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Advice

Posted
by Dtwjj Dtwjj (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Trauma/ortho.

Hi all! It’s been awhile since I was on this site(long enough for me to forget my account info so I had to create a new one)  I need advice.  

Back ground:I work on a large(80 bed)surgical trauma unit at big hospital.  I’ve been a nurse for 5 years and this last year I’ve been a relief charge nurse on my floor. I typically do about 4-5 shifts as charge a month. I work 12 hr shifts 3 days a week, but my unit has many different shifts. I’m pretty easy to get along with and am generally well liked. My reviews from my manager have always been exceeds. I’m definitely not perfect but I show up on time and have minimal sick calls. I’m a big team player.  I was asked to be charge and I thought why not? I have no management aspirations and do it simply to be helpful on my unit. 
 

 Situation: over the last two months being charge has been soooo stressful. We are short staffed everyday d/t vacations and people being out in quarantine from covid exposure.  We are having night nurses stay over until 11 with no relief scheduled to take over, so if we don’t really push discharges or get staff floated in we are left to absorb the pts from night shift with unsafe staffing ratios and Me as charge having to take an assignment. (Of note this is a Union hospital for RNs and we have defined ratios, which we are exceeding) it has just been so stressful to manage this situation.

Upper management and hospital leaders are aware of the problem but seem to be doing very little about it. After 3 shifts like this a couple weeks ago another nurseoffered (I didn’t ask) to switch the next shift so that I would be in the floor and she would be charge. She loves being charge and seemed to really want to do it so I switched.

Fast forward to yesterday (I was charge over the weekend)that same Nurse told me she’s not allowed to switch Shifts anymore with me because one of my managers told her I need to “suck it up”. I was a little offended because, up until switching that one time  I have never asked to not be charge and have often came in to charge when not scheduled when asked ifsomeone was sick or unavailable. But I just figured I’d bring up with that manager the next time we worked together and clear the air, get some feedback because maybe I’m missing something.

Fast forward to the end of that shift the manager that was working with me that day came over to my side of the unit(we normally split it in two and have a charge in each side since it’s a big unit)  to go over staffing numbers. This weekend we we were actually fully staffed and I made acomment about how nice that was and he started saying that I only want to be charge when it’s easy and I disagreed and said it’s rarely easy but I’m always here doing it. He then said well you weren’t here doing it last Sunday (the day we switched shifts) and that he thought I needed to suck it upbecause this is the way it is. A lot more was said but it was a little heated and I had to walk away because I was getting upset (I always cry when I’m angry ugh)  

But the way he said some things made me think that it’s not just his opinion but that it’s shared by the other managers, whom I always thought I had a good relationshipwith. So now I’m hurt that I go in and give my all and ONE time I asked for a break and now I’m thought of as the girl that only wants to be charge when it’s easy and I need to suck it up. I want to stop being charge at all over this. I mean, I’m only doing it to be a team player but now I don’t feel supported by the team and feel ridiculed.  Am I overreacting? I was crying over this at work and that has only ever happened 1 other time when I was a new grad and a Dr yelled at me LOL. I just feelhurt and angry. 
 

 thank you if you made it though this verylong winded post! 

Edited by Dtwjj

SarHat17, ADN

Specializes in CVRU, Intermediate. Has 9 years experience.

How frustrating! I read through the beginning of your post and was nodding along, because up until fairly recently, I was that person too! I would move to the Charge role on a day we didn't have nay one else scheduled for it, and had committed to 1 Charge shift a week for a long time. (Our unit has 7a-7p shifts, with the Charge RN 10a-10p.)

I finally had to make the decision to step back from the Charge role as it is currently. The late time frame was not working for my family/needs out of work, and the stress of short-staffing becoming more of a constant than an occasional occurrence was causing me to absolutely dread Charge shifts, and feel relieved on regular floor shifts.

I wrote it all out in an email, and sent it to my manager, as well as having a conversation with him to confirm I was stepping back from the position. I "felt bad" that I was leaving a "hole" in the schedule for him to schedule for, but ultimately, because I stepped back, it gave others the opportunity to take on the role more regularly, which is working out better.

Don't feel bad about stepping back from this! If it's not the position you were hired for, but ultimately "volunteered" to fill that role, you can absolutely stop volunteering. Management will have to adjust and fill the spot. That puts the responsibility on them, not you. Good luck!

 

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

It's so hard to sort this type of thing out with only one person's perspective. You could be overreacting, you could be 100% correct ...or reality could be anything between those two extremes.

My impression, is that there's a lot of truth to you only wanting to be charge when it's easy. And for some reason, you feel guilty about that- but WHY??? None of us want to work under chaotic, miserable, short staffed  conditions.

I would have responded to the Sunday comment with, "Yes! I most certainly needed a break." then changed the subject.

If you do step back, give the heated exchange a short while to fizzle out and neutralize first. It will make you look less impulsive and it will give you time to think.

Dtwjj

Specializes in Trauma/ortho.

Thanks for the insight. I know that I need to cool down before I make any decisions. It’s also one of the reasons I’m posting and asking here for opinions in case I’m making too much of this.  I have been charge for over a year now and have had ALOT of challenging days,  for a variety of reasons (codes,rapids, combative pts, staffing snafus)and I’ve never felt like I needed a break from it. The reasons I’m not liking being charge lately is due to us being understaffed and feeling like I’m shoveling crap on the floor nurses with their assignments day after day. So I think it’s very unfair to say that I only like being charge when it’s easy because I’ve thrived under other challenging situations. And I asked for a break ONE time, in a year LOL 

Edited by Dtwjj

Nunya, BSN

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt. Has 39 years experience.

