Circulators how do you handle difficult OR technicians

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    I'm in a great place in my career right now and I love my job. I only dread working when I know I'll have to work with a certain ST.

    She is very lazy, nasty, and passive aggressive. She's in nursing school and loves to slam her books down and clutter my nurses station. She yells what she needs instead of asking for items. Please and Thank You aren't in her vocabulary no matter how nice I am. At first, I thought she was marking her territory because I'm new to the hospital. Then, I thought maybe she's jealous. I've never done anything to her.

    She also likes to call the shots even after I offer her a rationale for what I'm asking for. She opposes me putting meds/fluids on the field until she is "ready" meanwhile she is sitting on a stool with her arms crossed doing nothing. I like working together as a team and she seems to enjoy making things difficult.

    For instance instead of passing off the bovie and suction she just drops it on the floor where it's impossible to reach.

    I used to be a surgical tech myself and I never behaved this way. I'm a sharp and bubbly person but working with her is making me want to dish the dirt right back at her! By the way, management is aware of her behavior and can't do anything about it (union). This behavior has been going on for years!

    How do you or would you handle this situation?
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I am watching this thread because I deal with plenty of this too. I have been an OR nurse for about 2 years but I just switched to a new hospital and there are many cases of ST bullying where they insist on controlling the entire situation just like you described. Managers do nothing because "they've been here for YEARS and we need their experience and can't you just work with it?"
  5. 2
    Each situation is so unique. There is no one great, one size fits all, answer. You can get very good, (but just "general" ideas,) by Googling....how to get along with difficult co-workers.
    ArmyTwinRN and HappyWife77 like this.
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    It can be hard working with coworkers like that. It works both ways. I am a scrub tech and work with some techs that are like that. There are also quite a few nurses who act the same way. Their attitude is that they are the nurse so what they say goes. Point period the end. There is no compromise. I will also say they may have put you in a room with an experienced scrub since you are new. The management probably doesn't want two newbies in a room together. Maybe she is sitting on the stool and isn't ready for meds because her feet are tired or her back hurts and she will have to get up and label everything when you deliver the meds. Maybe she is seeing how far she can push you before you push back.
  7. 2
    Quote from aubgurl
    It can be hard working with coworkers like that. It works both ways. I am a scrub tech and work with some techs that are like that. There are also quite a few nurses who act the same way. Their attitude is that they are the nurse so what they say goes. Point period the end. There is no compromise. I will also say they may have put you in a room with an experienced scrub since you are new. The management probably doesn't want two newbies in a room together. Maybe she is sitting on the stool and isn't ready for meds because her feet are tired or her back hurts and she will have to get up and label everything when you deliver the meds. Maybe she is seeing how far she can push you before you push back.
    I think your exactly right in your last sentence she is trying to see how far she can push me. Yes, she is an experienced tech and so am I. It was actually the first case of the day when she refused the meds and decided to have a seat. I have a ton of things to do before the pt comes in the room and in my opinion she's just being difficult. She'll also sometimes ONLY opens up her gown and gloves. She has plenty of time to open her pack, instruments, and supplies...she is testing me...I did say something to her about it but she just brushed it off....next time I will report her. I don't understand why some people come to work and expect NOT to do their job but expect a paycheck. I only get one check...I shouldn't have to do two jobs.
    granitestater and RusticSandy like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from ArmyTwinRN
    I only get one check...I shouldn't have to do two jobs.
    No, you shouldn't have to do two jobs but let me ask this, how much help are you giving her? What kind of cases are y'all doing? If they are big cases she may need help opening and checking trays. Do you check with her before going to get the patient and make sure she doesn't need anything else before you bring the patient back? Because maybe she feels like she isn't getting the help that she needs and that is why she is acting like that.
  9. 0
    Quote from aubgurl
    how much help are you giving her? What kind of cases are y'all doing? If they are big cases she may need help opening and checking trays. Do you check with her before going to get the patient and make sure she doesn't need anything else before you bring the patient back? Because maybe she feels like she isn't getting the help that she needs and that is why she is acting like that.
    I'm definitely a team player...that has been ingrained in me from the Army. The day when she opened only her gown and gloves it was an extremely small case (one pack and one set) and I always check with my tech before bringing the pt back (policy).

    I'm not going to pretend to be totally perfect. I help other techs more than I help her because she is so nasty towards not just me but all of the nurses (except the guys) and she doesn't try to work as a team.

    For our really big cases I always help open no matter who is scrubbed...it expedites the process...
  10. 0
    Have you asked her, point blank, why she is behaving this way? I'm certain her initial response will be "what way?" Be prepared with specific occurances and keep your cool. Act, don't re-act. That will only give fuel to her. Next, explain you want and expect to work in a collaborative environment and that you do so, successfully, with the other scrub techs who are also union, so you know it cannot be union limitations. You can bet she will be out the door and spreading her side of the conversation before you can get out of the room. Just be certain you have been professional and kept a calm demeanor. If she is testing you, she will know how far she can push.
  11. 0
    Quote from mtb4316
    Have you asked her, point blank, why she is behaving this way? I'm certain her initial response will be "what way?" Be prepared with specific occurances and keep your cool. Act, don't re-act. That will only give fuel to her. Next, explain you want and expect to work in a collaborative environment and that you do so, successfully, with the other scrub techs who are also union, so you know it cannot be union limitations. You can bet she will be out the door and spreading her side of the conversation before you can get out of the room. Just be certain you have been professional and kept a calm demeanor. If she is testing you, she will know how far she can push.
    I haven't asked her directly...I don't want to fuel the fire. But I have addressed her in saying that I don't want to work in a environment with so much tension and that we need to work as a team. I observed her mistreating another nurse and I was compelled to speak up. Somedays she ok to work with and somedays it's just plain ridiculous!!
  12. 0
    I was in the same situation. In my honest opinion I feel that jealousy plays a huge role in why some STs behave in such a way. I have heard them say that circulators don't do any work. Which is complete BS!! I say document every conversation and every instance of bullying and intimidation. It may take a while for something to change but it worked for me!


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