I work with a pathological liar

  1. I don't mean this in an insulting way. I've been working with a nurse since I started several years ago in this place. She's known to be a tad eccentric in demeanor but kind and harmless. I still feel she is a good person. But she tells a lot of details/stories about herself that at first I thought were interesting but then one day a traveler pointed out how she is totally making this stuff up, and it was like someone slapped me in the face and woke me up. Now I feel like I'm the only one who sees it! For example, she's told me at different times that she's going to an ivy league school to get a PhD in a science field and that she gets free tuition because her husband is a professor there. Tonight she told me that her husband is an unemployed carpenter. Another time she told me she was attending the university of Phoenix and that they had a satellite campus - which happened to be, according to her, in my hometown. When questioned where this campus was, she came up with some crazy excuse why she didn't know, like that she only takes cabs into the city and never pays attention to street names. This is just a sample of some of the (less outrageous) things she has told me. I know she is probably only doing it to get attention, but it really disturbs me that in a profession where integrity is so important, this woman just lies to people's faces with a smile every day. I have never actually caught her or have reason to believe she has done something deceitful which would harm a patient. But I'm just bit uncomfortable with it. What would you do? Should I just leave her alone?
    Last edit by muesli on Feb 1, '13
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    About muesli

    Joined: Nov '08; Posts: 141; Likes: 114
    BSN, RN, TNCC; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Emergency Nursing


  3. by   Clementia
    Wow, this sounds like a really icky situation. I guess, personally, I'd just leave that person alone as much as possible, avoid being her friend in any way, and not believe a word she said. I suspect confronting someone like this would just lead to a lot of messy drama -- it sounds like she thrives on drama anyway. Good luck dealing with it!
  4. by   mariebailey
    Pseudologica fantastica. My perspective is to determine whether the lie affects patient care. If it does, it needs to be brought to her supervisor's attention. If it's all just crazy lies about her personal life to make up for a lack of self esteem, I don't know how useful it would be to call her on it. Of course, you don't want her to think she can play you for a fool either. I had a similar situation with a nurse near retirement, and I let it all go. I just felt so bad for her.
  5. by   jadelpn
    Unless it is affecting patient care, I would not bring it to anyone's attention. She can say what she wants to, no one can really prove anything, and my standard "answer" would be "good for you!" and move on or "I am sorry to hear that" and move on. Not engage her in further conversation. This person is a coworker and not a friend, and if she wants to tell tales of her supposed glories, have at it then.
    But a random traveller would have no way of knowing if what she is saying is true or not either. And she may be exaggerating for entertainment, sarcasm--for instance University of Phoneix is usually online. Perhaps she is joking that she has to go to the library in the city to take her online classes, maybe her unemployed carpenter husband attempted to get a position in a university, and if so she could have taken free classes, and it fell through--one never knows. Nor would I care, it is a reflection on her, not you. But I will say that for a moment if I thought she was faking vitals, not giving meds, or anything like that I would then go to the supervisor. Otherwise, do not engage.....
  6. by   BSNbeDONE
    Dang!!! You too???? She must have a twin!!!! One poster used the term "pseudologic fantastica". I think that is a fansy term for B---S---! Lol! It fits.....the one I know, obviously she is lacking something she so desperately needs. Let her have her moments in the spotlight. She knows what the reality is.
  7. by   tryingtohaveitall
    I've worked with a few of these liars. One went so far as to claim she had cancer. I suspect that she did things to her patients to create drama. thankfully she was quickly exposed and left many years ago. That is my concern with these people with a pathological,need for attention. If they only harm themselves, that is one thing but I suspect it may affect patient care more often than we'd like to think.
  8. by   jennilynn
    I work with a tech like this. Cancer, anything that these Pts have, she's had. Sad thing is she lies when it comes to her pt care, giving baths, etc.
    sucks to work with her, but oh well.
  9. by   JDZ344
    Quote from jennilynn
    I work with a tech like this. Cancer, anything that these Pts have, she's had. Sad thing is she lies when it comes to her pt care, giving baths, etc.
    sucks to work with her, but oh well.
    If you have proof she isn't giving baths etc, then she should be written up. That's patient neglect.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
  10. by   jennilynn
    Yeah, I know. They won't get rid of her, ultimately, you know, it all falls on me. So it just makes me a) look bad for knowing and not having time to bathe, etc or b) encourages her to do less and less with my Pts she is assigned to because she knows I will do it all. Catch 22.