Need some help/advice

  1. This may end up being a very long, post, but I will attempt to keep it as short as possible. I am an RN working nights at a teaching hospital, on the rehab unit. I spent about a year at a different hospital, and about a year and a half on a surgical floor before I came to rehab. So I have about four years of experience right now. I work with a man who was an RT for twenty years, went back to school and has been an RN for a little over a year. The problems began when we had a disagreement over an issue. He decided to take the issue to our manager, who agreed with him, and I agreed to comply with her decision in the matter. However, since then, he has treated me with hostility and contempt. He refuses to acknowledge me when I speak to him, he leaves me stranded in patients rooms when I need help, he has made blatantly racial comments in front of the nurses' stations, he has ridiculed other patients' languages...

    Once, when I was charge, he had conveniently managed to snag three patients who had a patient safety assistant in the room with them (meaning all he had to worry about was passing meds and charting--no turning, toileting, etc.), and one of those was an RN, which meant he really only had THREE patients. I wanted to redistribute the patient load to make it more equitable, since the rest of us were going to be required to take five patients. He refused, saying, "No--I'm keeping my patients." I told him that it wasn't fair for the rest of us to all have five heavy patients, and he said too bad, I'm keeping my patients. In addition, he has chased me around the report room, demanding an answer to a ridiculous question, and wouldn't leave me alone until someone else (a day shift RN) stepped in front of him. He doesn't do some of the things the MDs order--he saw an order for a heparin drip to be started at 0500 and stated "That sounds like something for day shift", he had a patient who was NPO and the NA told him the patient's blood sugar was 69 and she's NPO and he said "too bad--she's getting orange juice", he had a patient who was supposed to have a tacrolimus draw at six--our manager sent us an email and posted signs everywhere that tacrolimus levels were now RN draws--and he filled out a sheet for lab to draw it. The pt. had a PICC line and the lab person who draws from PICCs doesn't hit our floor till seven or seven-thirty. He has told other staff members that I "hide in the bathroom" to "get away from the call lights", that my "patient could be dead" and I wouldn't write anything on our shift report sheet. In addition to all of the slanderous things he says about me, he spends most of his shift tellling "dumb blonde" jokes and complaining about nearly everyone on our unit--not to mention ancillary staff and management. Everyone is stupid, no one knows what they're doing--according to him. He follows only the rules he wants to follow--and he makes sure that all of his little cronies follow in his footsteps.

    I finally got fed up with all of it--especially after I was basically ABANDONED in a pt. room, and took the matter up with employee labor relations. That was a month ago, and I haven't heard anything from them. Whad DID happen however, is that I got an email in MY mailbox saying that I have to report to a PRE-DISCIPLINARY meeting on Friday morning regarding my "frequent breaks" and my lack of attention to call lights. Now, I sit right at the nurses' station and answer every call light as soon as it starts ringing, because I am one of those paranoid people who is just absolutely convinced that the patient on the other end is going to say something like "I fell out of bed", or "I can't feel one side of my face", or "my chest hurts really bad and I can't breathe". Conversely, the nurse I formally complained about since in a different area, surrounded by his gaggle of worshippers, and only pays attention to his patients' call lights. So, yes, I know where this came from. And I know it's all horse*#$@. But I don't know what I should do here. I will have union rep with me, but I am wondering if I am going to need a lawyer. Should I just start looking for a new job? I mean, it's obvious that the situation is not going to change. To tell the truth, I'm ready to just do something else entirely. If it weren't for my BIG HONKING MORTGAGE I'd just give them my two weeks and say the hell with it. I'm really fed up with this profession and with the way certain people can get away with everything and bully people around. I'm just tired of it all.

    Advice, anyone?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   bethin
    Quote from wolfgirl
    This may end up being a very long, post, but I will attempt to keep it as short as possible. I am an RN working nights at a teaching hospital, on the rehab unit. I spent about a year at a different hospital, and about a year and a half on a surgical floor before I came to rehab. So I have about four years of experience right now. I work with a man who was an RT for twenty years, went back to school and has been an RN for a little over a year. The problems began when we had a disagreement over an issue. He decided to take the issue to our manager, who agreed with him, and I agreed to comply with her decision in the matter. However, since then, he has treated me with hostility and contempt. He refuses to acknowledge me when I speak to him, he leaves me stranded in patients rooms when I need help, he has made blatantly racial comments in front of the nurses' stations, he has ridiculed other patients' languages...

