Help with back-stabbing co-worker

  1. I would like to ask for your opinions about an incident that happened to me at my job as a registered nurse at a nursing home.
    Some background: I have been a very faithful and hardworking nurse at this facility for 4 years. I get along with everybody. There is one LPN however, (I'll call her Tina) who has always been trying to ruin my reputation in any way she can (other staff frequently report this to me). Tina has a reputation as being emotionally unstable and good at manipulating. I have mostly avoided her although I once confronted her and told her to stop doing this and suggested she get therapy for her behavior.
    This past weekend she essentially spent a large part of the shift "spying" on me. When I went to lunch some staff saw her come to my nursing station and make some photo copies. Later I found out she had made copies of my charting and turned them into the DNS pointing out several things she thought were "illegal". One was that I shouldn't have charted while in the patients dining room. The second was a time discrepancy between when I was charting (9am) and when I listed patient vitals (11am). I assess twice, a few patients at med handout at 8am, and then everyone at 10 to 11.If the assessment is exactly the same both times I fill in 11am next to the assessment that I actually wrote at 8am. If it's different, I make a separate note. It may look irregular, but in fact it is a way to double check patients and save double charting. I don't see anything wrong with this. After talking to other nurses some of them are doing exactly what I do as a necessity to efficient charting.

    Tina actually made a photocopy of my chart before I filled in the time, and then after I filled in the time after the second assessment. She then presented both to the DNS. She had been deliberately following me all morning in order to do this.
    After this episode I called tina and told her to stop doing this. She said she did it all for the patients sake.
    Here is my question: I really enjoy my work and working with the patients. But now, I don't feel comfortable about going in and feel that I will be under close scrutiny by tina, and her allies. Do you have any suggestions?

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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Erbn Girl
    If this co-worker is also a nurse, what puzzles me is to where she finds the time to "spy" on you. I do not know of many nurses in a nursing home nor hospital setting that have spare time to follow someone around and still get their duties done properly. Have you spoken with the DNS yet? Possibly you may not be the only nurse that she has been doing this to. How is her job performance, in your opinion? Is it possible she is trying to make someone else take a fall to take the attention away from her inadequate patient care? Since you have confronted her and you have also reviewed your work ethics, contacting the DNS with your concerns may need to be your next step. Many of your questions will probably be answered after you have a personal meeting. Lastly, you mentioned that you get along with everyone at the facility, but at the end you state you fear being under close scrutiny by this woman and her allies....is this matter only between you and "Tina" or are there other personnel involved also?? Just wondering....
  4. by   Roach
    Dear Young,
    Eventually the coworker will run out of things to say. If you continue to do your best which is apparently a good job if you have been there four years, she will eventually give up. Kill them with kindness and just go about your business as usual. If she is mentally unstable she is eventually going to mess up, give up or move on to someone else. Don't let it ruffle your feathers. Hang in there. There is a nut in every batch. I just don't know how they survive from day to day without instructions.

    Good Luck
    Let us know what happens!!!

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    Roach
  5. by   sandygator
    Dear YoungRN;
    What Tina did, making a photocopy of the patients record, is HIGHLY illegal.
    (Just FYI..it does not help your problem with her)
    Your only recourse is to speak with your supervisor, and do it ASAP! Be very frank about only what you yourself have observed or been party to with respect to Tina's behavior. Relating what your coworkers purport to know is not a good idea.
    Apparently, the DON (If that is who she went to with her "evidence") already knows what type of behavior she is engaging in. I would want to know if that DON approves of her photocopying and presenting a patient record in order to attempt to prove some misbehavior on your part, and would ask her that very question.
    Her (Tina's) non-professional and harrassing actions are obviously motivated by her own insecurity, and she sees you as some kind of threat to her. I do not believe this is motivated by her concern for the patients!!
    I would NOT tolerate such behavior in a coworker, and if the DON does, I would be looking for another job; Even if I had to waitress. *Smile* Which I have done a few times in my nursisng career.
    I know that it is difficult for nurses to juggle time which just isn't there. We all sit down to write after the fact...and if one wanted to subject all of our charting to close enough scrutiny, most of us would be guilty of some irregularities. We do the best we can.
    Please stand up for yourself in this potentially career harming situation.
    Good luck,
    Sandy
  6. by   Blue11RN
    YoungRN, I can understand your frustration and concern. Number one, go straight to your DON. Do not handle this yourself. Cover your butt! It is sad to say, but there are some nurses out for blood. And, Tina is one of these people!! She must be unhappy in life and is taking out on you. From your screen name I wonder if you are younger then her? Has she been there longer then you? Does she have a problem you you being a RN and her being an LPN? Those are some issues to think about. But, handle this right now by discussing this issue with your DON. But, first look at why she has so much time to "spy" on you? I don't have that kind of time, let alone to go to the bathroom! How does she? Are her patients suffering? Sounds like they are!! Have a meeting set up with you,Tina and with your DON to discuss her issues and your concerns directly. She is feeding off your confrontation with her, so do it in front of your DON. Then see how tough she really is. Then have a meeting with your DON in private and evaluate your needs. Do you need this job? Is there somewhere else you want to be besides a place that doesn't support you. And, who are her allies?? What are they doing? Maybe you need to have them in the meeting too. Get everything in the open and show what these nurses are really like. Please let us know how it works out. I am very curious!!!
  7. by   YoungRN
    Thank you so very much to all who have replied. I will let you all know what happens as soon as there is more to report.

