Ready to leave supervising

Nurses General Nursing


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169 Posts

Yes, I think part of what I have experienced over the years has helped me cope with today. If we were short-staffed and there was no one, then there was no one and it had to be done....we got it done too. Yes, the acuity of patients is far higher than it was in the 80's because patients did not enter the hospital only when they were dying. I have had one hospital supervisor in 22 years that reminds me of canoe...ONE...most of them are rarely seen, play solitaire on the computer or gossip with nurses at the desk. It is still beyond me how nurses today complain of their workload when they can sit nonstop at the nurses' station for five hours during the night. I will never understand how they can sleep when they get home, knowing full well that they did not take care of their patients minimally. If I ever get to that state, I am leaving the bedside.

I have currently started a new nurse staffing position on Med-Surg...some of the things that have been verbalized to me continue to amaze me. I have noticed that other staff nurses who have BSN's have this written on their ID tag...mine says RN. One of the staff nurses said Saturday night...I was telling the other nurses that if you teach at a BSN program, you must have your Master's. I confirmed this and found out that she graduated ten years ago from the same program that I teach at now...and will soon be leaving. She said well, what are you going to do, just let your Master's hang there? I said, I am going to be a staff nurse and she replied, yeah, I am going to let my BSN hang there for awhile too. This same nurse could not admit that she did not know how to open this new Ancef IVPB container, did not sign off her meds, yelled in the hallway for me to draw blood off of a CL when I was not working with her, tried to get me to give Lasix IVP without flushing first through a CL that was locked-when she saw me flushing first, she said, WHY are you doing that? What a bad attitude and definitely one that the faculty should not be proud of... One of my students asked me if I had met her yet and I just told her I thought that I had...she said that she could not stand this lazy nurse...the student works there as a CNA. Any nurse who is that threatened by a staff nurse with a MSN is one that worries me...I have had two days of orientation and I am being oriented by a LPN. It seems strange that this one RN has worked both nites and the mgr did not select her to train me. I will be happy to complete my orientation and be on my own...taking care of my patients, closing their doors for privacy, not allowing Pharmacy to send the wrong TPN bag and hang it anyway, ensure that my patients are turned, clean and dry without briefs while in bed, not allow lab to wait nearly two hours for a STAT glucose when the fingerstick showed see, I am setting myself up for being unpopular already.



6,620 Posts

Well, you guys obviously work with some bad nurses. I am fortunate enough to be able to say that the vast majority of the nurses I work with are hard working and professional.

Canoehead do what makes you happy, it isn't worth your sanity. It will definitely be their loss. I can't remember the last time I saw someone in management on the floor here! They should be kissing your feet.

Teacher Sue

114 Posts

Been there, Canoe, and I do sympathize with you. House supervisor is one of the least rewarding jobs. Like you, I enjoyed being a resource person, and helping out on the floors, but it never seemed to be enough. Most of the staff I worked with were very good, but it seemed like there was one on every unit that just drove me crazy, either with whining, or just being lazy and incompetent. On 11-7 I was also central supply, dietary, and medical records clerk. I was a patient advocate, did staffing and bed control, refereed problems between staff and units, and handled any problem that came up. The reason I left the supervisor position, however, was lackofsupport from administration. I tried to be an advocate for the staff, but it seemed like administration just wanted some one who would go along with their policies and not question anything. No one listened to my ideas or suggestions. I was much happier as a Unit Manager on ICU. I was able to affect some changes, and actually make the unit a better place, and make staff happier. I did that for 4 years before I took this position teaching, and I actually miss it at times.


2,719 Posts

I have not been a supervisor, I have been a charge nurse at my old hospital.

I call on my charge or supervisor occasionally to check policy, procedure etc. as I am new at my current hosp.

Yesterday, I was totally overwhelmed and I talked to my charge/supervisor (she covered both jobs this weekend) I explained the situation. As there were some things she was not aware of. I let her know ahead so that if I asked for help she knew what was up. I needed her to talk to a family that I simply did not have time for and needed to be done.

