Vent from a crusty old bat

  1. First off, I want to say that almost ALL of our newer staff are either already excellent, or have potential to BE excellent nurses with a little experience. Maybe my facility is just lucky, but we have primarily superb new hire RNs.

    That said, every once in a while there is that one individual who is relatively inexperienced, but is pompous, pretentious, and truly believes that they are personally God's greatest gift to the nursing profession in our lifetimes. And sometimes these individuals are placed in a position of responsibility, such as Charge Nurse or Shift Supervisor. However ill-advised this assignment is, it only feeds the narcissism of this self-important person.

    Lots of times these unfortunate primotions are a result of friendship or nepotism. Sometimes (as in this particular case), the reason is "we need to have more male charge nurses to prove we are 'diverse' ".

    This young gentleman at my facility (let's call him Matt for the sake of argument), is incredibly self- important and feels comfortable dispensing his "knowledge" quite freely. He recently "corrected" an experienced and highly valued pulmonologist on his line insertion technique.... Embarrassing to say the least! Prior to this incident, he nearly killed a patient by incorrectly attaching a wound vac suction to a post-op patient with an open abdomen.

    These, and several other similar incidents have been reported to unit management, who state "he will grow into the position." I wonder at what expense. This also makes me wonder once again exactly WHY he has been placed in any kind of supervisory position. Friend? Family,? I'm not sure.

    My question is this: Has anyone else experienced this type of scenario? If so, how did you handle it? Barring an actual patient death or sentinel event, what can be done? I am beyond frustrated at this point! Any help is appreciated!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    When employment is necessary, one learns to keep their head low and their powder dry. At the first opportunity, change places of employment according to the chances that things will change for the better. Moaning and groaning about the sorry state of affairs are optional and likely to lead to the acquisition of the proverbial target on the back.
  4. by   SaltySarcasticSally
    Yes and I will experience it time and time again I'm sure. But this scenario isn't unique only to the nursing field, my mom is in the corporate world and deals with it often. She advised me to just wait it out, these kind almost always dig their own grave. She has been correct except one exception and I resigned from that position after it was clear the pompous know it all had too many "ins" to ever get himself/herself fired.
  5. by   kaylee.
    Just curious what his experience is and what unit? I had this happen, actually me and this person were hired at the same time. He is pompous and arrogant, and sarcasm and the use of rhetorical questions are his main way of interacting. Everyone rolls their eyes about his behavior. He is our manager now so that is pretty much what we have to do. But he is so annoying and sends like 4 - 5 emails a week with corrections or practice errors to correct us on as a group. Never communicates encouragement or team enhancing messages.

    Not much to do, but eventually with your guy, hopefully he will be put in his place, which is just one of a little humility!
  6. by   Davey Do
    Quote from billswife
    That said, every once in a while there is that one individual who is relatively inexperienced, but is pompous, pretentious, and truly believes that they are personally God's greatest gift to the nursing profession in our lifetimes.
    Typically, this is behavior associated with overcompensation for a low self esteem.
    Quote from billswife
    These, and several other similar incidents have been reported to unit management, who state "he will grow into the position."
    I disagree- "When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them".
    Quote from billswife
    what can be done?
    Quote from SaltySarcasticSally
    just wait it out, these kind almost always dig their own grave.
    Amen
  7. by   blondy2061h
    Report incidences as they come up to his superiors. Nothing will change without a paper trail.
  8. by   quazar
    Quote from blondy2061h
    Report incidences as they come up to his superiors. Nothing will change without a paper trail.
    Agreed. The only way to sink these types is with a paper trail. Not only incident reports, but if you send any emails, make sure to cc the right people and save a copy for yourself.
  9. by   Daisy4RN
    This happens everywhere. Best to just shrug it off as much as possible and wait it out unless you see actual significant events that would do harm to patients then you should do incident report. Just try to keep those to a minimum otherwise you might make yourself look bad to admin, even though you are correct (in doing the right thing) they don't always like that (and esp if this is a golden boy). If that is the way your admin works you are not going to change it and will only cause more stress/harm to yourself, its not worth it!
  10. by   billswife
    Quote from Daisy4RN
    This happens everywhere. Best to just shrug it off as much as possible and wait it out unless you see actual significant events that would do harm to patients then you should do incident report. Just try to keep those to a minimum otherwise you might make yourself look bad to admin, even though you are correct (in doing the right thing) they don't always like that (and esp if this is a golden boy). If that is the way your admin works you are not going to change it and will only cause more stress/harm to yourself, its not worth it!
    So true!!!
  11. by   djh123
    I don't have any advice, but yeah, my take on the know-it-all 'Supernurse' types is that while some of them may actually be that good, more often that not, if you work around them for a few months, you'll pick up on this mistake they made, that thing they forgot to do, etc. In other words, like the rest of us.

    It reminds me of a classmate in nursing school who seemed to think she was 'totally awesome' who didn't pass the HESI on her first try before our last semester. I knew I was far from 'knowing everything', but at the same time, I did pass it on the first try.
  12. by   Barmherzigkeit
    I'm still only a NIT (Nurse in Training), but have experienced a similar scenario in the world of academic administrative offices. A young MBA in my office was just like the person you are describing, only she wasn't at risk of killing anyone, just irritating them to the "N"th degree. Even though I had 16 years of operations management experience, she thought she was God's gift to our department. She would always "strike" when the department manager was out and berate me for doing "horrible" things like reading procedure manuals or visiting another department to learn how to do a new process. The third time she pulled this stunt, I looked her in the eye, calmly told her she was out of line, and made it clear her behavior was unacceptable and would not be tolerated. Next I reported her to management for workplace intimidation. She got in trouble and soon found out her $**t actually did stink. Two months later, I was approached about an internal promotion to get me out of that department. I took the promotion and pay raise! I think the key is to 1) document incidents (dates, times, what happened, any witnesses); 2) document when and if the incident was reported to senior management; 3) if the problem person pounces on you, you have a well documented trail of a "trend" rather than a single incidence of a problem. Good luck to you. I hope to have a preceptor like you when I get to clinicals! Hugs.
  13. by   VaccineQueen
    Quote from SaltySarcasticSally
    Yes and I will experience it time and time again I'm sure. But this scenario isn't unique only to the nursing field, my mom is in the corporate world and deals with it often. She advised me to just wait it out, these kind almost always dig their own grave. She has been correct except one exception and I resigned from that position after it was clear the pompous know it all had too many "ins" to ever get himself/herself fired.
    My mom said the same thing! I loved my last job but there was a manager there that wasn't a nurse and didn't even have a degree - he had just been working for the company for 4 years. He was initially very warm to me but once he realized that I realized his inexperience, he just made my life hell. Yet, they promoted him despite errors that could have cost the company big time. My mom would say, "he must have pictures on someone."
  14. by   CCU BSN RN
    Even though what you find most distasteful may be his attitude, make sure you use management buzzwords in your communication about issues.

    'unsafe to practice'
    'fear he will cause a sentinel event'
    'liability issue for the hospital'

    I have had a lot more success when I've pointed out that when the person makes a huge error it will be INCREDIBLY expensive for the institution than just pointing out that someone is totally ineffective in their position and the absolute worst idea.

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