Passing the buck?


Hello All.... :)

I had a situation this past week that I need some feedback about and how to better handle these situations in the future.

I just started my career less than a year ago as an RN and was so excited to be in the field of my dreams! I started out in LTC and am now working in TCU for 4 months with the same organization. I was floated to LTC to train a new nurse a few days ago and found out that day that the CC that normally worked that unit was on leave. The new CC had been on the job for a few days and I've worked with her in TCU for these past few months so she knew I wasn't working in this area very often. After being there for a few hours, she pointed at me and asked, "what's your name again?" I of course told her and she TOLD me in not such a nice way that I had to call the family of a resident that had her dentures go missing almost a month ago. None of you know me, but I'm a "yes" type of person and so I took the missing report form from her. After about an hour, I thought to myself, I really need more information as I haven't worked with this resident for over a month and only a few times before that for the past 4 months; I didn't feel comfortable calling. When I went to her office (4pm) she was already gone for the day. I ended up calling the family and speaking with them, and they were understandably upset. We discussed the matter and other things that family had been upset about in the past. That night before I left, I left the CC a voicemail that I didn't really appreciate her putting me in this situation, but explained that I called the family, and I charted on the matter.

A few days later she called me into her office and a social worker was there. The CC told me she was new in her job and that I shouldn't be thinking about myself and that it's about the residents. She basically gave me a new a$$hole with a smile. The both of them were saying I told the family they passed the buck to me, which I didn't. The family was asking me many questions about their loved one that I just didn't have the answers straight away, or because there was no charting to answer their questions. I told the CC I didn't think it was professional of her to leave it up to me because the incident happened a month ago; at that point it should be the responsibility of the CC. She even tried to say she didn't know I rarely worked in that unit (which she did, because she has seen me in TCU for these past months). If the situation had happened the day I was working, I would have called the family; and since the situation happened a month ago, I felt that it was her responsibility because of how much time had gone by. I'm now feeling so distraught because I was told I was in the wrong when I tried to do something right and at the same time be honest with the CC about her decision.

Was the CC in the wrong? What could I have done differently?

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

The call should have been made a month ago when the dentures went missing. She probably (rightly) got torn a new anal orifice by the family, and now feels the need to pass the buck again (by tearing you yours.)

Since this is about the residents, do you think you would have been happy to hear Mom has been toothless for a month, and nobody thought to do anything about it?

What could you have done differently? Stop being a yes person. This was not your job to begin with, and you didn't have the information-- couldn't have had the information on the month-old situation to answer the family's questions. What were you supposed to do, make up answers? Or be honest, that you didn't know, and couldn't find it in the chart?

Practice in front of the mirror, practice role playing with family or friends... life is so much easier when you can be assertive.

I'm sorry this happened to you!


844 Posts

"Oh h3ll to the no" would have been the thought that ran through my mind when asked to make that call! Talk about passing the buck! I agree completely with HereIStand, that call should have been made a month ago...maybe a half a day to check out the nooks and crannies for the missing dentures but any time beyond that is ridiculous. Someone higher up should have made that phone call. Period. Consider yourself officially thrown under the bus...I'm sorry that happened to you.

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

What's a CC? Is it a nursing management position or a clerical position?

HeySis, BSN, RN

435 Posts

Specializes in PACU. Has 25 years experience.

How are those tire tracks healing??

Yes, totally thrown... A cruel way to learn to ask follow up questions to any new assignment that you are given.

I do believe in Karma... it's the only thing that keeps me sane and smiling sometimes.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.
What's a CC? Is it a nursing management position or a clerical position?

Community coordinator? I think my old SNF used that title. I don't know about the LTC floors, but in the TCU they were social workers. Definitely capable of making their own phone calls.


7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Care coordinator?

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

yes, need to stop being the yes person. this was really a social work call.

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

In the facilities that I've had to investigate or inspect, a CC is a Clinical Coordinator.


1 Article; 482 Posts

Specializes in M/S, Pulmonary, Travel, Homecare, Psych.. Has 12 years experience.

Dealing with people who have a Master's in "Passing the Buck", who also minored in bullying to avoid responsibility is an unfortunate obstacle we all must learn to jump over.

As others have pointed out, being the yes man isn't good enough, sorry to say.

I would have handled it differently. This is what I see:

1. The fact that the person handing you the task was aggressive from the start is a HUGE red flag. She was acting like this because she wanted to intimidate you into accepting the task without question. She bullied you.

At this point, I would have exposed her. I would have done this by simply asking pertinent questiones: When were they lost? Who was the nurse when they went missing? Why the delay in informing the familyl? How has the pt been eating while they were gone?

Save the most important question for last: Who should I have the family call if they have further questions or wish to speak to a superior? (that's her, lol).

I am willing to bet you would not have received any answers. It all probably would have lead to more intimidation tactics. That is fine, you achieved your goal of making it clear you were aware of the buck being passed to you'll proceed accordingly.

2. Finish by informing her you don't feel you can help the situation. If they still insist you make the it. This is where being the yes man is Ok.

Make the call, give only the info you are sure of and don't extend yourself. What I mean by not extending yourself is: Don't accept responsibility for the dentures being lost and don't try to answer questions where you are not completely sure of the answer.

If you are not sure of the answer, refer them to your superiors.


Its that simple.