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Difficulty with coworker

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by CommunityRNBSN CommunityRNBSN (Member) Nurse

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I am a new nurse and I could use some advice. I work in an outpatient clinic where we also have Medical Assistants. Part of their job is to submit pre-authorizations for prescriptions. This is not part of the nursing job description; we do not even have access to the online PA system. 

I went to an MA today and said “Hi, can you please do these PAs for me?”  She said— and this is a quote— “I’m sorry, I’m just super busy. It is finals week and I am studying for my Psychology final so I can’t.”  She had her textbook open on the desk and everything. 

Okay so obviously, they’re not paying her to study for class, she shouldn’t be doing that. She needs to do her job. The question is, how do I handle it?  I was so taken aback that I just said Okay.  I’m new and don’t want to get a reputation as a troublemaker. I know that probably I should have a private conversation with her about it— except that I am not her supervisor. It’s not like I’m working in a SNF and she is a CNA, where I would have the right to correct her. 

She is known as a reasonably helpful employee, I don’t think she has a reputation for laziness etc. 

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OldDude works as a School Nurse.

7 Followers; 1 Article; 28,832 Visitors; 4,754 Posts

I'd seek employment elsewhere...there are dynamics at work here that you have no control over.

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Whether or not she’s usually a good employee, that is completely out of line for her to refuse to do her job while she’s at work because she’s handling something personal. School is on her own hours, if she needs to study for finals she also needs to take the time off, but she wants to make sure she gets paid, therefore she needs to do the job she’s paid for. 

 I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is to handle work and school at the same time, along with a preschooler in my case, but she’s handling it the wrong way.

If she doesn’t get the pre-authorizations, she’s putting the patients at risk, and she’s affecting your ability to do your job. Go to your supervisor and tell them exactly what happened. It is not “causing trouble”, it is doing your job to report when there is a barrier to you completing the tasks that you are expected to do. 

 

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Feral.Cat.Herder has 22 years experience and works as a School Nurse.

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I agree with OD. If she is study for her exams in the open and not trying to hide it, obviously the powers that be must be aware and okay with her doing so.  I worked nights for a LTC facility as a CNA through nursing school. My supervisor allowed me to study when things were slow, but I could never allow studying to get in the way of my job! 

In the meantime, you may want to talk to your supervisor or other nurses to see how PAs are obtained when the MAs can't or won't get them for you and you have do not have access to the system. 

Let us know how it goes. 

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 64,161 Visitors; 2,776 Posts

I would report this and also start looking at job offerings. The MA's response was beyond absurd. It could very well be a symptom of an entrenched problem. 

 

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9 Followers; 22,438 Visitors; 2,947 Posts

Inquire of your OM or whomever is your direct supervisor how you can get these PAs taken care of.

Problem solved. If it isn't, look for another job.

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

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Just now, JKL33 said:

Inquire of your OM or whomever is your direct supervisor how you can get these PAs taken care of.

Problem solved. If it isn't, look for another job.

I disagree. The OP shouldn't have to perform another's work to enable them to study on company time.

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9 Followers; 22,438 Visitors; 2,947 Posts

Maybe it was more clear in my mind than it came out. She isn't asking to do the work. You have to follow the (imaginary) conversation through to its logical conclusion. Such as:

OM: The MAs are responsible for those.

Nurse: Yes. [Name] and [name] are busy and [name] said she can't help because she is studying for an exam...?

OM: I see....🤨

So then either the problem gets solved by the OM helping the staff member to "re-prioritize," or else the OP should look for a different work environment if exactly that doesn't happen.

PS/Edit: I hate tattle-tale-like stuff, but I suspect this whole thing involves a bit of "toying with new nurse." I highly doubt all other staff members have a tacit agreement to leave her alone and let her sit there making money while not lifting a finger. Therefore, she has replied this way mostly because it was a new person who approached with the request.

 

Edited by JKL33

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I am less convinced that this is an overall problem with the work environment with the details given so far. The OP sounds somewhat unsure of herself even in her explanation of what happened, and this could be a bully coworker who knows exactly who they can push around, and who they would not push around in order evade detection by management. Another nurse who wouldn’t take that answer might not get that same answer from this employee, who might even close her books before they approach. I’d say before declaring this a toxic work environment, OP needs to report and see how management handles it. 

 If they handle it well, then likely this coworker is a jerk who knows that OP is new and a little bit insecure and walking on eggshells, and taking advantage of that.  Some people manage to get away with a lot even at companies that have good policies, sometimes it just takes enough people pointing out their behavior to recognize the pattern, so that they either stop or are dismissed. 

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Feral.Cat.Herder has 22 years experience and works as a School Nurse.

1 Follower; 1,854 Visitors; 126 Posts

35 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

OM: The MAs are responsible for those.

Nurse: Yes. [Name] and [name] are busy and [name] said she can't help because she is studying for an exam...?

OM: I see....🤨

I have these types of conversation in my head all the time.... I'm happy to see I am not alone! 😉

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54 minutes ago, Zippy83 said:

 If they handle it well, then likely this coworker is a jerk who knows that OP is new and a little bit insecure and walking on eggshells, and taking advantage of that.  Some people manage to get away with a lot even at companies that have good policies, sometimes it just takes enough people pointing out their behavior to recognize the pattern, so that they either stop or are dismissed. 

 

I think this is probably pretty accurate. My workplace is disorganized but it does not seem dysfunctional or toxic. I think the MA figured I am new and that she could get away with things that she wouldn’t normally try. 

Update is that about 5 minutes after I left her (as soon as I wrote my post!) , she popped up at my desk and said “Actually you know what, I can do those for you.”  I have no idea what made her think twice about it. I am going to let it lie for now— I don’t want to report it since she did come around on her own— but I’ll be prepared, if it happens again I will feel more confident in how to handle it. 

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Emergent has 25 years experience and works as a Emergency Room RN.

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25 minutes ago, CommunityRNBSN said:

 

I think this is probably pretty accurate. My workplace is disorganized but it does not seem dysfunctional or toxic. I think the MA figured I am new and that she could get away with things that she wouldn’t normally try. 

Update is that about 5 minutes after I left her (as soon as I wrote my post!) , she popped up at my desk and said “Actually you know what, I can do those for you.”  I have no idea what made her think twice about it. I am going to let it lie for now— I don’t want to report it since she did come around on her own— but I’ll be prepared, if it happens again I will feel more confident in how to handle it. 

There's a other issue, you starting a thread here while at work about something that just happened. 

I think you should avoid that. Seriously, that's very ill advised.

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