Scary new OB manager

  1. hello all. I'm looking for your thoughts on the current situation on my unit. here goes...
    I have worked at this hospital for about 18 months, and I was new to L&D when I started. I love the rest of the nursing staff on the unit and the physicians we work with. We also have the busiest OB unit among the area hospitals and I love the fast pace of it. As a relative newcomer, I have always (generally speaking) felt very comfortable asking any questions I've had of both fellow RN's and the docs and it has been a great learning experience. I have made some close friends there also.
    Since I've been there, we have had four managers, and there were also several in the few years before I started. I've heard about huge trust issues with some of the previous managers. So this new manager, the fourth in a year and a half who just started maybe 6 or 8 weeks ago, has been making quite a name for herself. She seems to be targeting staff who are known as more outspoken, sort of advocates for the rest of us, and making an example of them for the rest of us. Without going into too much detail on this public board, she has, for example, forced one of our RN's with 30+ years on the unit into retirement with her unreasonable demands, another is on the verge of being fired ("one more strike and you're out!"), she's taken a few others alone into her office and basically threatened their positions with vague accusations of "negative attitudes" and "anger issues" with nothing to really substantiate her accusations. One day she brought everyone that was working out to the nurses' station (a public area) and basically told everyone that we are the worst group of nurses in the hospital, other departments and volunteers hate to deal with us because we are so mean, we are not to be "talking amongst ourselves" about these recent goings-on with staff being disciplined, etc. There are rumors that she's got a whole list of staff that she wants to get rid of, and judging by her recent actions that really is starting to seem pretty beliveable to me.
    We're slowly sort of being painted this picture of our unit as a huge problem within the organization, as in the naughty kids who can't keep a nanny. I'm starting to think HR must be all on board with this whole intimidation campaign, I can't imagine they would have hired her not knowing she'd do things this way.
    Do they think we need a firm hand or something?? I'm totally perplexed and I can't imagine where we would have gained this reputation as a bunch of bad-asses. I just don't know what to do. The current thinking among most of the staff I work with is "I'm just going to do my job and try not to make waves." But this whole new idea that we're supposed to sit by and watch our friends who are excellent nurses be raked over the coals, and just let this new manager run all over us feels so wrong to me!! I just feel that we need an advocate here but I'm clueless where to even start.
    Any thoughts or idea would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    Four managers in 18 months? Any idea why they are all leaving so quickly?
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Sounds like a terrible situation. Any way you can go elsewhere? That many managers in such short time means a lot of trouble from the top down. And you are right; if this manager is how you say she is, she is very scary. I would probably be looking for new work situation soon.
  5. by   barbie90210
    [font=book antiqua]with someone that abusive and aggressive it throws a whole different light on the situation. remember, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. grandstanding and threats are probably illegal. sometimes management hires someone like this who is heavy handed. she is probably being used and won't last (like the others). in the meantime if the consensus is that everyone agrees with you then a petition can be a very effective method. present that petition to her in a staff meeting that has been arranged by the group. confront her directly with her behavior and state how uncomfortable you have felt. if you do this individually it won't work but if (and that's a big if) you can mobilize forces and stand together you might be able to dial down her attitude. tell her that if she continues you will write her up with the director of nurses - or worse hospital administration. do go through the chain of command and keep your tone respectful. i don't see any other way except keeping your head in the sand and letting her drive a bull dozer over you. the problem is that she has plenty of time on her hands to harass you and you actually have work to do. one thing is for sure. her methods to achieve change are highly questionable. she doesn't seem to understand that it's not "i" - it's "we". you might as well try to achieve a win-win situation because if it doesn't work you will be leaving anyway - or be miserable. it sounds to me (if i understand your post correctly) that she is verbally abusive and a bully. this person sounds like a drama queen, immature, seriously lacking in emotional control, and interpersonal/communication skills; i.e., totally unfit for management. sometimes if you confront a bully you find that they are actually a coward. i'm rooting for you!
  6. by   flytern
    Is there a director of nursing above this manager that you and others can go to? Have you documented some of her comments/threats?
    Hopefully, there are others that feel the say you do, so that you can present a united front to the bigwigs.

    In the meantime, I would tread lightly at work. Don't give this boss any ammunition. But maybe start looking around for another job, before you too feel the ax!
    Good luck, it sound like you're between a rock and a hard place.

  7. by   LizzyL&DRN
    Do you have a union? Maybe if so, you could contact them for help. Managing a unit is a very hard job, however it sounds as if she's got a little big for her britches. If everyone is united as one voice, its possible that upper management will listen to your complaints.
  8. by   rnin02
    I would try to go over her head, in writing preferably, making sure everyone above her position, with the ability to do something about her, knows the situation. I worked on a unit with a very, very ineffective manager, and that's what we had to do finally to get things resolved. Maybe get some MDs involved, if they tend to have an active say in your unit. Good luck!
  9. by   Mrs.S
    thanks so much for all your replies!
    I've sort of had it in the back of my mind that maybe I should start looking elsewhere, but I just don't feel like I should have to since she is clearly the one in the wrong here! This really is where I want to work! Then again, the four managers in such a short period of time just doesn't seem at all right to me either. I've thought about seeing if we could go over her head, but I'm suspicious that they (HR) might be part of the problem here also. I mean, she hasn't even been here long enough to possibly truly have us all figured out already; she has to be getting these ideas about our unit from somewhere.
    I thought about approaching the people who I know have been singled out by her and trying to get them to document exactly what was said and done and then just seeing if we can get anywhere by taking it up the chain of command. I am scared even thinking about starting to stir up trouble, and I am so not a trouble-maker, but this is such an insult to my sense of fairness! I'm also thinking I should look into a prn or standby position at another hospital to keep my options open.
    If anyone else has more suggestions I am all ears.
  10. by   Leslie,RN
    Quote from Mrs.S
    thanks so much for all your replies!
    I've sort of had it in the back of my mind that maybe I should start looking elsewhere, but I just don't feel like I should have to since she is clearly the one in the wrong here! This really is where I want to work! Then again, the four managers in such a short period of time just doesn't seem at all right to me either. I've thought about seeing if we could go over her head, but I'm suspicious that they (HR) might be part of the problem here also. I mean, she hasn't even been here long enough to possibly truly have us all figured out already; she has to be getting these ideas about our unit from somewhere.
    I thought about approaching the people who I know have been singled out by her and trying to get them to document exactly what was said and done and then just seeing if we can get anywhere by taking it up the chain of command. I am scared even thinking about starting to stir up trouble, and I am so not a trouble-maker, but this is such an insult to my sense of fairness! I'm also thinking I should look into a prn or standby position at another hospital to keep my options open.
    If anyone else has more suggestions I am all ears.
    So, what ever happened in this situation?

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