Bullied by CNAs?

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Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,854 Posts

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.

Oh yeah.. the OP is a victim of a well planned out scheme, that she thinks she has no control over.

Absolutely , no one has to like or follow your advice. That was not my intention. My intention was to support the OP.

Anna Flaxis

Anna Flaxis, BSN, RN

Has 15 years experience. 3 Articles; 2,816 Posts

I'm pretty sure management is well aware of the problem, and as it has been allowed to continue, there is no fixing it until you have the backing of management.

In my mind, you have three choices:

1) Learn how to function in this environment and just do the best you can.

2) Try to be an agent of change, and be prepared for either A) Things will change as a result of your efforts or B) It will all blow up in your face.

3) Start looking for work elsewhere.

Good luck!



55 Posts

First get a couple of books, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, By Patrick Lencioni, look up the table group to see the fundamentals of creating a team, and also a classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. There is a limit to what we can do as team members, but we need to do what we can , I have also sneaked copies of these books into the mail boxes of management, and finally , prayer.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience. 5,047 Posts

Incident reports, Every. Single. Time.

If nothing is done, get outta Dodge.

I completely disagree with convincing anyone to do the jobs they are being paid to do, or expending time and energy on your days off learning to team build and reading books.

These people don't need an RN who just knows how to form a cohesive team. They need to do their **** jobs, or lose them. Their behavior is unacceptable on every level. :madface:

And yes, I was a CNA. I never would have dreamed of sleeping on the job, or otherwise refuse to do it.



4 Posts

If the problems are deep-rooted and the other nurses tolerate such behavior and management does not help then...if those "ifs" are satisfied, time to get out. I've seen places like this. I do not tolerate such baloney. I'm a relatively young nurse but regardless of your age, once you become a nurse you must have the balls to speak out, disapline appropriately and remember that your license will be the one called into question, not their certification. Be empowered to be stand up and speak out. You don't have to put up with nonsense nor do you have to do whatever you are told. As an RN you have a professional license and don't forget what that means. As long as you work within the confines of that license, you can get berated, fired, etc, but you'll never lose your license. Don't let others help you along the path to being a "former nurse." Remember you are responsible for your subordinates' work ethic, be it good or bad.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 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.

Your CNAs may be lazy and disrespectful, but this isn't bullying. (In fact, MOST of the complaints we see on AN about bullying aren't really bullying.)

In general, I've found that CNAs, like most every co-worker, work harder if they see you as treating them more like a colleague than like a naughty child. (I'm not saying you're guilty of that, just making a point.) If you make the effort to get to know them and spend 30-60 seconds chatting with them the first time you encounter them each shift, they may be more willing to help you out by actually doing their jobs. If not, document.

EVERY time you see someone sleeping, document. Document when someone isn't doing their job. If someone does do their job, praise them publiclly.

When you ask someone to do something, briefly explain why it's important. "I need to give Mr. Murray his blood pressure medication; I'll need his blood pressure done now. Thank you so much for helping me out." "It's important that we turn Mrs. Einstein every two hours so she doesn't get a pressure ulcer. I can help turn just as soon as I finish passing these medications."

CNAs are experts in their particular job. I'm sure they're the ones who know that Mrs. Stover likes the RED sweater and hates the blue, that Mr. Nelson doesn't like his food touching on his plate, and that Miss Olsen is great at jigsaw puzzles and loves to teach knitting to other residents -- all things that you might not necessarily know. Ask them for their advice when you can. The more they feel like colleagues, the more they'll want to help out.

You're also going to have to talk to your manager about the problem, what you're personally doing to fix it, and what help you need from her. Good luck with that conversation . . . but it's necessary.

Hope you can turn the situation around.



Specializes in retired LTC. 7,735 Posts

OP - are your CNAs union? My guess is they are. You'll need to follow whatever the protocol is to document, document, document. I found it helped if I did a write-up per rules and then left it for higher-uppers to pursue.

That initial report is USUALLY the most difficult investigative step in initiating a disciplinary effort. It is burdensome & time-consuming for the third-party supervisor to get into it. You will have to provide the info anyway, so you might as well start it yourself. After a while, it becomes really easy to 'think' that way.

Get a copy of a disciplinary form and know what & HOW to record data. Union handbooks usually are very succinct and specific about infractions. It's like a built-in template - just fill in the blanks.

Get a copy of their CNA job description to help you document. Also, FWIW, your job description probably has some wording re your 'supervision' of other ancillary staff and delivery of pt care. So you have the 'authority' to do it (yeah, I know, some places it's all hot air).

Always make sure your expectation is specific, definitive, exact and COMMUNICATED. Leave no room for an "oh,, I didn't know...

Focus on a big issue - if the CNA is sleeping and NO water pitchers have been emptied and NO trash cans emptied, and you did tell the CNA, then write it up.

And don't just select one person - sounds like you have several problems staff. You don't want one aide to claim 'you're picking on her'.

If you start the process and management does not intervene, then you may have to move on as other PPs have posted. But don't be too hasty in these rough unemployment times.

I do not recommend this but I have heard of nurses using their cell phone cameras to catch CNAs sleeping in the act. It's probably against facility P&P to take pix.

Another poster remarked to PRAISE when appropriate and remember 'thank you'. YES.

Edited by amoLucia