Needing some solid advice

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    I am asking for some good advice because I am in a really bad situation and I don't know what to do. I was a nurse for 10 years and came back to nursing in 2010. I have been practicing again since then. I have passed the CPN and I have passed the PALS, ACLS, and NRP. I am nearly 2/3 the way through getting my BSN degree making straight As. Since being back, my record is impecible. I have no charting errors, med errors, or have done anything inappropriate. I work like a dog for the hosptial I work for and do an excellent job.

    I work nights and the structure of authority is a head nurse who oversees the night shift, a nurse over her who manages two units and a director. I have known the director for years and she did give me this job when nobody would give me a chance.

    Back two years ago, during my orientation period, one nurse who was in charge blew up at me over asking a simple question. I felt at that time that I still had questions and so I needed her not to make me feel stupid for asking questions. So I went to the 2nd in command and asked her to please help me knowing I was new and didn't want to start anything. This 2nd in command has since gone and been replaced. But she absolutely mishandled my request which started this whole thing.

    I don't know what happened. All I know is that the lady who blew up at me had a history of blowing up at people and so she started getting others riled up. The head nurse set me up in several situations and then wrote me up in a piece of slander and libel none of which was true. It was all written in a slanted way and there was nobody I could go to to prove she was lying. She was lying. She claimed that I didn't hold to the standards of the hospital. In front of all the new graduate nurses and other nurses, I was placed back on orientation. In other words, I was humiliated in front of the staff.

    I don't want to go into details. I know I am asking for a certain amount of trust in my word here but I know that this write up has been the means to ruin my career in this hospital. After two years of working there, an incident occurred and I was finally able to address this problem. Before that, I felt that if I went to the director, she would fire me on the spot because she had expressed over and over how she was going out on a limb to hire me. So with that in mind, instead of seeing the obviousness of the situation, the director expressed her skepticism in hiring me. Again, please remember that I have not done anything wrong, nobody complains, my patients have said good things about me. I have a spotless record. I have caught things that others missed. But it set me up as the problem child and it left people skeptical of me even though the obvious reality is that I am a great nurse.

    I feel that if I fight this, I will be fired in a day and the bottom line is that I need this job. It was nothing short of a miracle that I got it in the first place. I love being a nurse and I don't want to quit. But I can never go any further here than being a grunt. I will see these graduate nurses taking charge of me and there is nothing I can do about it. At times they talk down to me and tell me how to be a nurse. I try to deal with that as well in a pleasant way because if one gets angry, this is the means for firing. I have tried the direct approach, "Stop talking to me like that." This went over like a lead balloon. I have tried talking to the new nurse manager and she is very kind to me but she feels helpless to help.

    If I do nothing, which is my husband's advice, yes, I will just do my grunt job, get paid and go home and watch all those around me excel. One of my biggest concerns is having one of these young girls in the position of being charge nurse for a night and bossing me around telling me how to do my job. That is a major concern for me.

    I make a decent salary all things considered and so I can't afford not to have this job. However, I will continue to have this head nurse treat me like crap trying to make me feel that she was right in making me look bad. No matter where I turn or where I go in this hosptial, that piece of slander is going to follow me as the means of my reputation there. I have nobody I can turn to for help. At the end of the day, nobody backs me up. Even people who say they respect me still see me in this bad light due to that original slanderous letter and it is BOTHERING ME!! I don't think this nurse should be able to do this and get away with it. Is there any recourse? Is there anyone I can turn to for help and still ensure that they can't fire me? I am a member of ANA. Do they have counselors that could help me?

