Accused of Privilege

  1. I had my first day at my new job in the BICU at a huge regional hospital yesterday. I relocated to be closer to family and my fiance, who just happens to work in HR/administration at the hospital.

    Well apparently, my preceptor found out about that. During the entire shift, she began to belittle me and criticize me for every small mistake I made. Multiple times, she went on to insinuate that the only reason I got the job is because of my connection with a "higher up". She was very cold and actually went on to berate me infront of a patient's entire family because I handed her the wrong dressing change. She was way too hard on me for my first day and even told me that I have to "consider whether burns is right for me".

    While my fiance did help get me an interview, I'd like to think it was on my merit that I actually got the position. I really want to formally complain about her, but I'm scared if I do that will just stir the pot even more.

    ANY advice would be appreciated. I'm feeling so discouraged.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Axgrinder
    I so feel for you. I never could understand why some people make it their mission in life to act out for the sole purpose of making others feel bad just to make themselves feel good.

    Then there are other people who feel they are the Fair Police at work - reprimanding, demanding corrective action for things only they have a problem with, and even issuing ultimatums from colleagues when they are of equal job status and to do so is wildly inappropriate.

    I have witnessed a lot of nasty things in the work place in my time, but the things you just described takes the cake hands down. Wow ...

    Okay, I get what you're saying about not wanting to stir the pot, and you have no allies on your unit yet for morale support - but here's the rub: what she did was so out of line, and could potentially create such a hostile work environment for you that you may eventually find you will have no option but the leave if she continues. I see no indication that she will just stop.

    Look at it this way: that was merely day #1. If that is the kind of welcome this staff member gives new nurses, image what she will be like to work with once she has racked up a cache of imaginary, or real albeit minor offenses?

    This person has a chip on her shoulder the size of Manhattan, and unless she just had a real terrible day and apologizes (snort) she is potentially going to try to make you miserable. Uncool.

    This person is accusing you of nepotism - that's a pretty serious accusation to make without proof, or even knowing you. That is slanderous and has to stop.

    I don't think if it was me that I could continue to precept under her guidance after a first day like that.

    Perhaps the logical place to start is speaking to your fiance off the record just to get an HR perspective? It's possible this person has a long list of similar offenses and has been counseled repeatedly with the warning to cease and desist already. With what you described it is highly unlikely she was sweet as pie until your arrival to the unit. Maybe she was instrumental in the person you replaced skedaddling?

    This scenario is so many kinds of wrong that there is no way that this can just be shoved under the rug. I don't believe her biases toward you will go away if ignored, it may only get more vile and ugly. She will eventually force your hand one way or another to confront her, or leave.

    Take some time to carefully consider your options, but this person sounds like a fanatic, and fanatic's have the righteous flame burning in their hearts - they will keep on doing what they are doing until they are forced to stop.
  4. by   llg
    I wouldn't be running to your fiance about this. If he were to say something to somebody and that led to trouble for the preceptor, that would just be seen as confirming the nepotism claims she made.

    If you feel up to it, you might confront her directly -- calmly and professionally -- and ask her if she has a problem precepting you. Being confronted directly might cause her to back down if she thinks she will follow up.

    Another option -- is there someone (such as a unit educator or manager) you could confide in? Tell that person what happened and ask for a switch in preceptors.

    How did the preceptor know who your fiance is anyway? It's only the first day? How did that get around so quickly?
  5. by   JKL33
    By what route do you believe she found out?

    And is your fiance's position higher up, mid, or lower?
  6. by   nursemaryzzel
    Quote from llg
    How did the preceptor know who your fiance is anyway? It's only the first day? How did that get around so quickly?
    One of my best friends from college also works at the hospital so I'm thinking it has something to do with her. The preceptor straight up asked me if I was so-and-so's fiancé when she was introducing herself to me.

    @jkl33, his position is definitely higher up which is probably why they think I have an unfair advantage.
  7. by   llg
    OK ... after giving it a little more thought.

