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Bizarre Behavior by RN Employee

Nurse Beth   (647 Views 7 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,968 Visitors; 1,782 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a new manager and I have a staff member (RN) that feels it is ok to lie on the floor of the health clinic. I told the staff that it is unacceptable behavior and it is an infection control issue. Do you have any documents/ references that I can use to show this is an infection control issue? He is not compliant and pushing that it is his health and I cannot tell him what to do. Thank you!

Dear New Manager,

Congrats on your new role!

There probably is some literature out there about dirty floors, but that's not the point. The issue here is not one of infection control, and showing him documentation is not a good strategy. It will put you in the weaker position of persuading or logically arguing an employee into changing his behavior

You are the manager, and stipulating that employees not lie on the floor is within your authority, completely reasonable, and in fact, expected.

The real issue is insubordination. He is openly challenging you. When he told you that you "cannot tell him what to do" the answer is:

       "I am telling you what to do. Consider this a verbal warning. If you lie on the floor again,            this discipline will be escalated. Are we clear?"

Document the conversation and loop in your Director and HR. This employee is bad news, and you may very well soon gain your first experience of progressive discipline through him.

In other words, you may free his future to lie on floors of his choice....elsewhere. But not in your clinic.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

 

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Professional Development Specialist.

4 Followers; 43,458 Visitors; 5,313 Posts

Excellent advice.

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2 Followers; 5,906 Visitors; 1,055 Posts

It's not an infection control issue.

If a spare bed were available in the clinic, clean as a whistle, he would also not be free to lie there during the course of an ordinary work day.

He apparently has some type of mental health problem. If there is an EAP, he should probably be referred. Otherwise it sounds like appropriate grounds for termination can be quickly met.

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

4 Followers; 1 Article; 3,516 Visitors; 658 Posts

Ewww... While I agree with Lori, yuck!

I got spastic when my kids hands touched the floor anywhere. This guy's off. He's taking various forms of human contagion home with him too. I wish employees could be treated like disobedient children: make him wear a hazmat suit and do his job from the floor, for the rest of the day if he likes the floor so much.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 6,031 Visitors; 918 Posts

This is just gross!! Why would he want to lay on the floor in the first place. Just really curious what is going on inside his head that makes him want to lay down, much less on the dirty nasty floor.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 6,031 Visitors; 918 Posts

On 5/9/2019 at 2:37 PM, Persephone Paige said:

. I wish employees could be treated like disobedient children: make him wear a hazmat suit and do his job from the floor, for the rest of the day if he likes the floor so much.

Hazmat suit, great idea!! 

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9 Followers; 22,464 Visitors; 2,954 Posts

This is blatant insubordination and the response is unfortunate (though the behavior would probably catch a lot of people off-guard). I don't know, it seems like another rule of thumb is in order - - maybe just be careful saying extra things in hopes of sounding more official/legitimate.

(Tangential example): Many managers tried eliminating food/drink in nurse's stations by claiming this same thing (infection control risk/you could get sick) based on vague recommendations from OSHA, when the real issue is that it doesn't look terribly professional to be snacking and drinking while serving healthcare customers. A lot of manager/admin credibility/respect was lost with just this one issue because people have a lot of "data" (from frequently having to eat/drink while working, instead of taking a break) to correctly infer that they aren't likely to get sick from drinking their own water in the nurse's station - just like this guy knows that it may be weird and somewhat gross, but he probably isn't too likely to come down with (or spread) any plagues from lying on the floor.

Yikes. Ratchet this down before things really become a circus. Limiting words is often wise, since they can so often be used against you. This is one of those things that doesn't call for, "What are you doing on the floor?" or "This is an infection control issue" but rather "GET. UP."

 

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