Confrontational co-workers!!!!!

  1. I don't even know what happened at work yesterday but two of the co workers got really angry at me and started double tagging me in the break room. This is what happen. I work on a very busy med surg floor. We only have one assistant NM who is very good at her job and when she is working she takes cares of calling all the doctors, all critical lab values, any other issues with pt or pt;s families in a very smooth way. Basically when she is there the unit runs perfectly. But she only works three days a week that leaves 4 days out of week when someone else is in charge position. Now any one of the floor nurses is picked up randomly to be charge for that day. When any other charge nurse is there besides my NM i don't feel comfortable working with them. Because it seems like with a load of 8 pt's in morning shift i am also unit secterary, calling all doctors, managing disruptive families, and doing my usual pt care and passng meds responsibility. 8am i already had a rapid response with other craziness. MY DON asked me i looked so frazzeled i then in calm manner with one of other coworker standing next to me said i don't like when our usual assistant nm is not there, when some one else besides her is in charge all hell breaks loose. I did not by any means applied that other people in charge are not doing there jobs well; my only implication for that statement was it's just chaotic and crazy when someone else is in charge. So the charge nurse for that day and the other coworker who said everthing to the charge double tagged me in the break room and started saying F words and things like go to other floor and work. I remained very calmed and polite and explained how i felt. And even after my break on floor i talked to them very politely. But now i feel they are going to spread rumours about me which is not true at all and try to sabotage me. I have not said anything to DON yet. Should i wait and see what happens or tell the DON what took place??????
  2. Visit mina123 profile page

    About mina123, BSN

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 71; Likes: 46
    NICU AND LDRP
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in Cardiac, Maternal-child, LDRP, NICU

    25 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from mina123
    I don't even know what happened at work yesterday but two of the co workers got really angry at me and started double tagging me in the break room.
    I'm sorry this happened. You don't deserve to be angrily accosted, although it would be nice if we knew if there were any provoking factors involved.

    Here's my workplace observation...some coworkers will always target certain individuals while leaving the others alone. It all comes down to their perception of us. If you are perceived as a 'softie' who will not stand up for oneself, it is likely that you'll be targeted for further angry confrontation. If you're perceived as someone who will put up resistance and not let anyone walk over you, then these people will quickly know to leave you alone.

    In other words, nurses can "bully-proof" themselves by openly confronting the foul behavior as soon as it happens. If we make ourselves too difficult to pick on, the offenders will simply move on to easier targets.

    What happened to you is probably a crime of opportunity. People tend to pick the most opportune targets: the person who is less likely to respond in a defensive manner to confrontation. Also, if nothing is done, then they will probably continue the rampage in the future, because they know they can get away with it due to your inaction at that moment in time.

    The moral of the story is that we train others on how to treat us. If a couple of angry coworkers are cornering you and confronting you, it is imperative that you bark back right then and there.
  4. by   David13
    In my opinion, the scenario as presented appears to be merely a misunderstanding. When you told the DON that it was chaotic when the regular charge nurse was not there, it may have been assumed that you were saying that the specific charge nurse for that day was not efficient. Your coworkers might just need a little bit of clarification and "reassurance" from you that you were not referring to them specifically.

    By the way, none of this excuses the unprofessional behavior of your coworkers. You should let them know in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate that type of behavior from them.
    Last edit by David13 on May 1, '09
  5. by   MUNewgrad
    I think that, no matter what you said to DON, they had no right to corner you like that. That is very unprofessional and should be dealt with accordingly. This is the kind of behavior that needs to be brought to a screeching halt! I hope that you address that aspect of it. It's called Lateral Violence.
  6. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from MUNewgrad
    I think that, no matter what you said to DON, they had no right to corner you like that. That is very unprofessional and should be dealt with accordingly. This is the kind of behavior that needs to be brought to a screeching halt! I hope that you address that aspect of it. It's called Lateral Violence.
    I agree. That was not the way professionals approach a problem -- especially unacceptable is the use of the "f" word. For that reason--the way you were cornered like you did something wrong instead of approached as professional to professional -- is why you need to report these two to the DON.
  7. by   pagandeva2000
    Good advice from posters so far. One thing to keep in mind is to try and make neutral comments in the future as well...if you look frazzled and are asked, it is easier to say "It's a rough day". I strongly believe that you really meant no harm and I also disagree with the confrontational manner you were approached with; whether you are the type that advocates for yourself or not. Please know that I am not attaching any blame to you whatsoever!