    Once, when I was charge, he had conveniently managed to snag three patients who had a patient safety assistant in the room with them (meaning all he had to worry about was passing meds and charting--no turning, toileting, etc.), and one of those was an RN, which meant he really only had THREE patients. I wanted to redistribute the patient load to make it more equitable, since the rest of us were going to be required to take five patients. He refused, saying, "No--I'm keeping my patients." I told him that it wasn't fair for the rest of us to all have five heavy patients, and he said too bad, I'm keeping my patients. In addition, he has chased me around the report room, demanding an answer to a ridiculous question, and wouldn't leave me alone until someone else (a day shift RN) stepped in front of him. He doesn't do some of the things the MDs order--he saw an order for a heparin drip to be started at 0500 and stated "That sounds like something for day shift", he had a patient who was NPO and the NA told him the patient's blood sugar was 69 and she's NPO and he said "too bad--she's getting orange juice", he had a patient who was supposed to have a tacrolimus draw at six--our manager sent us an email and posted signs everywhere that tacrolimus levels were now RN draws--and he filled out a sheet for lab to draw it. The pt. had a PICC line and the lab person who draws from PICCs doesn't hit our floor till seven or seven-thirty. He has told other staff members that I "hide in the bathroom" to "get away from the call lights", that my "patient could be dead" and I wouldn't write anything on our shift report sheet. In addition to all of the slanderous things he says about me, he spends most of his shift tellling "dumb blonde" jokes and complaining about nearly everyone on our unit--not to mention ancillary staff and management. Everyone is stupid, no one knows what they're doing--according to him. He follows only the rules he wants to follow--and he makes sure that all of his little cronies follow in his footsteps.

    I finally got fed up with all of it--especially after I was basically ABANDONED in a pt. room, and took the matter up with employee labor relations. That was a month ago, and I haven't heard anything from them. Whad DID happen however, is that I got an email in MY mailbox saying that I have to report to a PRE-DISCIPLINARY meeting on Friday morning regarding my "frequent breaks" and my lack of attention to call lights. Now, I sit right at the nurses' station and answer every call light as soon as it starts ringing, because I am one of those paranoid people who is just absolutely convinced that the patient on the other end is going to say something like "I fell out of bed", or "I can't feel one side of my face", or "my chest hurts really bad and I can't breathe". Conversely, the nurse I formally complained about since in a different area, surrounded by his gaggle of worshippers, and only pays attention to his patients' call lights. So, yes, I know where this came from. And I know it's all horse*#$@. But I don't know what I should do here. I will have union rep with me, but I am wondering if I am going to need a lawyer. Should I just start looking for a new job? I mean, it's obvious that the situation is not going to change. To tell the truth, I'm ready to just do something else entirely. If it weren't for my BIG HONKING MORTGAGE I'd just give them my two weeks and say the hell with it. I'm really fed up with this profession and with the way certain people can get away with everything and bully people around. I'm just tired of it all.

    Advice, anyone?
    I think HE should be looking for a new job. Making racial comments, either to co workers or about pts is unprofessional and in my opinion grounds for dismissal. I don't get what his problem is. You had a disagreement where the manager felt he was right and you graciously accepted that fact. Can you speak to your DON or NM about this? If he's making these comments at the nurse's station I bet that there are others who find his remarks deploring.

    I would go the NM or DON. By not hanging the heparin he clearly violated MD orders. That deserves to be written up and a incident report needs to be written up for not hanging the med as ordered.

    Slander is illegal. It's good that you are having your union rep there. It would not be a bad idea to get a lawyer. If the union rep and lawyer show up maybe that will scare them.

    Write down everything this guy does or says that is illegal or out of line in a place of work. See if other nurses will do the same or back you up. Please keep us updated on this. Is he the only one complaining of your so called breaks? Probably. Get other nurses that you work with in as witnesses to testify that you do not go and hide in the bathroom or take more than your allotted break time. Also, chasing you around the break room could be harrassment(ask the lawyer).

    Check on your report to labor relations. Stick to them like jelly on peanut butter. DO NOT let this fall through the cracks.

    This whole thing is pissing me off and I don't have to work with him.

    Good luck!
  4. by   jmgrn65
    I agree with Bethin.
  5. by   P_RN
    My experience was with a unit clerk. After undergoing some of what you mentioned, I got a voice activated tape recorder and told her I would be taping conversations for awhile. She didn't believe me. When I played back some of her profanity, she got the message. Now taping someone secretly is illegal in most cases, but I did tell her in the presence of others what I would do.
  6. by   santhony44
    Write down everything he says or does, keep track of your witnesses, and the tape recorder might not be a bad idea.

    I understand that what he says when no one else is around becomes a he said/she said issue, but what about the other things he does? How is he getting away with those? Not hanging a drip, giving an NPO patient juice, not drawing a lab are all things that should be subject to disciplinary action.

    I have to wonder if he's got your manager snowed, or if the manager is deliberately protecting him. It's obvious that he thinks since he "won" on the issue you disagreed on, he can do as he pleases.

    It's too bad that someone your manager would have to listen to, such as the house supervisor on your shift, can't hang out in your linen closet or an empty room for a while and get an earful.

