Am I doing something wrong here?

Nurses General Nursing

Published

Okay, quick vent warning here; also would like some other people's insight on this situation. At work, I have had a few incidents with one nurse where I feel like a complete failure. First time was on a post op patient where the patient was supposed to have Q 1 hour pulse checks and groin checks. I was very consistent on doing these checks throughout the shift. The pt had some oozing from the groin site towards the beginning of my shift and a new pressure dressing was applied. It was uneventful all shift. Then at shift change, right before I left, I found out that the groin had been bleeding, not sure for how long, but enough to form a clot and saturate through some things. I had done the last groin check an hour before finding this bleeding.

Anyway, the nurse I gave report to asked when was the last groin check, etc etc, but her tone of voice was condescending and made me sound like I hadn't been doing my job, which was embarrassing in front of this alert and oriented patient (who stuck up for me btw). I will admit that I did feel somewhat at fault for not noticing the blood was coming out the top of the dressing instead of the bottom, like you would expect gravity to pull it down, so it could have been oozing for some time without me immediately noticing, but I DID do the hourly checks and also this was a pt who was moving around and coughing quite a bit, so it is hard to say for sure when the oozing started up again.

Point being after all that, I really felt terrible and just the way she acted towards me made me feel like I really did something wrong. I cried for the first time on the way home.

Then not shortly after, I had another incident where I didn't do something on my shift. I actually had a tech helping out and specifically asked the tech if she did the labs for the morning and was told yes. Got completely slammed at the end of the shift and didn't check to make sure it was done; I had seen the tech doing labs on other pts, and this is a tech that has been there for a long time, so I trusted that it was done. Well, when the doc came at 0700, come to find out it wasn't done. So when giving report and the oncoming nurse found out the labs weren't done (same nurse as the bleeding incident), she says in a very sharp tone "A biochem panel for a renal patient? Uh yea, that's really important". Of course I know it's important, of course I knew that it was supposed to be done, I was honest in telling you that I thought it was done and it wasn't. Really, its going to be 2 hours late, I admit to having a rough shift and I know there are a few things that weren't done that otherwise would have been done.

I don't know how to take this. I guess the harder part of this is that we are close in age and experience level; granted she has been a nurse for longer than me but I'm almost feeling like a complete idiot in both of these situations, because of the way she talks to me about it. I know for a fact there are other nurses I work with that could say in a different way that such and such should have been done on your shift, its important, or whatever, but I just don't get that from her. If nothing else, I will learn from these mistakes, no doubt about that, so if nothing else I can take something away from it, but if this keeps up I will really start to dread giving report to her.

I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on this. Is this something I should brush off? Any better way to handle this? The other sad part of this is that our unit is tight knit and a lot of people hang out outside of work. This can get awkward :(

TSchmitt

4 Posts

Yes, this nurse does have a bit of personality disorder. Her approach is punity and does little to build her coworkers confidence. Her superior attitude makes it difficult to work with her. She did not assess first to find out if there was a knowledge or skill deficit on your part she just went strait to the judgmental aspect of her personality. This is what is known as eating our young (you don't have to be younger or have less experience for it to happen to you). Make sure you keep track of these incidents and then talk to your manager. Nurses with this kind of attitude, no matter how good their skills are, should not be put into the role of a mentor or orientating other nurses (not that she was doing that with you). Your manager needs to be made aware that this individual has poor people skills so that she never gets asked to be put in that position.

We all make little mistakes. Patients tend to do fine until 5 minutes before shift change and then it looks like you dropped the ball. Did you learn anything from the experience? Do you now know to check both ends of the dressing? If you learned something and grew, you are a good nurse.

PAERRN20

660 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I work with that nurse too! You sound like a competent nurse- you took responsibility for your actions. I don't have much advice to offer. When the nurse constantly made snarky comments and questioned my actions I'll admit I let it get to me. I would cry. But I realized that this nurse is this way to everyone else. Try not to take it personally. Some things need to be passed on to the next shift. (((Hugs)))

8jimi8ICURN

231 Posts

Specializes in Flight RN, Trauma1 CVICU STICU MICU CCU.

Have you thought about asking her why she's so mean to you?! The conversation could go like this... I know there have been a few incidents where it seemed like i dropped the ball. It hurt my feelings when you responded the way you did. I've learned my lesson about double checking the dressings and critical labs. Is there any way that we can get beyond this so that I can be comfortable working with you?

Bullies are often really just cowards and when you face your fears and confront them, they shrink back down to your size. They lose their power over you because you have taken their meanest and showed that you were not afraid to stand up to yourself.

pennyaline

348 Posts

Bullies are often really just cowards and when you face your fears and confront them, they shrink back down to your size. They lose their power over you because you have taken their meanest and showed that you were not afraid to stand up to yourself.

And sometimes they're not cowards. Sometimes it's a true personality problem. I guarantee that your coworker has already been all over your manager about how awful it is to follow your shifts ie this not done and that not done, and you don't know what's important and you can't prioritize and you can't manage your time. If you now approach her in a manner that is nonthreatening and attempt to work things out, she may smile in your face then run straight back to the higher ups and gripe that you are now trying to kiss her ass ~OR~ that you're trying to put the blame on her... whichever it is, it's guaranteed that complaints about you will escalate. I don't know how many times I've seen this, and every time I see it I cringe because it's so unnecessary and so harmful to team and unit function.

She's not interested in your side, and she's not interested in what's fair and equitable. Her job is to keep her manager on her side and you on the opposite side. That's how she measures her security.

However, as you state this unit is "tight" and people hang out together outside of work, let me ask: Does the problem nurse hang out with the rest of the staff? Do you? Unit dynamics can be strange sometimes and a lot can depend heavily on who's buddied up with whom.

island40

328 Posts

Specializes in ICU, School Nurse, Med/Surg, Psych.

