Why are some aides so disrespectful?

  1. This morning I was treated very disrespectfully by an aide. I've been reading the threads on here about disrespectful aides to try to learn how to deal with this particular aide. However, from what I'm reading, it seems that it won't matter what I do or say -- the problem is in the system that allows them to get away with it. It seems that management and administration always side with the aides. Why is this? I feel that if an LPN were disrespectful to an RN or supervisor, they'd get written up.....why not the aides?

    It is not necessarily because the aides are part of a union which suppports them because there's no union where I work.

    Could it be that they know they won't be fired because they're too hard to replace at the low pay they're earning?

    I just wonder why aides are allowed to get away with poor behavior when I don't believe any other level of nursing is allowed to get away with it. Does anyone have any insight into this? I'd like to feel that I could discuss this with my superiors or human resources but if they're just going to turn a deaf ear, then there's no point.
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    About onthemark

    Joined: Nov '11; Posts: 91; Likes: 70
    LPN in LTC facility; from US
    Specialty: 1+ year(s) of experience


  3. by   BrandonLPN
    I think we'd have to know more about what actually happened in order to make a judgement call here. Peoples' definition of what constitutes disrespectful may vary.
  4. by   sunnybabe
    You haven't even tried to discuss this with your management, even the charge nurse?

    Aides are just like the many other healthcare professionals who can disrespect you. You have to stand your ground and either have a one on one discussion with the aide or take it to management.

    I'm an aide and a nursing student and have seen the disrepect from both sides of the table, but it's nothing that a small talk can't fix. If a small talk doesn't work, then take it management and see where it goes.

    I could make a thread," Why are nurses so disrepectful?" but the simple answer is because they are human beings with bad or good attitudes that can affect the way I work depending on how I choose to deal with them. You can either ignore the disrespect or do something about it.
    Last edit by sunnybabe on Sep 2, '12 : Reason: grammar!
  5. by   Nascar nurse
    Also, what have you done about it so far? My nurses are allowed to write up an aide. It's not unusual I ask the nurse to come to the office to discuss the situation with me (often times they need guidance on how to deal with these difficult people - let's face it, they don't teach that in nursing school). On the rare occasion it's tough to call who is right/wrong, I tend to side with the nurse.

    On the other hand, I demand that ALL staff treat each other with respect. Recently I had one of my best aides in my office. Apparently she was screaming at another aide for not doing something the correct way. I reminded her that if I don't scream at staff, and I don't allow the nurses to scream at the aides, then I'm certainly not going to allow one aide to scream at another.
  6. by   BrandonLPN
    Also, keep in mind that the licensed staff is held to a higher level of professionalism than the aides. This makes sense to me. We get paid more and more is expected of us. Not that this makes it okay for the aides to be disrespectful, but there is a different standard.
  7. by   Meriwhen
    Not knowing all of the details makes it hard to give an opinion whether disrespect has occurs. Like BrandonLPN said, what a person considers to be disrespectful can vary widely.

    One thing I will say is this: respect is a two-way street, and it's not automatically earned d/t a person's title or licensure. Nor does having a license or being a supervising position give automatic license for that person to treat subordinates less than respectfully. If someone is complaining of disrespect from a coworker, one of the first things they should do is examine how they are treating the coworker, or seek honest feedback from someone about how they are being perceived. Perhaps they are not coming across as respectful to others as they think they are.

    If after doing that you still feel you have a valid concern, then I would bring your concern up with your manager. In the meantime, make sure you are nothing but professional in your interactions with the aide regardless of how you feel they are treating towards you. First, because you should never drop your professional standards. Second, attempting to "throw it right back" at the aide will more often than not backfire in your face.
  8. by   roser13
    Personally, I believe that it's as you suggest: it's tough to fill the low-paying positions with capable bodies. Nurses are, quite frankly, a dime a dozen these days. Aides who are willing to work at a grueling job for peanuts are not. In my opinion, there are facilities that tolerate this, and there are facilities who don't. There don't seem to be gray areas. There are aides who work their butts off (facility doesn't tolerate) and there are aides who don't give a **** (facility tolerates). A sense The trick lies in knowing which type of facility you're entering. A day spent shadowing a nurse would likely help you understand the dynamics.
  9. by   onthemark
    Here's the situation: At 11:20am, the patient asked to go to her worship service which was to start at 11:30 on a different floor, and she needed to be taken in her wheelchair. I wheeled her down the hall and when I saw the aide sitting in the dining room looking at her cell phone, I asked her if she'd take the patient on to the worship service. The aide at first said, "Oh, she doesn't care about the service" but the patient spoke up and said, "Yes, I do" so the aide said to leave her there and she'd take her. It was almost 11:30 when a woman from the worship committee happened to come on to the floor. When she heard the patient was still on the floor, she offered to wheel her to the service. I took her to the dining room and there was the aide still on her cell phone.

    In the afternoon, I approached the aide when she was alone and I could speak to her privately. I told her I was surprised that she didn't take the patient to the service, and asked if she was okay. She said, "Look, I've been busy all morning. If you wanted her there, YOU should've taken her." I said that I'd been busy, too, and when I saw her on her cell phone, I thought she had the time. She replied, "That was my break." All I could say was, "Oh, that was your break, huh?" and we both walked on our separate ways.

    I am not happy with this. I feel I should've handled this differently but don't know what I should've done. And I also don't know how to go forward with this aide. Any advice any of you can give me will be appreciated.
  10. by   onthemark
    I think this is a good point, Brandon, but I'm an LPN and when someone with a higher level of professionalism than me is disrespectful to me, I take it....I wouldn't think of talking back to them.
  11. by   onthemark
    Meriwhen, I appreciate your comments. I need to remember to be professional in my interactions regardless of how I feel about her. Also, I may follow your advice and bring this up to my manager. I need to learn how to better handle these things, and I need to know I have the manager's support too.
  12. by   Nascar nurse
    I would say as neutrally as possible "Next time if you are on break I will expect to find you in the breakroom. Otherwise, I will expect you to assist a resident as asked". If/when next time comes along and you get the same attitude, you give her a verbal warning...the next time a written warning, etc.

    I'm also pretty sure that your facility has a policy about using their cell phones when on duty. Follow the same procedure with that. The key to discipline is to be fair and be consistent. You have to have clear expectations, you have to tell the staff what your expectations are and they have to be the same expectations for everyone...no playing favorites and letting your favorite slide.

    I would encourage you to go to your supervisor and say "I'm stuggling with how to get the aides to follow my instructions. Can you give me some suggestions that have worked for you".
  13. by   onthemark
    Nascar, I'm not comfortable with writing her up....yet. I'd like to simply learn how to get along with her, and develop a team atmosphere.
  14. by   BrandonLPN
    Quote from onthemark
    I think this is a good point, Brandon, but I'm an LPN and when someone with a higher level of professionalism than me is disrespectful to me, I take it....I wouldn't think of talking back to them.
    Yes, some respect for rank would be a nice thing in nursing. I'd like to see some military standards injected into nursing regarding obeying orders and respecting the chain of command.