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Orientation debacle

Posted
by apple2cactus apple2cactus (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Critical care. Has 7 years experience.

I’m looking for some advice on dealing with an orientation situation. I’m going to be deliberately vague about some aspects to protect the...innocent? But I will get my point across.

I work in a critical care setting and I have been assigned an orientee. This individual definitely wants to learn and has not demonstrated any overtly unsafe behavior, but I feel that they have boundary issues. On my days off I receive multiple, lengthy text messages which are sometimes work related but often times not. Many of these messages are just bizarre and often hard to understand.

I feel as though this person has latched onto me as a friend. I have tried to tactfully redirect the conversations- quick acknowledgment of their feelings and then turning back to professional discussion, but they don’t seem to be getting the message. I am afraid to directly confront them as this could cause some serious awkwardness at work. I also have a situation in my home life right now and truly do not possess the mental energy to deal with an orientee with these non work related issues that they continue to talk to me about. I feel we may not be a match.

How should I approach this in order to save my own sanity and give this person a fair shot at success while keeping the peace at work?

You say you don't have the capacity to deal with this. Meet with the person responsible for the match and disengage. If you have to, give details, otherwise try to manage the level at which you describe what is wrong. If they decide this person is not a good fit for the job, don't blame yourself. Anybody would see what you have seen and come to a similar conclusion.

crazin01

Specializes in tele, ICU, CVICU. Has 12 years experience.

I would just ignore the messages. It's your day off from work, they shouldn't be bothering you. Especially if they haven't been given any prompting/encouragement to have a more social relationship with you. Next day at work when they ask why you didn't respond, just a polite 'I was busy' and leave it at that. IF they actually have a work question on an off day, they can write it down & discuss next day at work. I'm assuming they have the same schedule as you, days off, etc. If they start on non-work stuff while at work, continuous redirecting should be effective. Eventually they need to get the hint.

And if they don't, you don't have to be rude/mean about it (it seems you don't want to rock the boat at work, I wouldn't either!) but some people just need to hear a blunt "I'm sorry, but we're work colleagues, not social friends. Let's focus on getting all you can out of your orientation while we can."

Only then would I ask to have them re-assigned. Good luck!

Block their number and notify their educator and your manager of the situation.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

1. I would talk to your educator or manager and have her assigned to another preceptor -- maybe not 100% of the time, but at least some of the time to give her some separation from you. If that doesn't improve the situation, then ask that you not be her preceptor at all. If she can't separate from you, that would be a sign of something really wrong with her.

2. I would ignore messages at home from her. If asked, simply say that you don't "do work on your days off." Be kind, but clearly put her in the "work" category and tell her that you don't "work" off-duty. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm your work preceptor, assigned to teach and evaluate you at work -- not necessarily to be your buddy."

Good luck! This sounds like a very needy person who may or may not be harmless. Be careful!

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

I agree with previous posters but I'll go one further. I think this behaviour is definitely a red flag of some sort. I certainly do agree that this should be immediately communicated to the educator.

Don't block her just yet. Those texts may need to be part of a documentation trail. But don't respond. Just tell her at work that you're too busy at home to deal with other things.

Good luck.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

Another thought just occurred to me. Check out "hypergraphia". It's a symptom of several disorders. She may be in need of actual help.

Grande_latte04

Specializes in Long term care. Has 2 years experience.

I think you definitely have a boundary issue here, but I would take first steps to have a conversation with the person. If a frank conversation does not set some healthy boundaries, then I would escalate.

Delia37, MSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2020 at 7:27 AM, MichelleMacRN2017 said:

I think you definitely have a boundary issue here, but I would take first steps to have a conversation with the person. If a frank conversation does not set some healthy boundaries, then I would escalate.

^^^^This. Rather than go all nuclear on your orientee, sit down with her/him and have that difficult/awkward conversation (....at the end of the day, we are adults, right?). Let him/her know it is not appropriate to contact you on your days off and that you would like to focus your conversations to issues pertaining his professional progress(...if you want to be blunt, tell him/her his personal conversations are not appropriate). As many mentioned, if that does not work, then escalate it to your manager and educator; however, from a professional standpoint address him/her 1st.

Edited by Delia37
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Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 28 years experience.

On 4/13/2020 at 4:14 PM, caliotter3 said:

You say you don't have the capacity to deal with this. Meet with the person responsible for the match and disengage. If you have to, give details, otherwise try to manage the level at which you describe what is wrong. If they decide this person is not a good fit for the job, don't blame yourself. Anybody would see what you have seen and come to a similar conclusion.

100% agree with this. It's the other side of the orientee who didn't get the best match preceptor. Why shouldn't it go both ways? By doing this, you are giving the orientee the chance to succeed

ljo28, BSN

Has 25 years experience.

Hi

With the benefit of doubt, is there any chance that this individual is just trying to make friends to fit into the new work environment. New job with new commitments can be stressful. And the fact that you don't know any one adds It. Just because now that you are assigned to them, they feel comfortable with you and as you said that they feel latched to you.

I would say give it some time. Once they are done with orientation, things might change.