Toxic Workplace?

  1. I had an incident happen recently with a night shift nurse that instantly made me hate the floor I work on and makes me feel like it isn't the place for me. Now, I don't know how I feel about nursing in general.

    I started my shift the other day and immediately had to do a bed bath and a complete linen change on a patient. I asked the night shift nurse about it since she was still there and she just seemed to have excuses as to why it didn't get done. She just kept saying she was busy and they only had one PCT over and over again. I guess being a new nurse (been working for 8 months), it still gets to me when things aren't done "by the book" and I told her I know we have PCTs, but it's our job to make sure the tasks we delegate get done correctly. After a couple of minutes of talking, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "oh well, I was just busy last night" and kept giving excuses, so I gave up.

    I got very frustrated about this because I think that it is ridiculous. I have had situations like this happen multiple times to me where everyone says that we are doing everything that we should, with turning or changing patients, and then I get the patient and they have pressure ulcers. So, who gets yelled at by the family? ME! I have been told I am not doing my job and that if I cared at all about my patients, then I would want to do the best I can for them. That is something that I pride myself on, so to be told you aren't doing that really sucks! I tried to explain that to her when I was talking to her, but it just didn't make it through.

    So already frustrated about that, I told our Director about it. And vented to some other nurses, which I don't pride myself on.

    Later that morning, I go into another patient's room (who had the same nurse) and this patient was the same! So, I did a complete bedbath and linen change on this patient as well. What made this patient worse though, was that the patient care pad underneath the patient was dry, but the pillow and sheets underneath her were wet! I of course vented about this, too, to other nurses and told the Director later that day.

    When the nurse came back the next night I told her about the second patient that had the same problem and that it was unacceptable. Again she just kept saying how busy she was. I told her yes, I was busy too, and we only had one PCT too, but I was able to change that patient 5 other times that shift. (We also had all the same patients for 2 days) I was able to do that today and I had been able to do a admit and 2 dicharges in 2 hours and still keep up with changing, so being busy isn't a good excuse. She had been in each of the patient's rooms within one hour of shift change and I told her that if she would have come and told me they were wet, I would have had no problem helping to change them, but I wouldn't have left them wet like that. I also told her that I told the Director and that he was going to put in a report on it.

    I talked with my friend who works nights on my floor this morning and she said she needed to talk to me about what had happened. She told me that the night nurse had told our charge nurse about everything that I had said to her. Unknowingly, I had made her cry by how I told her about the problems and that I had told our Director. She also said that our charge nurse told her [my friend] that if I was going to start reporting people for things that were wrong, then she would make sure everything I did wrong was reported and that if I "wanted to act like an adult, then I would be treated like one." (Which doesn't make since to me, but oh well). This charge nurse is the same one that reported someone last week on the same patient because they didn't come and clean the patient up.

    After this all happened, I started thinking. I am such and introverted person and I am so worried about "rocking the boat". When I was on orientation, I didn't even want to make a big deal about having a horrible preceptor because I didn't want to look like the new nurse that comes in and starts causing problems. Almost everyone on my floor talks about each other, passess the buck when it comes to problems, and leaves stuff undone for others just so they can get out of work on time. Nurses will snapchat all day, complain about patient just for needing something, and PCTs will disappear multiple times throughout the shift.

    How did I go from someone who ran from conflict, to someone who starts it and doesn't even care? I know what I did was super unprofessional, I didn't take her out privately to talk to her, I was very aggresive when I talked to her about it, and I went behind her back and talked about her. I feel like the negativity of the floor I work on has made me bitter towards the other nurses and our patients, too. I used to never complain about patients because I always said that you never know what they are dealing with on top of being in the hospital and you don't know their story so there might be a reason they are acting the way they are. I always said that I wanted to be the nurse that I would want for myself or my family members, but right now I am far from that!


    I sent an email to the night nurse to apologize for making her feel like that and that I know we have a lot to deal with sometimes and that I wasn't acting like team player at all. Neither of us work until next week and I felt so guilty that I at least needed to contact her in some way to apologize.

