Forced to another shift when I have seniority

  1. I have looked all over this site and can't find any advise. Some support and advise would be appreciated.

    My boss is forcing me to an inconvenient shift to try to force me to quit even though I am one of the more senior nurses at the facility. First some background info....

    I have been at my current job on 12 hour night shifts in LTC for over 3 years. Last month a new DON (director of nursing) took over. At first I really believed someone new would be great to clean up some of the problems. I quickly realized that she is on an instant power trip and out to blame anyone and everyone for the problems going on.

    One of my first encounters with her, I shared some of my concerns with her regarding staffing at nights and the wide spread of the facility and the inability to hear some alarms when patients get up at night. Our fall numbers are at record highs (she is well aware) due to the acuity of the recent admits and decline in condition of some patients. Even with the increased acuity staffing remains at night, me as only nurse and 2 CNAs. There are a lot of people who are to cognitively impaired to understand they need to call for help to the bathroom and have to have alarms. Frequently more than one alarm is going off at a time and there are some very demanding residents that are on call lite all night with requests; change the TV chanel, make me some tea, adjust the covers, snack etc.

    One resident that fell is in one of the rooms farthest from the nurses station. I told her that even though I was at the nurses station by the time I heard the alarm the resident was on the floor after being in the bathroom and on the way back to bed. I told her for the residents safety he should be moved to the empty room right by the station. She immediately snapped that is not going to happen and proceeded to drill me about why I was at the station and not out walking the floor. I explained I have a lot of paperwork. She asked me to keep track of how long paperwork takes me and what I do all night.

    The next night I worked I downloaded a company form that breaks down into 5 min segments that is used for time analysis by management. I filled out one to show her the number of alarms and call lites that go off and on the other kept track of what I was doing. The next morning she was in bright and early to drill me on what I do. She glanced at the form and told me it takes me to long to fill out certain paperwork. (she has been with the company months, like 2 months b4 moving to DON and has never filled out the paperwork, believe it or not I actually have to look up stuff not just guess which box to check to fill out forms) She accused me of being the reason the resident fell the other night. She twisted that I was at the station doing paperwork into, "you told me yesterday you dont answer alarms because you have to much paperwork." She accused me of putting the resident on the toilet and he fell because I left an alarmed resident alone in bathroom. I immediately pointed out there was a definate communication problem because I did not say that and I did not put in the incident that I put the resident in the bathroom. She actually argued with me that I put that in the incident report. I advised her to read it again because since I wrote it I am pretty sure that is not the event I charted.

    So that very night I am out on the town and run into a coworker and start talking to her and her BF. Im introduced to the BF and he asked how we know eachother, oh work. Well his mom is the new DON. He asks my name and says oh its nice to have a face to go with the name his mom was ranting about this week. Im like ***. I play it cool and I am pretty sure he didnt go home and tell his mommy he ran into me and told me she rants about me.

    So on to the reason for the problem. On Monday I get a call from the DON stating she had to adjust my schedule and put me 3 nights in a row. Sure no problem. Then she says and I need/want to move you to 8 hour day shift. I was speechless. She told me to call her the next day to set up a time to meet and talk about it. The next day I call her and of course get her voicemail. I leave her a message basicly stating that a change to 8 hr days will not work for my family situation and if any further discussion is needed to please call me.

    This weekend I go to work and find a note telling me that in 2 weeks I will be starting 8 hour day shifts. She is totally disregarding what I said about being unable to switch to that shift. In the note she talks about working with me to develop skills to supervise the CNAs, so basically saying I dont know how to do the job I have been doing for 3 years. Also she has not brought any CNA supervision problems to my attention. She also states what a great opportunity it will be to work with time studies and management. So telling me I dont know how to manage a job I have been doing for 3 years.

    I really can not switch to day shift. I have kids that cant be left home alone during the day when my honey is working. I have worked out a perfect night situation and in 3 years have never called in because of daycare or ill kids.

    So here is the real kick in the teeth. A new nurse's name on the schedule doing only 12 hour night shifts. MY shifts!!!! Of all the nurses there are only 3 have been there longer than me, including management. Two of them work day shift and one of them was actually told this week she has to go to pms temporarily because a night nurse is going to days. Temporarily, like what until she can get rid of me. However there are no pm hours to be had so I think the DON expects me to blow a gasket and quit leaving the day shift gal exactly where she is. Either that or she wants me there during the day so she can scrutinize everything to do and try to write me up to get me fired.

    I strongly feel this is retaliation on the DONs part because I told her about problems and that she is trying to get rid of me. Think she is trying to force me to resign. To top it all off she starts this switch around the day her boss starts a 2 week vacation. So there is no one above her in house to go to about this until the schedule will be out. Either I have to call the boss on vacation or go to corporate to stop this before the schedule changes come out.

    I do have a meeting set up with her on Monday but I can already tell she is not going to listen to me and will insist on pushing me around into a shift I dont want. Stupid thing is the full time 8 hr day shift is the envy of most of the staff. She has at least 5 nurses that would jump at it.

