Incompetent nurse

  1. I work with a nurse who is mentally slow because of some phychiatric illness she has or because of menopause or something. I only work in a clinic so no one is dying here.I know that Managment is protecting her. She is getting worse and as the years have gone by I have stopped interacting with her at all. If I ran to management to copmplain about her, they would ignore me--they have done it several times in the past. Often they blame me that I cant get along with her. She tells patients the wrong information about dieases and she gets away with it. No one is listening and it is driving me crazy. I love my clinic job but working with a mentally ill ?? nurse is making me think of quitting.

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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Sophie
    All I can say is, DOCUMENT! You are really obligated to protect the patients from her, and if your administration won't listen to you verbalize, they need to see something in writing. You could also report the deficiency to your Dept. of Health Services, or to the people that fund/manage your facility. An annonomyous letter from a 'patient' could be helpful for your admin. to hear this from someone other than yourself. Perhaps you could suggest some type of ongoing testing process for nurses in your clinic to keep them 'updated' on those diseases,skills, etc. Maybe that is a way you could get admin. to see her lack of ability, knowledge etc.in an OBJECTIVE manner (since they think your SUBJECTIVE comments aren't valid). Sophie
  4. by   JeanthePHN
    Well, Sophi, I work for the Department of Health!!Now what do I do?
  5. by   CHUBBY
    Quit...
  6. by   bluesboyj
    As my pal Sophie says DOCUMENT.....!!!!!!!!!! everything. Also I think you should notify your state board of nursing and the facility to the agency that oversees your type facility. Something tells me if something should happen to a patient, your administration won't back you up, if you reveal your discussions with them about her behavior and probably have labeled you a troublemaker.

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    If Ya' Don't Love The Blues, Ya' Got A Hole In Your Soul
  7. by   JeanthePHN
    Thank you all for replying..but documenting wont help here. I work for the Health Dept
    and all we do is give immunizations once week
    and give people health information on dieseases. Documenting the fact that this nurse gives children the wrong vaccines probably wont help. I have complained about before and they said was she needs more training. For god's sakes this nurse has been there 3 years longer than I have!! It is just not one issue. She is so mentally slow that comparing her to the three other 50 year old nurses she will take over half and hour to do what can be done in 10 minutes. All the rest of us are pulling her load and we all are sick of it.
    She has no memory at all and you tell her something about a patient and two days later she yells at you that you never told me!!
    The other nurse and I have been blamed for years now that "'we don't know how to team build"or we need to improve out interpersonal skills.. Only when we both started talking to each other we realized that management was each blaming us because they can not get rid of her. So, two years, almost three, this goes on. If I quit I am not going to let Mrs.Stupid be the reason.
  8. by   nurseyperson
    Why don't ALL of you nurses get together and talk to whoever is in charge there. I would think if everyone sticks together and has the same story, they would HAVE to listen. Most
    health care bosses have MONEY on the brain
    instead of patient care as the main issue.
    Maybe they are afraid of a law suit if they
    get rid of her...some kind of discrimination
    maybe? But maybe if you got them to look at
    the mistakes she makes and the possible expenses it could cause (law suits there)
    and the money they are wasting on her because
    of nonproductiveness (is that a word?) they might listen.

    I will reiterate what other people have said.
    DOCUMENT. You can also tell administration that you will be doing this for yourselves and for them. It may be the out they can use to get rid of her and not be held liable for discrimination.

    I would also threaten to quit...ALL OF YOU
    TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME. That would surely
    get their attention. The same thing happened
    here at the health department, but it was because of administration.
    12 nurses quit all at the same time. Things changed very quickly!

    Good luck, and let us know what happens
    nurseyperson
  9. by   natalie
    Jean If you know she is giving kids the wrong injections you are as guilty as she is. Your first responsibility is to you patient. Write a letter to who ever is running that place and supply documentation to back up your complaints. In the letter let the powers that be know if THEY don't do something you will send a copy of the letter to the Board of Nursing. The board takes things like this very seriously! They will act! It takes months but they will investigate. NO boss wants that! If you're worried about the backlash at your job, just send the letter to the board. As long as it's done in good faith you can't be prosecuted for defamation. It sounds like it's time for this nurse to find a new line of work before she hurts someone.
  10. by   JeanthePHN
    Well, money is not involved. The Health dept does not get money, bill insurances,or anything like that. We have a tax supported budget and all of our services are totally free. And once a person is politically in a city job there is not much that can be done to get them out. We had a nurse who came in high on drugs frequently and it took three years to get her out. How they did that was that was one year she forgot to renew her license and three years went by before they found out she was not a licensed nurse!

