Coworker nurse trying to ruin my reputation...

  1. 1 I've been a nurse for 5 years, and at my present facility for 2. I've come to find out in the last 2 weeks, that another nurse (same position as me - floor nurse) has been spreading lies about me throughout the facility, as well as to other nurses in the area. She is saying I'm 'on drugs' and 'stealing narcotics'. This is a SERIOUS allegation, and I am NOT!! She's basing her entire theory on the fact I give OUT more PRN meds than she does, but this is because I'm actually on the floor, interacting with the patients, who ask me for meds, whereas she sits behind the desk and ignores the call lights. She also used to be an ADON elsewhere, and has the mentality that getting other people in trouble makes HER look better, so she constantly does it.

    What should I do? I'm terrified I'm going to be canned for something I haven't done. According to another nurse, shes already gone to the DON with these accusations a while back, but nobody in management has said anything to me. My 2 closest nurse friends have conflicting opinions over what I should do. One says to confront the girl with a witness, then let it blow over. The other says I should go to the DON/Administrator and make a huge deal over it. I'm uncomfortable with the latter, as the upper management and I don't really get along, and I don't want to bring up anything that would give them a reason to terminate me. (I work in a den of snakes. Seriously.)

    Fiancee says quit immediately and find another job, because this one is so stressful on multiple levels, and I've been wanting to leave anyway.

    Please help! My career/license is at stake here...
  2. Visit  HM7380 profile page

    About HM7380

    34 Years Old; Joined Aug '04; Posts: 51; Likes: 20.

    62 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  caliotter3 profile page
    17
    The sooner you find another job, the happier you will be. And I would consult an attorney if this was happening to me. Perhaps a cease and desist letter from an attorney could get this woman to shut her mouth.
  4. Visit  BluegrassRN profile page
    20
    If you aren't actually doing these things and you've been documenting appropriately, I fail to see how your career or license is at stake.

    You have no proof that she is actually saying these things or that she has discussed them with management; only rumor. Based on your description of the situation, I would merely continue to do my job. Document accurately, be a professional, and ignore this crazy woman. Do not feed the situation. I would, however, look for another job. Your current place of employment does not sound very healthy.
    DesertRN2, spacey, TLCfromSC, and 17 others like this.
  5. Visit  Been there,done that profile page
    9
    Be VERY careful of your response to these accusations.

    Right now you experiencing an emotional reaction...do NOT let it affect your rational decision.

    You are the recipient of lateral violence.

    Research this. Think it out. Co-workers cannot make a claim regarding your practice.. without a thorough investigation by management.

    Most facilities have a grievance committee that you will be able to take these accusations to .. and respond to them in a professional setting.

    Deep breaths.... and fiancee 's advice is also a knee jerk reaction. Is he a nurse?

    I've truly "been there done that"... I made a huge mistake of giving up when lies were said about me.
    Please PM me .
    chevyv, Enthused RN, SHGR, and 6 others like this.
  6. Visit  Been there,done that profile page
    14
    Quote from BluegrassRN
    If you aren't actually doing these things and you've been documenting appropriately, I fail to see how your career or license is at stake.

    You have no proof that she is actually saying these things or that she has discussed them with management; only rumor. Based on your description of the situation, I would merely continue to do my job. Document accurately, be a professional, and ignore this crazy woman. Do not feed the situation. I would, however, look for another job. Your current place of employment does not sound very healthy.
    Unfortunately, these " crazy " accusers are way to often taken seriously.
    They must not be ignored and the accusations have to be addressed.
    monkeybug, Code_VSA, TiddlDwink, and 11 others like this.
  7. Visit  Andy Droid profile page
    2
    what about talking to administration, and demanding (asking nicely) for a urine / blood test be done to put this crap to bed once and for all?
    Code_VSA and TiddlDwink like this.
  8. Visit  leslie :-D profile page
    9
    me?
    if ignoring the accuser didn't work, i would write a letter to her, sharing what you've heard...
    and remind her of the legal implications of slander.
    keep emotion out of it, keep defensiveness out of it.
    short, sweet, to the point.

    and cc your manager.
    whether you are doing anything or not, nurses indeed can sabotage another's career.
    keep your head up, and continue to be your professional best.

    much luck to you.

    leslie
    chevyv, Wesley-Mw, TiddlDwink, and 6 others like this.
  9. Visit  TakeTwoAspirin profile page
    6
    Has it occurred to you that the DON has not spoken with you about this because they don't believe it either? All this is just speculation at this point any way. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear!
    kcmylorn, wooh, interceptinglight, and 3 others like this.
  10. Visit  Patti_RN profile page
    14
    Not to challenge another person's good intentioned advice, but do not put anything in writing no matter how polite, true, or what your motivations are. These documents can come back and bite you when you least expect it, and in spite of how carefully worded or intentioned they were.

