Recently, my nurse manager 'leaked' out some extremely personal confidential information of mine to another staff member. I had taken a brief leave of absence, and had told only my nurse manager why I needed the leave, as she wouldn't give it to me without telling her why. When I came back, the whole UNIT somehow KNEW why I had taken the leave!!! After talking with several staff members, we traced it back to one nurse on our staff who is very tight with the nm, but also has a BIG mouth. She had been blabbing it all over the unit, even DURING REPORT. I confronted my nm directly about it, and she LIED to my face and said, 'oh, someone must have just assumed something and started a rumor.' Well, after a week, I sent a letter to the director of perinatal services and DON and demanded a meeting (with my husband present). The director seemed shocked at the time, and was very sympathetic, and agreed to talk to all of my witnesses.
Yesterday, I got a call from the director. Because no one actually 'saw' the nm telling my info to this other staff member, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO EITHER OF THEM. She even went so far as to tell me that they (the nm and the blabbermouth) said that 'oh, I just assumed that, no one ever told me that.' WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP!! My witnesses even told the director about NUMEROUS other occasions where my nm has BLATANTLY violated other nurses' confidence, but that wasn't enough to nail this woman.
So here's my dilemma: do I stay or leave? I love my co-workers, with the exception of blabbermouth, of course. I love the docs I work with...they're GREAT, and honestly the best in the area. I love my unit...we're the only HOSPITAL that allows totally 'natural' childbirth, without monitors, IV's, etc., in the area, with the exception of the freestanding birth center in the next town. HOWEVER, if I were to leave, I could go to another hospital with better security (that is a major issue at the hospital I'm working at now), and get paid more. But it's a very large hospital, and some of the residents I've worked with in the past are now attendings there, and they are SCARY. The other alternative is to become a traveler, or to go work for the birthing center, which is hiring. HOWEVER, traveling means I would most certainly have to go back to the heinous hospital I worked for 2 years ago, which is a H**LHOLE. The birthing center has no scheduled, guaranteed hours for their nurses. You take 12 hour call-blocks, and only get paid if you're called in. So there's a money issue there.
HELP. PLEASE. I AM GOING INSANE. My co-workers have begged me to stay, and that makes me feel good, of course, but I'm still unsure if I should. Please, guys, give me your wisdom and 'outsiders' opinion on this one. I feel I'm too close to the situation to make a truly rational judgement, as are my co-workers. PLEASE, GIVE ME YOUR OPINION...ALL OF YOU.
May 30, '01
I wouldn't let that one nurse ruin my life- If you really are happy there, other than the nm- I would stay and ignore her- She obviously is not very professional and someday it will catch up with her...
May 30, '01
Hi kday. I'm sorry this happened to you. Your supervisor violated your rights to privacy and confidentiality and could be held liable for this. The staff and you need to press this issue further if several of you have been victims to this disrespectful supervisor. Have you checked to see if there is a policy addressing this? Your supervisor is an employee as well as your supervisor. What does your personnel department have to say about this. Have you filed an incident report? This incident obviously has deeply offended you. I'm sure there are others on this bb that can offer you very specific and clear cut methods to sort this problem out. I would consider seeking legal advice on this since you're running into roadblocks with administration. Best wishes.
May 30, '01
I'm sorry but I haven't any advice. The same thing happened to me...even down to the co-worker who was close with the NM. I understand completely. The only way I got through it was to close myself off by not sharing ANYthing with anyone. I think I was the loser there.
May 30, '01
Mijourney has several good suggestions,and I think that seeking legal advise would be modt helpful also. I would also have your co-workers support you on this; and from now on when there is a need for confidentiality, go over your NM's head to request time off. I would also tell the NM in a letter to her (with copies to your DON) that she had violated your trust and that you would no longer consult with her on confidential matters. Maybe if others would co-sign the letter or write their own letters to that effect, it would carry a very powerful message to both the NM and those higher up and may solve the problem.
May 30, '01
Everyone has some very good suggestions and the only thin I have to add is, if you write the person a letter:
1. Stick to the facts.
2. Make it crystal clear that if this happens again you will be seeking outside legal advice for possible litigation.
3. Let that person know that this has to do with confidentiality and that beside seeking outside legal counsel you will also be sending a copy of this letter and any further communications to the state boards with a request that it be put into their file.
This should be enough to make them think twice before breaking a confidence again, and if they continue to do this, you've got the documentation to back you up!
May 30, '01
I agree with the advice given. Just want to encourage you to stay in what sounds like a very good job and just give no confidential information to your nm.
