.

    Continue this process for the next week or two. Then, add your manager's manager and your facility's risk manager to the list of recipients. If nothing is done at this point, it will DEFINITELY not be done, and should be an eye opener for you.

    Personally, I'd never allow myself to become that comfortable with any job so as to put up with that b******* for a solid year; let alone ten! The fact that the employers, employees, and physicians have allowed this to continue on for so long says a lot about the culture there. You mentioned that some physicians were being embarrassed by these advances. At my hospital, this flirting behavior can be construed as harassment and there are policies against this. The responsibility of reporting is expected from the witness to this act as well as from the victim, because any witness can be offended by these acts even if said person was not the target of the act itself.

    Once you add that twist to your complaint, and show how it's impeding your work and interfering with patient care, it's an entirely new ballgame because harassment in the workplace is forbidden.....at least it is and has been in every single place I've ever worked. If this still doesn't work, you can notify your facility's regulatory body. You should be protected against retaliation from your employers and from a hostile work environment. Most people don't want to take these 'extreme' measures, thinking it's not that serious. But look at your situation. Don't you think it is? I think that your complaint will be addressed at the risk management level is you take it that far.

    This is a great time to extract that harassment policy and make copies to attach to your observations. Good luck to you...
  13. by   RNperdiem
    Avoidance? Do you schedule your own shifts? Minimise contact with people you don't like working with.
  14. by   OrganizedChaos
    I'd document these incidents as much as possible & go up the chain of command. What these HUCs are doing is not ok & should not be allowed to be continued.