    There are only three nurses that work there and me and my friend, the other nurse, have to work and can not up an quit!Where is a 5o year old nurse with no degree supposed to get a job?Even though we both have worked for the City for 5-10 years, both of us can not even be hired by the School DEpt as school nurses because we do not have BSN's!and the private VNA have turned both of us down because we were not"" current"". This is our reality.

    Anyway,management sees her sitting down and reading magazines and taking an hour with patients instead of 10 and they ignore it. She is politically connected!
    I have been there 5 years and what changed is that we have a new boss and I was the one making the decision on what shots to give the patients. She actually took my assessments and just gave the shots.Now, this new boss wants us all cross trained. So now some weeks I give the shots based on her assessments.
    This started in January. I tried to help her because I knew it was a change in her job description,and the vaccines had changed, even though she had done my job 5 years ago! But it is April and she is still making mistakes. I have told the new boss and all she says is "'she just needs more time"'
    Can you believe that this nurse actually brings an immunization book that must be 300 pages to the desk and looks up the answers in front of the patient?and it still takes her over half and hour to do one patient!MAnagement sees all this and ignores it. and they see her reading a magazine an ignore her!

    So most of the frustration that I am having is recent. I gave her a chance and now I am so fed up with her mistakes--she is not learning and agrues with you when you try to correct her--and you people are right.
    I probably will file a complaint with the Board. Our new mangager of the Big City Health Dept is a 27 year old who just got out of graduate school --with a teaching degree. That's right She is a former school teacher for the elementary schools. She runs the Big City Health CLinic and three RN's. Or shall I say she just collects her $700 a week?The boss before that was a social worker and before her a bricklayer.
    Thanks for your help.
  11. by   D.Johnson
    Boy, have I been in your shoes! I have a problem with a nurse who likes to fall asleep at the nurse's station. I reported it 'til I was blue in the face. My NCC handled it by giving her more work to do. I guess that was suppose to keep her awake. But all it really did was make her change her times, so now she falls asleep later in the shift!

    My main purpose on the unit is the safety of the patients. Whenever I feel this nurse is giving the wrong information or just not addressing the patient's needs, I will just override her and do what is best for my patients. I must tell you she is an LPN (nothing wrong with that). But when we work together, I'm in charge. And I believe if anything were to happen, it would be me they would come after. (The doctor, the hospital, the family, etc.). I hate the thought of the patients "lumping" all the night nurses together in one basket. So I've convinced myself that only she looks bad.

    So as for the sleeping, everyone knows about it, and she's on her own. As for making mistakes or not meeting a patient's need, I watch her like a hawk!

    [This message has been edited by D.Johnson (edited April 23, 1999).]
  12. by   D.Johnson
    About the previous post; please excuse all the typos.


    [This message has been edited by D.Johnson (edited April 23, 1999).]
  13. by   MollyJ
    Hi, I am a former health department nurse and I loved my job, but health departments have an unusual situation in that we work for city/county governments that notoriously have the "roads and bridges" mentality and so they aren't ever sure what to do with us to begin with. Suggestions, as before mentioned: document, document. Write a letter to your health department director stating your concerns and be specific. Briefly review the history of your concerns with specific incidents, how you responded (reporting) and what has continued to happen. Avoid inflammatory language, like, "and then you did nothing." (But I've seen your other posts and I think you are to too savvy to need this advice.) Advise her (the director) that you will a hold a copy for 10 days pending their response and then you will be sending a copy to the human resources director for your hiring agency (would have been county government where I worked) and your state board of nursing. And then do it. You are treading on personally unsafe ground; they could decide that you are the problem and fire you but you have your conscience here to deal with.
    Alot of people regard public health nursing and vaccination clinics to be "no-brainer" jobs, but they aren't and the vaccine schedules have seen lots of change recently. I always prided myself that public health departments were the experts in vaccination, communicable disease and other affairs of public health and when a nurse damages that, she damages far more than her own reputation and that of the health department she serves. She erodes the credibility of many public health departments.
  14. by   pdxrn
    It's sounds like you have covered your bases as far as alerting your superiors, documenting the poor nursing care etc. I too, would say your next move is to alert the board of nursing...but before you do this, have you sat down and talked to this "50 year old nurse as a friend, not a colleague and really communicated how upset you are with her alleged incompetence? Soemtimes you will hear another story if you befriend someone and really act like you care about what's going on with her. Maybe she's in pain, or having troubles at home, or quite possibly she's noticed she's having trouble remembering things (could be early alzhemimer's?) May I encourage you to risk it and try talking to her 1:1 and really caring instead of just being ticked off about her not carrying her load. So many times there is a reason for poor care if only we would communicate better. If you are not satisfied with her answers, go ahead and write the board. Before the board though, I would also notify the county commissioner and your legislators as to the incomptetent administrators of your health dept. since they appear to be looking the other way on this nurses performance.
    Oh well, just a thought.
    pdxrn

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