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Etiquette on writing a coworker up?


Specializes in Geriatric.

I'm a new LPN and let me state first and foremost I do not ever want to write someone up for not doing their job. I feel it should be a last resort, with that said I understand that sometimes it is necessary. Is there a proper way to go about doing it? We have a form and that's pretty cut and dry. Should I confront the person I am writing up? Should I leave that for the DON? I have never been in this position and i could use some advice.

How do you go about writing up a coworker?

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 39 years experience.

I would check your employer's policy and procedure. Management or a charge person usually deal with this. I would check with your manager.

Is this a nursing assistant that you supervise or another nurse? If a nurse, you write a statement like an incident report, stick to the facts, sign it, and give it to the DON, ADON, or intermediate floor supervisor. If someone you supervise, you need to have that counseling session that goes along with the statement and you include the employee reaction in the statement. You give that statement to your intermediate supervisor. Keep a copy of any statement with your signature on it. Statements are not fun, but sometimes they are necessary.


Specializes in Geriatric.

It is a nursing assistant. I need to learn how to be stern and not afraid of upsetting people I suppose. I'm just afraid of possibly creating a hostile work environment. I'm not a confrontational person. And I don't ever want to be "that" nurse, ya know?

You have to take the bull by the horns sooner or later or the boss will take action against you. Ask me how I know. Make sure that you provide the dates of the verbal warning(s) in your write up. If you are uncertain of a confrontation, discuss with your supervisor and have the meeting with the supervisor present so you have a witness.

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 10 years experience.

Obviously, we don't know the specifics of the situation, but it seems that--from your two posts--you really feel a write-up is warranted. I also assume that you have provided direction to the CNA before and that it did not effect change in the CNA's work habits, hence the need for a write up. If not, you really should try that first, depending on the egregiousness of the CNAs action or inaction. Check policy, of course. If it is within your role at your facility to write up a CNA at this juncture, you must follow policy. A documented verbal is probably the first step. Sometimes, again depending on the nature of the action/omission, one may skip the progressive discipline and go directly to final written warning. At my workplace, any documented write-up requires presentation to the "offender" with an NM present.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

You asked about the etiquette, not the procedure, so I'll assume you're following your facilitity's procedure for writing someone up. Etiquette (and basic common courtesy) says you discuss the situation with them first. That's a difficult thing to do. It's easier to just grab the form and pen your complaints.

1. Discuss the situation with the person, allow them to see their error and perhaps to change. (Unless the situation is so egregious that this isn't possible -- the RT who threatened everyone coming to work with his hand gun, for example.) Perhaps a write-up won't be needed.

2. Make sure you're following policy/procedure. Documentation of a verbal warning may precede a write-up.

3. Make your report factual, leave the emotion out of it. Focus on dangerous situations for the patient, not on how she made your day more difficult.

4. Make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are perfect. The time it takes to perfect your writing bleeds some of the emotion out of the write up, and allows you to step back from the situation enough to make sure you're focusing on the appropriate subject. (CNA walked away from a patient on the toilet, allowing the patient to fall. Injury to patient. NOT: CNA walked away and left the patient for me to find and the mess for me to clean up when I was busy doing other things and she always does this and besides that she has bad breath and an ugly boyfriend.) You also want it to be stated clearly and unambiguously: you don't want your reader to have to try to read between the lines and figure out what you're writing about.

I spent some time on a safety committee, and part of our job was reading through these write-ups and incident reports. Some of them were so poorly written you couldn't determine the problem, and some were clearly written just because the writer had a hate on for someone else. You don't want yours to be one of the write-ups that finds its way to the circular file after a round of laughter from the committee because it's so poorly written or the premise is so ridiculous.


Specializes in Acute Care. Has 7 years experience.

I was taught in nursing school if you have an issue with someone you work with, then you speak to said person first.