What do I do? (long)

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    I have been a charge nurse on my unit for quite a while now. There is a particular nurse who has been there for many years. She is very knowlegdeable, has very good clinical skills and interacts well with patients and their families.
    Management is aware that she is continuously breaking a particular rule. (I don't wish to elaborate, all I will say is that it has nothing to do with patient care or safety. I even created a new identity on allnurses in fear of somebody figuring out who I am.) Management wants me to catch her (it wouldn't be difficult) and write her up. Violating this rule is a dismissable offense. I don't agree that it should even warrant a suspension, but a rule's a rule. The fact of the matter is that she refuses to follow it. I think to myself, "Why can't she just abide by it to avoid consequences?" But she has been a nurse for many years and she is set in her ways.
    I am dreading having to do this because if I catch her, I know what the end result will be. I hate to see an otherwise good nurse lose her job over something this trivial. I feel even worse because a few years back she helped cover my butt in a sticky situation, and she also taught me some neat tricks and shortcuts.
    I am afraid if I overlook this or turn my head the other way when I see her do this, management will reprimand me for doing nothing. I know I CANNOT tell her because she might go off on them and she will probably accuse management of trying to get rid of older nurses. What do I do? Should I give subtle hints to her to stop it? :uhoh21: Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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  3. 48 Comments so far...

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    I have been put in a situation like this by my admin, and I will tell you it sucks! Why can't admin do it if they feel it is needed? But then again...it is part of charge nurse duty isn't it...to ensure safe patient care, and that all facility policies are being followed.

    Sadly you really must do what they say and report a violation if one is seen. I know it is a horrible situation to put you in, but the nurse is not following facility protocol/rules and must be disiplined (ouch...I know, some rules are silly looking but still must be followed...even on just on a basis of work ethics).

    That is very sad, to see that a good nurse can be shot down so easily for not following a rule that does no pt harm or risk safety! I had to fire two awesome nurses because they were in a hurry after lunch and one had to use the bathroom so the other nurse clocked her back in to save time and get back to work...this was cause for dismissal (you can not even touch another persons time card, let alone clock them in/out). I was mad and in tears when I had to let them know, and that they were needed in the admin office...they knew their checks and pink slips were filled out .

    But bottom line, that was part of my job...and had to do it or my admin would find a way to make me also guilty by not reporting it.
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    I think you'd get better replies if you stated what this infraction is.
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    Several years ago, one of the other nurses on the floor had been suspected of stealing narcotics. The suspicion had been there for almost a yr. but no one seemed to catch her. She was very intelligent, well liked and had many friends (up to the Administration). On evening at change of shifts there was a blatant error on the narc sheet. When I asked the evening nurse if she reported it, of which three other employees were listening, each had their own reason for not bringing it to the proper authorities' attention. (May their consciences since have dealt with them.) I took action that needed to be taken earlier. Did I gain popularity? No! Did my fellow employees stand with me? No! Only one fellow worker stood by my side through the next weeks of agony as her "secret" had been exposed and known throughout the hospital. It took awhile but she was let go (two mo. after the blatant error was noted on the narc sheet). Was there any follow up for the staff, reminding them of their professional duty to report her? No! Did I "gain respect" for stepping forward. No! But before the Lord, to whom I am accountable, I did what I knew I should do. What about our patients who had complained over the months that their pain shots "were not helping them?" How could we not have professional indignation against one who knew better?
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    I don't feel that is totally necessary to know what the infraction is, although I would agree that it would be nice to know...but when I come up to tough choices, I try to take it down to the bottom line without extra confusion.

    If an infraction occured, the charge nurse must report it. That is the bottom line sadly. It isn't up to the charge nurse to quantify it, or change the rules...that is the job of the administration and facility. It is simple, and sometimes very upsetting...charge reports, administration looks over it and goes by their standards and rules, action is taken (whether it is charge nurse talks to Nurse to stop the infraction, training is given, person is discharged, etc.).

    I think the OP doesn't want to state the infraction because someone may see it here and could cause probelms.
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    I think you'd get better replies if you stated what this infraction is.
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    I guess my question is has management spoken to this nurse about the issue and given fair warning of the consequences?

    I'm afraid management is getting you to do their dirty work. They have the option of reviewing and changing their own policy, and as you say it is trivial and does not affect patient care or safety.

    You co-worker may be under the impression that she is bullet-proof in this instance BECAUSE she has been allowed to continue to do this without consequence.

    If it was me, I would speak to this person about this issue and the consequences of refusing to follow policy regarding this issue. Whatever your co-worker chooses to after, IS HER CHOICE.
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    Quote from DusktilDawn
    I guess my question is has management spoken to this nurse about the issue and given fair warning of the consequences?

    I'm afraid management is getting you to do their dirty work. They have the option of reviewing and changing their own policy, and as you say it is trivial and does not affect patient care or safety.

    You co-worker may be under the impression that she is bullet-proof in this instance BECAUSE she has been allowed to continue to do this without consequence.

    If it was me, I would speak to this person about this issue and the consequences of refusing to follow policy regarding this issue. Whatever your co-worker chooses to after, IS HER CHOICE.
    Good advice.
  11. 0
    Quote from DusktilDawn

    I'm afraid management is getting you to do their dirty work.
    That is a very good point.

    I guess it depends on whether or not you want to do someone elses dirty work.

    I decided years ago I didn't, it leaves a very bad taste in the mouth.

    I agree with the rest of DusktilDawn's post.
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    I agree it kind of sounds like they are trying to get you to do their dirty work. They get to use you as the one who reported/wrote up the incident and leaves their hands and concious clean. I would probly try to pull her aside and speak with her about it, however i doubt that is what administration would want you to do. That would leave you in a awkward position with them for not doing what they have asked you to do.
    Maybe you could have a private conversation with her outside of work on a personal level without really telling her they want it written up. Just that people are noticing and that it is now against policy and people are going to start getting reprimanded for breaking this policy(not directly targeting her).
    Youve got a difficult situation. I hope it goes well for you and you arent left being the bad guy.


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