    So bottom line, I want out of her a reason why I have to switch. There is no reorganization going around. My shift will still exist only with the newest hire getting my prefered shift. The things she mentioned in her note (supervision of CNAs and time management) she has not talked to me about to let me know there is a percieved problem. She has never worked night shift in LTC and has no idea what my job entails.

    I really dont want to find a different job because I really love my residents and the other staff are the best. Also I am finally vested and eligible to get retirement contributions. I feel if I can ride this storm out she will hang herself very soon and be escorted out. She doesn't do her job and is not properly trained to be a DON in long term care. She only has the few months she worked here as LTC experience. This is the 6th DON in my 3 years, yeah really, so they go quickly.

    I want advise on what to say or not say on Monday. I plan on having a witness come in so there is no miscommunication. I will be bringing my points and questions writen down so I cant get ambushed off point by her. I plan on writing down exactly what she says and I have thought about bringing a tape recorder. She has a history already of being extremely unprofessional and talking down to her nursing staff even the RNs.

    If I cant get through to her do I immediately go above her head? Do I call the boss on vacation? Do I call the corporate? Do I wait for a week for the boss to be back from vacation to contact him. I really want to get this fixed before the schedule comes out. If I do get to stay on my shift because I get my way from someone above her, but the schedule is out it is going to mess up a lot of my coworker's schedules too and I dont want that.

    She is not going to get rid of me that easily. If I have to I will do the day shift until I can get this settled. If she pushes me out she will have to pay unemployment and I may fight it up corporate. For those wondering no union, and right to work state. But just because its right to work state, the boss above her is very careful about firing anyone. He knows people in this state, in this town, in LTC, have sued for wrongful termination and gotten back pay. He will not want that. If I have her hovering trying to get me in trouble I will not give her anything to write me up. I will remain calm and professional and do my job properly. I am sure I have more ability to stay calm then she does. She has already spouted off unprofessionally on many staff and word has spread of her comments.

    For those who made it through this to long post, thanks. Please give me your 2 cents.
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    About northern_RN

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 24; Likes: 6


  3. by   33762FL
    If there are only 3 people that have been there longer than you and you just became eligible for retirement contributions, chances are that's why she wants you to quit, not anything you said about paperwork or alarms. Sounds like they pushed out everybody before you to avoid paying retirement contributions. Good luck Monday, not sure if there's anything you can do to alleviate this.
  4. by   Horsebytes
    I’m just thinking that maybe the problem is the way you’re looking at the situation. There is obviously a problem where you work or people would not be falling when you are the only nurse on at night. To move you to the day shift temporarily to help you get the training you need could be a very good opportunity for you! She is the DON so let her do her job. Why don’t you think that she could be trying to help you? Why are you assuming that she’s trying to make you quit? Sure, she’s going to make changes because changes need to be made. Her frustration with you might well be your inability to see that they are wanting to groom you for either more responsibility or a better ability to handle the responsibility you have been given.

    My two cents is that if you are going to make assumptions then make the very best ones you can think of. Assume that you are being groomed to be the next DON. Assume that she is moving you to days to get more of your excellent ideas and groom you for a better future.

    God Bless you!
  5. by   SkipBeat
    I think you are taking the proper steps. Just make sure you have in writing that the new shift will not work for you, and that you do not quit. If if comes down to it make them fire you. If you trust someone, have a witness come with you or someone from HR come with you.
  6. by   DeLana_RN
    I say, run for the hills (after giving proper notice and not burning any bridges). Things will never go well for you when the DON dislikes you, as this one clearly does (for whatever reason, maybe she doesn't like your nose!). Then, once she's gone (I doubt she'll last long), you can always return.

    Best wishes!
  7. by   charisma01
    I do not have any advice as I am a new grad preparing to begin my new career. However, I want to wish you luck in resolving this matter. Her actions do seem suspicious and that is a really good idea to keep a record of your upcoming meeting with her. You seem like a strong person who stands up for what they believe in. Keep us posted!
  8. by   Double-Helix
    Do you have any sort of employment contract, employee handbook, or company policy regarding changing shifts? The first thing I would do is try to find something in writing that states when/how an employee can be made to change shifts. If there is no policy, though, and you don't have a union, you might be out of luck in that respect.

    A meeting with the DON is a great idea. An impartial third party rep would be good as well. Do you have an HR department? I would explain very simply that you are not able to switch to the day shift and you need to be put back on the schedule for your original night shift. Offer to come in for a few hours during the day (get a baby sitter) 2-3 times per week for the "training" that she thinks you need. If she refuses, ask to be moved back to nights until her boss returns from vacation so that he can be made aware of the situations. If she also refuses that request, let her know that you will be contacting her boss about this and when he returns from vacation you will be scheduling a meeting where all three of you, (as well as someone from the corporate office, if needed), will discuss the matter again. Write out your statement (that you cannot switch to days, request to be moved back to nights, and have offered to come in for training during the day) and ask her to sign it in the presence of your witness.