May 31, '01
Do not let these motor-mouths get to you! If you do--THEY WIN!! What is it we were all told in nrsg. school?? DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! If and when you or any of your co-workers are told something of this nature; !) Document it AND 2) one of you, whoever is friendliest with the nurse being spoken about , should tell that nurse what is being said,then he/she can make their own decision as to what they want to do. Each one of these documentations should of course have date, time and the name of the nurse whose private info was bandied about, then have all involved (who heard the perps), sign this document. A separate doc. for each occurrence, then after an agreed upon no. of docs. you take it up the chain of command. People who are so blatantly untrustworthy are usually dealt with before you can take it all the way,as her Sups. will also be watching her from now on and I have found that when the axe falls it is usually swift and clean and the rest of the staff never seem to find out why they were terminated. Never think that "They" are not watching her and her friend very closely-----------they are!
May 31, '01
First of all, why did the nm have to know about why you were taking the leave unless it was medical? She has NO right to question you for a personal leave, that is why it is called personal!
I am so sorry this happened to you. I wouldn't let these two force you out, they are the losers, and apparently everyone else knows it. I would be careful about taking further action, yes it would give you personal satisfaction to see them punished, but your employer has already decided that won't happen. Anyfurther action by you could result in little things like every vacation request being denied, etc... If they let her get away with this, they won't do anything to her for that either, and it would be much harder to prove. Though I do agree with the letters outlining your plan for action if this should ever happen inn the future.
I think I would toy with them a little. Since you know the balbbermouth tells the nm everything, you should think up some juicy baloney story to "plant" in her ear. Like saying "please don't repeat this, but" in front of the blabbermouth that you got an offer from a headhunter for a director's position at a new OB unit opening up in another state, they will pay you to move, find you a beautiful home, and give you an incredible salary. Something that will make your nm green with envy, or something she would almost have to come to you to confirm, but of course that wouldn't hurt anyone else involved. You could always then say that you could never leave your current home, no matter how much money they offered...blah, blah, blah. Or say stuff like Thank Goodness I have Wednesday off so I can make it to that interview, it was the only available appt day. Am I a bad girl?? YES!! But, I would not be able to resist playing with them after they put me through that mess!
I don't know how long you have been a nurse, but trust me, what goes around DOES come around. I have seen it happen to the meanest of the mean, it may just take a little while sometimes. Even though they may not have punished your nm, believe me, the powers that be will be cautious knowing that she blabs to other employees sensitive info, as this will increase their liability.
May 31, '01
kday, I'm so sorry that you are in this predicament. I know how much you love what you do and it sucks that your NM isn't more respectful than she is. I'm sure that's her personality, but she should behave more professionally at work if nowhere else. It sounds like overall you have a really nice working environment. If it were me, I would weigh the pros and cons of staying at the job (which it sounds like you might have already done) and then go from there. Sorry, I wish I had better advice but hey, I'm a new grad Gotta love MargaretH, by the way. I'm kinda liking her suggestion
Take care and please keep us posted as to what you decide. Shannon
May 31, '01
Well i didnt have time to read all the replies K. I am tired and need to take a nap before work........yeah yeah yeah, I am old...lol!
Anyways, I was kinda hoping that this had to do with a medical problem. If you ONLY TOLD THE NM, how could they play it any other way? People don't guess right on to reasons why someone is gone. I would NOT want to leave a unti I liked, because of one person. How long has the NM been there? My thought was clearly, she violated your confidence. If it was a edical thing, maybe you have a legal stand? It would be nice to get him/her out of there huh? Maybe a letter from a lawyer, saying that the NM violated employee confidentiality r/t a medical issue. Insinuate a possible legal action, and name the hospital in it also. Since the NM is an employee of the hospital (Just like in any other workmans comp/ patient confidentiality violation, the hospital could be at fault also. Maybe the hospital would ask what you want? tell them........NM out of here......history.
OK I'm wading deep here........sorry. Anywyas, dont let one or two people destroy you.
May 31, '01
Stay with the job if you love it that much. A nm that is that UNPROFESSIONAL may not be in the position much longer, wait her out.
May 31, '01
WOW!!! You guys have been so great. Man, I didn't expect so much!!
Okay, here's what I'm thinking so far...
1. it WAS a medical leave, and the physician who authorized the leave is a physician who practices at the hospital where I work.
2. there IS a policy on violating confidence, BUT....since (according to the director) no one actually 'SAW' the nm giving my info to the bm, I essentially have no case. Never mind I had 10 witnesses who unloaded a slew of other da**ing info when the director interviewed them.
3. I actually thought of 'setting a trap' a couple of weeks ago...funny you all should mention that...however, the thought of actually having to CONVERSE with this weasel makes my stomach churn.
4. I have considered the lawyer thing, but do I really have a case? I mean, the director is right....no one 'ACTUALLY' saw the nm violate my confidence. Plus, yes, I am scared of retribution.
The good news is, I hear this nm is wanting to leave her position and come back to being a regular staff nurse. The ENTIRE STAFF despises her (before any of my stuff happened), so she'll be eaten alive for sure.
Anyway, that's where it all stands....keep the suggestions coming...it REALLY is helpful!!!