Published Jul 23, 2009
I have been reading posts on allnurses for over a year now, but I have just today had a reason to post. I have been an RN for only 2 years, but I have confidence that I am a good nurse...still novice but compassionate with great communication skills. My time management has improved greatly since orientation. I don't claim to know everything nor will I ever know everything...I have heard nurses that have been in the field for 20 years say they learn something new almost every day they come to work. Enough with the introduction. On to the problem...
I work on a 46-bed Med/Surg/Telemetry unit, and in that time we have had 3 directors. The first one is the one that hired me, and she was awesome. She was willing to help us out at all costs. She would wear scrubs to work and I can't count the times she helped pass medications, start Foley's and IV's. She would always ask how our day was going and if there was anything she could do to help. She resigned after I had only been there for 3 months. We went several months without a director, only a unit supervisor who was awesome too. Always there for us and willing to help out. The next director was one of those that you never saw. He never came by to ask how we were doing or if we needed help. Pretty much non-existent. Our unit supervisor was the one we went to when we needed something. Still not a bad situation. I left after being there for one year to pursue what I thought was my dream career...hospice. After 5 months, I could not bear the sadness anymore. I was too attached to my patients and the workload was outrageous. When I decided to go back to the Med/Surg/Tele unit, the unit supervisor was the one who hired me back. Still no director. Things were great. In comes the new director. She is awful. She has turned our unit upside down. She thinks she is just being fair and firm, but she is running all of the great nurses off. One nurse who had been there for 20 years quit after being written up for a frivilous complaint from a difficult patient's family member. No questions were asked, a written disciplinary. We were so upset at the unfairness of it all. How many times has a family member or patient complained? I know of too many times there have been unfounded complaints in the past, but you don't get written up for them. The administration investigates it but unless there is some blatant disregard, no disciplinary action is taken. Some of the write-ups have been: not wearing the correct color jacket, dirty shoes, a nurse tech claimed a nurse was not nice to her, tardies from 6 months ago, and now my write up. One I absolutely could not believe!!!! I don't want to put too much detail into it for fear of retribution, but I will say that I will admit if I have done something wrong. I am not afraid of constructive criticism, but when I was called in on the carpet, I was told that I was written up and one more would be termination. Never have I ever had even a verbal. This came from a patient's family member who claimed the nurse who attempted to start his IV had been stuck at least 5 times. First of all, I do not stick a patient more than twice, this was not even my patient. I was resource nurse that day and helping out with direct admits, etc. The ultimate write up was for a telemetry box not being put on in a timely manner which would have been the primary nurse's responsibility. The telemetry box did not get put on until 9:30 pm, hours after 7a-7p shift was over, but I was the one that got written up. I know now that I have put way too much detail, but oh well. Now I am scared to death to even go to work, because if I get written up again, it's out the door for me. I take great pride in my abilities and I love the biggest majority of my patients. There are, of course, the difficult ones. But now it's nothing but nervous anticipation all day long that I will be written up for some crazy reason. Most nurses on the floor are now sending e-mails to the CNO with complaints about the director. I am not sure how much good that will do. She is a power-hungry person who has turned our unit supervisor into a puppy yapping at her heels. I know this is so long, and it will be no doubt be boring to read. But I am so nervous. I have put my application in at every place I can find, but in the meantime, I am worried I will be fired. Then finding a job will be impossible. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this person? Oh, one of the nurses was written up for a bad attitude because she did not "smile" enough. Exact words written on the disciplinary action. It is a prison. Thanks for listening and any advice will be very welcome.
diane227, LPN, RN
First of all, you need to pull your HR policy for disciplinary action. There are guidelines that have to be followed in regard to employee disciplinary action and you have the right as an employee to file a grievance in regard to any disciplinary action. When you receive a disciplinary action, you should sign it and make a statement under your signature that you do not agree. All your signature does is verify that you have seen the document and that it was discussed with you. It does not mean that you agree with the information written on the form. Get a copy of everything. You should then write your rebuttal and ask for a meeting between your manager and the CNO or a rep from HR. Make copies of any supporting paper work that you have and bring it to the meeting, blacking out any patient names. If you are a member of a union, you should ask for a union rep to attend with you.
Now, again, you might not want to go this far for your first or second chat with the boss. But you will want to get copies of the documentation that she has and what she is asking you to sign and then do your own investigation and then ask to meet with her again. If it is an alleged policy violation, she should be able to produce that policy and demonstrate to you how you have violated this policy. She has to give you an opportunity to correct the problem before further disciplinary action is taken. If your facility has an employee handbook, you should review it. It tells you what your rights are as an employee and what management responsibilities are. Do not leave this job right now if you can help it. If staff continue to complain, she will eventually show her colors and she won't be there long. Try to wait it out for a while and see what happens. If you are lucky enough to work an off shift like 3-11 or 11-7 then you can just stay away from her. Good luck.
I appreciate the length of your story!! Why you ask? I'm a new DON on his second chance job to be DON....I don't even have a BSN...just 7 months experience. I couldn't imagine myself being that petty and hostile towards the staff I'm responsible to/for. Still, I appreciate the list of things you cited as what not to do to win the hearts and minds of the nurses who work so hard. If any person wants to be the chief, let that person wash the feet of the others, taking off their nasty Crocs and soothing the feet of those who pound the floor the most. The DON is the nurse's nurse too.
i'm so sorry you're so miserable right now. as was suggested above, sign what you are asked to sign and always get a copy. when you disagree with what has been written, refute it just below your signature. a good plan is to space your rebuttal so part of your writing goes up into your signature so your side of things cannot be deleted, whited out, or otherwise eliminated without having the document look altered.
if you refuse to sign because you are angry/hurt or disagree, you can be fired for insubordination. that's a red flag to future employers.
good luck and hugs.
Just a thought -- Is your facility downsizing? I have seen "churn and burn" managers who come with the intent of changing the budget, staffing, whatever it is today, with the ultimate goal of decreasing the bottom line.
classicdame, MSN, EdD
I believe in voting with my feet. Leave that place or at the very least request a transfer to another unit. Also, have an interview with HR
I have seen this time and time again!! I had to be the union official liason for 400 layoffs in one day done 7 months after promoting about 150 of them just to get them out of their civil service class! No kidding!!!! :angryfireSee if you can find out the prior locations that your manager has been at. If they have been in multiple locations for no more than 1-2 years at a time You have a "churn and burn" manager!!!!:angryfire
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