    Thank you for your advice.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    First off, take a deep breath. You are by your own admission an excellent nurse who gives stellar care. You are almost done with your BSN, so who knows where that will take you. But that is projecting in the future, and what needs to be dealt with is now. Most facilities allow you to look at your personnell file and add comments to any reports. Without knowing any details, I would do that. You have a new nurse manager, and who knows how supportive she could be in the future. And really, don't dwell on "new younger nurses bossing you around"--that just sets yourself up to be defensive, and you--with all due respect--are projecting. And again that equals defensive. There is not one thing wrong with going in, doing the best job for your patients and leaving--without getting caught up in the fray. Who cares what others may or may not think of you as a person--we are out of high school--it is you as a nurse that you want your PATIENTS to be mindful of. You can only go forward from today. When you get your BSN, then you can think about perhaps getting into some sort of management on a different unit. Being thrown into a management position in such a seemingly hostile place may not be in your best interest, but again, who knows what the dynamics will be by then. And that the head nurse thinks she is "right"--let her. It is her issue, not yours, and you can only show in actions that you are mindful of your patients.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    Quote from jadelpn
    And that the head nurse thinks she is "right"--let her. It is her issue, not yours, and you can only show in actions that you are mindful of your patients.
    Thank you for your reply. I agree that this is certainly the best course but so far, it hasn't worked for me. That is what I have been doing. It's like this initial slanderous letter has been the basis for every judgment of me and it is really bothering me. I want it undone. Can it be undone? Can I do something?
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    you can give a written complaint to HR to put in your record in case something ever comes of this. You can talk to your Director again. You can leave. That is about all of your options.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    Question: Are you getting tuition reimbursement from your hospital? If so how are you tied to that situation, can you leave right after you achieve your BSN without some kind of default?

    If so, try to let it be till that time. Be the humble servant, a "yes ma'am" girl with all the sarcasm you have to give that attitude, but make sure it's all in your head or your charade will be noticed. Play 'em till you can leave.

    You have goals. You are being kept from that on your unit. And it may be that your Management will not let you even make a lateral move to get away. You are an excellent nurse, though. Thing is, that is of no value where you are working. If it's possible, I'd get ready to interview elsewhere. It takes a while to rebuild your resume and etc. I'd start that now. It'll give you some power and make you feel better even if momentary. Then start to interview. If you can get interviews, one might just be the ticket out of Waco.

    So many of my friends have had this happen. Some played the game, and their management as fools and got out to better situations. Others just quit figuring it's the same everywhere and are only PRN, going on to another career outside of nursing.
    Fiona59 likes this.
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    I agree with PP netglow. How tied are you to the hospital? Do you have any obligations to them, other than feeling grateful to this person who 'went out on a limb' to give you a chance?

    I realize this job is important to you, if for nothing else than just having income. But here is where you are in a different place now than when you were initially given this job: First, you have almost 2 years of experience at this facility. Most positions want 2 years+ experience when applying to a non-new-grad job. You are almost there. Second, it is SO much easier to find a job when you are already employed. I don't know the reason, I just assume it's a matter of being seen as desirable. Kind of like how you get hit on a lot more when you are in a committed relationship.

    I think you would have a lot less trouble finding another job opportunity now than when you took this position, if you just want to get away from the craziness and negativity and move on. That's personally what I would do. There is just so much more in life to stress about without being in a hostile work environment fulltime...
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    Quote from Slandered
    Thank you for your reply. I agree that this is certainly the best course but so far, it hasn't worked for me. That is what I have been doing. It's like this initial slanderous letter has been the basis for every judgment of me and it is really bothering me. I want it undone. Can it be undone? Can I do something?
    Stop perseverating on the letter. It does nothing but set you up for stress and being unfocused on task at hand. Go to your union rep, see about putting an answer in your personnell file, see what else your union can do. Ask HR to take the letter out of your file. Otherwise, keep on keeping on.
    MJB2010 likes this.
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    Suck it up, finish your BSN, and start applying for new jobs.
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    I would start looking to get a job someplace else. This situation is not going to change, so all you can do is change your reaction to it. It doesn't sound like anyone is there to stand up for you or look out for you. I'd be worried about having someone out to get me. I'd leave before you get fired. Trust me, no good can come of staying in a bad situation except for it getting worse. Is there any charge nurses or anyone you can use for a good solid reference? You just need to suck it up and "be a grunt" (which I find somewhat offensive by the way, since that is what a lot of us do) until you can find something else. Stop bickering with the graduate charge nurses and make an effort to be in the good graces. You will need references. It sounds, based on your post, that you do a lot of complaining to managers and such. This is not a way to make friends. Do you have a Union?
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    Call a lawyer and ask about the letter.


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