    If there is no policy found and the meeting doesn't go well, I would definitely escalate up the chain. Is the boss going to be happy about being called while on vacation? Absolutely not. But whom will he be more upset with? The employee who felt she had to call because she had no other recourse... or the DON who created the situation in the first place? If you can send an email to the boss, that would be my first choice of communication. Then a phone message with a short message such as, "I'm so sorry to bother you on your vacation. I really hate to have to call, but I truly feel I have no other options at this point. ____ DON has informed me that I have to change from 12 hour nights to 8 hour days and has not given me a satisfactory reason for this change. Due to child care conflicts, I absolutely cannot work day shift and if we can't get this straightened out, I will be forced to find another job. I really enjoy working for you and X facility, and I don't want to leave. I am willing to wait until you return from vacation, but it's very important that we address this together as soon as you return. Thank you. Again, I apologize for interrupting your vacation and hope your last week is very enjoyable." That will inform him of the situation, let him know you're serious and the matter needs his attention upon his return, but doesn't obligate him to get involved right away during his vacation.

    Hopefully you have a good enough relationship with this boss and your facility as a whole that you can overcome this situation. I know there are two sides to every coin, but from what you described, it does sound like the DON is on a power trip and making some big mistakes. Be calm, be professional, get everything in writing. Good luck!
  9. by   caliotter3
    You said it at the beginning of your post. She wants you gone. Your best move is to start the job search and get gone.
  10. by   northern_RN
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I meet with her in 4 hours. I have written down my points on why this change does not work for me to start with. If that is not enough to get her to back down, I am going to ask why force me to the shift 5 others would want and why this change is neccessary for the better running of the facility.
    Im also going to ask her about her comments about supervision and time management and why she has not brought these items to my attention until this letter with a forced shift change. There has to be a way I can work on her percieved problems without turning my schedule or my fellow nurses schedule around.

    I that doesn't work I am going to follow Ashley's advise about the boss. I am pretty sure he is not going to be happy about this. He has repeatedly told me he trusts me on nights and trusts my judgement. The only times I have been in his office is to talk about when the CNAs have complained I am to strict. He and the previous DON trusted me to handle the CNAs and based on the little complaints from the CNAs they knew I was handling it. CNAs cry fowl when they are caught not doing their jobs. Never will they admit to not doing them. The boss knows I am on top of them and keeping them doing their jobs.

    As for the comment about her grooming me to be a better nurse or the DON. HAHA. I could have applied when it was advertised for a month plus and would have got it over her. Never, did you read, 6th one in 3 years. Three interum DONs and 3 permanent hire DONs. And this place does have several long term employees many over 20 years. Just nurses they cant keep. I love my residents and coworkers and leaving is a last option. I just want to go to work, do my job, and not be harrassed. Once this blows over she will be out before Christmas. Only one other DON that was this power hungry and she got escorted out in less than months. Another with the same critical care and no long term expericence was out before she hit 3 months (off new hire probation). The only advantage this one has is she is past 3 months with her being a part time nurse on the floor for a month or two before becoming the DON. The power hungry one was there 7 years and lasted 1 month as the DON. They got rid of her by proving she falsified documents because they wanted her out.

    If it goes to the boss, then I am going to bring up her unprofessional and wrong comments and behavior. I am not going to give her a chance to find a defence to this stuff during this week. I am also not going to say anything about her talking about coworkers to her son until in front of the boss. The meeting today I am going to be calm, professional, and prepared for it to not go my way.

    When this doesn't go my way I am going to write up a letter summarizing our conversation and request she keep me on my current schedule until the boss is back and it can be discussed farther. Then I am going to call him like Ashley suggested. When the meeting with the boss goes down I am going to bring in a board member I know to be present.

    I am thinking about bringing the nurse directly below her in today. I trust her, but I dont trust that anyone cant be pushed into covering her ass at this place. I am seriously considering tape recording the conversation on my phone. I am hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. This may be a case of hostile work environment or harassment. I also am considering that the harassment may get worse once I stand up to her.

    I'll update after the meeting.
  11. by   CrunchRN
    Good luck!
  12. by   Been there,done that
    OOoohh! She's good!
    I agree with your assessment of the situation. I think you have planned an excellent counter strategy .
    Yes, by all means have an HR rep ,as well as a colleague at that meeting. That should take some bite out of the b**ch.

    The conditions are unsafe. You know this, she knows this...and SHE knows YOU know this. That is the problem.

    REPORT this to the state nursing home regulatory board! It will remain anonymous, they will get citated and you know you tried!
    Good luck. Keep us posted.
  13. by   northern_RN
    Im actually considering letting her be a B**ch, with just me in the room but have a tape recorder running on my phone. When she says she didn't say that, I have proof she did. I know she will not remain professional.
  14. by   BrandonLPN
    Find a place that has a union for your next job. The idea of working at a LTC without one frightens me. WAY too many petty vendettas and vindictiveness in this field to be without a union backing you up. Good luck!