Employee Complaint

  1. So I've been an RN for close to 2 years now and while the hospital I'm working at has a lot of faults, I genuinely like my coworkers and enjoy working with them. I get along with everyone and I always try my best to stay positive and helpful. I've always prided myself on never bringing a sour attitude to work. Thats why I was shocked and very surprised when the director of my unit contacted me stating that she had received a complaint concerning my attitude at work.

    The complaint hadn't even came from one of my fellow nursing coworkers, it had come from a phlebotomist. I was very upset by this because the phlebotomist who had complained was someone I had held in high regard and liked. She was always very cheerful and likable and I always initiated conversation with her since she was easy to approach with her bubbly personality. She was the very last person I had expected to complain about me so it sort of felt like a betrayal.

    The complaint itself was something so trivial it felt unjust. She had complained that when she asked me to draw from a PICC line that I had presented myself as annoyed and irritated and asked rude questions. I remember that day clearly and while it was busy, I didn't mind drawing from a PICC line. It was my patient after all. She was mostly offended when I asked why phlebotomists at our hospital weren't allow to draw from PICC lines and if other Phlebotomists at other hospitals could do it. Having never worked at another hospital I was genuinely curious regarding our hospital policies. She didn't seem to take offense and even answered me cheerfully stating that they weren't even allowed to carry NS flushes.

    I honestly meant no offense when said I thought it would be pretty cool if they started training the phlebotomists at our hospitals to draw from PICC lines. I just wanted her to know that I knew how inconvenient it must have been for her to have to hunt down an RN every time she had to draw from a PICC when were always so short staffed. I spoke from experience of the frustration I often had trying to find help changing a patient at busy times of the night when it was hard to locate another nurse for help. She even laughed and agreed that it would be easier. I just wish she would have gone to me with her problem and told me to my face about how I had offended her instead of going behind my back and taking it to the director.

    I can't change anything and what frustrates me the most is that the complaint was uncalled for. I had no negative feelings towards her, I wasn't annoyed at the situation, and all I wanted to do was initiate small talk like we always did when I saw her drawing blood. I never felt like I had deviated from a professional manner for after all, I was wondering aloud ways we could improve our hospital and the quality of our patient care. How are her feelings regarding the situation and genuine questions in any way my fault?

    My main question is, will this complaint be considered a write up and stay permanently on my record? The director did have me sign the copy of the email she received as evidence that I had received it and she had spoken to me about it. what happens next?
  2. Visit FlyingFishofFury profile page

    About FlyingFishofFury, ADN

    Joined: May '17; Posts: 3; Likes: 9

    37 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from FlyingFishofFury
    So I've been an RN for close to 2 years now and while the hospital I'm working at has a lot of faults, I genuinely like my coworkers and enjoy working with them. I get along with everyone and I always try my best to stay positive and helpful. I've always prided myself on never bringing a sour attitude to work. Thats why I was shocked and very surprised when the director of my unit contacted me stating that she had received a complaint concerning my attitude at work.

    The complaint hadn't even came from one of my fellow nursing coworkers, it had come from a phlebotomist. I was very upset by this because the phlebotomist who had complained was someone I had held in high regard and liked. She was always very cheerful and likable and I always initiated conversation with her since she was easy to approach with her bubbly personality. She was the very last person I had expected to complain about me so it sort of felt like a betrayal.

    The complaint itself was something so trivial it felt unjust. She had complained that when she asked me to draw from a PICC line that I had presented myself as annoyed and irritated and asked rude questions. I remember that day clearly and while it was busy, I didn't mind drawing from a PICC line. It was my patient after all. She was mostly offended when I asked why phlebotomists at our hospital weren't allow to draw from PICC lines and if other Phlebotomists at other hospitals could do it. Having never worked at another hospital I was genuinely curious regarding our hospital policies. She didn't seem to take offense and even answered me cheerfully stating that they weren't even allowed to carry NS flushes.

    I honestly meant no offense when said I thought it would be pretty cool if they started training the phlebotomists at our hospitals to draw from PICC lines. I just wanted her to know that I knew how inconvenient it must have been for her to have to hunt down an RN every time she had to draw from a PICC when were always so short staffed. I spoke from experience of the frustration I often had trying to find help changing a patient at busy times of the night when it was hard to locate another nurse for help. She even laughed and agreed that it would be easier. I just wish she would have gone to me with her problem and told me to my face about how I had offended her instead of going behind my back and taking it to the director.

    I can't change anything and what frustrates me the most is that the complaint was uncalled for. I had no negative feelings towards her, I wasn't annoyed at the situation, and all I wanted to do was initiate small talk like we always did when I saw her drawing blood. I never felt like I had deviated from a professional manner for after all, I was wondering aloud ways we could improve our hospital and the quality of our patient care. How are her feelings regarding the situation and genuine questions in any way my fault?

    My main question is, will this complaint be considered a write up and stay permanently on my record? The director did have me sign the copy of the email she received as evidence that I had received it and she had spoken to me about it. what happens next?
    She obviously doesn't make the policies and she wouldn't necessarily know every other hospital's policies, either. It does seem like a stupid thing to complain about to a manager, but you were probably a lot more irritated than you're admitting to if you saw fit to throw those questions her way.
    Express your frustrations to the people who can actually change things, next time. I've never worked at a hospital where phlebotomists draw from PICC lines, though.
    No one is going to be able to answer your "main question" except for your boss (or HR).
  4. by   bugya90
    At my job, yes that email would remain a part of your employee file along with any notes/write ups that your manager made.

