accused of bullying....

  1. (please excuse the spelling for some reason unknown to me spell check would not work, figures just my luck!) I have been a nurse for 9 + years. I started in an ICU setting and let me just say they definetly tried to eat their young. I have since that day vowed to never make anyone feel the way that I had felt being a newer nurse. 8 years later I am still in the ICU setting due to an unforseen event (my hospital closed) 2 years ago I was forced to find a new job and landed one with one of the larger health systems in town. After being on the unit less than six months I was promoted to a level three nurse (CCRN, a required project was completed) for both personal and professional benifits. I soon found myself thrown into the night time charge position everything was fine and dandy until approximately six months ago. During that time our previous director retired and was replaced.
    A few issues have come up on the off shift such as an older/experienced nurse who has made multiple mistakes where the patient has suffered as a result. The nursing supervisor was contacted as the next person in the chain of command at my facitlity but I received a lecture the next morning how I should have called her "my manager" at home regarding the issue. I just followed our hospital policy regarding the chain of command.

    The next situation involved a coworker who had fallen and hurt her arm at home on a saturday. This nurse proceeded to post facebook pictures and status updates of her arm all weekend and then came to work on THURSDAY and made a commotion about her bruised arm and the physician advised her to get an xray. The xray was obtained while the nurse was on the clock and as luck would have it I was in charge that evening. I called the supervisor informed her a nurse was out of staff pending the xray result and I had lined up another nurse to come in if need be. The xray turned out to be fine and the nurse could return to work without restrictions. The nurse walked onto the unit wearing a sling and was advised that if they felt that they needed to wear the sling they would have to go home ill at 11pm per hospital policy. The nurse was angry and upset because they did not have enough sick time saved. After being informed that she could not wear the sling the nurse conveniently had difficulty opening vials, doors, etc but was convenietnly healed when it came to texting.

    The next morning I had to fill in our manager about the events of the past night and once again was upset that I didn't call her at home. I honestly didn't have a spare minute inbetween taking care of my two patients plus her two patients and the normal unit business. The supervisor was aware and also I had staff willing to come in and replace the injured nurse if necessary. The nurse who I had to report for the xray has started retaliation along with her troop of newer nurses and is making my life hell.

    I have been told recently that I am found to be intimidating and bullylike when I am in charge. When asked for an example management was unable to give me one in fear of exposing the person that made the complaint. I feel that I can not adequately defend myself without knowing the behavior. I am not a mean person or am difficult to approach. If I look busy its because I usually am with my own assignment plus charge responsibilites/staffing/etc. I jhave never threatened, rolled my eyes, or refused to help anyone. Our unit is a locked unit so we are stuck with each other 12+ hours a shift. I know that we all are not going to get along. I am there to take care of my patients and if I make a friend or two along the way fine...if not I don't expect to have a unit address book lined up at 7am for our Christmas card exchange.

    My manager is particularly friendly with this younger group of staff and am fear of losing my job due to our zero tolerance for horizontal violence. Eventhough I did not perform any of the accused behaviors it ultimately becomes a game of he said she said. Has anyone ever experienced this? Advice? I am currently in process of being reviewed and if I am found not guilty I am still going to leave my current position in fear of it happening again. I contacted legal counsel and they basically said the state inwhich I am employed can terminate you for any reason and also the healthcare company I work for has numerous calls regarding issues like this.
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    About hellokittey22

    Joined: Jun '07; Posts: 2


  3. by   anotherone
    good luck. i have seen bogus bullying complaints mad and they are difficult to defend since the charges are vague and subjective. i hate doing charge or precepting because of this. most of the bullying complaints i have seen in real life are from whiners and drama queens or bullies themselves. just because i didnt smile ir chit chat with a coworker and am busy doing actual work doesnt make me a bully
  4. by   morte
    they are bullying you. file a complaint against them. the nurse with the arm injury should be fired, total idiot.
  5. by   MzMouse
    Managers shouldn't even take complaints seriously when not one example can be made. I have been in your position and it's very difficult to defend yourself when you aren't even being told what you are doing wrong. I think most of it is bogus.
  6. by   iluvivt
    First of all how can you defend yourself and tell your side of the story without knowing the facts..that is ridiculous that they will not tell you. They most certainly can tell you they do not want to. I would say that I have a right to defend myself and explain my actions but I need to know what the exact complaint was and then if I need to make improvements I will. Make absolutely certain they know you are willing to change and grow professionally.

