Staff Splitting

  1. 1
    I have a situation that I'm not sure how to handle and would appreciate any advice. I work in a home health office and we have a new clinical manager who is making some waves. I realize that a new employee always makes waves to a certain extent, but this goes beyond my previous experience. I see some issues that I don't know how to address (or if I should).

    A very experienced and knowledgeable clinical manager (let's call her Traci) was given the task of training the new one (let's call her Kathi), who also has a good deal of experience under her belt from other agencies. After about two weeks, Kathi came to me and said that she didn't feel that she had received the training she needed from Traci but didn't want to offend her by asking for more help, and asked me to show her a few things on the computer system on the sly when Traci was out of the office. Stupidly (in hindsight), I did that, not wanting to rock the boat or make anyone unhappy. Kathi said that she didn't want Traci to find out because she didn't think it would be appreciated and she might feel that her toes were stepped on.

    A few days later, Kathi came to me and said that Traci had called her out on it and insisted that everything needed to be done her way and that Kathi should never come to me asking for training or advice, that it wasn't my position and that I had advised her to do things incorrectly (but wouldn't specify what things). My position is QI, so that pretty much covers the whole gamut of everything within the agency.

    This goes on over the course of a couple of weeks with Kathi asking for my help, insisting that Traci shouldn't know about it, and a wedge develops and I am so incredibly uncomfortable that I talked to my boss about it while traveling. I told her everything from my point of view, said that I felt I was being played by not sure by whom.

    I'll spare the details of the discovery, but Traci and I eventually had along talk and Kathi is an incredibly manipulative person who truly does not know what she's doing but is unable to recognize or admit that. She is instructing staff incorrectly, making up Medicare rules on the spot, insisting that she knows what she's talking about and the DON believes every word she utters! The DON believes that Kathi walks on water, is just misunderstood, is a sensitive soul, and we all need to just get along. I am no stranger to staff splitting behavior, but I'm used to seeing it from patients, not my coworkers! Even though Kathi recently put the DON in a very uncomfortable position due to her insistence that a particular item could be supplied by the home health agency (it can't and the rest of us were well aware of it), the DON still believes everything she says.

    Our DON is very much a Pollyanna with apparently no clue that people can manipulate in such a way. She has no supervisory experience whatsoever and was placed in the position of director when the previous director was fired, even though there were more qualified people available. She frequently has no idea what we can and can't do, can't formulate a 485, or write an acceptable order most of the time. The only reason she doesn't fail is that she has several strong people in the office to prop her up and advise her.

    The manipulation is taking its toll on everyone. The DON is ineffective due to her lack of knowledge, the in-office staff have more and more work piled on because the DON doesn't know what to do or how to do it, the field staff are not being held accountable for their actions resulting in loss of revenue for the agency, and it's becoming a miserable place to work.

    I know it's quite a jumbled situation, but I felt the need to put it out there and see if anyone has any suggestions for me, other than prayer, 'cause I'm already doing a lot of that.
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Sounds to me like your management team needs to have a meeting and establish some ground rules. Your entire office will suffer if this new manager succeeds in dividing the management staff in any way. The management team MUST be supportive and trusting of one another. Communication MUST reflect this and keeping secrets is not a good way to either reflect or communicate support and trust.
    Good luck.
  5. 0
    That's the problem. The DON is under the spell and does not believe that "Kathi" is staff splitting or manipulative. We tried to have a meeting and Kathi turned the entire meeting about herself and how she was being victimized, but in such a manipulative way, "Traci" left feeling like she was the one in the wrong and the DON had no idea what had happened.

    Kathi is very, very good at the game. She knows just about how far to go, when to pull back, when to push a little more, and how to make herself look like the victim of mean people and she was "only trying to help."
  6. 0
    It continues. Morale is sinking further, manipulation is continuing in such a subtle manner that many of those being manipulated don't realize it, fear is becoming the normal emotion. The office feels tense and tempers are high. I am considering asking the DON to join me on a Starbucks run this afternoon to really give her a heads up, but worried about the consequences. It is sickening to be watching this slow-moving train wreck and seeing the bodies fly. I am literally nauseous.
  7. 0
    Quote from KateRN1
    It continues. Morale is sinking further, manipulation is continuing in such a subtle manner that many of those being manipulated don't realize it, fear is becoming the normal emotion. The office feels tense and tempers are high. I am considering asking the DON to join me on a Starbucks run this afternoon to really give her a heads up, but worried about the consequences. It is sickening to be watching this slow-moving train wreck and seeing the bodies fly. I am literally nauseous.
    I hope you are successful with your Starbucks run. It is so disheartening to watch one "bad apple" spoil the whole barrel and I hope your DON can wake up and smell the coffee.
  8. 0
    I sent an email invite, no response yet.


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