Afraid to work with colleague

Nurses Relations


I have a job I love, have been at for several years, and have great reviews from.  

They hired a new nurse and I'm afraid to work with her.  About 6 weeks after she started, we had a minor disagreement. Should be no big deal, it was a witnessed event even. Next thing I know, I've been written up because "somebody" (in a very small office) stated I made an unprofessional comment.  It was quoted in the document and I can say without a doubt that I NEVER said that or anything like it.  I gave a written reply to my boss disputing the allegation.  Boss and I talked and she agreed that it didn't make a lick of sense that I would ever make that statement based on everything else I have ever said. 

I advised boss that I was uncomfortable working with this nurse because if she'd lie about this, what else will she lie about?  Went as far as to resign but agreed to stay pending an investigation of the event.  Six weeks later, no response other than "Just because you don't see anything doesn't mean nothing's happening".  I get it, an HR issue is not my business. 

Fast forward to this week.  Same nurse has an ongoing dispute with an important but non-licensed team member.  She has stated to me and others that "I smelled alcohol on him when he brought a patient in".  Serious allegation that can impact this person's career and reputation.  And I happen to know that he doesn't drink, hasn't in many years, and is well respected with no issues at work.  Advised the boss of the event and (you guessed it) they will investigate it. 

I see this as a pattern of making false allegations when she has a conflict with someone.  It makes me wonder, "what is she going to accuse me of next?  That I'm working impaired, stealing, abusing patients?"  I'm seriously considering leaving the job I love because I'm afraid if I don't she will accuse me of something and I'll not only have my job at risk but may end up fighting for my license.  

That sucks.

A question. Is this "small office" under a large umbrella/corporation?  My mind just wonders about stuff like this, context is almost always important. If this is within a larger organization (gov't or large not-for-profit, for example), they may actually be working on it, in their slow, bureaucratic-red-tape sort of way. Just about anything smaller than that, though, and they've already had enough time to do something.

This really sucks. Because you like the job and you are not the problem, but it is 100% unpleasant and UNFAIR to have to work with someone like this when their superiors don't immediately reign them in/put them on notice.

This is just me: I would make sure I had an out in case there turns out to be no end in sight--not necessarily due to fear that this nurse is actually that dangerous, but because employers who act stupid like this will act stupid when she makes some allegation that they CAN'T ignore, like an allegation of patient abuse or some such. They will continue to act stupid and stupid employers are what is actually dangerous.

[Still just me] I would do a couple of things. 1) Don't spend any time alone with her. If you find yourself in an area alone with her, leave that area. 2) Ignore her as much as humanly possible taking care to avoid making it obvious 3) Your employer is aware of your concern and dissatisfaction with this, and now aware of this latest unfounded accusation she has made against someone else. This is in their court. Stop reporting to them about her  lest they start to see you as just as much of a problem 4) Do your best work, and do it with a good attitude. Make sure it is clear that you are indeed NOT their problem; make them remember that they really don't want to lose you

Give it a little more time. If it continues and they continue to tolerate it, you will have a hard choice to make. Try to be level-headed about it and don't catastrophize.

Good luck ??

3 Votes
Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

I wonder about this person's previous work experience and employment history.

3 Votes
JKL33 said:

"A question. Is this "small office" under a large umbrella/corporation? "

It is a small office of a medium sized company.  Big enough to have solid policies/procedures but small teams that serve different clients.

"Give it a little more time. If it continues and they continue to tolerate it, you will have a hard choice to make. Try to be level-headed about it and don't catastrophize."

I am prone to planning for the worst case scenario.  I also have a habit of staying in bad situations (employment and relationships) for far too long hoping things will get better.  This is what advice I'm looking for though:  am I overreacting or is this a legit enough risk to take action? 



1 Votes

Well I read your post again and I initially missed the part where you were actually written up based on the allegation. Yeah, I would not stand for that. That's a whole other deal than "just" slow-poking on the disciplinary process with the problematic employee!  I think you have a crappy employer on your hands in addition to a crappy coworker.  Based on this info I would ask to have the write-up removed. If they say they can't do that then I personally would look for work elsewhere. I just don't tolerate stuff like that. If they agree to remove it from your employment record then I go with my first answer, which is to give it a bit longer.

I don't think you are overreacting.

4 Votes
Specializes in student.

I would leave or try to work separate shifts with her. She can make up anything.

1 Votes

It's good that you report these incidents to your employer. It's important to keep a written account of these issues as they arise. 

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