Is the charge nurse the boss of unit secretary?

  1. Friend of mine is doing secretary work at a hospital. She says she has been getting bullied by a charge nurse. The nurse has yelled at her and even said things in front of other nurses like basically calling her incompetent. The nurse has also said racist remarks. My friend tried to go to her bosses but nothing has been done and it is getting worse. Any suggestions on what to do? She also says that when she has went to supervisors, things get back to the nurse and it gets really bad.
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    About Ajean1203

    Joined: Apr '18; Posts: 8; Likes: 2

    32 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Ajean1203
    Friend of mine is doing secretary work at a hospital. She says she has been getting bullied by a charge nurse. The nurse has yelled at her and even said things in front of other nurses like basically calling her incompetent. The nurse has also said racist remarks. My friend tried to go to her bosses but nothing has been done and it is getting worse. Any suggestions on what to do? She also says that when she has went to supervisors, things get back to the nurse and it gets really bad.
    Typically, the charge nurse does direct the unit secretary. If your friend is complaining to superiors and nothing is being done, it's time for her to look for a new job. And while it's perfectly fine to be supportive of your friend, keep in mind that you're hearing only one side of the story.
  4. by   hherrn
    I am a charge nurse in a busy ER. There is a new unit secretary that can't get it into her head the concept of charge nurse. She seems to get "nurse"- just not "charge". When I try and explain to her what needs to happen, she gets very defensive. Essentially, she is lazy, and spends more time on her phone than doing her job. Any kind of guidance I try to give gets deflected as though it is a personal attack. At one point, she even tried putting me on the defensive by playing the race card. When I told my partner about this (same race as her), he got a pretty good laugh.

    It's an uncomfortable position to have to supervise somebody, but be unable to fire them, despite clear incompetence. Honestly, I don't have time for this nonsense. No doubt this delicate little flower is going to claim I am bullying her. Poor thing. I have started the paper trail I need, to get her out of here, but HR really drags their feet on this stuff.


    That is probably what the other side of the story looks like.

    Of course, it is possible that your friend is a sincere, hard working, dedicated professional who is being harassed by a racist bully. If so, she needs to decide whether to take a stand on principle, and as a new hire go head to head with veteran staff, or to find a new job.

    But, bear in mind that claims like that get made by lazy defensive incompetent people all the time.
  5. by   Ajean1203
    She gave examples like she would do what the charge nurse wants then the nurse would say she is doing it wrong. She has no issues with the other nurses but when this one is on shift, she leaves work exhausted and crying. I visited her and saw the woman do some mean stuff. I told her to just look for another job which she is doing but I feel she shouldn't have to change work over someone that can't hold ethics. This woman even broke HIPAA laws. Plus she always pulls the race card when she is punished. Somewhat I believe that is why she is still there.
  6. by   oceangirl1234
    Quote from Ajean1203
    She gave examples like she would do what the charge nurse wants then the nurse would say she is doing it wrong. She has no issues with the other nurses but when this one is on shift, she leaves work exhausted and crying. I visited her and saw the woman do some mean stuff. I told her to just look for another job which she is doing but I feel she shouldn't have to change work over someone that can't hold ethics. This woman even broke HIPAA laws. Plus she always pulls the race card when she is punished. Somewhat I believe that is why she is still there.
    How did she break HIPAA laws?
  7. by   klone
    Quote from Ajean1203
    I visited her and saw the woman do some mean stuff.
    Such as?
  8. by   Crush
    Way too vague. It is good to defend your friends but always know there are 2 sides to every story. But you come on here calling out "mean stuff", "race card", "HIPPA violations", "can't hold ethics" all on one single person without specifics.

    As to whether the charge nurse is the boss of the unit secretary, I suppose that would vary by facility type, structure, shift, etc.
    Last edit by Crush on Apr 11
  9. by   not.done.yet
    1. This is between your friend and her superior. While you can be sympathetic, you are only getting one side of the story.

    2. Whether you personally think this is the way things should be doesn't matter. The charge nurse has been there longer, has more experience and has more authority. Your friend's only move at this point is to find another job. The people above her have a history with her that includes far more than this issue. In a toe to toe battle the charge nurse is going to get the apple every time.

    3. Reinforcing the unfairness of the situation isn't going to help your friend cope. Hopefully you aren't just agreeing with her about how messed up it is and piling on that emotional baggage heap. Consider instead helping her to reframe the situation and her own emotions about it until she is able to find a different job. All jobs are difficult for the first three to six months until the routines are learned, personalities learn to gel and the culture of the environment is better understood. It well may be this charge nurse is a bad nurse and a bad person, but that is neither here nor there at this point. This is your friend's way of supporting herself. Help her to do it with less stress by encouraging her to get more stress relief outside of work through exercise, good nutrition, recreation that takes her mind away from the work environment etc.
  10. by   Coffee Nurse
    Quote from Ajean1203
    I visited her and saw the woman do some mean stuff.
    Why are you visiting someone at work in a hospital setting?
  11. by   Ajean1203
    The charge nurse has stated conditions of patients in the open where guests have heard. Even spoke of a suicide case. I visited her because I was on lunch and doing clinic there and we were going to lunch. I'm helping my friend look at somewhere else. Many of the assistants can't syand the nurse because she talks down to them as well. So it's not just my buddy having issues. Others have complained about her but can't get help.
  12. by   Ajean1203
    Also, my friend has done secretary work at medical facilities for years, like 15. She got laid off at her last job due to them getting rid of administrative on the section. Big cut backs at the place. She said she has had difficult ones but this one is by far totally out of line.
  13. by   JKL33
    Is the charge nurse the boss of unit secretary?
    It's unfortunate these two are experiencing a personality conflict or yes perhaps your friend is being treated unfairly.

    Either way, whether or not the Charge Nurse is the boss of the secretary is irrelevant except to say that if you're thinking your friend could sort of tune out this nurse and do her job however she sees fit without the CN's input - - no, not really. CNs and all nurses are expected to use professional judgment that may mean that things will be done slightly differently or prioritized in a different manner than the exact step-by-step function the secretary was taught. In addition the CN is in a role that requires significantly more education related to the contributing matters at hand.

    Should she sit there and nitpick your friend? No. I can't say as though I've ever seen that situation without a good hefy dose of inappropriateness coming from the other direction, too, though. Frankly it sounds like the two of them should seek to have a proctored meeting where they can discuss how they got off on the wrong foot.

    It won't do your friend well to make this seem worse than it is. For example: Either she's being targeted racially or she isn't. But whether she is or isn't, isn't something that's excused or not excused based on whether the CN is "the boss" or not, KWIM?

    I hope your friend isn't looking to take a "you do your job, I'll do mine" attitude because that isn't going to work. If there are real issues, she should seek to address them in a manner appropriate to a workplace. If there aren't, then, if she wants this job, she will have to work under the direction of the CN.
  14. by   Ajean1203
    My friend is the type that cares a lot about patients and wants to help. This CN seems to throw attitude of 'Oh well.' To me, the lady seems to be getting big headed about her status. She just got CN a year or so back. A few other nurses have talked how stuck up and self absorbed she is.

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