probems with a coworker

  1. Hello.
    I just wanted to get opinions and/or advice on how to handle working with a fellow nurse without butting heads all the time. This nurse and I get along very well as long as everything is going her way, but if an admission has to be assigned, there is always some reason she feels it is not her turn to take it, and only will take it with hostility. Also, there is alot of tension because this nurse works 8 hour shifts, and the majority of the nurses on my shift work 12's. This nurse feels that the 12 hour shift nurses if they are floated to another floor for the first 4 hours of their shift, and this floor calls for a nurse from our floor for the next 8 hr shift, that the same nurse should have to stay this shift as well, even though these floors always change your slot. There always seems to be a battle of wills. The arguments are always in front of coworkers with her raising her voice at me. I in turn attempt to be professional and try to explain my thinking but I am just so tired of the arguments. I always try to bend over backwards to accomodate this nurse, and for the most part we get along well, and she if very knowledgable and is more then willing to help you with procedures when asked, and I want to maintain a good working relationship, but these arguments are happening more and more. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Lightning Bug RN
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    It sounds like you've done your best, and if everyone else has the same issues, then it's her problem. I wouldn't bother bending over backwards to accommodate her, but would now try talking to my nurse manager about the situation - that is part of what she is there for.
  4. by   BSNtobe2009
    I agree with Augigi completely. The last thing you want to happen is for the NM to round the corner and see both of you there.

    We have all had co-workers who stomp their feet, and have a hissy, and the POINT of the performance is to bully everyone into getting their way. I hate it when someone says, 'Oh, well, we just go ahead and let Sally do _______ because if you don't, you don't know what kind of fit she can throw." I have no patience when it comes to catering to immaturity like that.

    The next time she baits you into an argument, firmly state your position (she is only arguing just to argue) and say, " Jane, when you are ready to talk about this rationally and as professional adults I'll be over there." and WALK OFF! If she keeps it up, and follows you (and some of these fruit-loops do) say, "I said I wasn't going to argue with you, if you need something from me I suggest you go through the Supervisor unless you can be professional."

    That won't happen more than a couple of times before your Supervisor will put a stop to it. If this person continues to be REWARDED for throwing her fits, she will continue to do so...why shouldn't she if it works?

    Give her a reason where she has no choice but to, at minimum, be respectful to you.
  5. by   UM Review RN
    I'm not quite sure that I understand you here. Are you saying that when you're doing Charge and you assign her to take a patient, she's trying to refuse?

    I would simply turn around and ask her, "Are you refusing to take this patient? Because you can't."

    And walk away.
  6. by   Daytonite
    Hi, Lightning Bug RN!

    As a former nursing supervisor and manager I've got to tell you that this business of the floating is not something that you staff nurses should be fighting about. Where's your manager on this and how come he/she hasn't stepped in and put his/her foot down about the rules of floating? Even when I wasn't a manager, we had rules about the order of who floated. We had a float list that was kept in our report room. If you were the last one on the list then it wasn't your turn to float because you had done your duty the last time. If the manager wasn't on duty (as during the off shifts), then the nursing supervisors could be called to settle any disputes. Why aren't you doing that?

    As for the admissions, same thing. I worked on a stepdown unit for many years where we ALWAYS got admissions. And, as most who have been in nursing for any length of time will tell you, these admissions come up from the ER at the very end of the shift or the very beginning of the shift. We decided during report who was taking the first, second, third, etc. admission. End of story. You can also start a list of who gets the next admission. That makes the process fair and eliminates any arguments over who has to do the admission paperwork. Now, if the nurse who got the end of the shift admission that was being dumped out of the ER was not nasty and worked well with the others on her unit, we would all pitch in and help him/her out with the physical tasks of the admission, but the paperwork was all theirs. If you know you are next on the list, you plan your activities for the possibility of getting an admission, since Murphy's Law is always working against you.

    You shouldn't ever be getting into verbal arguments with any other team members. It's not professional. Especially another person who is in the same level and job description as you. You should talk to your manager and the shift supervisor and let them know what is happening and ask for guidance in how to handle this. If the above I've listed isn't being done already, recommend that procedures like this be instituted in order to make the issues of floating and taking on admissions FAIR for all.

    That said, welcome to allnurses!
  7. by   jojotoo
    Stop bending over - forwards or backwards. Stop engaging this nurse in conversation or explanation of the assignment. It hasn't worked yet. I agree with the other posters. Be point blank: "I just need a yes or no - are you refusing this assignment so that I know how to proceed up the chain of command." It's not going to be pleasant at first while you elicit this behavior change, but it's not pleasant now - is it?
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I agree with the others. Be simple, state it succinctly. Example: "I am sorry but this is not a matter of choice or up for discussion. It's your turn to take the new admission. Thanks for understanding", and walk away. If SHE stomps and throws a hissy, you won't be there to see it, and she will look silly, not you.

    Do not make the mistake of being too accomodating (your word). Yours is to be fair----just know the difference. Good luck and hang in there. Do not let this person get to you!
  9. by   Lightning Bug RN
    Quote from Daytonite
    Hi, Lightning Bug RN!

