Need help dealing with difficult CNA

  1. Sorry, this is kind of long. I can always count on this group to give me some wonderful advice - so here's my next request. I have rewritten this several times to try and be vague enuf so that coworkers wouldn't recognize this sceario if they are reading this site, but I find I have to give examples in order to make sense.

    I work with a CNA that has the capability of being what every nurse wants in a CNA - competent, cheerful, independent, dependable, reliable, etc... Unfortunately, she chooses to be difficult, argumentative, sneaky, unreliable and on and on. She is also well known for complaining about how the other shifts do not do their work and leave it all for her.

    She will sit in a rocker and sleep, but it's ok because she's rocking a baby. I will tell her that I do not want to disturb certain patients until a certain time, such as stable patients that got pain meds 1.5 hrs ago and haven't slept in 24 hrs. She will go into their rooms, empty garbage, refill ice water and get their vitals and not even tell she has done it. When I am ready to go and do my assessment, she'll tell me she's already done all this stuff and now I have to wake these people up second time. When she sits down to read the paper (or some other 'break' type activity) I may ask her if a certain task is done and she will lie to me and tell me it is when it really isn't. She questions nursing decisions and becomes loud and argumentative even in front of patients and families. I have had pts complain to me about her specifically.

    After several months of trying to reason with her and occasionally writing her up for some of the things that had the potential of causing detriment to a patient - I gave up. It has gotten to the point where I dread going to work when I know I have to work with her. I have now worked with her for several years and she is within a year of retirement. None of us want to see her lose her job, but I am not the only one that finds it difficult to work with her.

    This CNA is now skating on very thin ice because of absenteeism/tardiness. She was called into the NM office last week to discuss this and I presume a resent pt complaint. As soon as the meeting was over, all the nurses that work with her were given an 'invitation' to a special meeting. Word around the unit is that this CNA has 'some very legitimate concerns about what happens on the noc shift'.

    I am dreading going to this meeting and so are alot of the other nurses that were 'invited'. I am dreading having to address issues that this person has brought up - not because I think I am a bad nurse, but because I think this nothing but a way for the CNA to get her digs in and cause hurt and pain to others while making herself look good. She was called on the carpet for something and she decided to once again point the finger at everyone else and not take responsibility for her own actions. I am very angry at my NM for giving the CNA the power to have this meeting called, for not dealing with the issues that many of us have with this CNA, and for letting it go on so long.

    I love what I do and I truely love the hospital I work for - I don't want to leave. But, I have already started putting out feelers and applications. I am strongly considering bringing my letter of resignation to the meeting and if it gets to be too much, just dropping it in the NM lap as I walk out the door in the middle of the meeting.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to approach this meeting and how to survive this up coming blood bath?

    Thanks.
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    About htrn

    Joined: Feb '03; Posts: 388; Likes: 152

    6 Comments

  3. by   Antikigirl
    I think if you copy this part of your post, and brush it up a bit that it would be an excellent letter to your NM! This way you are getting your feelings known to her before the meeting about this CNA, and generally how you are feeling about work now!

    Forget the rest of what you wrote, and just re-read this! I think it is a positive yet accurate insight to your situation and very worthy of sending along to those that need to know!

    "I work with a CNA that has the capability of being what every nurse wants in a CNA - competent, cheerful, independent, dependable, reliable, etc... Unfortunately, she chooses to be difficult, argumentative, sneaky, unreliable and on and on. She is also well known for complaining about how the other shifts do not do their work and leave it all for her.

    She will sit in a rocker and sleep, but it's ok because she's rocking a baby. I will tell her that I do not want to disturb certain patients until a certain time, such as stable patients that got pain meds 1.5 hrs ago and haven't slept in 24 hrs. She will go into their rooms, empty garbage, refill ice water and get their vitals and not even tell she has done it. When I am ready to go and do my assessment, she'll tell me she's already done all this stuff and now I have to wake these people up second time. When she sits down to read the paper (or some other 'break' type activity) I may ask her if a certain task is done and she will lie to me and tell me it is when it really isn't. She questions nursing decisions and becomes loud and argumentative even in front of patients and families. I have had pts complain to me about her specifically.

    After several months of trying to reason with her and occasionally writing her up for some of the things that had the potential of causing detriment to a patient - I gave up. It has gotten to the point where I dread going to work when I know I have to work with her. I have now worked with her for several years and she is within a year of retirement. None of us want to see her lose her job, but I am not the only one that finds it difficult to work with her. "

    Good luck to you, and as far as the meeting...I have learned through several meetings that being silent and looking attentive is the best thing! Even when I wanted to pipe up and say something...I just kept quiet and listened to it all...That way I looked interested, just was more interested in others thoughts...a win win!
  4. by   augigi
    Don't go in assuming you're in trouble. Go in knowing you have done nothing wrong. It is the manager's problem to deal with a disruptive staff member. I would independently ask to meet with the manager and make sure my concerns were written down. In the end, if it consumes so much emotional energy, maybe another place would be a good idea, but at least see what happens. Maybe management is hoping to "jolly her along" until she retires, and trying not to rock the boat.
  5. by   shill
    .... a couple of months, huh and you have notified your nurse manager many times, almost seems like there's a problem with your nurse manager,... it seems like this nm can't prioritize the importance between, patient care and safety and keeping a rebellious and incompetent cna on.
    ..... rebellious, lying, absenteeism, argumentative and pointing the finger at others...... let's see, you say retirement.... is it because she's, nearer to 65-year-old mark-this might have something to do with some psych issues or some medical condition (example: alzheimer's, dementia etc. etc.)
    ..... if she's not near retirement age, again it could be some psych issues or in real plain english.... from what you have described, either this girl is not taking her medication like she should or taking too much of it...
    or let's face it she's on drugs.
    hand in your resignation!... no way!!!!! you're only 38 years old you still have a lot years ahead of you to work, this other person doesn't have anything to lose, but maybe gain the enjoyment of seeing everybody else either quit or get fired or just make your life miserable for them if she continues working there.
    if you can go to the meeting with the list of the events that took place when she worked, and with a true feeling of no guilt and a lot of confidence, you should have no problem in partaking with meeting.
    good luck, you got my vote!
  6. by   Pompom
    Keep writing her up, management can not fire her without "evidence". Stand your ground and do not let her lie to you, each and every time write her up.
  7. by   TazziRN
    If you are truly unhappy with the way things are being handled, then maybe dropping a resignation letter in the NM's lap on the way out would be a wake up call for her. I hear what you're saying, it's frustrating to have someone be counceled only to argue "Yeah but...." and get everyone else in trouble, especially with things that are probably not true or taken out of context.
  8. by   Elisheva
    Quote from Pompom
    Keep writing her up, management can not fire her without "evidence". Stand your ground and do not let her lie to you, each and every time write her up.
    Best argument I've seen for writing a person up at the time of an infraction. Without dated documentation, the meeting will be she said/she said.

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