  You say you're a union hospital and you have defined staffing ratios which you're exceeding.  Why don't you just try to fix this for everybody and report the floor to the union?

Dtwjj

Specializes in Trauma/ortho.

Our union knows. I have, and so has several other nurses that I know of, filled out unsafe staffing forms(which go to our union reps). We have been told that there are clauses in our contract that relate to the current state of emergency/pandemic situations. Our whole hospital is running short. On one day there were 158 sick calls for the house. It’s definitely not going to be a quick fix and I understand that these are fairly unique circumstances. 

Edited by Dtwjj

25 minutes ago, Dtwjj said:

It’s also one of the reasons I’m posting and asking here for opinions in case I’m making too much of this.

Are you making too much of it? No, and yes.

No, because your manager sounds like someone who is trying to deflect attention from the underlying problem by making individual nurses look like the problem. I have zero respect for that and only words that can't be shared here.

Yes, because I think it would help you to try to take emotions out of it. This is somebody messing with you, you know? I know it's hard to not react, but over time you can learn how not to, and how to determine "what's really going on" and act accordingly. If I sense somebody trying to mess with me, I am as purposely low-key as I can possibly muster and then some. For example:

4 hours ago, Dtwjj said:

he started saying that I only want to be charge when it’s easy

Since (if I were you) I would know that is BS, I wouldn't say anything to engage the conversation (since it is clear he is looking to provoke/pick a fight). Every response would be with that in mind. So...seriously, I would have said either "interesting" or "thanks for letting me know." Then walked away. Either that or just looked with an absolute blank look, then walked away.

I figure if someone has something on their mind and wants to actually have a discussion, there are plenty of ways to do it. But since they didn't, then....I guess we won't be discussing it. I have no tolerance for people who want to provoke.

Edited by JKL33

Dtwjj

Specializes in Trauma/ortho.

@JKL33 I think you are right. This particular manager is actually an interm manager hoping to fill it permanently and is trying to flex a little. But I definitely shouldn’t of let it get to me so bad and I regret that now. I’m normally very coolheaded, I can’t tell you how many reviews or pt cards that mentions my “calm presence” LOL  I have a motto about patients that I often tell students or nurses I am training when they get flustered/upset by a pt “you can’t take it personally, this is your job, you need to be professional”.  So I think I understand that I’m taking this to personal when it should be professional.  But I’m still feeling like maybe I need to step back from the charge position just so I don’t feel like it’s personal. 

Chickenlady, ADN

Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health. Has 7 years experience.

I don't blame you one bit for being upset by this situation.  

I would let it settle for a week and then request a meeting with this manager and your DON or whomever the next level is. 

"I'm concerned with some things I've heard recently about my willingness to fill the charge role...."  and then advise your concerns with staffing, floor morale, and that you needed a break.  From there, a discussion can happen from where you can decide if and under what circumstances you will accept the role. 

I wouldn't let this baby manager get away with the unprofessional behavior of telling a colleague of yours that you need to "suck it up".  That was inappropriate and I'd be sure to comment on that.

RN-to- BSN, ADN, RN

Specializes in SCRN. Has 7 years experience.

Perhaps, stop being charge. Is that possible, or do you need to switch units?

Sure, I see how this situation is hurtful, since you tried to help.

There is a way to be a team player on the unit without being charge. Charge nurses get praised as great leaders only if they do what manager tells them to do. Otherwise, your situation happens.

On our unit, on days we should be 6 RNs and a free-of -patient's charge. When we short-staffed, the charge gets a full load of patients in addition to charge duties. Many times we'd be fully staffed, but house supervisor pulls a nurse to sister unit, and our charge ends up with patients again. Charge complains to staff about it, then goes and picks up extra shift as well. I do not feel bad for them anymore. 

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

Like others have said, it is hard to discern some of this when we weren’t there. I think a lot of managers are very similar to that though in that they want employees that don’t make a fuss, will do anything and everything, and will come in so they don’t have to! I was once in a situation like that....had outstanding reviews, came in sometimes for 50 plus hours a week to help, had great relationships with my coworkers, etc. Then one day I had a lot happen in my life to where I couldn’t do all of that anymore because I had higher priorities then my job and management didn’t like that. 
 

It sounds like you have been put in some frustrating situations and management is annoyed that you occasionally need a break or are saying something about it. 

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 5 years experience.

On 9/7/2020 at 10:06 PM, Dtwjj said:

@JKL33 I think you are right. This particular manager is actually an interm manager hoping to fill it permanently and is trying to flex a little. But I definitely shouldn’t of let it get to me so bad and I regret that now. I’m normally very coolheaded, I can’t tell you how many reviews or pt cards that mentions my “calm presence” LOL  I have a motto about patients that I often tell students or nurses I am training when they get flustered/upset by a pt “you can’t take it personally, this is your job, you need to be professional”.  So I think I understand that I’m taking this to personal when it should be professional.  But I’m still feeling like maybe I need to step back from the charge position just so I don’t feel like it’s personal. 

Your manager made a personal attack on you, so that is why you are taking his comments personally.

He has poor leadership skills.  And now you want to back off from being charge which is surely the exact opposite of what he wanted, so clearly he SUCKS.

He definitely deserves to have you back off the charge role. But whether or not you choose to do that should come down to what you want for yourself and your career.