D.O.N --- where's the support???

  1. I thought that part of a DON's job was to be the support system for all the nurses. But maybe I was wrong?? 3 different times in Dec. I went to my DON to let her know that there was no other nurse scheduled to work the afternoon shift with me. Not once did she do anything about it --- and each time I gave her several days notice. The last time she said to me "well, it's New Year's Eve and no will want to come in". So she didn't even bother to try! I took it upon myself then and called and the first person I called came in to work!! Now this past week there was no one scheduled to work on Friday for the 3-11 shift at all. Another nurse called it to her attention almost 2 weeks ago and nothing was ever done and on Friday the day shift nurse was left scrambling to call someone in. The day shift nurse approached the the Staff Develop. Coordinator and she told the nurse "I don't have time, you deal with it." Part of the problem is our DON is going through Chemo for breast cancer right now and so she doesn't feel well -- and understandable so. But it's very frustrating to the nurses that she won't take a leave of absence until she's well. She can't handle the stress of the cancer and the job -- but she can't see it. She's doing things like telling us to put someone's bed rails down, when family has requested and signed the consent to have them up. She also took a gentleman's bedside meds away from him -- which he has a doctor's order to have at bedside. So far the administrator has stood up for her --- but that's because only certain ones are bold enough to actually complain! The others would rather just grumble about things, but not actually take action to try to fix the problem.
    Any suggestions anyone????
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    About mtgirl63

    Joined: Dec '01; Posts: 77; Likes: 3
    Nursing Home - charge nurse


  3. by   Jenny P
    Is there anyone on staff who is close to the DON? Could that person have a heart to heart with the DON and voice concern both for her health and the facility? Or could someone offer to do the work schedules for her to approve for right now? It is insane that nothing was done when these problems were pointed out to her several days ahead of time; the facility could be fined for some of these errors if not caught in time. What if the staff did self scheduling for a period of time as an experiment? Would that work?
    Is the staff supportive of the DON? If she has been effective before this; she needs to know that you are supporting her and want her back as soon as she is physically able to do all of her duties again. For all you know, she may be unable to take a leave of absence for financial or other reasons. Or she may feel that if she doesn't go to work each day, life isn't worth living. I really think she needs her staff's support right now. Some of the other problems you mentioned may be lapses in judgement due to exhaustion. Lighten her load so she can think clearly again.
    These are just my thoughts and I don't know all of the info; but I've had friends who needed their co-workers support during chemo; one did okay while another committed suicide. I have always wondered if there was something I could have done that would have made a difference in the one's decision for suicide (she was not a nurse; I knew her from a volunteer job I was doing at the time).
  4. by   mtgirl63
    Thank you for your input Jenny. I haven't worked there very long, but the impression I have is that even before she was sick she wasn't all that supportive. She's into the paper work and doesn't have a clue what goes on out on the floor. We have all done our best to be supportive --- we got her all sorts of fun hats to wear after the chemo, cards, prayers, encouraging words. But she doesn't let anyone too close on a personal level. They hired someone to help the DON - the Staff Development Coordinator. But she seems to be of no support either. She's the one that told the nurse on Friday "I don't have time, you deal with it." She should have been the one dealing with it as the DON was out due to another round of chemo.
    I keep telling myself things will get better, the management is stressed right now because state is due in any time now. But then again, that's probably a false hope. I've kind of decided that if things don't get better soon I've thought about talking to the administrator and if that gets me no where, I'll write a letter to the corporation that owns the facility.