    I've never heard of a phlebotomist being able to draw from a PICC either. I know neither of the local hospitals here allow it. I'd be willing to bet it is outside of their scope of practice in most (if not all) states.
  5. by   StrwbryblndRN
    I would not worry about it. Both of your perceptions were different. Let it be a lesson learned and if for any reason someone comes across like they are annoyed at you, ask them. Hospital work can be stressful and co-workers can come across negative when not meaning too. Happens to the best of us.
  6. by   JKL33
    Quote from FlyingFishofFury
    She was mostly offended when I asked why phlebotomists at our hospital weren't allow to draw from PICC lines and if other Phlebotomists at other hospitals could do it.
    I can't say I would've tackled this line of discussion regardless of how cheerful she usually is. It's one of those things learned over time. People take things personally and the comment quoted above is not worth it. Besides, you can see how it could be taken as sort of a challenge; since she very well may not know the answer it can be taken as a rhetorical question (i.e. sarcastic) if one is so inclined.

    Keep any convo to superficial pleasantries with anyone who isn't a personal friend (so that would be most people at work), since the situation you ended up in is beyond mind-numbingly stupid. Don't even give it a chance get off the ground if you can help it. Smile, say "thanks," "sure, no problem"/"happy to help" and other such commentary.
  7. by   ILoveHorses67
    The phlebotomist probably took offense because it might have made her feel inadequate. She probably felt like she was bothering you. Next time you have questions like this, I would ask your co-workers (nurses) first and see what they know if you're curious.
  8. by   OldDude
    I think it's a pretty dumb thing for someone to complain about (next time you'll be accused of looking at the phlebotomist wrong) but if you're worried about it, ASK your supervisor if this is a "courtesy" conversation or a complaint which will end up as part of your employee record. If it's gonna stay in your file, write up your rebuttal and have that document signed by your supervisor and filed away too. Doing nothing shows you agree...
  9. by   caliotter3
    Quote from Ninjanurse51
    The phlebotomist probably took offense because it might have made her feel inadequate. She probably felt like she was bothering you. Next time you have questions like this, I would ask your co-workers (nurses) first and see what they know if you're curious.
    I would extend this advice. Ask any questions of people you know and are familiar with, so you don't run into a stranger who decides, for whatever reason, to make you look bad to your supervisors. These negative encounters can have more serious consequences than you just feeling uncomfortable or foolish in the moment.
  10. by   TriciaJ
    I think the phlebotomist got bent out of shape over something trivial. Even if the OP was irritated, does the phlebot not get that sometimes people are busy and stressed? What a stupid thing to complain about. The supervisor should really have put on a big boot and punted the phlebot out her door. It shows weak leadership and encourages people to run tattling with stupid stuff.

    What can the OP learn from this? That sometimes people are incredibly insecure and petty, management is wishy-washy and dysfunction is encouraged. I agree that s/he should find out from the manager if this was a "friendly" conversation of if there is something the OP needs to respond to.
  11. by   dudette10
    As I read your post, I could hear and see the exchange. Like a wondering out loud sort of thing with a pleasant response, and not challenging in any way.

    What you have to remember is that some people LIKE to be offended and feel as if they are wronged some how. I'm not talking about serious, egregious offenses that anyone with half a brain would recognize as true discrimination or the like. I'm talking about exactly what you described--a conversation that, in the moment, went very well. And then you are blind-sided. Why? Because she started thinking about it and decided to get offended. It's clear to me that at the time, she wasn't offended at all, only later.

    Drama (petty **** blown up into a total ****-storm) makes me extremely uncomfortable. A true aversion to drama, which has the nice side effect of being an easy-going and not easily offended person. I can be passionate and engage in conversations about things that matter, but "drama"--uh, no way, leave me out of it. An acquaintance of mine THRIVES on drama. She is offended by someone or something on a weekly basis, over the stupidest of stuff. That's just the way some people are. They are hell to deal with, but at least you learned something out of this.

    Good luck!
  12. by   brownbook
    This ranks up with the top stupid issues. As bad as being in trouble for taking doctors candy at Christmas, which turned out to be a troll.

    I would calmly, politely, ask the manager if the complaint was going into your permanent file. If yes I would ask to have the phlebotomist and you meet with the manager so you could apologize to the phlebotomist for any misunderstanding and explain that you meant no disrespect.
  13. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    1) I think you should sit down with this person and talk to her and maybe appologize that she took your tone and questioning the way she did. Let her know you were having a bad day etc. If this doesn't happen their will always be some tension and/or some awkardness between the two of you.


    2) I don't think any hospital or other facility would ever allow someone, other than a nurse to draw from a PICC. A phlebotomist cannot flush a PICC and assess whether it is patent, they cannot stop IV pump meds and then recontinue them, and they generally are certified and not licensed. So I would not hold your breath waiting for them to be able to do this.

    I have to be honest we have almost all been there when you are tired, understaffed, and over utilized and you feel like you cannot get out of your own way, and then someone else comes along and asks you to do something else. The frustration can sometimes enter our conversations either in words or tone, even if maybe that isn't our intention, or maybe it's a way of venting frustration, but it happens and we don't always realize another persons perception. Also never forget the patient may be listening as well, and if I was the patient and heard you speak about how someone else should be able to do whatever it is that you are doing then I would probably get a little upset that my needs were inconveniencing the nurse that is suppose to be caring for me, so also keep that in mind. Family as well...

    Annie
  14. by   Crystal-Wings
    Good lord OP, next time she'll get offended because you asked her if she enjoyed her weekend. Talk about a special snowflake that needs to be handled with kid gloves. In the future, don't bother talking to her about anything unless it's strictly related to the blood sample she'll be taking from your patient.

    I would have asked your manager if she was for real for dumb **** like that.
    Last edit by Crystal-Wings on May 11

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