When your supervisor is incompetent.....

  1. 0
    I love my job as a prison nurse, but by far the most difficult thing to deal with is not the danger from inmates, but my supervisor. Her incompetence as an administrator is so evident that I sometimes wonder how she became a nurse. She expresses nothing but negativity, has the backbone of a jellyfish, plays favorites among her nurses, does not advocate for her nurses, has a warped sense of priorities and is willing to put patients at risk to protect her own concerns. One of her worst traits is that she promotes only criticism, not inspiration, morale or efficiency. Among other examples, she:
    1. Called in one of our nurses to her office, sat down with him and read...from a list...all his faults. He quit shortly thereafter.
    2. Came in to the infirmary and told another nurse that the schedule had suddenly changed and he had to go home. His shift had changed from 6a-4p to 6a-2p. She told him this at 2:35pm! She would not allow him to finish out the hour to complete his work, which included documentation on patients, because it would mean an hour of overtime.
    3. Allowed (or forced) a nurse to go home on call despite having an inmate in the infirmary with unstable blood sugars who was suffering diabetic seizures almost daily, which violates company policy that a nurse must be on site if a patient is in the infirmary. Again comp time was an issue because another nurse who could have stayed was denied because he had too much comp time.
    4. Was unwilling to acknowledge a mistake in the schedule and scheduled another nurse to work 5 consecutive shifts (among 2 different jobs) with 4 hours in between each shift, allowing him to be in an impaired state due to fatigue.
    5. Another nurse developed an example of a protocol sheet that was more efficient and easier to use than our old one and presented it to our supervisor to review. She returned it with the comment "There's nothing wrong with our old sheets. We don't need another sheet, we don't need to make any changes. If you need to document further, you can do it on the back of the sheet." To further emphasize the point, she put a big X through the cover sheet. So much for improving work efficiency.
    6. Reported another nurse (me) to the Board of Nursing for inappropriate conduct, despite the fact that there was no evidence allegations or disciplinary action taken. She reported it because the Chief of Security, whom she doesn't answer to, pressured her into doing so. Did I not say "backbone of a jellyfish?"A year later, I am still dealing with this case.
    Complaints were brought up by three different nurses to the warden. Nothing was done. At least 2 nurses quit because of her and now we're severely short-staffed. As I said, I love my job and would hate to leave it, but I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Any ideas? Please let me know.
    Last edit by PrisonrNurs on Jan 14, '07

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  2. 0
    wow, how awful for you.

    i don't really have any good advice, other than to speak with her and/or her supervisor. i'm betting you have already done that, and that speaking to her didn't do anything.

    i hope someone comes along with really great advice for you.
  3. 0
    Have you documented all these events in writing? Saved paperwork? Do you have a union? If so, call your rep ASAP. Your union steward will likely advise you to start a paper trail, among lots of other things, including instituting a grievance procedure. I suggest an attorney. Do you have malpractice insurance? If you do, it pays for a private attorney, usually, I think, if your license is in jeapordy. You were reported to the BON for who knows what offense, but even though you feel they didn't report you properly (no documentation of disciplinary action) this is serious.

    Get an attorney .... Play hardball with the big girls.
  4. 0
    Ditto Selke. I got a lawyer for a much less onerous but still important employer problem and it worked like magic. One telephone call.

    Protect yourself.
  5. 0
    the main thing is to protect yourself and get as much documented by yourself and the other nurses
  6. 0
    Get a lawyer, fast. Secondly, find a new job. You absolutely need to fight this woman. You need to find out if the :@#! is rolling downhill.
  7. 0
    Quote from PrisonrNurs
    Complaints were brought up by three different nurses to the warden. Nothing was done. At least 2 nurses quit because of her and now we're severely short-staffed. As I said, I love my job and would hate to leave it, but I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Any ideas? Please let me know.
    What is your employment situation? Are you employed by a private company that provides contracted nursing care to the jail? Do you have union representation? Are you a city, county or state employee?

    If you are a private company employee, then yes, an attorney may be able to help with the situation.

    If you are working under a union bargaining agreement, your union rep should be able to help.

    And if you are a governmental employee, you can seek assistance from the HR dept as there are rules for employee discipline and complaints that MUST be followed (but again, you may want attorney help as well).

    Good luck to you with this situation.

    HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD


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