Advice needed - Should he be fired?

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    I am a new grad and new nurse manager. We have a nurse working with us who has 18 years experience. He works 2nd shift which starts at 2:30pm. Probably 85% of the time he is late (arrives at 3:00 or later, sometimes up to 2 hours late). In the last month he has called in sick less than an hour before his shift starts 3 times. I have talked to him about his tardiness at least 4 times since December.

    He is very very smart and has great assessment skills. He is NOT very good with computers, which causes a problem when it comes to documentation since our system is computerized. He does not always chart on patients, even when I know something has happened to them on his shift.

    The other nurses avoid working the shift before him because they can pretty much guarantee that they will have to stay late waiting for him to show up, and they don't like to be on-call when he is working, knowing that he has a high tendency to call in sick.

    Ordinarily I would have no problem with letting him go, but my facility is down 3 full time nursing positions (and we only have 7 positions available). We unfortunately depend on agency nurses a ton which really impacts continuity of care.

    What should I do?
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  3. 33 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Quote from melissa_rn
    I am a new grad and new nurse manager.
    Wow, really? That's a lot on your plate. Does that mean you have no bedside experience? What type of unit are you managing?

    You should have a progressive disciplinary action plan that spells out exactly what you need to do. Verbal coaching, written warning, suspension pending termination, etc.
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    Do you really not know how to handle this situation? You're employer should have specific procedures in place for dealing with this type of problem employee. You should also have a boss /supervisor / mentor / etc. who oriented you to your position who reviewed these things with you -- and who could be a resource for you now. If you really have had insufficient training to handle this situation, you should probably leave and go work for an employer who will give you the training and support you need.

    Your post may not have reflected your true situation ... but it suggests that you are not ready to handle this situation and not ready to be a manager. Perhaps you should get some experience in nursing first ... as well as manager training before you put yourself in a position of supervising others.

    I don't mean to be cruel or harsh -- but before you try to manage others, you should get some work experience and manager training.

    llg
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    give one more warning and then let him go...not fair to other nurses...actively recruit some replacement nurses....give them a reason to stay...maybe that news about him has gotten around...often a nurse will know of someone who needs a job but they hesitate to reccommend their place of employment if there is something that seriously needs fixing
  7. 0
    I have worked with a nurse who does the same exact thing. She is an excellent LPN, has very good assesment, charting skills, just a very good nurse, except for one thing....she cannot get to work on time.
    And I don't mean to sound cruel, but yes, I think these people should be progressively disciplined, and eventually fired if they can't do better.
    Other nurses have already worked their 8 or 12 hours and it's time to go home and get some rest.
    I say, too, give a very stiff warning, maybe even suspend him for a few days, let him come back, then if no improvement, let him go permanently.
  8. 0
    Quote from llg
    Do you really not know how to handle this situation? You're employer should have specific procedures in place for dealing with this type of problem employee. You should also have a boss /supervisor / mentor / etc. who oriented you to your position who reviewed these things with you -- and who could be a resource for you now. If you really have had insufficient training to handle this situation, you should probably leave and go work for an employer who will give you the training and support you need.

    Your post may not have reflected your true situation ... but it suggests that you are not ready to handle this situation and not ready to be a manager. Perhaps you should get some experience in nursing first ... as well as manager training before you put yourself in a position of supervising others.

    I don't mean to be cruel or harsh -- but before you try to manage others, you should get some work experience and manager training.

    llg
    We do have P&P's regarding this situation - basically 3 strikes and you're out - the problem is that the last "manager" NEVER disciplined him for his tardiness or call-in's with the excuse "I'm late too so I can't say anything to him, it'd be the pot calling the kettle black." When I was put in the position of manager I immediately reviewed the minimum expectations (with #1 being "be on time and ready to work") to make sure everyone knew that if the expectations were not met, disciplinary action would be taken. Everyone signed it acknowledging that they understood. Going by our P&P's and my "Minimum Expectation" understanding, he should be let go. But with us being so short staffed already, would letting him go put us in a worse situation?