    Sincerely,
    Young
  8. by   ecb
    I have a similar tough other sided problem
    I am working (for a very short time) with an LPN who will NOT accept, recomendations, advice, or any form of criticism in any form. He does NOT do his documentation (he has an arangement {sp?} with his personal friend the DON), he does not do the unit paperwork like census or 24 hour report sheet(he is NOT an RN after all)
    when he feels like berating someone he does it LOUD in the nursing station regardless of who is there, but any criticism of him is absolutly intollerable and results in more of this verbal lashing out he does.

    He also has a mean/unproffessional streak in him. like bringing in a pint of pasta salad for MY dialysis diabetic patient, as a favor. and his idea of fun playful interaction is definatly with an insulting degrading slant, he seems to be looking for aproval for this outragious behavior he does.

    I have written my concerns in a complaint to the DON and watched her throw it in the trash, along with another piece of paper (she had her back to the door to her office at the time, and I use distinctive stationary)

    he is leaving the facility, and going to a new unit in a hospital my girlfriend works at. I am frightened for the care these more acute patients will recieve (or NOT) there.

    I am the kid of nurse who goes home late when i work with an agency nurse because i stop to tell them how to use our paperwork or treatments they are not familiar with, so things get done right. I do not do their work but take the time to orient them well, and they tend to request to come back to my unit, not all but about 5 of them will request my floor with more residents and higher acuety rather than some of the other lighter floors. Makes me feel good about my floor.

    Sorry about that background rambling, but it just to ilustrate the kind of nurse I try to be, and I am the recipient of his ire and supervisors see nothing but sugar and cream from him, a real mister manners. I have recomended my girlfriend work with him 4 shifts in his orientation, before his evaluation before he learns who she is. my documentation was destroyed (before I learned to cc for myself at this place)

    Time to go read more

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    *** May we all have the serenity to accept what we cannot change, and the determination to change what we cannot accept. ***
  9. by   lakesend
    It seems most problems cross international barriers. I have seen similar problems here (AUSTRALIA) Keep it in perspective It's only one person and I'll bet you're not the only one she's done this to. Still. keep a diary of events but be very objective. Request in writting a discussion about the matter with your supervisor. Even if nothing much happens you will have a record of notifing management of the problem. You will always have someone causing waves in the workplace and often time settles the problem but it isn't a lot of help during the harrasement. If it continues to worry you insist on a mediation meeting with yourself Tina and a third party. They are not pleasant but often calrify issues. If not works look for another job. Life is too short to allow others pettiness to upset your day.
    Regards, cathy
  10. by   diana davies
    I am glad I have encountered this kind of unprofessional harrassment anywhere I have worked (England). I agree with one of the previous replies, in other words this may be an LPN/RN issue and jealousy may be at the core. Also, I have to agree that I'm amazed this person gets time to do her own job! Your Director of Nursing should have told her to grow up and butt out long ago!
  11. by   diana davies
    Amendment to my above message. I am glad I have NOT encountered such behaviour. Thanks
  12. by   misty77
    I know how you feel since becoming an RN student. My fellow LVNs seem to work on making my life as difficult as they can. I've been told by a supervisor that this reaction stems from jealousy on their part. Maybe so but it doesnt make life any easir or pleasant to work in. I would like advice from anyone with a positive response.
  13. by   diana davies
    Dear Misty
    Try not to get disillusioned. You must be quietly assertive and show these people that you deserve respect too. Once they see that they cannot get to you they will leave you alone. As you gain confidence in yourself as a practitioner your feelings of insecurity will fade. Remember, there will be many people in your workplace who will support you. It's only the few who seem to get some kind of kick from making life difficult. Try to feel sorry for them.

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