Bullied by CNAs?

Posted
by needsassistance needsassistance (New) New

Hi everyone, first post.

I currently work night shift in a psych hospital where the CNAs are constantly asleep on the job and display other severe defiance. Unfortunately, if an RN mentions anything, all of the CNAs will no longer complete their delegated tasks as they seem to all be very close. In my time there, I've literally had a CNA turn her head at me and say "no" when requesting her to perform an eye contact (high fall risk and suicidal) while I got an emergency ETO for aggressive behavior on another patient.

My question is: How can I fix this? Furthermore, our managers only blame the RN if the CNA is not doing their task, as if we have control over their work ethic. Mind you, we are not the CNAs boss, we do not pay their paycheck, and they know they can get away with anything.

It's not a terrible job, but it feels like there is terrible bullying from the CNAs to the Nurses (backwards from what you typically here, I know).

Retaliation is also very high in our organization, sadly.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 11 years experience. 3 Articles; 5,540 Posts

Hi everyone, first post.

I currently work night shift in a psych hospital where the CNAs are constantly asleep on the job and display other severe defiance. Unfortunately, if an RN mentions anything, all of the CNAs will no longer complete their delegated tasks as they seem to all be very close. In my time there, I've literally had a CNA turn her head at me and say "no" when requesting her to perform an eye contact (high fall risk and suicidal) while I got an emergency ETO for aggressive behavior on another patient.

My question is: How can I fix this? Furthermore, our managers only blame the RN if the CNA is not doing their task, as if we have control over their work ethic. Mind you, we are not the CNAs boss, we do not pay their paycheck, and they know they can get away with anything.

It's not a terrible job, but it feels like there is terrible bullying from the CNAs to the Nurses (backwards from what you typically here, I know).

Retaliation is also very high in our organization, sadly.

I am not sure "defiance" is the word you want to use, but if you are having these kinds of problems then it really sounds like 1. a management issue and 2. not such a great place to work especially if it is causing jeopardized patient safety (i.e. a suicidal patient on 1:1 observation that isn't being observed).

NurseOnAMotorcycle, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN. Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 1,066 Posts

It also sounds like you don't have respect as an equal.

1. If you are newer than they are, it takes time to show that you are really in it and not just there for a line on your resume.

2. Puzzle out how you talk to people and see if you are coming off as abrasive or wimpy.

3. Your coworkers are people with problems too. Find out what is going on in their lives before going straight to angry.

4. If they are new you may need to write someone up to show that it's a serious job and no one is allowed to slack. But be careful with this and only use it as a last resort as you are screwing with someone's family income.

5. You'd be amazed at how far a little appreciation goes. "Thanks. I knew I could trust your opinion on that suicidal patient while I medicated this one."

6. Lastly, CNAs and techs are often seen by a nurse as their personal helper, but they are being told what to do by several nurses at the same time. If they stop to help one nurse, another calls them lazy for not doing their task instead. Try asking them if they have anything that they're in the middle of before handing out another task.

Hopefully you spent time being a CNA before becoming a nurse or at least while you were in nursing school. If so then you will remember how some nurses treated you better than others did. Try to be that nurse.

Regardless of how you end up fixing the problem, it will take time. There is no instant fix.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience. 14,255 Posts

First, what you are describing is not bullying.

Second, what does the nurse manager say when you talk to him/her about the CNAs' insubordination?

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,824 Posts

It also sounds like you don't have respect as an equal.

1. If you are newer than they are, it takes time to show that you are really in it and not just there for a line on your resume.

2. Puzzle out how you talk to people and see if you are coming off as abrasive or wimpy.

3. Your coworkers are people with problems too. Find out what is going on in their lives before going straight to angry.

4. If they are new you may need to write someone up to show that it's a serious job and no one is allowed to slack. But be careful with this and only use it as a last resort as you are screwing with someone's family income.

5. You'd be amazed at how far a little appreciation goes. "Thanks. I knew I could trust your opinion on that suicidal patient while I medicated this one."

6. Lastly, CNAs and techs are often seen by a nurse as their personal helper, but they are being told what to do by several nurses at the same time. If they stop to help one nurse, another calls them lazy for not doing their task instead. Try asking them if they have anything that they're in the middle of before handing out another task.

Hopefully you spent time being a CNA before becoming a nurse or at least while you were in nursing school. If so then you will remember how some nurses treated you better than others did. Try to be that nurse.

Regardless of how you end up fixing the problem, it will take time. There is no instant fix.

