Should I follow up?


I've been working in my ICU for three years now, and I was feeling ready for a change. I often receive report from the ED and have become friendly with one of the nurses there. For the last few months he has been encouraging me to apply for a position in that department. I am, for the most part, very happy in the ICU (and the CV surgery unit where I often float) so I wanted to be quite certain that the ED would be a good place for me. I was thinking that I could work there per diem or transfer there and still work per diem in my present unit. I wanted to experience a shift in that department before I made any decisions, however.

My ED acquaintance introduced me to his manager, and she seemed very interested in having me apply. She agreed to let me shadow an ED nurse for one shift before I made up my mind. Of course, my first choice of a person to shadow would have been my acquaintance, but our schedules were not compatible. The manager set me up with another nurse whom, she assured me, would be very happy to let me shadow her. I made it very clear that I did not want to do this if I would be in anyone's way.

The big night arrived. I had worked seven nights in a row due to our unit's high census, and I was giving up one of my two nights off in order to do this. I drove the 45 minutes to my hospital and entered the ED. I was wearing scrubs and my hospital ID badge. I walked up to the nurse's station and waited for the nurses there to end their conversation. One of them, an older woman whom I recognized as usually working triage, finally turned to me. "Can I help you?" she asked, giving me a look like I had tracked dog poop into her department.

"I'm here to see 'Betsy'" I said, giving the name of the nurse I was supposed to shadow.

"Betsy who?" she asked.

Maybe I had gotten the name wrong! "Um, I don't know her last name, but Suzie, your manager, arranged for me to shadow her tonight."

"Betsy called in sick tonight," she said, apparently now remembering that someone by that name DID actually work in her department, "And nobody told us that you were coming." Then she turned away and started talking to another nurse about something else.

"Well, I don't know what I should do," I said. I can't remember the last time I'd felt so awkward. There were a few other nurses and techs sitting at the nurses station, but all they did was stare at me blandly. No one offered a suggestion. I turned to the triage nurse again, "What should I do?"

She huffed and said, "We're really understaffed tonight, but if you really want to I guess you can shadow somebody else." From the tone of her voice I could tell that she wanted me to leave. None of the other nurses stepped in and offered to let me shadow.

I left! The point of the night was for me to decide whether I wanted to work in that department, and that reception definitely decided it for me. I can't imagine something like that happening on my unit. It made me grateful that I work where I do.

My question is this: Should I call the ED manager and let her know what happened? Should I call my ED acquaintance and let him know? It would have no bearing on my job whatsoever. I know now that I will never work in that department. I don't want to seem like a whiner. I'm actually grateful to have found out what the place was like before I applied there. I guess I don't want to seem rude, but I feel like the manager really dropped the ball by not informing anyone that I was coming (or maybe that nurse wasn't telling the truth?) It's been a week. What should I do?


502 Posts

By all means, call and thank the nurse manager for her kindness and explain why you were unable to shadow that night. It will be an eye opener for her.

mamamerlee, LPN

949 Posts

Specializes in home health, dialysis, others. Has 35 years experience.

I agree. Call the manager - she is probably wondering what happened. Try to be as objective as possible. Maybe you could try an ER at another place?


370 Posts

Specializes in ICU, M/S,Nurse Supervisor, CNS. Has 16 years experience.

Yes, definitely call the manager and let her know what happened. It will reflect badly on you or make it seem as if you were not serious in your inquiries about working in that department. She must know by now that you never did complete the shadow, but she should know why. She may need to do some education with her staff about customer service as you were, indeed, a customer of sorts. Imagine how they treat their external customers!


686 Posts

Absolutely f/u and be honest in your feedback. It can be done in a polite and professional way. Her staff is very territorial and it will be hard for any new staff to feel comfortable let alone succeed down there. She needs to know.


1,465 Posts

I agree with everyone else. Maybe she is aware of the situation and hopes to improve it with new staff??? I would just state that so and so was out sick and you could not shadow. She may ask after that if somone else offered.


2 Articles; 120 Posts

My god.....people are so freaking RUDE sometimes....*hugs* to the manager. Just let her know that you showed up to shadow but Betsy called in sick and take it from there.

FYI....if you had showed up on my floor, I would have welcomed you with open arms, even if I didnt know you were coming. I make a point of making newcomers feel welcome, no matter who they are. Everyone, no matter who they are, has something to offer.

tewdles, RN

3,156 Posts

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

I hope that your polite and honest feedback to the manager will have a positive influence on the behavior of the staff in that ER...Lord knows no nurse should have to tolerate that level of unprofessional conduct in a professional environment.

Good luck.

Please follow-up. We have an ER that is known to be territorial and potentially hostile to newcomers, floats and those that shadow. This doesn't seem to be an issue in other parts of our hospital, just the ER. Management needs to be aware of how their staff acts when they are not present.

Good luck where ever you decide to work.

Rabid Response

309 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you all for your thoughtful (and unanimous) responses. It seems that I must call the manager and let her know at least the basics of what occurred. I will probably rehearse beforehand so that I don't come off as some kind of tattle-tale. I'm kind of surprised by how upset I was the night it happened. I guess I'm not as thick-skinned as I thought, or maybe I just was tired and unprepared to deal. Enough time has passed that I'm certain I can talk to the manager without emotion.

I guess I didn't know how good I had it on my unit. I will never take the kindness of my co-workers for granted again. Also, I'm going to make it my extra special mission to reach out to anyone who is new to my unit, whether they are nurses, students, visitors, name it. Live and learn!

Thanks guys!


1,459 Posts

Please, I implore you to call, follow up with this. Such meanness.


15 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU. Has 6 years experience.

By all means, let the ED manager know what happened. She needs to know how you were treated, and you might consider being honest in telling her that the reception you received influenced your decision not to transfer. I'm curious what the turnover is in that department. I doubt you are the only one that has been treated that way.

btw-- having worked in both ED and ICU, I much prefer ICU, but that's my opinion!!:p