    In response to your other ideas---I had no orientation to this position as I was supposed to be supervisor only - the nurse manager was in charge of budget/p&p/compliance/hiring/firing. Unfortunately she quit after a medical emergency (after only 1.5 months there) and has not been back since. The previous nursing supervisor (the one who was late all the time) was essentially good for nothing - was hardly never there with no call or explanation as to why she wasn't there. The leadership and organization in our nursing department has been extremely lacking for longer than I've worked here. I was promoted to my position because of my enthusiasm to fix things and make it "how it should be". While my lack of experience does not help, at least I know where I can go to find answers. I have done a hell of a lot of good in a very short time, and was recoginized by our CEO for my efforts and quality improvements. We went through a JCAHO audit 3/9-3/11 and the auditor essentially demanded that our CEO take down the ad for a new nursing manager, stating "Another person will muddy the waters - Melissa is doing a great job and she should be recognized for it" - which is why I ended up as manager. I had many protests as well - I still need to learn how to be a nurse! But all in all this is the position we are in, and while I'm in this position, I'm going to do everything I can to make the nursing department as strong, organized, and efficient as it can be.

    Which is why I turn to this message board for advise - should he be fired? We need full time staff, but we also need full time staff who are responsible. Should I put up with his BS until we get those responsible people on board, or just get rid of him now?
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    I think, as another poster stated, that nurse being on your unit would be a hinderance to bringing on staff nurses worth their salt. You also would probably get more cooperation from your existing staff. You did say that they avoid working the shift before him and going on call when he's scheduled. This is not a can't get your a** moving/few minutes late to a shift, nurse. This guy only shows up when he wants! I (and probably every other working adult in the world) wish I could do that.

    Since you're already relying on agency for the time being, at least make it a place they will want to come to work. At this point three agency nurses vs. two does not seem like much of a difference. They would at least be there. Also, if things begin to turn around the agency nurses may be willing to come back on a regular basis and you would have some continuity of care.

    This guy is dead wood. He's not documenting patient care?? He's late 85% of the time?! He's putting the institution's a** and yours on the line every time he does notdocument care or is really late. What if he messes something up and it's not charted or your staffing ratio while you're waiting for him is pi** poor and someone sues. Everyone's name (including the nurse manager's) goes on the lawsuit.

    Since you have spoken to him four times since December, (I assume you documented these.) I would put him on final written warning. I'm sure he'll see the writing on the wall and you'll have the paper to back you up when he inevitably and blatantly disregards it like he has everything else.
  10. 0
    There is absolutely no way this nurse should get away with another warning. As a manager your word means nothing if you do not follow up as you said you would.

    Having another agency nurse will not affect morale the way this man is already making nurses dread their shifts, hesitate to take extras, and generally feel used because he is getting away with murder and they are (presumably) working their butts off.

    For your own self respect and as a sign or respect to the nurses who are doing their best in a difficult situation get him out of there.
  11. 0
    I agree with NurseyBaby'05. It has been my experience in management that these kinds of individuals manipulate the system to get by with things others ordinarily wouldn't or shouldn't. I don't believe he will change even with continued warnings, and will eventually have to be terminated. I once had an employee who worked under my husband and me in a non-nursing business that also would show up late or not at all, and it put our business in a real bind. My husband (who was the current owner of the business) just could not fire the guy because he was so good at his job, not to mention a nice guy. So my husband would just keep warning him despite my constant nagging to GET RID OF HIM. The guy always had an excuse for being late or not showing up- "I had to take my son to the dr., I am having personal problems, my car broke down", etc etc. FINALLY after complaints from customers and coming to his own senses (or getting tired of my nagging), my husband realized this guy was just manipulating him and fired him. Life was so much better at our business after that! Even though we were so short staffed! Everyone pitched in and was much more eager to help because we FINALLY had gotten rid of the "anchor". Don't wait too long to take firm action! You may not realize it, but the other employees are taking this all in by seeing that this guy is getting away with behavior that he shouldn't. If this continues, they will lose respect for you as a manager, and that is really hard to get back.
  12. 0
    Quote from canoehead
    There is absolutely no way this nurse should get away with another warning. As a manager your word means nothing if you do not follow up as you said you would.

    Having another agency nurse will not affect morale the way this man is already making nurses dread their shifts, hesitate to take extras, and generally feel used because he is getting away with murder and they are (presumably) working their butts off.

    For your own self respect and as a sign or respect to the nurses who are doing their best in a difficult situation get him out of there.
    Canoehead-

    The only, and I mean only, reason I mentioned placing him in final written warning is b/c many employers require this as a step in termination. Otherwise, it would be "Sayonara, Seymore!" from me immediately. Just another way to "CYA" for her so that this knucklehead has no chance of getting his job back when he decides to sue for wrongful termination or age discrimination after the no one will pay his unemployment. Cynical, I know, but people like that have a way of sneaking up on you sometimes.

    Elizabeth


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