My advice is giong to be hard for you to do....Don't let other people's opinions bother you unless you value thier opinion. I would not value this nurse's opinion because she seems to have standards that are above what a human being can achieve. I might be nasty enough to watch for her to make a mistake and point it out to her...naughty!!

Scrubby

1,313 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room Nursing.

I've worked with bullies like this person you have described. Humiliating others helps boost their self-esteem which is really sad but if you let them get to you then they have won. The best way to deal with passive aggressive people like you have described is to confront them directly. Next time she speaks down to just tell her to back off. If she argues then inform her that you are feel that your being bullied and to stop harassing you.

caliotter3

38,333 Posts

And sometimes they're not cowards. Sometimes it's a true personality problem. I guarantee that your coworker has already been all over your manager about how awful it is to follow your shifts ie this not done and that not done, and you don't know what's important and you can't prioritize and you can't manage your time. If you now approach her in a manner that is nonthreatening and attempt to work things out, she may smile in your face then run straight back to the higher ups and gripe that you are now trying to kiss her ass ~OR~ that you're trying to put the blame on her... whichever it is, it's guaranteed that complaints about you will escalate. I don't know how many times I've seen this, and every time I see it I cringe because it's so unnecessary and so harmful to team and unit function.

She's not interested in your side, and she's not interested in what's fair and equitable. Her job is to keep her manager on her side and you on the opposite side. That's how she measures her security.

However, as you state this unit is "tight" and people hang out together outside of work, let me ask: Does the problem nurse hang out with the rest of the staff? Do you? Unit dynamics can be strange sometimes and a lot can depend heavily on who's buddied up with whom.

We had an individual like the one described here and when the doo doo hit the fan, several nurses talked openly about getting their chance to feed her to the dogs for what she had done to others. Didn't have to occur as she did herself in and got fired quickly. Poetic justice.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

If nothing else, I will learn from these mistakes, no doubt about that, so if nothing else I can take something away from it, but if this keeps up I will really start to dread giving report to her.

sounds like you had a rough shift.:icon_hug:

for now, i think i'd blow it off (but still keep notes, kwim?).

of course, if it develops into something downright hostile, it's time to take it up a step.

but for now, let it go.

do not grovel or apologize.

continue on w/her professionally and confidently.

you have been honest and accountable...

so continue to keep your head high.

hang tough, sweetie.

you'll be a-ok.

leslie

Specializes in Telemetry, CCU.

However, as you state this unit is "tight" and people hang out together outside of work, let me ask: Does the problem nurse hang out with the rest of the staff? Do you? Unit dynamics can be strange sometimes and a lot can depend heavily on who's buddied up with whom.

Yes, that's the funny thing. There are a bunch of us younger nurses that hang out together, her and I both included. She is really sweet outside of these two situations, that's what makes this a little harder to swallow. I don't even know that she is really aware of what she's doing, because I don't think she's being intentionally rude. That's why I wasn't really sure how to handle the situation.

I think maybe a few of the comments here may be a little off the mark, as I don't really see her as being the vindictive type, maybe she just has a poor filter between her head and her mouth. Either that or she thinks scaring me is a good teaching method. Either way, it hurts, but I guess I'll have to watch my back and keep track of these little incidents.

Specializes in Acute care, Community Med, SANE, ASC.

I've given report to nurses who sound like this person. Remember it is a 24-hour job and often you cannot get everything done. I also think it is impossible to do the job perfectly so I have learned to move past that.

When I have to give report to the nitpicker/a**-rider I just give my report, answer questions honestly and keep right on moving with my report. When they say did you do this or did you do that I say, no, and keep right on going. If I feel it's warranted I might tell them why or I might even say I just stinkin' forgot because I was getting my butt kicked all shift and then I move on. I think they are looking for a reaction--wanting you to feel guilty and like an inferior nurse. I simply refuse to give them that. Don't get me wrong--I am not a jerk and I do my best to get as much done as possible. When I give report to a normal nurse (i.e. not the nitpicker) I apologize for not getting things done and give explanations, etc. but there is no point in feeding the nitpicker this crap so I don't. I have found this to be very effective. I am not rude but I simply won't play the game--which I have found makes them quit because then they are just playing it alone.

Keep doing what you are doing. You sound like a hard worker and a conscientious nurse so just keep at it and don't let anyone make you feel like you're not a good enough nurse.

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

I think the best approach it to learn from these experiences and become a better nurse for them. With the groin site, keep in mind that if the patient is coughing and moving around, Q1hr groin checks are inadequate, especially if they have been oozing already. With the labs, you understandably trusted your coworker who told you they were done. But perhaps, following up and making sure they had been done could have taken priority over some other task that wasn't as critical.

I've been on both sides of this sort of thing. The nurse reporting off, knowing I have missed some things or have left some things undone. When I was new, the oncoming nurses were either really nice and understanding, or could smell my weakness and zero in for the kill. The tincture of time and the confidence that comes with it was the cure for that. Those nurses no longer treat me that way because I am able to give good, solid rationales for anything that I may not have been able to complete on my shift, and I have proven myself a hard worker so that those that follow me know that if I leave a mess, it's because I got my @$$ handed to me on a silver platter.

On the other end, I have followed so many nurses that hand me a big steaming pile of poo every single time I follow them that I have probably come off as not so nice on a few occasions (NOT that I condone it!!! I am simply an imperfect human.). It really stinks to follow someone who drops the ball on things, and if it's habitual, it can be easy to lose patience with that person. Everybody has a bad day every once in a while, but nurses who seem to have a bad day every day can be taxing to follow. You might examine that and see if there really is some room for you to improve.

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