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How to handle harrassment?


I have a little situation, that is making me insane, and I have no idea what to do. I've lost sleep. I'm stressed.

I am a RN supervisor... but I pretty much feel like a glorified charge nurse. The nursing home I work has become extremely stressful for me.... for one reason really. I have a LPN who is being nothing short of a pain. He harasses me. EVERY time we work together. I'm at the point I dread to go to work.

He verbally threatens me. He questions me on every level. He often makes mistakes, and when my bosses tell me to have him correct them, he questions me, to the point that I have to tell him, "So and So is your boss, and they say, you fix this." He does childish things to other nurses. Once he smelled like alcohol, even though I could not find in any way that he was impaired and not able to do his job. He raises his voice at me. I feel like a punching bag. Then, like a flip of a coin, he'll start to be nice to me. It's enough to scream.

Never, in all my time of holding ANY job at any level (I'm counting all the way back to my first job at 15), have I ever refused to work with anyone. I am at a point that I don't know what to do. I'm not a 'pot stirrer'. I keep my mouth shut and want NOTHING to do with drama.

I reported one incident of being threatened to my administrator, and i was told it would be handled. Nothing happened. Nothing.

What am I supposed to do? I realize people say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but sometimes the squeaky wheel gets seen as broken and gets replaced. I need my job. We don't have an HR department. I feel like my DON will not solve the problem, because she typically doesnt seem to solve much of anything, and apparently my admin won't either because I've seen nothing done.

Help. I'm at a loss. All I know to do is to keep notes.


Has 23 years experience.

This is bullying pure and simple.

Do you belong to a union because if you do then they will be able to help - it's who I would go to.

No. I didn't even know there was a union for nurses, honestly. I know that the only people who have a union option in out building are the CNAs and cleaning staff.

You are the supervisor. Start whatever process is in place for discipline. You can certainly once again go to the DON and say quite seriously that the situation with this LPN has gotten far too out of hand that is affecting patient safety. That your supervisory process is a culture of mutual respect.(you may even want to hold a staff meeting to explain your process to the entire staff that you supervise). That given no other option, your choice to deal with this is to begin a formal disciplinary process. Be clear that you will give one warning the next time this behavior occurs, and be clear to this LPN that should you have to speak with him a second time, it will lead to a formal verbal warning. Once that occurs, ask him what his goal is--that you endevour to communicate effectively with him, however, you would like to put a remedial plan into place for him to have the opportunity to change his behavior. That you value him as a nurse on your unit, that he is good with the patients, he's a good critical thinker--whatever it is--but that you will not and should not be spoken to in anything other than a professional manner. Make sure that you go to a non-in the middle of everything place. Keep your voice neutral and low. Non-reactionary. This is about him, not you. Should he decline, then state that the next warning he will receive will be a written warning. Make sure you are specific in the inapporpriate behavior that you need him to change. Be clear that the next option after that for him will be termination. See if this LPN is part of the CNA/ancillary staff union. Most LPN's are. Then get ahold of the contract and see what the disciplinary process is. Speak directly with a Union Steward, and have that person present with any formal process. Keep on keeping notes, with dates. See what your policy is on nurses who come to work impaired. That when smelling ETOH on him, that he will have to undergo a test to determine if he is intoxicated. There has to be some sort of HR, even if it the parent company of the facility you are working for. Get a copy of these policies. Part of being a good supervisor is knowing your policies, and how to effectively use them. Should your DON not be of help, there is another tier of administration, someone is the DON's boss. This is all about a culture of safety. To not be able to enact policy is not a supervisory role. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Jadelpn : I wish our building was set up in the way that you think it is, because your comment would be so helpful! ! :) Unfortunately this is exactly how my job works: charge nurse. On the times I have written up a nurse, honestly its only after I have called someone higher than me, and discussed the issue. Really the title "RN supervisor" has been a joke. When I started this job, I was supposed to have 2 nurses under me, and I was to help them and ensure the building ran smoothly. Then a month later, its basically a charge nurse and me. There is no such thing as a contract. Nurses at all levels were promised things that have changed or never happened. I never received a job description, and honestly, I haven't been a nurse many years. At the same time, please don't think I'm incompetent. The building runs with very few hiccups, and the cnas know to toe the line. All the other nurses respect me and understand why I make the decisions I make. Its just with this, I feel like I'm going to be ignored. I feel like nothing will be done. CNA problems are readily fixed, but dealing with a hateful disrespectful nurse has been entirely new. I'm trying to get the guts up to go to the DON, but I'm honestly a little scared to. What if they just slap on the wrist him? What if he retaliates? What if I have to be in the same room with him and he tries to (god only knows how he would) make me look like the bad guy? I'm afraid with as broken as our curent system seems, it wouldn't matter. I do have multiple nurses who don't like the lpn, and mentioned his attitude problem. But what kills me is that the bosses KNOW. Also, we don't have a nurses union here. I wish we did.


If you do not have a union there is policies. Even if you have to go through your parent company to get them. Unfortunetely,(or fortunetely) CNA issues are handled because CNA's are UAP's and what you direct them to do falls under your license. LPN's have their own license to protect. However, ETOH and radical behavior issues affect patient care. And due to your charge status, fall under your authority. Don't think for a moment that it will be all kumbayah when and if something goes down and it comes to light that not only has this LPN potentially come to work drunk, but that this LPN has been insuboridinate. And that you did not start a formal disciplinary process. Not to mention that you have the responsibility to keep your CNA's and other nurses safe, not subject them to a live Jerry Springer show, and morale will tank if this borderline LPN is running the show and you look like an ineffective leader. I would go to the DON and have her explain what it is you are to do with disciplinary issues. If the answer is "nothing" than is it worth the 50 cents more an hour?????? Hostile work enviroments suck the life out of any unit. And when dealing with someone this out of hand, takes away from anyone effectively caring for a patient.