    I just need some real advice!! Is this floor I work on just full of toxic people whose bad attitudes are rubbing off? How can I still work here and not let it consume me too or is their anyway I can help change the way everyone acts towards working here?? It bothers me so much and even more that I am starting to act the same way!
  2. Visit ESpeed15 profile page

    About ESpeed15, ADN, ASN, CNA, RN

    Joined: Oct '15; Posts: 11; Likes: 9
    IMC/Stroke RN

    16 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    If these wet patients happened in one shift and the nurse said she was busy, you probably should have let it go. Bed baths aren't always a priority, and you can't judge how busy she was on her shift by how busy you were on yours. Occasionally you'll run into a nurse who leaves a train wreck every time- and that's the nurse who needs to be dealt with. I don't doubt that you leave things "wrong" at the end of your shift. Even the most meticulous nurses among us do ...at least on occasion.
    I'm not sure you can blame your behavior on how other nurses behave, either ...sounds like a big, fat excuse, to me.
    Hopefully you can salvage your working relationship(s). I've overreacted before and been able to grovel my way out of it- so there is some hope.
  4. by   ESpeed15
    I guess I should have been more specific. These patients were like just normal every day dirty and needed a bath. The patients were both completely bed bound, incontinent, and their beds were so wet that urine was puddling in the bed when we went to change their sheets.

    I know that I have no right to get upset at her like I did. I think I was wrong in how I handled the situation, but I wasn't wrong in telling the director. That is how things get fixed.

    Its like therea an unspoken spoken rule that we don't report people and that can get patients hurt. Especially with some of the patients we have.

    How dis did you handle your situation if you don't mind me asking? And thank you for commenting.
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from ESpeed15
    I guess I should have been more specific. These patients were like just normal every day dirty and needed a bath. The patients were both completely bed bound, incontinent, and their beds were so wet that urine was puddling in the bed when we went to change their sheets.

    I know that I have no right to get upset at her like I did. I think I was wrong in how I handled the situation, but I wasn't wrong in telling the director. That is how things get fixed.

    Its like therea an unspoken spoken rule that we don't report people and that can get patients hurt. Especially with some of the patients we have.

    How dis did you handle your situation if you don't mind me asking? And thank you for commenting.
    Well, that is disgusting ...but I probably would have fixed it and not made an issue of it if it wasn't a regular occurrence.
    In my case, I just pulled the nurse aside the next time we worked together and told her I was sorry for overreacting. Things were a little awkward for a few weeks, but they eventually got back to normal. I hadn't complained to anyone about her, I just became very irritated and vocal directly with her in report.
  6. by   ESpeed15
    Thanks. I know I am most definately going to apologize face-to-face when we next work. I know e-mail isn't very personal, but I couldn't let a week go by without telling her I was sorry.
  7. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from ESpeed15
    Thanks. I know I am most definately going to apologize face-to-face when we next work. I know e-mail isn't very personal, but I couldn't let a week go by without telling her I was sorry.
    It is defiantly wrong for patients to be left that way, though ....of course, the director will probably do nothing about staffing, just tell the nurse to do more more more with less less less.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    It is defiantly wrong for patients to be left that way, though ....of course, the director will probably do nothing about staffing, just tell the nurse to do more more more with less less less.
    *Definitely, not defiantly!!
  9. by   quiltynurse56
    I work LTC so it is some different than a hospital. I can tell you that a patient may be checked, changed and cleaned up and by the time the day nurses and CNAs check them, they can be soaking wet. That is what incontinent people do.

    I am wondering what you use for patients who are incontinent. Any type of soaker pad and incontinent pads uses? Those do help minimize cleanup. I have also seen where one will miss the soaker pad and still get sheets wet, thought that is not normal.

    When I come on at night, we sometimes have to finish what the previous shift did not get done. Sometimes days find a patient wet, they just need to do what is necessary and continue on.

    Believe it or not, night shift can get pretty busy and we usually have a smaller staff than the other shifts. As has been said, unless this is what happens with every patient she has every morning, then just take care of the need and continue on your day.

    Just my view from the night shift.
  10. by   Been there,done that
    There is some toxicity ... starting with you. Keep your head down and learn the ropes.

    An email apology???
  11. by   lucy100
    I was just reading an article toxic colleagues. The three signs of toxic people (I'm not saying this is you):

    1) colleague seems cold (lacks empathy towards coworkers, hot temper)
    2) Seems selfish ( doesn't think about or care about coworkers perspectives and their struggles
    3) they are the rule nazi .

