Blindsided by Manager

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    Problem with Nurse Manager: RecentlyI had my annual review. My manager had another manager sit in on the review. The other manager was a colleague I had worked side by side with. I have been with this hospital 12 years.
    Well, in my review she told me I was unprofessional, I wasn't helping my colleagues, she was going to set up a performance improvement plan and counsel me. this manager hadn't mentioned anything all year. I looked at the other manager she looked shocked like I was. I hadn't spoke to this manager for months.

    She also did this same thing to another nurse I know of. My supervisors denied saying derogatory stuff about me. I'm so pissed and have been ever since. I work for HCA and what she did was against their core ethics. I know the director knows what she did. Both haven't been in their positions but a couple of years. I think it's because she didn't want to give me a raise.

    Dear Problem with Manager,

    Your manager (manager 1) blindsided you during your annual performance review. She most likely called in another manager (manager 2) as a witness because she knew she was delivering negative feedback. I believe manager 2 was not truly shocked as she appeared. She probably knew full well what was going to take place.

    It is fair to expect timely feedback on your performance. There should be no surprises during your annual review, and performance feedback should be given in a timely manner. But just because your manager lacks good managerial skills doesn't mean there are not concerns with your performance. Hopefully she provided you with clear goals and expectations. Here's what to do you you receive a warning at work.

    If indeed it was all conjured up so as not to give you a raise, then you (and she) are working in a highly toxic environment.


    Best wishes,


    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,411; Likes: 4,214

    10 Comments

  3. by   amoLucia
    Looks like a 'paper trail' has been started. And the fact that another manager sat in on the conference has me thinking that the OP has a target on her back.

    There may or may not be performance issues. The writer is a 'senior' staff member who has prob maxed out on the salary cap and/or Admin is looking to thin out the staffing ranks.

    For whatever reason, this does not sound like a place that wants to continue the OP's employment. If OP has a union, that might be some help, but I doubt it.

    Might be time to start looking elsewhere.
  4. by   KeepItRealRN
    I have experience with HCA. When this happens you are in a no-win situation. Your manager wants you to quit and if you don't this is the beginning of the paper trail she will use to ultimately terminate you. I've seen it numerous times. If you love the unit you work on your only hope is that you last longer than the manager. In my experience managers at HCA facilities rarely last longer than 2 years. It is time to make a plan B if you don't have one.
  5. by   amoLucia
    KeepItRealRN - exactly what I'm suggesting!!! And with that second manager sitting in, I'm thinking sooner than later.

    There's prob more to it than just a raise. The writer may be using too much FMLA or sick time. Maybe maxing out an IRA or other bene, like applying for tuitiion. Or something else like a 'squeaky wheel' incident.

    Whatever - they prob just want her OUT!
    Last edit by amoLucia on Jan 5
  6. by   Oldmahubbard
    Agree with the above. I've been a victim of the phony paper trail, and you are not going to win.

    It could also be the best thing that ever happened to you, but that would be a long story.
  7. by   ProperlySeasoned
    I disagree. Many years ago I was subjected to a PIP that was completely unexpected. I was, and am, and excellent nurse. That being said, there were absolutely some deficiencies in my performance, in areas that were very important to the new manger. I listed. I learned. I got better. I was meticulous. I am now the director of the department I almost got fired from.
  8. by   Oldmahubbard
    Good it worked for you.

    Based on my experience, I think that much of the time, this sort of thing is an attempt to get rid of a nurse that is not liked for some non-clinical, ie political reason.

    That being said, we all have flaws, faults, and areas of weakness.

    So, soul searching is definitely needed if such complaints are suddenly made.

    The sad thing is that the innocent person will search their soul much more vigorously than the person with real deficits, who seldom will recognize them.

    Could you give us an example about how you understood that your performance had been deficient?
  9. by   FNPOwlGal
    I have been in hospital management for the last 12 years -- and I cannot recall a time where I disciplined an employee when there wasn't definable performance issues. However, I have been counseled by a former employer about not being "social" enough with staff, with the criticism that we had low moral. This was a month after we had eliminated a whole department (a third of our staff). Obviously, upper management didn't think that our morale would be affected by watching co-workers losing their jobs. I asked for concrete, explicit examples of what my deficiencies were so that I could address them. My executive director back-pedaled once I pointed out the obvious, and nothing formally came of it. If it's a case where they do not have concrete, measurable objectives for you to meet, along with an expected timeline to meet the clearly stated objectives -- it's a witch-hunt. Keep your head down and start looking for another job, even if its within the same organization.
  10. by   she244
    I agree with most of the previous post. Not quite why sure she did not give you a clear understanding of what the deficiencies were at that time so you could work to improve.
    I agree she is doing all of this as a way to get rid of you. I would definitely start looking for something else. I would not want to continue to work for a manager who has not
    given you any indication that there was a problem with your work performance. I myself work for a manager who sits in an office and then at performance time gets all her information from the Physicians I work for who themselves do not know my actual job duties. For an example: I am Certified in Infusion Therapy and no one else in the building accesses or does infusions through implanted ports but me, or does
    some of the procedures I perform in the building but yet she will evaluate me on those skills. But for me it works by staying in my department and doing my job.
  11. by   Oldmahubbard
    To give an example, I was told " an injection that had never hurt before, was now described as painful when you gave it".

    Mrs Jones' cow stopped giving milk after you looked at the animal.

    Look for another job.
  12. by   caliotter3
    A performance improvement plan constructed from thin air almost always indicates it is time to head on down the road. Should you leave before said plan is presented, your manager will probably shake your hand for saving her the effort of combing through thin air.

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