    This is something you are going to have to deal with for as long as both of you work for that hospital. And sadly for you, you are going to have to learn to accept the fact that some people will also feel that you have benefited from your privileged position. People whose families are famous, wealthy, powerful, etc. have to deal with that all the time. Resentment towards the "upper classes" is a bias that is socially acceptable in our society -- and some people feel no pressure to mask their resentment of those they perceive to "have more" than they themselves have. Even here on allnurses, we have had threads in which our members have expressed resentment towards patients who can afford some luxuries in the healthcare experience ... extra security/privacy precautions, etc.

    If knowing that some people will always feel that resentment against you is something you can't live with, you may want to find another place to work. But if you really want to work at that hospital, you will need to find allies who can help you stand up for yourself so that you can be judged on your own merits and treated fairly.

    I wish you the best of luck.
  8. by   TessLJ
    Quote from nursemaryzzel
    One of my best friends from college also works at the hospital so I'm thinking it has something to do with her. The preceptor straight up asked me if I was so-and-so's fiancé when she was introducing herself to me.

    @jkl33, his position is definitely higher up which is probably why they think I have an unfair advantage.
    I think you need to have a serious conversation with your preceptor. Tell her that yes, this person is your fiancé, but that is something she must have heard from someone else, because clearly you did not enter the building tossing his name around, so it's clear you are not trying to win friends or influence others based on your relationship with him. Rather, you sincerely want to learn this job and do well at it, which means you need her leadership and instruction. You are not perfect and will make mistakes, but you need her to be your mentor, and not berate you in front of other people. Tell her if she can't do that, then you need to ask for another preceptor.
  9. by   Crush
    No matter what, she is out of line. I don't have anything to offer that has not already been said here but I concur that if this type behavior & hostility continue, you need another preceptor stat. Best of luck.
  10. by   caliotter3
    Consider whether or not you should have the supervisor present when you have that talk with the preceptor. I see this problem, and problem it is, as being that serious. Do this with the supervisor as witness participant and you will put the preceptor on notice that you intend to take no more of her threatening behavior.
  11. by   JBudd
    OP, how has your first week gone? better? worse?
  12. by   nursemaryzzel
    Quote from JBudd
    OP, how has your first week gone? better? worse?
    Had a talk with my preceptor last night. I wanted to try to approach her calmly before going above her head, so I did before shift yesterday. I haven't even told my fiance about this, because I know he would be inclined to do something. She said her problem with me was that she thought I was being "sneaky" about it without coming upfront and saying I'm engaged to someone in HR. I spoke to her like I would speak to an uncooperative family--I understand her concerns and do see where she is coming from, but that by no means reflects on me as a nurse nor should it affect the way she is able to teach me. I told her I am a hard worker and ready to learn, but I'm an adult and won't take petty insults or embarrassment infront of a pt or colleagues. I said if she is unable to precept me, I would talk to the NM and simply ask for another preceptor. She didn't offer a real aplogy but said we would "try to make it work". I felt an air of hostility, but I am going to give this time as long as she doesnt go that far out of line again.
  13. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from nursemaryzzel
    She said her problem with me was that she thought I was being "sneaky" about it without coming upfront and saying I'm engaged to someone in HR.
    WOW. That is none of her business and you were under no obligation to tell her that. I would not have said that you see where she was coming from, but would have calmly stated that you never talk about your private life at work and saw no reason to start now.

    SMH...
  14. by   elkpark
    Is there not some other hospital in the area you could have taken a job with, instead of the place where your fiance' works? Obviously I'm an outlier on this question, but, yes, I don't think it's surprising that people are questioning whether you are getting some special consideration at work because you're engaged to someone in HR. As long as you're there, people are going to find out about and pass on that you have that relationship, and all the decisions made about you as an employee are going to be eyed by others with suspicion. This seems like a basic "boundaries" issue to me. There's no way I would consider working for a facility where a family member or fiance' worked in a higher level position. Boundaries are our friends. There's a good reason why so many employers have rules about nepotism.

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