This person outranks me?!

  1. Since I started working in health care as a CNA nearly six years ago, I've had many experiences that have left me wondering how some people get into the positions they hold. I was not a youngin when I started this, I was nearly 20 years on from earning a bachelor's degree in political science and had spent more than a decade raising children at home before I began my health care career. I've worked enough to know that promoting people into leadership who shouldn't be there is not unique to health care by any means.

    Lately I've a had a few interactions with a RN coworker that leave me again thinking, "How in the world does this person outrank me?"

    #1 He's collecting an induced sputum sample in clinic. (I work in a public health clinic dedicated to TB testing, detection, treatment, and prevention.) He comes to me with the sputum sample tube, thankfully in a sealed specimen bag, holds it up, and says, "She vomited a little food when she coughed. Can we still use this sample?"

    #2 He comes to me and says that the biohazard trash near the sputum collection rooms is full, and then asks what he should do. He's worked in this building longer than I have and knows exactly where the biohazard room is.

    #3 During a case study presentation in a clinical staff meeting, in which the patient has been described as being 50 years old and 17 weeks pregnant via IVF, he asked what IVF stands for.

    I just.......really?! This guy has, when you count RN prereqs I haven't taken yet, two more years of education than I do. He makes at least ten dollars more an hour than I do based on that fact. It's getting to the point where it takes all I have not to be extremely rude when he asks me these stupid questions (yes, there is such a thing).

    Share your best "I can't believe s/he outranks me" stories!
    Last edit by Brian S. on Dec 15, '17
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  2. Visit Aunt Slappy profile page

    About Aunt Slappy, LPN

    Joined: Dec '16; Posts: 77; Likes: 194

    99 Comments

  3. by   missmollie
    I'd rather someone ask questions than assume. Those extra 2 years on his degree is what might be holding you back from a similar position. Start your RN to BSN if it bothers you that much.
  4. by   cleback
    I'll pass. Let me guess--he's younger too?
  5. by   Rocknurse
    Those questions don't seem like a big deal to me. Sounds like you have a problem with him and it's more to do with you than him.
  6. by   klone
    Quote from Rocknurse
    Those questions don't seem like a big deal to me. Sounds like you have a problem with him and it's more to do with you than him.
    Yes, that's what I was thinking as well.

    I'm an RN with an advanced degree and I do think I'm a pretty smart cookie, and I wouldn't know the answer to #1.

    As far as #3, if you're a male, unless you work in some OB or women's health related field, or have a partner who has undergone IVF, I would not assume you would know what that stands for. Not a big deal.

    As someone else has said - it takes a level of humility to feel comfortable asking someone else how to do something who is a "lesser rank" than you. Many RNs feel that they SHOULD be the experts on everything and would have a hard time asking a CNA or LPN how something should be done. Be glad that he has that humility, and doesn't just make **** up if he doesn't know the answer.
  7. by   malenurse69
    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It takes humility and self-reflection to acknowledge the boundries of your knowledge. I'll take a RN who questions everything to make sure something is right over a RN who questions nothing because their ego gets in the way. Education level doesn't automatically give you all the knowledge you'll need in the field. If I had a nickel for everytime a MD asked me how to open a Icebag or something simple like that, I'd be rich.

    My point is, be humble and lose the chip off your shoulder. Somone being genuinely curious and conscientious of their work is something to praise.
  8. by   klone
    OP, why have you been working as a CNA for the past 6 years when you're an LPN?
  9. by   JKL33
    Yes, please tell us the answer to #1!
  10. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from klone
    OP, why have you been working as a CNA for the past 6 years when you're an LPN?
    Also curious why your bio says '2 years experience' when you joined 12 months ago.....
  11. by   That Guy
    Oh oh pick me. Can I share stupid things CNAs have asked me over the years. No you know why, people who ask questions are safer than those who dont. The scariest nurses are ones who never ask questions, who think they know everything and make fun of others for clarifying, no matter how much they "outrank" you.
  12. by   blondy2061h
    I became a supervisor at a fairly young age. I had nearly 10 years of nursing experience, a specialty certification, and a master's in nursing. I was qualified for the position. What I didn't have was a strong background in surgical nursing or critical care, or 30 years of bedside nursing with an ASN degree. Some of the people I supervise do have this. I'd rather ask questions than assume things, but I'm sure people have felt the way your title suggests about me before. I remember one time when or ICU was having a particularly busy shift. They needed an extra piece of specialty equipment. I asked the charge nurse to remind me what it looked like so I could be sure what I was looking for. He literally flipped around and said, "Are you freaking kidding me? How long have you worked here?"
  13. by   macawake
    Quote from Aunt Slappy
    #3 During a case study presentation in a clinical staff meeting, in which the patient has been described as being 50 years old and 17 weeks pregnant via IVF, he asked what IVF stands for.

    I just.......really?! This guy has, when you count RN prereqs I haven't taken yet, two more years of education than I do.
    I don't think the focus during those two additional years was learning all abbreviations in various medical specialties, nor should it have been. From what I remember from my BSN obstetrics classes we covered things like the stages of pregnancy and fetal development, deliveries (vaginal and c-sections) and pregnancy-related complications and emergencies. So while I left school with a decent grasp of, among other things; pre-eclampsia & eclampsia, abruptio placentae, shoulder dystocia and Apgar scores, I don't remember covering IVF's in any detail. I honestly don't recall if they were even mentioned.

    Although it's admittedly difficult to conceive through intravenous fluids or the intervertebral foramina, perhaps you could cut your coworker some slack since the medical field is chock-full of abbreviations which often have more then one meaning Perhaps he actually had heard the abbreviation before, but had a temporary brain fart/oh, duh! moment.... Most of us do occasionally...

    Sometimes abbreviations are specialty-specific and if you haven't worked in that specialty, you might be clueless. While I expect that some/most nurses know what for example ASA, MAP, CVP, PSVT, PEEP, FRC, RBBB and TRALI mean, I would guess most outside of my specialty don't have a clue what I mean if I were to chart TMJ (dysfunction) or SLV.

    Quote from Aunt Slappy
    #1 He's collecting an induced sputum sample in clinic. (I work in a public health clinic dedicated to TB testing, detection, treatment, and prevention.) He comes to me with the sputum sample tube, thankfully in a sealed specimen bag, holds it up, and says, "She vomited a little food when she coughed. Can we still use this sample?"
    Can we?
  14. by   Flatline
    Quote from Aunt Slappy
    #3 During a case study presentation in a clinical staff meeting, in which the patient has been described as being 50 years old and 17 weeks pregnant via IVF, he asked what IVF stands for.

    I just.......really?! This guy has, when you count RN prereqs I haven't taken yet, two more years of education than I do. He makes at least ten dollars more an hour than I do based on that fact. It's getting to the point where it takes all I have not to be extremely rude when he asks me these stupid questions (yes, there is such a thing).
    I hold multiple national specialty certifications, I have spoken to audiences from around the world, and I have educated about a bazillion registered nurses.

    Took me a few minutes to figure out IVF was not intravenous fluids which is the common use of IVF in my world.

    Cut the guy some slack Nightingale, one day someone will be whining that you forgot some trivial piece of knowledge that is no longer pertinent to your work.

    The thing to remember is that we did something you have not, maybe he didn't pass your test but he passed the only test that matters...the NCLEX. That proves to me that he has at least a basic understanding of nursing.

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