Since when are nurses and CNA's equal? Blaming the victim is not helpful.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,824 Posts

Yes, you are the CNA's boss. Their job description begins with " under the direction of a registered nurse ."

It sounds like they have developed an effective pattern to avoid work. Do you know how many nurses have quit, before you came into this mess?

Document each and every instance for one week. Present to management and discuss. It is MANAGEMENT's responsibility to discipline and correct this outrageous behavior.

If management continues to refuse to do THEIR job, you must join the previous nurses that got outta Dodge.

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience. 1,547 Posts

It also sounds like you don't have respect as an equal.

1. If you are newer than they are, it takes time to show that you are really in it and not just there for a line on your resume.

2. Puzzle out how you talk to people and see if you are coming off as abrasive or wimpy.

3. Your coworkers are people with problems too. Find out what is going on in their lives before going straight to angry.

4. If they are new you may need to write someone up to show that it's a serious job and no one is allowed to slack. But be careful with this and only use it as a last resort as you are screwing with someone's family income.

5. You'd be amazed at how far a little appreciation goes. "Thanks. I knew I could trust your opinion on that suicidal patient while I medicated this one."

6. Lastly, CNAs and techs are often seen by a nurse as their personal helper, but they are being told what to do by several nurses at the same time. If they stop to help one nurse, another calls them lazy for not doing their task instead. Try asking them if they have anything that they're in the middle of before handing out another task.

Hopefully you spent time being a CNA before becoming a nurse or at least while you were in nursing school. If so then you will remember how some nurses treated you better than others did. Try to be that nurse.

Regardless of how you end up fixing the problem, it will take time. There is no instant fix.

CNAs shouldn't have to be coddled and flattered to do their jobs. Nurses shouldn't have to guess why CNAs aren't doing their jobs. If a CNA feels offended with how they're asked to complete a task, they need to discuss that with the nurse ...not just reply "No." and go back to sleep.

I agree that this job may not be salvageable. I'd probably move on ...or at least explore other options.

CBlover, BSN, RN

Specializes in ORTHO, PCU, ED. Has 8 years experience. 419 Posts

There's an obvious, severe deficiency in management here if CNAs are sleeping on the job. Give me a break. I agree with some above that stated this doesn't sound like the safest work environment. However, there's stinky attitudes everywhere. I've worked on many a nursing unit and there's always one or two that get away with unbelievable behavior. Unless it's affecting your license I wouldn't jump the fence yet. Stick in there and show them you're due respect as an RN.

Nurse Leigh

Nurse Leigh

Specializes in Telemetry. 1,149 Posts

I agree the behavior mentioned by OP is terrible and should not be tolerated. If mgmt doesn't want to deal with it the way they should, they need to give the nurses the ability to write up the CNAs or even send them home. Having no backing from mgmt and not being able to take professional disciplinary action against the CNAs means this behavior will not stop and any good CNAs (and there are lots of them out there) will leave if they get no help from other aides, and RNs and LPNs will leave as well because who wants to work where there is no accountability and no respect.

The facilities that run well have nurses and aides who work together to help the patient and mgmt willing to take a stand when necessary.

TheGooch

TheGooch

775 Posts

CNAs shouldn't have to be coddled and flattered to do their jobs. Nurses shouldn't have to guess why CNAs aren't doing their jobs. If a CNA feels offended with how they're asked to complete a task, they need to discuss that with the nurse ...not just reply "No." and go back to sleep.

I agree that this job may not be salvageable. I'd probably move on ...or at least explore other options.

Especially like #3. You're going to take a time out from the patients to ask what's going on in someone's life who obviously is a slacker.

NurseOnAMotorcycle, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN. Has 10 years experience. 1 Article; 1,066 Posts

Since when are nurses and CNA's equal? Blaming the victim is not helpful.

No victim blaming as I'm not convinced that there are any victims.

No one has to like or follow my advice. It doesn't hurt me if you disagree. The OP asked for opinions and so I gave mine.

OCNRN63, RN

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website. 5,978 Posts

I remember working with a PCT in the ED who only worked when she felt like it. If she didn't like you, she'd refuse to do things like get VS, run blood specimens to the lab, etc. She would also occasionally nap, right at the desk.

I had my fill of her, so one night when she had settled in for her nap (at the desk) I crept over to the night shift supervisor's office, which was right next to the ED. We both walked very quietly back into the ED, and then I picked up the stack of manuals that happened to be at the desk and dropped them with a BANG!

She was sent home (no big loss), and fired by the next day.