    Good luck to you, and let us know what happens.
  7. by   Mulan
    You can video people without their consent though can't you?

    What about a little video recorder?
  8. by   agille32
    Interestingly, I just got my "ties severed" with a company I have worked with for 4 1/2 years because of someone like this. I ran my butt off all the time and the other nurses sit at the desk and chart things that they haven't done. I have followed these nurses the next day and patients say they didn't see a nurse for at least 8 hours the day before. I am not the only one that has heard these kind of complaints. Management made aware, so they came after me saying my charting was inadequate. Wrote me up on 10/13, suspended me 1 hour later and then pulled a chart from 3 months ago and fired me yesterday. My advice, if you are having to go to a disciplinary hearing, get out. They are probably out for job. I wish I had taken this advice from a friend of mine before it was too late. How do I explain to prospective employers why I no longer work at my previous employment?
  9. by   TrudyRN
    This is all just sickening and maddening. And being tied to it by debt is a scary, scary BETHIN. But you must protect yourself. Learn to document and fight back.
  10. by   JoeyDog
    I agree with others you need to document things that he does or doesn't do (as in not hanging meds) so that you have exact times and dates of occurances. I think your argument will sound more concrete and stronger if you can give exact instances rather than saying "well on time he did this...". If you have any co-workers that you consider friends talk to them and ask them if they will be willing to stand up for you/attest to your character. Or if you know of others who dislike his behavior talk to them and see if they will defend you. There is power in numbers, don't forget that.

    You also need to talk the union rep who will be with you BEFORE the meeting. It might not be a bad idea to bring a lawyer too. If you can afford it I would do it. Show them you are serious and that you take your job seriously, this is not high school.

    To me it sounds like he has created a hostile work environment for you and managment won't protect you - bring that up. Go in there and stand your ground, be strong, and make solid comments/statements about occurances.

    I would also ask them since you are being disciplined for "taking too many breaks" WHERE is the PROOF or is just a he said she said? Have others complained about you? Have you ever had any problems until he started being a jerk? Have you ever been disciplined before now? Have you had patients/families complain about you (to staff other than him)? If the answer is no to all of these than I would ask your manager these same questions. Make them think about your stellar history with the unit.

    My last bit of advice is this. You should have been looking for a new job yesterday! Even if it is just a x-fer to another unit in the hospital far far away from him. But if they truely are out to fire you then you need to beat them to the punch. I doubt they will fire you if you give them your two weeks notice. Even if they do you can always tell prospective employers that you you gave your two weeks notice and leave it at that.

    Good luck and let us know what happens. BTW I have no idea how you put up with this. I would have ripped his head off long before it got to this point, but I have a low tolerance to idiots.
    Last edit by JoeyDog on Nov 16, '06
  11. by   bargainhound
    I agree that people like this can ruin our work situations.

    I just hate that they keep their positions while running good folks away.

    Standing and fighting for your job is one choice, but it is miserable to live through.

    It is great when management has the philisophy that work place should
    have workers who get along and are supportive to one another instead
    of destroying one another.

    His behaviors are destructive to the whole unit/work atmosphere for
    everyone, including the patients. Don't think that they don't pick up
    on the negative energy/tension.

    I personally have always left situations like this.
    I know that is not the only way to deal with it. There is no guarantee
    that the next job might end up the same way. Change is always present
    in work situations.

    I just think that life is too short to live thorugh work situations that are
    so destructive to a healthy mental state. Getting along with coworkers is
    so important to me. It just makes your whole life miserable if work is
    unbearable.
  12. by   bargainhound
    By the way, I have always been honest with job interviews re:
    very important to me that staff get along with each other. I have
    never had in interviewer voice negative reaction to this
    philosophy.
  13. by   gitterbug
    Sorry to hear of your mistreatment by this nurse and your management. You can stay and fight, but you will be miserable while the battle rages. I would document all of his comments, actions and nonactions. I would still look for another job. Sometimes it is better to change than stay.
  14. by   patriotnurse
    All of your replies are good advise. I am so sorry you are going through this. As a fellow nurse and a past nursing manager, I can not believe that your HR department is putting up with any type of slander or otherwise racial comments. There are big... actually huge fines for this by both the perpetrator as well as the employer. Most corporations are wise enough to figure this out. However a friendly reminder may be in order at your meeting. I agree, talk to your union rep. Make sure there are no other types of write ups in your file, what have your evaluations looked like in the past. It's hard to justify letting someone go when you give them an excellent evaluation. Document, document, document... It sounds like this guy is going to continue to cause problems wherever he goes. You are going to have to decide whether it's worth being miserable and paranoid in a job or whether there is something else better out there. Take it from someone who didn't think there was anything else out there. THERE IS!!! Keep me posted and hang in there!!!

    Mary

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