Published Aug 25, 2001
I am a relatively new RN at a major city hospital. I have been off an 8 week orientation for about a month now and I am encountering some problems. I am hoping some of the more experienced nurses can give me a little guidence.
My problem is not with my job. I love my job. It's with some of my coworkers.
I work on an extremely busy medical unit. Of course the nursing shortage has an impact on us and our assignments are ridiculous at times. I have had as many as 11 patients. Our normal ratio is 8 to 1. This is with an assistant. Without the assitant it is 5 to 1.
At times this is unreasonable as well as unsafe.
The pressure and stress is enormous.
Still, I enjoy the pace for the most part. I am working very hard to improve my performance and learn my job. There is little to no support from management. I've been thrown to the wolves so to speak.
As if this isnt hard enough I work with some exceptionally mean and vindictive people. Most of the assistants do nothing besides vital signs. I have been yelled at by some of them for asking them to do their job (change a sheet, see that a room is ready for a transfer). I've been told that the requests I make, taking a patient to Xray, are not their jobs but mine. I have to look for them when I need something done and 9 out of 10 times they are not on the floor or are socializing on another unit.
When I do get them to do their job I always have to go back and check what they did. I don't have the luxury of saying the assitant didnt do it or the assistant didnt tell me because as you all know, whatever they do and whatever happens, its my fault.
Management is more than aware of this. I have reported it as well as other RN's. Nothing is ever done.
As if this were not bad enough I am having a major problem with the clique tof RN's that think they run the floor. I do not socialize with these people. They are gossip mongers who are malicious. I've seen them do things to their coworkers. And now its my turn.
I have done nothing to this small group of people other than refuse to get involved in their crap. I have had the worst experiences with them. I ask a question and I am told that they are not going to answer because they are busy charting. I ask for a witness to a waste and am told no. I get the worst assignments on the unit. Not only the worst patients but they split my assignment up into two units on opposite sides so that I have to walk all night. I have had as many as 5 patients without an assistant, on daylight, with 4 of them being completes. All had fluids going and there was one with a feeding tube who took massive medications that all had to be crushed and pushed thru the tube. I complained. Oops...how did that happen. I got help at the end of my shift in the form of an assitant who was on light duty and too sick to be much help.
One nurse in particular has been on me for weeks. I have finally had enough. I feel like if I don't handle this my way they will never stop. She is extremely rude and sarcastic to me. She will not offer any help unless she has to and then she makes a huge deal of it. It doesn't matter where her assignment is. She is all over the unit and has her nose in everyone's business. I had the misfortune to work with her last week night shift. She assigned me 8 patients on two different zones with the rooms all over the place. On top of that she gave me an admission. My patient load was difficult to say the least. She was well aware of this.
At 6 am I recieved a call from a distraught family memeber who was flying in to see her mom from Florida. She was furious about the care her mom was recieving from the doctors. Her sister stayed overnight and I took her to a conference room and tried to explain her mothers condition. I was there about 30 minutes. The family member was calm and I felt good about what I had done because nobody had ever really explained the infection their mom had with them.
This nurse saw me in the conference room twice. After that I went to the other part of my unit to work on some labs and a PICC line that was sluggish. After fixing that and administering pain meds IV I gave report to the nurses on that part of the unit.
I was headed to the other part of the unit when the phone rang.
This other nurse was on the line screaming at me:
"where were you?"
"for an hour? no you werent"
"yes i was"
"no you werent"
"what business is it of yours?"
"when your patient is screaming at me for pain meds for an hour it is my business"
"are you talking about mr_? he was medicated. he is drug seeking and you know that" (mr _is a junkie.he knows his med schedule better than we do. he can be abusive when he doesnt get his fix but we have been dealing with him for a month so we all know whats up. he had his morphine but he wanted his percs cos his buzz wasnt enuff. i told him id be in at 7 to give him the percs...it was a lil after 7 and he was freaking out)
"look, I'm telling you I was in report"
"no you weren't"
at this point I realized there were a number of ways I could go. I didn't have the time or the patience to argue with her. It didn't matter what I said.
very calmly I said.."I was playing with myself" and I hung up.
I headed for the medroom and she came up the hall, smoke pouring out of her ears and nose.
We had an encounter in front of an audience (that was what she wanted all along) and I very calmly and quietly told her that if she had a problem with me or my performance she should discuss it with the manager. She put her face right up to mine and said "I will, oh I will"
then she got a contorted satisfied smile on her face.
I told her, "In the meantime, get out of my face"
I got called into the office the other day and had been written up for this incident and more.
She rounded up some of her friends to report me for things that are petty. Some of them were true. I have left things undone. There were some mistakes. Yes I say the "f" word on occassion. So do they. I only say it in the confernece room, never on the floor...like they do. Some things said were untrue. They said I had a patient with a BP of 60/49 and I ignored that and they had to hang fluids on their shift. That never happened. They said they came on duty and I had 4 IV bags empty. Again, that never happened. So many things were said I couldnt keep track of all the accusations. Some of these things that were left undone were reported by me to the next nurse. One was an injection of insulin that needed to be given. The doc was in writing orders as I was leaving and she told me to let it go until the next shift. I reported this to the oncoming nurse and she was ok with it. There were more orders written after I left that I was unaware of. None of them were stat. This nurse reported me for ignoring stat orders.
I got reported for not doing a timely admission when I had spent the entire day paging docs and trying to get this patient admitted. This whole scene was reported to the nursing supervisor as it was happening but still I was reported for it as well.
I realize I have to go back and document these things and from now on C Y A is my motto but I just don't know how to handle this. I could go to management and report them for all the things they do but frankly, I don't have the time and it's not my style.