    If these rumors are known to many of the staff and this person has gone to the DON with her allegations, you need to be proactive in your response. Make an appointment with your director--you may wish to do this on your own time, and when the accuser is not on the floor. Tell the director that you've heard that 'someone' has been talking about you, making false allegations and you need her advice for your response. You can say, "I hear there are rumors circulating that I'm diverting meds, or that I have a chemical addiction, and I want to give you my word that that is completely baseless and unfounded." But, don't mention names, don't react emotionally, don't sound threatening, and don't mention quitting or that you work with snakes.

    The best course is asking her advice and guidance, "What should I do?" This will put the ball in her court, allow her to be your advocate, and hopefully she will address this issue with the person spreading rumors.

    Good luck!
  11. Visit  HM7380 profile page
    1
    Is this something I should consider seeing a lawyer about, like was suggested in the first response? Perhaps a 'cease and desist' letter, or maybe a slander lawsuit? I'm concerned this is damaging my career, especially since nurses who don't even work there are contacting me asking about it.
    threebrats46 likes this.
  12. Visit  kakamegamama profile page
    5
    Definitely, contact a lawyer. And, don't put anything in writing. Follow the lawyer's advice. Document every single "nth" of a cc that you pull out of the narcotics boxes/pyxis/whatever it is at your agency. If you waste, waste with a witness--you don't have to say why, other than it's good practice to do so (in fact, I've never worked anywhere that we were ever allowed to waste unwitnessed). And, don't go talking about it to your "safe" fellow staff members either...that only serves to fan the flames, actually. Hang in there.
    coffeecup22, gonzo1, hiddencatRN, and 2 others like this.
  13. Visit  Patti_RN profile page
    8
    Lawyers create adversarial relationships; this isn't what you want to do. This isn't an easy situation, but it's not one where you want to pit an employee or groups of employees against each other. Nor do you want to have your manager feel you are going over her head or to the 'outside' for remedy before giving her the opportunity.

    People spout off all kinds of legal advice that sounds perfectly reasonable--until you consider the practicalities, ramifications, or the legalities of doing so. First, in order for there to be slander there must be a loss--a loss is quantifiable in financial terms, only. The first questions a lawyer is going to ask are, "Did you lose your job?" "Did you lose income by demotion?" Even if you answered yes to either or both, now he (and you) must prove your financial loss was the direct result of that person defaming you. This is next to impossible to accomplish--unless your supervisor admits to firing you over hearsay comments.

    As far as a 'cease and desist' letter, it has the value of toilet paper. The woman doing the talking will figure out (after she speaks to her own attorney) that this is an empty threat. There will be no federal inquest or FBI interviews into who said what, when they said it, and who they said it to. This might be one of the worst things you can do as far as escalating the situation: you will create more of an 'us and them' atmosphere, the gossiping woman will feel empowered that you pulled out a worthless cap gun and probably ridicule you for it, and your director will feel you went beyond her and she will believe that you see her as ineffective and impotent. (And, a lawyer will tell you that it's a great strategy because he's going to charge you $500 to write the letter. There goes your $500 and your credibility.)

    Yes, this woman is making your life miserable and these people exist everywhere from junior high school cafeterias to kindergarten playgrounds to professional workplaces. It seems the 7th grade bully is now a nurse on your floor and you have to deal with her.

    I stand by my previous comment that you consult your director and ask for her support and advice.
    Elsie20, Sugar Magnolia, dream'n, and 5 others like this.
  14. Visit  psu_213 profile page
    1
    If she is flat out saying that you are stealing narcs and using drugs, I don't think this can be totally ignored. You are not going to lose you license because she is running her mouth about this, but, on the other hand, she is defaming you by making these statements. If it is as easy and getting another job and moving on (yes, I know it can be very tough to get a new job in this economy), they go for that. If a new job is not easily had, then get some good legal advice on how to handle this--she may have a right to free speech, but she does not have the right to knowingly make false statements about you.
    HM7380 likes this.

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