    As a former nursing supervisor and manager I've got to tell you that this business of the floating is not something that you staff nurses should be fighting about. Where's your manager on this and how come he/she hasn't stepped in and put his/her foot down about the rules of floating? Even when I wasn't a manager, we had rules about the order of who floated. We had a float list that was kept in our report room. If you were the last one on the list then it wasn't your turn to float because you had done your duty the last time. If the manager wasn't on duty (as during the off shifts), then the nursing supervisors could be called to settle any disputes. Why aren't you doing that?

    As for the admissions, same thing. I worked on a stepdown unit for many years where we ALWAYS got admissions. And, as most who have been in nursing for any length of time will tell you, these admissions come up from the ER at the very end of the shift or the very beginning of the shift. We decided during report who was taking the first, second, third, etc. admission. End of story. You can also start a list of who gets the next admission. That makes the process fair and eliminates any arguments over who has to do the admission paperwork. Now, if the nurse who got the end of the shift admission that was being dumped out of the ER was not nasty and worked well with the others on her unit, we would all pitch in and help him/her out with the physical tasks of the admission, but the paperwork was all theirs. If you know you are next on the list, you plan your activities for the possibility of getting an admission, since Murphy's Law is always working against you.

    You shouldn't ever be getting into verbal arguments with any other team members. It's not professional. Especially another person who is in the same level and job description as you. You should talk to your manager and the shift supervisor and let them know what is happening and ask for guidance in how to handle this. If the above I've listed isn't being done already, recommend that procedures like this be instituted in order to make the issues of floating and taking on admissions FAIR for all.

    That said, welcome to allnurses!
    Thank you for the welcome,and I appreciate all your advice. I just wanted to explain a few things about what is happening. As for the floating, we do have a book which keeps a record of who floated last, the problem is that this nurse feels that if you are a 12 hour person (this nurse works 8 hours) and you are floated for the first four (7-11) let's say to the first floor, and then at 11:00 the first floor calls for a float nurse from your home floor, this nurse feels you should stay up there and wants to refuse to go if it is her turn. I attempted to explain to her that they always change your slot so like you are starting from scratch, but she insists she is right. I have spoken with my manager regarding this issue, and he says it's our call.

    As far as when we have admissions, when I make the slots out for 11-7, I always put who is first admission next to that persons name, the problems occur when this nurse walks in and sees first admission, she usually feels it is unfair, or if we get another admission after this I attempt to be fair and ask her how her slot is going, and can she handle an admission, and the answer is always no, or if it is someone else's turn and I ask her to take it because they are drowning with someone going south, she refuses, and I end up taking it if I have any room in my slot. I am usually charge nurse when we work together. In regard to being charge nurse, the one thing that has me nervous looking at the schedule for December, that maybe they were trying to give me a break, they have this nurse in charge the majority of the time, which has never occurred before. I am nervous about this because I don't believe she can be objective aand fair .
    As far as getting into verbal arguments, I agree that it is unprofessional. I do not raise my voice back at her, I speak in a calm way, attempting to resolve the situation without alot of fuss, because this is occurring at change of shift, when everyone is trying to get through report and out on the floor before 1:00 AM. I just find her yelling at me very upsetting, and then I am upset for the rest of the night, while it seems she feels herself justified in all she says and does, and does not seem to be flustered at all by all the tension she creates. Thank you all again for all your advice. Sincerely Lightening Bug RN
  10. by   TazziRN
    As far as asking her to take an admission, you're giving her an out by doing that. "You are next up for an admission, so if one comes up you will be getting it." End of story.

    Is she allowed to refuse to float? At my facility if someone refuses to float then they are given the option of going home with 4 hours' pay. (Theoretically if someone is able to float there there is no reason that she is needed on her home floor.) What does she do if there is a request to float at the start of her shift and no one was floated before?

    I think the problem is that a) you're giving her a choice, which gives her the option of saying No, and b) as already mentioned, she's being allowed to let her hissy fits work for her.