I am not the only new nurse having these problems. Others have reported the same thing, the same people. Management is well aware. In fact we have nurses in the registry that refuse to work on the unit for just these reasons.
Everything stays status quo.
I just don't know how to handle this since I am not established and managment seems to be believing what they say. any suggestions?
Well I don't have time now........but I will answer.........I hate to see people post something and get no responses. Bottom line......real quick here......it's tough being new and you want to fit in......but if you know you are doing a good job, and doing your best......tell them outright....I bust my @#$ here, and get little or no helpp from the aids, and i don't need your sarcasm or BS. If you have nothing good to say then don't say it. Nobody said we had to be friends......but we do all have to work together.....thank you very much!
It may seem cruel.....but I really feel some older nurses.......give new people a hard time because they feel bothered......and figure a lil intimidatiojn will go a long ways. Don't be intimidated.....thats the bottom line.
me :) Good Luck!
Wow! How can you stand to face going to work every day?
Unfortunately, nurses "eat their young". I would love to know why our profession does that. In today's climate, where nurses are such a scarce commodity, one would think we would nurture each other along so as to make worklife for ourselves better.
My experience in nursing is that you have to prove yourself worthy before you can be accepted by your peers. Sad, but true. My suggestion is to keep your head high, keep doing your absolute best, keep asking questions. If you don't ask questions, it is often perceived that you think you know it all. Make sure your charge nurse knows what you are doing throughout your shift, and you report all pertinent information to him/her. In other words, COVER YOUR BUTT!
I think sometimes that the intimidation is dished out because of the old staff's insecurity. They don't like it when someone new comes in and appears more knowledgeable than some of the old crew. You might be asking questions where they don't know the answers, but don't want to admit it.
There is absolutely no excuse for a nurse to refuse witnessing a wastage, etc. Please report those instances and report them to your manager.
Sometimes standing up to the bullies, putting them in their place is enough to stop the harrassment. I don't know.
I would suggest a good heart to heart with your manager. If this is a common problem, the manager should do something to curtail it. It may be a matter of acting as a mediator between the parties. Sounds like an outside person might be warranted in this case. If you don't get action from your manager, go above her.
MY GOD!!! I'm just a student but that sounds HORRENDOUS! I would get the HELL out of there! I've never heard such a horror story. Nurses are in demand....go somewhere where you're appreciated and not always torn down!
It's true that, wherever you go, there will be one or two troublemakers, but THIS is WAAAYYYY beyond that - this is ridiculous!!!
Look for another job asap!
In the meantime, cover your butt.
You don't need any further advice on how to handle these cretins - you are doing better than I would be, if I were in this situation!
Take care and keep us posted.
You are in my prayers. I hope you can improve the situation. If not, begin looking for a new position. It's clear that you are needed and other facilities would be happy to have you. Best of luck to you.
When I was a fledgling, I worked very briefly in a SNF where the rest of the staff had been employed for eons. They did the same kind of sabotage. The nurse manager took me aside and told me that she knew I was going to move on and these others would stay forever, so why didn't I just save myself some grief and go elsewhere. That's what I did. It's like fighting city hall. Yours has been a trial by fire. Don't waste your energy. You won't have any trouble finding a different job. Best wishes.
look, if it were me, i'd be outta there. my resignation would be in faster than you can say 'nurse ratched.' i wouldn't give them 4 weeks, either. they'd get 2. and, i would go straight to hr and the don and request an exit interview with both, explaining in detail and with names of specific individuals the situation on the unit. i would stress to them that the working conditions on the unit are intolerable, and that unless something is done, the unit will never be fully staffed. i would also let the hr and don people know that i was #1 taping the interview, and #2 expected them to sign an acknowledgement of all that had transpired in our conversation.
drastic? yes. but...you need to get out of there, do some damage to the herd of b****es, and cover your hide while you're at it. plus, as you know, managers and hr people within hospitals talk, and you need some damage control for yourself. you need proof of your side of the story, which is why i stress the taping of the interviews and the signed acknowledgement. that way, no one can spread any lies without you having the proof that they're lies on hand. i would also recommend that in your last 2 weeks you keep both a notepad and a mini tape recorder on hand, because you bet your butt some nasty things will be said and done.
i'm sorry, but screw looking like 'the bigger person' and 'rising above it' and 'turning the other cheek.' no one wants to work in a lion's den, and new nurses definitely shouldn't have to. that's asking way to much of any human being who isn't a masochist.
get out of there. now. put your resignation in tomorrow, even if you're not scheduled to work. get out now.
let us know what happens...
I'd be requesting a conference with the unit manager, and taking documentation and evidence to support myself. Then, I'd be looking for another position. Obviously, this problem is long-term in this unit, and management has chosen to ignore it. I cannot believer being refused a witness to wastage, for all the time it takes.
Don't bother with the game-playing. Make sure you can leave with a decent reference and find somewhere that appreciates you.
Best of luck. You deserve better treatment
Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
Gather your facts, leave them alone, go to HR and management as you said, contact your State Board and a lawyer to protect your license. If necessary, file a job harassment lawsuit after you are gone. Best of luck...not a great place to be right now...
I have been a nurse for 10 years and I don't feel this is a new grad issue. This is beyond that. The situation is already dangerous to work in without the interference of staff but these people are on a mission to ruin you. Gather your facts as Chas said, skip them and go to HR. You need to type out your resignation tonight and turn in your 2 weeks' notice Monday morning first thing. Some things are not worth fighting for and life is too short. Yes, things are bad for nurses everywhere but not this bad. You can do better.
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