    When you are in charge it is a different ball of wax than just focusing on your own set of patients especially if you are new to the position. You have to let people get used to you being in charge and let them know you are there to help them and not be a dictator. It sounds like your team is not supporting you and thus are looking for things or embellishing things to cause you trouble. Why do you think that is?

    If you are going to stay in this charge position you need to change something you are doing and what you are saying to your staff. Even though based upon what you said you handled the problems well..why is that your manager wanted to be notified? I am always grateful when a charge RN can handle things without constantly calling management at home. Of course,some things do need an immediate call. The fact that she keeps wanting you to call for little problems that you have solved makes me think she does not trust you. Also you need to talk with her and find out just what exactly she wants to be called on. I would not have called either for the things you mentioned.

    I think the underlying issue is greater and I hope you figure it out so they do not fire you.
  7. by   tnbutterfly
    Moved to Nurse Colleague / Patient Relations for more response.
  8. by   jadelpn
    If the hospital policy is such that the nursing supervisor needs to be called when an event occurs, then it is your manager's issue that she doesn't like the chain of command and she needs to answer to the nursing supervisor. You are CYA'ing and following protocol. If that is any different, ask for the policy.

    The slinged nurse--she was sent back to work with no restrictions, and a sling is a restriction. Therefore, if she needs the sling then she needs to have her doctor's note amended. However, seeing that texting is not an issue (seee my eyes rolling in the back of my head) one could assume that she could do what she needs to, or she needs to go home. What would your manager have her do for the shift?

    There is a huge difference between professionally carrying out your duties as charge within the confines of hospital policy, and being a bully. Especially when there are no examples of bullying. I would explain exactly as you did here. " I need to be sure that the patient's safety is a priority. Please correct me if that is not my duty as a charge nurse on this unit. Therefore, when one of the nurses on my shift makes an error that causes patient harm, I need to be sure that the policy that is in place is adhered to. And I would think that administration would support that. This is not a personal affront, and with reeducation, perhaps we can be sure that this doesn't happen again. One of the nurses on the shift I was in charge came to work with a sling which left her unable and/or unwilling to be able to carry out her duties. She had a "no restrictions" note, and no documentation that she should be accommodated for this injury. That this nurse doesn't have the sick time to be able to take the time off, as I was informed, can not be my priority, as the shift needed to be filled for patient safety. By continuing to call the unit manager at home, I am under the impression that this is not correct protocol, and ultimately, correct me if I am wrong, I am responsible for the interventions that I put into place and carry out. If there is a protocol that I am not aware of, please educate me on same so that I will not continue to make policy error. I believe that I am clear in my expectations for a smooth shift. I have some tremedously competent nurses that I rely on to make sound decisions. I believe the decisions that I make are for the good of the patient, and within the policies as I understand them. I do not tolerate bullying of any form. I am attempting to keep morale of a great team high. I will not, however, risk my license on the thought process of that by following policies I am a bully. That is inappropriate and incorrect. I stand by my integrity, and given that I was put in the position of charge, I would like to believe that adminstration also stands by my intergrity as a nurse."
  9. by   giveface
    [QUOTE=jadelpn;6973405]The slinged nurse--she was sent back to work with no restrictions, and a sling is a restriction. Therefore, if she needs the sling then she needs to have her doctor's note amended."/QUOTE]

    Couldn't agree with this more.