    As for your manager, it sounds like it's time to tell him, "We are not able to fix this problem ourselves, I need you to make a managerial decision." Problem with that is, you might not like what he decides.
  11. by   fakebee
    As someone who has worked both the 8 hour shift and the 12 hour shift in units where 90 percent of the nurses work 12 hour shifts I have my own thoughts on two apects of this discussion-the first admission and the floating. The 11-7 nurse who comes on c the first admission next to their name already has to assess a full load of new pts and if they get an admission in that first hour they're behind all shift long and they only have 8 hours to do it in. The 7-7 people should be caught up by 11 and are in a much better position
    to take that first admit. As for the floating thing, whY wouldn't the nurse that floated at 7 stay the entire shift? The 11-7 RN gets an 8 hour pull and the 12 hour RN gets a 4 hour pull. How is that fair? If the initial pull is from 11-7, then the 8 hr rn gets pulled in order by your pull roster. If you think you have it bad trying to work this out imagine if you were day RNs and had a 3-11 rn come in when the 7-3 charge rn went home. I was the 3-11 rn in a very busy ICU and left when I got only ER and PACU admits since the charge rn took the pts who were going out that day. Nobody would take an admit after 3pm because they didn't have enough time left. I tried to explain that two sick admits in the first two hours of an 8 hr shift was too much but my nm wouldn't listen so I took a 12 hour night position and now 2 day rns have to take a 3rd pt on a pretty regular basis. 8 hour shifts don't work when the majority of people work 12s.
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from fakebee
    As someone who has worked both the 8 hour shift and the 12 hour shift in units where 90 percent of the nurses work 12 hour shifts I have my own thoughts on two apects of this discussion-the first admission and the floating. The 11-7 nurse who comes on c the first admission next to their name already has to assess a full load of new pts and if they get an admission in that first hour they're behind all shift long and they only have 8 hours to do it in. The 7-7 people should be caught up by 11 and are in a much better position
    to take that first admit. As for the floating thing, whY wouldn't the nurse that floated at 7 stay the entire shift? The 11-7 RN gets an 8 hour pull and the 12 hour RN gets a 4 hour pull. How is that fair? If the initial pull is from 11-7, then the 8 hr rn gets pulled in order by your pull roster. If you think you have it bad trying to work this out imagine if you were day RNs and had a 3-11 rn come in when the 7-3 charge rn went home. I was the 3-11 rn in a very busy ICU and left when I got only ER and PACU admits since the charge rn took the pts who were going out that day. Nobody would take an admit after 3pm because they didn't have enough time left. I tried to explain that two sick admits in the first two hours of an 8 hr shift was too much but my nm wouldn't listen so I took a 12 hour night position and now 2 day rns have to take a 3rd pt on a pretty regular basis. 8 hour shifts don't work when the majority of people work 12s.
    I agree with this. It's true that getting an admit at the start of the shift is difficult, I finally decided to get the very basics in--assessment, vitals, contact and DNR info--then continue the paperwork as the patient was awakened for labs or pain meds or whatever.

    Most of the time it worked. When I got a really bad patient, it'd throw me behind, but if I didn't get an admit and I had a patient go bad, same difference.

    You roll with it.

    The unit I work now, we're a self-contained unit, so we cover shifts ourselves or do without. No floating. Maybe this coworker needs a unit like that, but until that happens, she needs to shut up and do the work, rather than argue and bring down the morale of the whole unit with her childish behavior.

    As long as the assignments are fair, she is just wasting energy that needs to be going to the patients.

    JMO
  13. by   Lightning Bug RN
    As far as this nurse walking in and seeing first admit next to her name, the only time this happens is when the other nurses that will be staying until 7AM have gotten an admission with the last few hours. As far as being all caught up since we have been there since 7P, that is not true at all, I wish it was. Most of the time we from 7-11 we are slammed with ERs Post ops and transfers, while attempting to give blood, calling Drs with off labs that have been off all day but no one called on. We strive to get all the problems resolved before 11P because the Drs that are on call after that will only address things if it is a dire emergency. We are often far from caught up when 11P comes around .
    As far as not being fair for the 8 hour shift nurse to have to float after the 7P nurse was already floated to the same floor, I believe it is fair for the following reasons: the slot will change almost completely almost all of the time, when someone has to be floated in the 3-11 slot, the 7-11 people are the ones to go first, so we are floated much more often the the 11-7 nurses, and the floors we are sent to know at 3P that they are getting a float from 7-11 and save all the open beds for when the float comes, and then slam the living daylights out of that nurse.
    I have worked both 8 and 12hr shifts as well, and I do believe that this is the fari way to do things, if one of my fellow 12 hr shift nurses was floated from 7-11 and I was next one to be floated, I would gladly take my turn because I know what heck she has put up with for 7-11. Lightning Bug RN
  14. by   Daytonite
    let me just repeat, call the nursing supervisor to help you get the floating situation and the admission problems straightened out when the manager is not there. that is what they are there for. i had to handle situations like this when i was a supervisor. but, i didn't know about them unless the staff nurses called and told me what was going on. once i knew that there was a nurse who would be likely to cause problems with this i would always follow up when there was floating asked to be done. i also followed up with the manager of that unit later. now, i can't speak for your supervisors, but this is the way i was taught to handle conflicts. you are going to have to demand that your manager make a definitive judgment on what to do about this situation. also, when this other nurse is giving assignments i would feel perfectly comfortable giving her the same crap she's giving you and refusing to float and see what she does to handle the situation. however, i'm willing to bet that she's on the phone with either the supervisor or the manager, real quick. i just have a feeling that she is playing with you because of your kindness and inexperience. she sounds to me like a real work of you-know-what that needs an attitude adjustment--badly--by someone who can put her in her place. i'm sorry to have to say this, but one of the reasons she's probably getting away with this is because your manager's ineffectiveness at knowing when to step in an resolve problems that has allowed this to happen. the problem may go further than that if the supervisors are also unwilling to get involved. if that is the case, then i would have to say it's time to get up on your horse and ride off to look for another job. if management is willing to let their staff people duke out problems like this that are tantamount to a bully getting the upper hand, then something is wrong in the system.

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