I snapped

  1. Well,
    I have just completed the most hellish evening of work I have ever done in my years of nursing. I went of the deep end, and I am feeling just totally disgusted with myself, I dont even know if disgusted it the right word, but I thought I had better come here and vent in the only place where I can find people who might understand. I am just sick and beside myself.

    I will give you all the scene.
    I go to work at the same facility I have been assigned to for the last three months...long term care. I am in a good mood despite the fact that I have learned that I will be working with a nurse that I really cant stand....we will call her "Bertha".
    I have never worked alongside "bertha" , she normally works 11-7 and relieves me, she is also an agency nurse. I have little tolerance for her because she annoys me....she talks to much about crap I dont care about, and very often feels the need to ask questions during report that are irrelevant and will get snippy when you get annoyed with her, or feels the need to disagree with you on some point .......usually an irrelevant point. She is the nurse that works night turn because she cant hang on the other shifts.......she works agency because she cant hang on to a permanent assignment.....you know the type. She feels she knows it all, and yet has managed to be fired from several positions and is stupid enough to tell you about it. Always putting her two cents in when usually her two cents isnt worth two cents. She is nice, friendly, but annoying as all hell. I for some reason have very little tolerance for her.

    Now , I gave ya the low down on Bertha. It is me and Bertha and yet another agency nurse working the floor. I hate it when the whole floor is staffed agency....its not fun, just another thing to cause me stress. The other nurse...we will call her "Sally", is newer to the facility and is not overly familiar with the in's and outs nor the patients. I know I have my work cut out for me.

    All goes suprisingly well thoughout the evening, Bertha only manages to annoy me once early on in the shift by putting her nose up my ass. It was a minor annoyance, and it annoyed me more than it should of. I have had a quiet night, only one problem with a brittle diabetic resolved early on, and spend most of my night avoiding bertha and giving some TLC to my patients who have been somewhat neglected by the CNA who is finishing up her third double in a row and obviously has no desire to attend to the residents anylonger, so I have spent most of my evening filling pitchers and getting people comfy and settled in for the night which is fine by me and it makes me happy to do so, yet in the back of my mind I am slightly annoyed that CNA's are allowed to work so many consecutive doubles. Many seem to love this, they bust ass for two or three days and have the rest of the week off, though latley I have encountered many that choose not to but thier asses and cry about how tired they are while they spend their paychecks on their many days off.....this could be a whole other thread.

    Anywho! on to my nightmare, it is the end of the night, and one of Sallys residents makes his way up to the desk and begins to ***** because he never got his meds.....this is his game, he does this all the time especially when he doesnt know the nurse...he thinks he can get away with it but we are on to him. He is nuts, aaox3, but nuts, likes to cause a fuss now and again. I tell him that yes sally gave him his meds he disagrees and starts calling us stupid and other names and what nots, hollering and fussing. I tell him repeatedly to file a complaint in the office in the morning and go to bed there is nothing he can do about it now and his name calling and rudeness arent appropriate. This goes on for about ten minutes...he bellows I tell him to go to bed. Then he puts the icing on the cake and calls sally a stupid "N" word.

    I have had it and make my first mistake of the evening.
    The guy is in a wheelchair and cant walk so I go behind him to wheel him back to his room because I have now heard enough.
    I get behind him and start wheeling and he starts yelling and grabbing at me...this is no big deal to me and I continue to wheel him off.
    BERTHA decides he should be left there, and is now yelling at me to leave him be. I am angered by this and ignoring her, I continue to take him back to his room. BERTHA decides she is now going to try and prevent me from doing so and comes around the desk and down the hall....and holds down his chair continuing to yell at me to leave him be........This is where I completley snap out and behave in a manor that is so unlike me it is frightning.

    I actually grab Bertha by the arm with a death grip and glare at her ....I am trying to stare her to death. She naturally tells me to let go of her arm.....and I look at her and say......and I am so ashamed to admit that I said this......I say "back off or I may beat the **** out of you". Clearly I have flipped my lid. She looks at me in shock, I let go of her arm and she heads for the phone naturally and calls the supervisor who is not in the facility but lives a block away.

    I continue to take Mr. Nasty back to his room and he, as I knew he would, brings himself back out into the hall but keeps his mouth shut for the rest of the night.

    I head off the floor to take in a smoke cause I desperatly need one at this point. I happen to run into some CNA"S outside that overheard Bertha on the phone with the supervisor. They told me that they could tell that the supervisor couldnt believe what bertha was telling her and they asked me if it was true...did I infact say that to her.......I regretfully admitted that I had said what I said. I still cant believe I did that.
    I will be waiting for my phone to ring tomorrow....the agency will be calling I suspect. Although this dear Bertha is good for making many unfounded complaints, perhaps this one shall be blown off....I dunno. All I know is I wigged out tonight and I cant figure out why. I have never snapped on anyone like that in my life, I sit here wondering if I should call her and apologize....she is working a double.....pr would it make matters worse.....she could end up talking endlessly to me on the phone and piss me off all over again.

