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How to handle gossip

Relations   (658 Views | 4 Replies)
by BillieReuben BillieReuben (New) New Expert Nurse

BillieReuben has 20 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

52 Profile Views; 1 Post

I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, and have worked in my current unit for 17 of those years.  I generally keep to myself without getting terribly involved in outside of work activities or in unit politics, but am friendly with all my co workers.

I've had an extremely difficult time in the past several years.  I’ve gone through a messy divorce and custody dispute that’s still ongoing.  I’m a single parent to a child with some chronic issues.  My elderly parents are my main support and my child Care, which has been extremely difficult during this covid crisis.

I'm the first to admit I haven’t been the best employee, as I’ve had a number of call ins.  I’ve been in communication with my management team about my issues, and I try to be as considerate as I can - I call in as early as possible, I try to switch shifts whenever possible, etc.

last week, I needed to call in because my child was ill. My parents aren’t comfortable keeping her now during illness due to the covid and their own health.  I called in at 8 pm for the next day, 7 am dayshift.

a few days later, one of my coworkers (whom I’m closest to) reported that the charge nurse I called into was livid about my call in. Allegedly, this charge nurse went on a rant about how I’m not reliable, how I always have a different excuse when I call in, and she just has to say something to our management because it’s not right that I haven’t been disciplined.

I guess my feelings are hurt to be discussed like this behind my back.  I do understand the frustration as a charge nurse when people call in; however, we’ve been canceling multiple people per shift so I don’t really believe staffing was the issue.

I don’t understand her motivation in needing to say something to Anyone, especially management.  I guess I can’t fathom doing something that could affect another nurse’s livelihood. And disciplinary action, of which I’ve received plenty, won’t change things as far as me calling in, unless I get fired.  Until my personal life situation changes, I just have to keep doing the best I can.

this is merciless in length, and I’m sore about that.  My question is would there be anything to be gained in talking to this co worker?  I hate confrontation but I thought maybe I could explain what’s going on in my life and she might be more empathetic? Or maybe have a conversation with management?  Or just suck it up and move on?  I dont really know the best course of action. Thanks.

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HarleyvQuinn has 12 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Military, ER/Trauma, Psych, Post-Partum, Med-Surg.

74 Posts; 746 Profile Views

On 5/17/2020 at 5:52 PM, BillieReuben said:

I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, and have worked in my current unit for 17 of those years.  I generally keep to myself without getting terribly involved in outside of work activities or in unit politics, but am friendly with all my co workers.

I've had an extremely difficult time in the past several years.  I’ve gone through a messy divorce and custody dispute that’s still ongoing.  I’m a single parent to a child with some chronic issues.  My elderly parents are my main support and my child Care, which has been extremely difficult during this covid crisis.

I'm the first to admit I haven’t been the best employee, as I’ve had a number of call ins.  I’ve been in communication with my management team about my issues, and I try to be as considerate as I can - I call in as early as possible, I try to switch shifts whenever possible, etc.

last week, I needed to call in because my child was ill. My parents aren’t comfortable keeping her now during illness due to the covid and their own health.  I called in at 8 pm for the next day, 7 am dayshift.

a few days later, one of my coworkers (whom I’m closest to) reported that the charge nurse I called into was livid about my call in. Allegedly, this charge nurse went on a rant about how I’m not reliable, how I always have a different excuse when I call in, and she just has to say something to our management because it’s not right that I haven’t been disciplined.

I guess my feelings are hurt to be discussed like this behind my back.  I do understand the frustration as a charge nurse when people call in; however, we’ve been canceling multiple people per shift so I don’t really believe staffing was the issue.

I don’t understand her motivation in needing to say something to Anyone, especially management.  I guess I can’t fathom doing something that could affect another nurse’s livelihood. And disciplinary action, of which I’ve received plenty, won’t change things as far as me calling in, unless I get fired.  Until my personal life situation changes, I just have to keep doing the best I can.

this is merciless in length, and I’m sore about that.  My question is would there be anything to be gained in talking to this co worker?  I hate confrontation but I thought maybe I could explain what’s going on in my life and she might be more empathetic? Or maybe have a conversation with management?  Or just suck it up and move on?  I dont really know the best course of action. Thanks.

I'm really sorry that you're going through a hard time. When it comes to reactions like that, the part of me (very small) that still wants to see rainbows and sunshine in the world says this coworker would be more compassionate and empathetic if only she just knew the struggles you're having right now. Realistically, though, any further information you provide is just going to be further timber on the gossip fire. Your disciplinary record and absences are between you and management, period. Frustrated or not, it was not appropriate to make such an announcement to the peanut gallery, nor is it a display of leadership. This is a tough time for everyone, especially with child care. 

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Delia37 has 15 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Critical Care.

94 Posts; 1,742 Profile Views

I second the above post. As the unit leader, her venting her frustration to other staff was inappropriate; however, we are only human...it has to be  frustrating when  someone call in sick frequently. As long as you keep the line of communication open between you and your manager, you don't own anyone any explanations. 

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14 Followers; 4,196 Posts; 32,721 Profile Views

On 5/17/2020 at 5:52 PM, BillieReuben said:

a few days later, one of my coworkers (whom I’m closest to) reported that the charge nurse I called into was livid about my call in. Allegedly, this charge nurse went on a rant about how I’m not reliable, how I always have a different excuse when I call in, and she just has to say something to our management because it’s not right that I haven’t been disciplined.

 

On 5/17/2020 at 5:52 PM, BillieReuben said:

I guess my feelings are hurt to be discussed like this behind my back.

 

There is truly no use spending time being personally hurt over her reaction. She expressed whatever frustrations she has (related to you, your call-ins and her role/job/workplace/life) as she saw fit.

People develop reputations related to matters of professionalism such as this. Others do take notice. It's her choice and her doing if she ends up being known as one of "those."

That said, who knows how long your employer will have sympathy related to your difficulties. Although it is terribly difficult right now, maybe review whether there is anything else you can do. Plenty of responsible college kids or older high-schoolers may have increased availability right now, for example; it would be worth asking around in hopes of being able to establish a back-up plan. Things probably won't get easier (overall) if you lose your job on top of everything else.

I'm sorry and I hope things start looking up for you, pronto!

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Leader25 has 37 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

2 Followers; 997 Posts; 5,449 Profile Views

On 5/17/2020 at 5:52 PM, BillieReuben said:

My question is would there be anything to be gained in talking to this co worker?  I hate confrontation but I thought maybe I could explain what’s going on in my life and she might be more empathetic? Or maybe have a conversation with management?  Or just suck it up and move on?  I dont really know the best course of action.

Do not ever discuss your personal problems with anyone at work,you  never know how it will be used against you, you can be civil and give a general idea that things are getting sorted out and hope for future to do better.

She probably is unhappy herself,or thinks you have it easy,whatever,CYA and look away ,do the best job you can.

 

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