    Witnessing and having been in the middle of crap (even being a strong person that does not tolerate lateral violence) taught me to keep my comments general and neutral.
  8. by   zuzi
    Mina I am so sorry to hear about that. All of us we are people with differnt type of charcters and personalities. But what is true is that no one of us we don't want to hear from ANY other that we do a bad job or we are less professional. The confrontation beetwen nurses start, generally from here. One nurse wants to show up to her self and to others, coworkers, managers how beuatiful, smart, unreplacebale, a good achivement for the floor she is. In the same time other nurses belive the same, or just want to have a peacefull life....so the confict is started. Mina when you are young the amazonian blood boil for each and any ...I belive all in all that you have right in what you said...and is a mess there...BUT.... if you express your concerns in this way...you will build just a hostile work environment against you. Probably you was overhelmed, and them was ****** off of your remarks, taken too personally. The BIG issues need to be spoken with a little voice and on a special tone.... just my foreign observations about.... but still hard to handle and practice, I know the felling...

    Relax, deep breath, all of you need to talk in a constructive positive way... let see what your managers will decide...

    Hugs honey, don't take all of them personally...is life, hard nurses life... are money involved...we are just nurses.. be smart and balanced. Will be ok!
  9. by   Altra
    From what I've read here, I agree that your coworkers' conduct was unprofessional.

    However, I also believe I'm reading that you publicly, though not explicitly, stated that the unit doesn't run as well when one particular person is not there to be in charge. As your coworker who was charge that day, I probably wouldn't have been too pleased with you either.

    I'm not excusing your coworkers' inappropriate confrontation, but I wonder if your comments at the particular time & place that they were made were also less than professional.
  10. by   systoly
    Dear mina123, I know you meant no harm, but you are indeed stating that the other charges don't do as good a job. I'm sure that's factual as well, but when you make statements like that you know you have to be prepared for confrontation, because a lot of people have more pride than desire to improve themselves. What I mean is, someone who wants to excell in their job might have asked you how the assistant NM handles stuff. Instead you got foul language, which, breakroom, parking lot or other area, is completely unacceptable and therefore I would ask for a meeting with your next higher manager to resolve this. I'm afraid your correct about this not going away on its own and the use of this language alarms me quite a bit.
  11. by   mina123
    Thank you for all your comments. Lesson learned. I like the advice of keeping the comments neutral from now on. I did not intent any harm to anyone but there are varities of personalities we work with and you never know who takes things personally or not. I have decided not to go to my DON this time and let it roll over my shoulders; i am not that type of nurse to go and get any body in trouble in this tough economy situation. My DON is excellent in resolving conflicts i do feel very comfortable with her, and i am a very strong personality everybody at work knows this but i am going to let this one go. However i am going to let both the coworkers know that i am doing them this first favor of letting this issue go, but next time they won't be that lucky. And hope they all are adult enough and professional enough to let this go and behave like good teammates.
  12. by   systoly
  13. by   Altra
    Quote from mina123
    Lesson learned.

    ...

    i am a very strong personality everybody at work knows this but i am going to let this one go. However i am going to let both the coworkers know that i am doing them this first favor of letting this issue go, but next time they won't be that lucky.
    Lesson learned? Are you sure about that?

    So ... the next time you publicly criticize the performance of one of your coworkers, and they have an issue with it ... you'll not do them the *favor* of allowing them some response? Am I reading this right?

    Hmm.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from Altra
    Lesson learned? Are you sure about that?

    So ... the next time you publicly criticize the performance of one of your coworkers, and they have an issue with it ... you'll not do them the *favor* of allowing them some response? Am I reading this right?

    Hmm.
    i'm w/you, altra.
    op, i'd be very careful as to how you state your concerns to your coworkers.
    as a few posters have mentioned, the charge nurse of the day obviously (and rightly) took it personally, feeling offended by your criticism of the floor when the anm is off.
    of course it's ideal when there is someone to deal w/families, md's, lab values and other time-consuming duties, but unless it's in a job description, no one is obligated to take on such duties.
    and so, because of the increase in your workload when anm is off, you're essentially blaming the added stressors, on the charge nurse.
    and that's unfair.

    if you do speak to them, i would definitely address the profanity used when expressing themselves.
    that was totally uncalled for and most unprofessional.
    but you also might consider clarifying your complaints, in that it's the extra work you're upset about:
    but that you understand it is not their fault that they handle charge differently than the anm.

    i hope this gets resolved...
    professionally, of course.

    leslie

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