I know she has a tough job. I do not expect her to do things that I don't want to do.

I think you are being taken advantage of and I think you have taught people to do this. You are just too nice.

Unless you really don't care that the nurse is sitting on her tush do not do her work, do not offer to. Sometimes I (rarely these days as I am over extended myself) will help out someone that may not acutally need it. When I do it I do it because I truly want to.

For the most part though you should let your nurses do thier job. You seem to be a victim of reverse delegation. That is where subordinates delegate tasks up rather than laterally or down.

This only happens when a supervisor allows it. This is not the way things are suposed to run.

You should be available to deal with families/patients with extensive problems that the primary nurse cannot deal with for lack of time, knowlege etc. You ned to deal with emergencies when the staff cannot deal with it alone. You are a prblem solver an resounce, you are not a maid to other nurses.

Doing little things helping out is fine, provided you make it perfectly clear that you expect these are things the regular staff will do. You have reinforce thier dependency on you by consistently bieng thier servent. Doing an occasional blood draw is one thing. Doing it as though it were your job (that is doing it all the time) has made it your job.

We create our own job discriptions by what we acutually do. Yours has become the pick up clean up person and the person to delegate task to. Please, rewrite the job. Set boundaries and limits, And most important YOU must stick to those boundaries.

It is sad that a nice person like you has had this happen. You can recoup and recover. You may not be popular at first. Explain your position. (call a staff meeting if necessary to do this) Explain you understand thier jobs are hard but you will not can not continue to do it for them.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,880 Posts

Specializes in ER.


I agree with your post, but what if the patient needs something done and I KNOW the nurse will not do it in a timely manner if at all? My first responsibility is to the patient, not my own comfort, of course. (For example, the pt needs someone to call the doc to get a better pain med, and the nurse has taken 30 min in the past just to write down vitals, review the chart, pick the appropriate doc and call, another 20min to process the order, get the med, look it up and get it to the patient- I am not exagerating) I could do the same task in 5 minutes, and the patient is waiting, the nurse is busy. I cannot stand to see this situation, practically crawl out of my skin when I have coached the RN in the past to stay focussed and complete the process. She does it in 20 min if I am on her tail. If I leave it may not be done at all.

Also have to pick my battles, I want to be seen as willing to help out so that they will take me seriously when they are overworked (we all know what that's like) and have to take yet another admit. Or when the patient has chest pain, and she wants to complete her meds before going back and addressing it. I may not be there when a life threatening situation comes up and I want to impress on staff that some things are important enought to stop your routine and deal with it.

Sorry so wordy, but truly, if other sups have new ways of dealing with these situations I'd like some new ideas.

By the way, I'm staying sup, but will be called into the office soon, as the nurse I snapped at wrote me up. She and I discussed and resolved our problems, but still, the boss has to have her say too. :roll


23 Posts

Thanks everyone, I do feel better, after sleeping and coming back in to work for a fresh crew. I did ask my boss if she felt that maybe a designated float nurse would work for the hospital, since everyone hates to float, but they decided not. Seems deciding who would get the float when everyone was short, and whose budget the pay would come out of was too difficult to negotiate.

Canoehead, I feel for your situation. I've been a house supervisor for a little over a year and I know the crap people try to pull on you. It is admirable that you're willing to help out in a crunch, but I do think your being taken advantage of. I am certainly not against rolling up your sleeves and helping out if a unit is drowning. But I refuse to do the work of those who are too lazy to get off their butts, that's what they were hired to do, take care of the patients! They have their job and I have mine. I look at it this way, helping outs fine, but I have to be available to the WHOLE HOUSE. I always tell the staff, I'll help out but when another unit or the ER calls and needs something, I have to help them out as well. I refuse to get tied up on a floor just so someone can sit at the desk and eat and yak or go take a nap somewhere! A float nurse for the house is great, when you can get one! She/he can float and do all those little tasks that the floors need help with,meds, admissions and such. I would certainly bring the subject up. Hope your situation improves!

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