    I dunno, I just know that I wont find sleep tonight as for I will be trying to convince myself that I am not insane and dont need mental help.

    The thing that initiated my snap was the relentless verbal assault launched on myself and the staff by a resident. I tend to wonder, where it is that the line gets drawn. How much do we as nurses have to take from families and patients? Was it so terribly wrong for me to remove that man from the nurses station or should I have left him rant and make obscene comments at us all night? Shoudl I have beat the **** out of Bertha anyway?

    Someone out there give me some words of wisdom....I am hoping that one of you can tell me that I am not alone in my snapdom...that others have momentarily snapped as well and went onward.....no problem. We all snap out on occasion right? Perhaps I need to snap out more often?
  2. Visit Sundowner profile page

    About Sundowner

    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 236; Likes: 3
    LPN, agency nurse, LTC


  3. by   RNforLongTime
    I have snapped! It was just last summer. I was working 3-11 shift on a busy med-surg tele floor. We were getting slammed with admits from the moment we stepped on the unit at 3pm! It was 7pm abd there was another pt that needed to be admitted. Well the rest of the staff decided that it was my turn again even though I still wasn't finished with the first one. Let alone taken a smoke break or a lunch. I started ranting in the middle of the nurses station that there was NO WAY I was taking another admit. I havent' peed since I came inblah blah blah. My coworkers are also busy yet one of them is sitting at the puter. Well another RN who was just getting report got all pi$$y and was ranting "I'll take the admit blah blah blah" Finally, I just started to cry, right in the middle of the nurses station. I told one RN who was notorious for NOT being a teamplayer that it doesn't help matters when a co-worker is busy and no one offers to help her. She looks at me and said, tonight we are all busy. I said I am NOT talking about tonight! I'm referring to other nights. The nursing sup came up to talk to me and I left the floor for a much needed 15 minute break. Nothing more was ever said about my little outburst. About a month later, I switched to night shift and am much happier.

    Can't believe that an entire shift was staffed by agency. Sounds unsafe to me. But Bertha had no right to stop you from taking this man back to his room as he was obviously out of control. Your mistake was grabbing her by the arm and saying what you said to her. I'm sorry to say this but you will probably be severely disciplined for this incident. Learn from this incident. I too was suspended without pay for 36 hours for "allegedly" calling a dietary aide a bytch at my previous employer. I actually called her a "witch" but she heard the other word. I should have only been disciplined 24 hours. They even made me go talk to the employee psychologist about this. He said that it was probably just a one time thing and that I was ok just that that girl pushed my buttons that day. He tried to get the hospital to give me back pay for the 12 hours as I was a 12 hr employee and the handbook called for being disciplined 3 days--8hr shifts or 24 hours, but I didn't get it. Not too long after that, I quit working at that place.

    I learned that I had to really watch what I say to co-workers. Sometimes you just gotta bite your tongue and walk away. Hope they aren't too harsh on you. Good Luck!
  4. by   Sleepyeyes
    I've seen a LOT of things in my years as a CNA and a nurse in LTC, so I know how quickly a situation can escalate out of control.
    I'm known for being over-analytical, but sometimes, shedding some light on the facts can really help to figure out what happened and how to avoid it. So let's see if I have this right:

    That was Sally's pt, no? You were more familiar with the pt, and getting him back to his room was a deliberate and appropriate intervention in that it was being done to defuse the situation. I would've done that. After all, after calling Sally a N*****, what else could he have added? It was inappropriate, to say the least.

    Behavior like that, unchecked, tends to escalate everyone in a 10-block radius. Not what you need at end of shift, fer sure. Back in his room, he'd find something else to do. You were thinking.... less stimulation for this guy. He needs to calm down, and you warned him verbally, then acted on it.

    Bertha stepped squarely into the middle of that intervention, literally trying to stop you. She may've been thinking that pt's are allowed any behavior. Patient's rights do not extend to inappropriate behavior and pt calling Sally a N***** was totally unacceptable.

    I'm with you right up to this point.

    When Bertha tried to stop you from defusing the situation, and in fact, you saw that her behavior actually made it worse, you lost it.

    Is that what happened?

    Yes, your response was way out of line--and you had the sense to be honest and the grace to be ashamed. And no, you are not alone. But if you look carefully at your post, you spent the entire night waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    Sounds like you were already tense before this happened, and this simply was the last straw. How many shifts had you worked in a row? How much rest had you gotten? How've you been feeling physically lately? Emotionally?

    I too have snapped. I was tired, grumpy, in chronic low-level pain, and under enormous stress. But I, too, had a Bertha to "help" spark the conflagration :chuckle:

    PM me and I'll tell you about it, if you think trying to picture a fat lady jumping up and down like a bug for 10 minutes would be helpful.

