Passive Hostility Between Workplace Departments

Updated:   Published

nurse-workplace-conflicts-hostility.jpg.ca8fb10e491d5c03749e42700a0d24cb.jpg

Lately, at my workplace, I've noticed some passive hostility between different departments.  Specifically, I feel as if it is especially prevalent amongst the nursing and therapy departments.  

We have a few therapists that I feel are always going out of their way to find trouble.  They are always complaining about what nursing is and isn't doing and reporting any imperfection to upper management Instead of reporting these concerns to me, they usually just go behind my back to my supervisor.  

Yesterday's complaint was that they felt there was too much sitting around and too much friendly conversation between staff members.  I can assure you that although we were sitting sometimes at the nurse's station, work was being completed.  Assessment were getting done and orders were being clarified and entered. There weren't any call lights on during thus time.   I also feel it is ridiculous to complain about occasional socialization or enjoying each other's company, when it's not impacting our work performance and it overall lightens the mood in the workplace. 

Anyone else experienced such a workplace environment? I'm at the point where I don't necessarily want to collaborate with therapy when all they seem to be interested in is stirring up trouble that doesn't exist.  Unfortunately, I feel this is problematic and not in anyone's best interest.  Any ideas on how to reduce hostility in the workplace? 

SmilingBluEyes

20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

I have a question: how is your supervisor handling this? (you said they don't bring their complaints to you). Personally I would not worry about all this unless and until you are told by your upper management this is a problem.

Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing.

Anyhow just curious how this is currently being handled by those they bring their (rather petty) complaints to.

amoLucia

7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

Therapy has long had a simmering superioritry complex. They make money by billing for their time. THAT make them important! Our time just gets included with all the 'other' minutiae.

 

Emergent, RN

2 Articles; 4,062 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

I never got why people go running to management when they forget to discuss it with the people that they are irritated with.

amoLucia

7,735 Posts

Specializes in retired LTC.

It's how they earn their 'brownie points', like a reserved 'get out of jail free' card. To be redeemed in the future when the bearer needs it. It flatters the bearer to think they're superior than others. And they have some 'secret pull'.

Worked a NH place where one nurse on 3-11 was the 'gossip/411 informational pipeline' to the DON. She basically was a good nurse, but had some of her own quirks that should have been addressed. We other staff believed her to be the snitch. Issues were brought to the DON. Unknown if anything transpired bet those two. But she was always in the office. However, nothing was ever corrected.

This kind of person just wants to be a notch better than others, and it's best when others get 'caught' unaware.

 

Has 33 years experience.

"reporting any imperfection to upper management Instead of reporting these concerns to me". You were not informed... so what is the plan from upper management?

"I'm at the point where I don't necessarily want to collaborate with therapy" Rethink that. You have to collaborate with therapy. Nursing and therapy work together for the patient's best treatment.

 

sideshowstarlet, BSN, RN

1 Article; 237 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Developmental Disorders. Has 10 years experience.
On 12/3/2021 at 10:15 PM, Emergent said:

I never got why people go running to management when they forget to discuss it with the people that they are irritated with.

They don't forget. They just don't have the cojones to discuss it with the person but still want the feeling of self-importance that they get from complaining to the manager. 

MarkMyWords

2 Articles; 177 Posts

Specializes in nursing ethics.

I agree. Sounds very petty. People don't think pettiness is a fault and also fear confronting others with their complaints  Maybe the talking interferes with her concentration or she is bored or annoyed with what you are talking about. Assuming she hears you clearly Are you quiet or loud?  Try keeping it down including laughter

SilverBells, BSN

1,021 Posts

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 8 years experience.
On 12/3/2021 at 5:31 PM, SmilingBluEyes said:

I have a question: how is your supervisor handling this? (you said they don't bring their complaints to you). Personally I would not worry about all this unless and until you are told by your upper management this is a problem.

Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing.

Anyhow just curious how this is currently being handled by those they bring their (rather petty) complaints to.

She came and talked to me just to see what I knew about certain situations.  I explained that I did follow up on concerns that I was aware of, but some of the issues weren't brought to my attention.  I stated that I always tried to follow up as soon as I could whenever there was a concern, but it was also hard to know of each and every incident that may have gone on if nobody has said anything to me.   Her biggest suggestion was to continue providing direction to nurses and nursing assistants as to what their daily expectations are.  I don't think she was particularly concerned about the friendly conversation between staff, but just wants to make sure that residents aren't being ignored and needs are being met.  I thought this was something I was already doing, but there's always room for improvement and this isn't an unreasonable suggestion.  

SilverBells, BSN

1,021 Posts

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 8 years experience.
21 hours ago, Been there,done that said:

"reporting any imperfection to upper management Instead of reporting these concerns to me". You were not informed... so what is the plan from upper management?

"I'm at the point where I don't necessarily want to collaborate with therapy" Rethink that. You have to collaborate with therapy. Nursing and therapy work together for the patient's best treatment.

 

Basically, upper management came and spoke with me about what I knew about certain incidents.  The only feedback my supervisor really had was to continue providing direction to nurses and CNAs regarding their daily work expectations.   I don't think she necessarily views friendly conversation between staff members as a problem in and of itself, but just wants to make sure that residents are being cared for.   It's easy for conversations to get out of hand, even with the best of intentions, so returning our focus to the patients is important.  

As far as the second sentence goes, I agree.  Collaboration between nursing and therapy is essential, which is why in my original post I mentioned that a lack of working together was problematic and not in anyone's best interests.   I just find it difficult to work with people who seem to intentionally look for trouble or things to complain about.  I know therapists have a responsibility to advocate for their patients, but I feel that sometimes they take things too far, thus creating an unhealthy working environment. 

SilverBells, BSN

1,021 Posts

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 8 years experience.
5 hours ago, Mywords1 said:

I agree. Sounds very petty. People don't think pettiness is a fault and also fear confronting others with their complaints  Maybe the talking interferes with her concentration or she is bored or annoyed with what you are talking about. Assuming she hears you clearly Are you quiet or loud?  Try keeping it down including laughter

The therapist in question is barely around long enough to really be bothered by any conversation the nursing staff may be having.  She just happens to be walking in the hallway from time to time, and if she observes any of us laughing or sitting down, she feels it is something concerning to report to the supervisor, rather than seeking out the full story (e.g. nursing staff are sitting down after answering 10 call lights to work on assessments and someone just happened to make a funny remark rather than nursing staff have been sitting for over an hour or two and are doing nothing but chitchat). 

Specializes in Psych/Med Surg/Ortho/Tele/Peds. Has 7 years experience.
17 hours ago, SilverBells said:

The therapist in question is barely around long enough to really be bothered by any conversation the nursing staff may be having.  She just happens to be walking in the hallway from time to time, and if she observes any of us laughing or sitting down, she feels it is something concerning to report to the supervisor, rather than seeking out the full story (e.g. nursing staff are sitting down after answering 10 call lights to work on assessments and someone just happened to make a funny remark rather than nursing staff have been sitting for over an hour or two and are doing nothing but chitchat). 

Goodness. That therapist needs some therapy and to mind their dingdarn bidness.  They are probably jealous of the employment prospects you have (whether you are in the market or not).

Better you than me, and solidifies why I work nights...  In psych...