Tell me about your nurse manager

  1. I've been working in my unit (oncology) for nearly seven years. Got my oncology nurse certification and is hoping to stay in this specialty for as long as I could. However, lately I've became increasingly frustrated with my manager. I dreaded to go to work because of her.

    A lot of nurses that were more senior than me had left which pushed me up to the second most senior nurse in the unit this year. My manager still treated me like a new nurse.

    She graduated from Yale and had been an ICU, CTICU, PICU nurse which she likes to brag about and would constantly put me down just to show how knowledgeable she is. She would come up to me to ask question after question about my patient until I could not answer, and then she would take that opportunity to "educate me". She also likes to pick on me during social rounds when all doctors nurses and case management team are there.

    When we are short staffed and busy she would just walk pass by without saying a word. But when we are fully staffed and having a good day she would pretend to care, "how's your district? Do you need anything ?" ..... So fake.

    She also likes to roll her eyes or cut me short when I tried to speak to her. I feel very discouraged to talk to you.

    One time she threw away my unfinished water bottle into the garbage can right in front of me without saying a word. When I told her that the water bottle was mine she answered "I knew. I just can't standing see it there." I think it's extremely disrespectful of her to do that. Almost all of my coworkers bring some sort of water bottle or coffee cup to drink at the nursing station. She tolerated that but not mine.

    She has favoritism to certain nurses and would talk to them in a much nicer tone of voice and would actually allow them to finish what they have to say. Most of these nurses are outspoken white nurses with good sense of humor that make her laugh alot.

    I'm a shy and quiet asian nurse but I really work so hard, I don't bully others and I don't complain as much as my colleagues do. I don't know why my manager seems to dislike me. Its bothering me so much that I want to leave this unit just to avoid her. She made me feel like I'm never enough to be a good nurse. I love the nurses that I work with though and my passion is in oncology which make it hard for me to just transfer to a different unit.

    Any suggestions on how to deal with this situation? Or do u have similar experience that you would like to share ?
    Last edit by Ra3liana on Oct 1 : Reason: Missing
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Dawnkeibals
    I can relate to the eye rolling, seems every time I talk to my manager her eyes are rolling. I figure she can't stand me or she vice versa'd with a 14 yo girl.

    One recent example that bothered me, a patient needed a wound vac placed. I have been a nurse about 3 years but have never placed a wound vac. Early that morning, I asked her for help and told her I have no experience with wound vacs. She repled "really, you don't know how" while rolling her eyes and making me feel real stupid. She said she would help me. When I would see her and ask when we can complete the dressing she would put me off with one thing or another. The wound vac didn't get completed on my shift. I was charting and realized she didn't know how either. She was asking the nurse who came in to relieve me how to do it and if they could do it together.

    I feel like she plays favorites too. Honestly, I think most managers have favorite's but some are better at being fair.
    Last edit by Dawnkeibals on Oct 1 : Reason: Added content
  4. by   KatieMI
    'been there, had all that and then some more. Run before it gets too hot. You get only one life to live, it doesn't worth to be spend on rude jerk.
  5. by   JKL33
    Quote from EllyRae
    I'm a shy and quiet asian nurse but I really work so hard, I don't bully others and I don't complain as much as my colleagues do. I don't know why my manager seems to dislike me. Its bothering me so much that I want to leave this unit just to avoid her. She made me feel like I'm never enough to be a good nurse.
    It's difficult to make a good guess without being there, but if your skills and knowledge are solid (i.e. there isn't angst in the relationship related to poor performance issues) then you should at least consider the possibility that she simply feels inferior to you as a nurse. I wouldn't say this is too rare in my observations. I have a tendency to go with this theory based on the water bottle incident - that's something that is just meant to make someone feel bad/hurt/lesser/humiliated for absolutely no good reason at all and when people treat others that way it says to me that they simply don't feel good about themselves. Ditto for the practice of trying to humiliate you during rounds. Sounds like her MO is that she derives a sense of self-worth from her attempts to make others feel inferior.