    The sad part is, for about 3 minutes, I felt better than I had in months. Of course, I got written up. And you know what? in that whole "interview" I didn't say a word. My reaction was way out of line, and I knew it, whatever the mitigating factors.

    I hope that I have helped, if only to let you know that we all make mistakes, we're all human, and we are here for you.
  5. by   TaraER-RN
    It may not have been nice or appropriate really to say what you did to Bertha...but at times we all snap, especially when we are pushed to far. I think it was completely appropriate to move the patient back to his room and Bertha shouldn't have tried to stop you, it was your situation and she should have let you deal with it...you weren't being inapproriate there and she should have just waited and talked to you about it later if she disagreed. As for what you said to Bertha, all you can do is aplogize...let her know you were at the end of your rope and you regret saying that and maybe discuss with her your frustrations with her and how you can possibly work on it so it doesn't happen again...even if it means staying away from each other. Working in the ER I have to put up with a lot of patients and family members yelling at me, mostly over the time they are there...and the one thing that my supervisors have told me is that we don't need to put up with it. We are suppose to watch what we say as not to inflate the situation but no patient, family member or another staff person has the right to be demeaning to us. Face it...we as nurses are highly stressed, especially with the shortage and put up with a lot of bull****. Good luck with the situation... I hope it all works out!
  6. by   shay
    I sent you a pm. . Hang in there. It's gonna be okay.
  7. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I think that "Bertha" should have backed you up on your decision.

    If Bertha stopped you physically then that is assault........buuuuuut, when you grabbed her you added verbal assault.

    If it helps, what you said to her was exactly what I was thinking

    She sounds like the "bully" type, maybe now that she's been confronted all you'll have to do is look at her.

    Anyhoo, I'm on your side no matter what.
    Everybody's human,allow yourself a little slack.
  8. by   LilgirlRN
    I snapped last year. I was overwhelmed with the patient load and had asked the triage nurse to hold the patient that she was going to put into one of my rooms for about 5 mins. The doctor heard me tell Corey to hold up for a few. He tells her to ignore me, that he wasnt the patient's brought back. I looked at him with eyes that can kill and told him that he could take care of the patient if he wanted them to be brought back so quickly, that I had too many things to do to other patients. He grabs the phone and overhead pages the charge nurse who made me take a break for about an hour, which was really counterproductive. Should have held the patient for 5 minutes rather than being down a nurse for an hour.
  9. by   Brownms46

    I agree..what sense did that make?? Ohhh..but at least he got his way right?? I wonder how soon his pt. got taken care of that way
  10. by   Brownms46
    I agree with everyone else .."Bertha"...had pushed a little too far. Although I have never snapped as far as touching someone...dosen't mean I didn't think about it. Although I seriously don't know what I would have did, with her yelling at me. I think I would have told her...it would best if you stop yelling at me.... NOW, and move out of my way! At the moment I'm handling this situation! But hidesight is 20/20 as we all know...and in the heat of the moment...no one can say for sure how they would react!
  11. by   l.rae
    you are soooooooo normal.......and l admire that you admit and feel bad for the outburst. we've all snapped at one time or another...it's always easy to monday morning quarterback the situation..you know hindsite and blah blah blah...but the situation will prepare you for further situations....yes they will occur. i once had a nurse really pizz me off so bad it made me sick to my stomach. anyway, because of my "mistakes" in the past, l've learned to wait until l'm not mad to address the situation if poss.(not poss in your situation tho), l had to wait 2 weeks! l started to do it before that and got so riled up l almost passed out...since l hadn't even said anythin yet no one knew why...just thinking about it got to me! long story short, l did resolve the situation and it had not wccured again...i just wonder which nurse will be the sacrificial lamb before the nursing crisis is taken seriously?? who will climb the tallest building dressed in a clown suit with an oozie under their arm and change the cliche of "going postal" to "going nursing"...............lr
  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    "going nursing"
  13. by   Sundowner
    Thanks for reassuring me guys, I do feel better this morning, though I still have feelings of dread. At this point I am more curious to see what if anything will become of this. Normally I would expect to be asked not to return to this facility but I think we can all agree that things in nursing havent been quite the norm as of late.
    I have been working this facility for a while now, and I think I have earned some respect there from the staff, and I honestly wonder if Bertha will be the one asked not to return out of the two of us...though that would be incredibly wrong.....it wouldnt suprise me. Odder things have happened.
    I am still ashamed of myself, I really dont desire to go back to that facility.
    I am just curious to see what if anything will evolve from this at this point. I will keep you all posted.....it could prove to be interesting.
    Thanks again guys.....you have made me feel a bit better!
  14. by   Sundowner

    I AM ROLLING AROUND IN HYSTERICAL FITS OF LAUGHTER....thought secretly worried that it will be me!