    What to do?? ??? Learn to manage your reations, practice emotional detatchment, try to get to know the coworker better and see their perspective. DONT: assume it's all about them, commiserate with others, dont give feedback unless you can focus on work issues not personal conflict.

    Straight from Harvard Buisness Revies magazine " How to work with toxic colleagues", fall 2016 available at Barnes and Noble!
    Last edit by lucy100 on Sep 7, '16 : Reason: typo
  12. by   Mhsrnbsn
    Sounds like you're young new fresh and the world is idealistic. Nursing is a 24/7 profession. I have worked long term care, subacute care, and acute care in the hospital. I have worked day shift and night shift and let me tell you something... Coming from a place of experience... You will always have something to do after the previous shift leaves.... Whether it is changes, wound care, meds a patient refused but now wants... You need to just take it in stride.

    Is it right for patients to be left wet, absolutely not; we all know this is the perfect breeding grounds for pressure ulcers however.... Have mercy on your fellow co-worker. Night shifts are understaffed, even when fully staffed it is not enough.... Patients get consufed at night, they fall at night, they code at night, they have behaviors at night, and are Incontinent at night as well... Depending on the patient nurse ratio it's a horrible race to the finish. And in many facilities I worked at when I was in long term care... I WAS THE ONLY NURSE FOR 30+ PATIENTS.

    To to me it sounds like you place your ideas on a pedestal and people that don't reflect your values will feel your wrath. This isn't appropriate behavior, and I personally would not want to work with someone like you. Nursing is team work, and just because you don't play the same inning doesn't mean you aren't all working toward a common goal. If this nurse has a pattern of leaving a mess, then maybe it's something to bring up, but if this is an isolated incident you just seem petty and too full of yourself.

    We all have horrible shifts, but have you ever heard the phrase "in order to move along, you must get along". Instead of trying to be the facility white night and "tattle" try to deal with who you have a problem with face to face like an adult. You need to tread carefully at any job because you don't know what type of relationships existed prior to you joining the ranks, and you may be biting your nose to spite your face.

    I am sorry if I sound worked up but I have been the nurse "tattled" on for being too busy to worry about wet beds... I had a patient that coded in the dead of winter and did CPR for over an hour near the end of shift waiting for an ambulance to arrive.... The patient was taken off to the hospital, and I have 40 minutes before change of shift, after documenting what I could remember from the code, I had only 15 minutes to round on patients, and there were several people wet. No... Not proud of leaving it, but unless you are there to witness a shift, you shouldn't make waves or get people into trouble... Unless it's something that keeps happening. I not only had a shift from hell, but had to deal with a snarky nurse during report despite my explanation of the last couple hours of my shift being hell... And then had to explain to my director why wet beds just were not a priority. It's demeaning and does not foster a trusting relationship between co-workers...,
  13. by   Jolie
    You mention that you are introverted, but then state thst you discussed the situation with a number of staff members as well as the manager. Those two bits of information seem to contradict each other.

    Regardless of your personality or comfort level in communicating with others, I believe you owe your co-workers the simple courtesy of speaking to them FIRST when you perceive a problem. I don't know if the nurse you followed skimped on basic care, had an unmanageable workload that shift, or was completely blindsided by your findings @ shift change, but I do know that you chose to make accusations to others without speaking to her first.

    That wouldn't set well with me as a coworker or manager.
  14. by   quiltynurse56
    Quote from Jolie
    You mention that you are introverted, but then state thst you discussed the situation with a number of staff members as well as the manager. Those two bits of information seem to contradict each other.

    Regardless of your personality or comfort level in communicating with others, I believe you owe your co-workers the simple courtesy of speaking to them FIRST when you perceive a problem. I don't know if the nurse you followed skimped on basic care, had an unmanageable workload that shift, or was completely blindsided by your findings @ shift change, but I do know that you chose to make accusations to others without speaking to her first.

    That wouldn't set well with me as a coworker or manager.
    You are right, in that speaking to the staff member who you are not happy with first.

    Now, I have to say, we introverts are not shy. We can and do speak up about situations that need to be brought to another's attention. It is someone who is shy who has a hard time speaking up. Introverts have a preference for being okay with being with ourselves vs a crowd of people. We go home from our shifts exhausted. We do speak up when something is not right.

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