    Another possibility is that she simply hasn't developed much of a rapport/camaraderie with you (or you with her, to be fair). Because you love oncology, it is probably worth it to at least make an effort to "come out of your shell" just a bit - not to be "fake" or completely unnatural, but just to realize that, in a situation where someone is very quiet/shy/introverted, others have ample opportunity to make incorrect assumptions about that person. You could try looking for more opportunities to be generally pleasant (saying hi when you walk past), at least observing and maybe smiling at some of the funnier interactions you witness her having, just try small steps and see where it takes you. If she is hell-bent on this poor treatment of you then you will need to look elsewhere, keeping in mind that you also have part of the obligation to develop the good rapport with coworkers/managers that you wish to have, no matter where you go.

    I'm sorry you are facing this difficulty and hope that you can think of some more ideas to work on this rapport. Good luck ~
  6. by   Here.I.Stand
    I work for the Ernest Shackleton of nurse managers -- Google his story if you're unfamiliar, but in my opinion he was one of the greatest leaders in history. There have even been contemporary leadership books written about his example.

    It's always a good idea to examine yourself to see what -- if anything -- you bring to the interaction.
    Your manager could be completely at fault, but nothing to lose by asking yourself these questions.

    That said, I agree with Katie that life's too short to deal with unprofessional and unhelpful leadership.
  7. by   caliotter3
    Is working on that unit worth the cost of therapy or medical treatment for stress-related illnesses? At some point, you need to figure out if leaving would be better than putting up with this one person if she causes you this much distress. And remember to factor in the possibility that you may go to a much worse situation.
  8. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    No comment regarding my current NM. I haven't worked with her long enough to fully analyze her.

    However...

    I did have a manager who arranged for a private, "secret" adoption of one of her employee's children. Then found said employee another position in the organization. (Of course we all knew about it).
  9. by   brownbook
    She is an idiot. Have another (hopefully good or great) job lined up then go to your manager's boss and tell her you are quitting and the reasons why.

    I hope, assume, an experienced oncology nurse wouldn't have to much trouble getting another job.
  10. by   TessLJ
    As a manager myself, you have to be very careful to not show favoritism, and even then people will still say you have your favorites. I'm not saying you are wrong, though, because clearly this manager has some definite areas she needs to improve. It's not important to show how smart you are as a leader; it's not about you, it's about your team, and making sure they have the tools and support to do the best job they can do. Sounds like she is missing that.

    One thing that is missing from your post is whether you have had a discussion with her about how she is making you feel. I would recommend scheduling an appointment to meet with her and tell her what you have observed. Go in prepared, write down some specific points of things that she has said and done, and how it affected you. It will be difficult, but sometimes you have to have those difficult conversations. It may bring you both a new understanding of each other and change the relationship entirely. Or it could confirm that she is a jerk, and you can make your choice whether to stay or go.

    Again, from my experience as a manager, I can't fix something if I don't know there is a problem. I appreciate it when my staff come to me, even if it's about an issue with me personally. I had one come to me a while back angry with me and she let me have it. Apparently she and I had discussed switching her to an early shift and I told her I'd look into it. I had a lot of things going on at one time, and it completely slipped my mind. Well, a person came to our unit from another area of the company and was working the early shift, so I let her continue. When the angry staff member informed me, I was without excuse. I just told her I was sorry and I had simply forgotten, that I had no other excuse than that. She looked at me and said she'd never had a manager be that honest before, and all her ideas about me playing favorites were dissolved. I was able to work it out and get her on the early shift as well.

    I'm now managing a different area and this same individual recently came to me complaining about her current manager. I recommended she sit down and talk with her, and she took my advice. It has made a big difference in her relationship with that manager.

    So I urge you to talk one on one with your manager and get everything out in the open.

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