We recently hired a nurse in the unit who is on probation and not allowed to give narcotics at this time. She is smart, funny and just a nice person to be around. However, a lot of the nurses are talking about her behind her back (we don't know the story behind the probation) and treat her different. I can tell it hurts her. She is always willing to help others. Any suggestions on how I handle my coworkers when they want to talk about her. I like her. Has anyone had any experience in this area?????
Dec 29, '00
I too have worked with nurses who were on probation [PA calls it the 'impaired nurses program']. You and your co-workers will probably never know the circumstances surrounding this person's probation, nor should you seek to find it. In time, and with trust, maybe she will confide in you.
The best thing you could do [especially if you have any influence with the nurses whom you work with] is to make it a point to offer praise about this nurse when they begin their bad-mouthing. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing. Let your co-workers know that you support her... be a leader and in time your positive energy will overshadow their ignorance.
How far that little candle throws it's light... so shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Dec 30, '00
What GNP-Tim says! Say just what you said here - "I like her" and add your other observations - whatever is positive and true. Sometimes the offenses for which nurses are monitored for drugs have nothing to do with drugs at all. And sometimes they do. It would take a great deal of courage and commitment to continue to work while on probation. I'm not sure I could do it.
Dec 30, '00
If the nurse on probation wishes to share the reasons fine if not also fine. I've had this expirience of working and supervising nurses with retricted liscenses. The main concern for the RN's on the unit should be whether she does her job in a professional manner. She really needs support now. Her courage is evident but not unlimited, and the will to do what she is doing is fragile. It will get stronger overtime, give her the support and time she needs.
Dec 30, '00
Thanks everyone for your support of my position regarding the RN I mentioned in my first post. I will continue to be supportive and positive towards her and hopefully others will follow suit.
Jan 2, '01
I think it is wonderful that you can see beyond the "impaired" nurse, to the person that this nurse is and see the positive qualities- Kudos to you! She really does need this support right now. I hope if I am in this situation, i will handle it as professionally as you have.
Jan 18, '01
I worked with a nurse in the same position. The way our manager chose to handle it was to have a staff meeting and explain the circumstances, and that her coming back to work would be subject to other nurses' willingness to give her narcs for her, and she would be unable to do relief charge duties. Then she asked whether everyone was willing to work with her under those conditions. The nurse in question offered to cover the nurses who gave her pt meds by giving them extra breaks. The response was overwhelmingly supportive.
Although I know it was difficult initially for this nurse to face all of us at this big meeting, it got all the issues out in the open and she was surprised and pleased to see how much support she had. It also circumvented the "whisper-behind-her-back" behavior you seem to be describing because everything was out in the open as far as the nursing staff was concerned. She successfully got through her probation and was restored to full privileges after a year.
Jan 20, '01
first and formost with the last reply. it really wasn't up to the nurse manager to call a meeting for the whole staff what at the nurse's right to privacy?? i have a restriction placed on me for narcotics but it was gambling that got me there. i have a problem with gambling but i'm under contract for 3 years. the main issue with my nurse manager was privacy she had to inform the charge nurse's that i was under contract but that was all anything else that was told had to come from my mouth. the wonderful thing is that as part of my recovery i needed to tell the world what happened to me and how i managed to overcome. i did it with the help of gamblers anonymous and all the support i have gotten from my peers. so support them and give them encouragement you never know when the shoe might be on the other foot.
Jan 22, '01
Lee, the manager held this meeting with the full knowledge and consent of the nurse, who was present at this meeting to discuss this w/everyone and answer questions. With her in the position of needing her peers to give her pt's narcs (and not being able to be charge, plus other practice restrictions that I won't go into), she would have had to explain the situation each time to each individual nurse which, IMHO, would have been far more excruciating than doing it once and knowing where she stood. It also would have been impossible to keep a secret for any length of time for the above reasons.
By telling all of us, she enabled her peers to support her which, as you've pointed out, was key in helping you get through it. yourself.
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