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Tattling or reporting concerns?


Specializes in Cardiac/Telemetry, Hospice, Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

An experienced nurse gave me report last night and passed on a few tasks. Ok I certainly understand that. As the night wore on I realized she had failed to replace critically low lab values and yet even documented in a narrative that "labs were monitored and treated" (They weren't). She also told me in report that the pt was treated and she would enter a redraw but never did. She also did not sign multiple orders that were written during her shift. Some orders that she did sign weren't even entered in the system. Both pts she passed on to me were not "chart checked" at all.

I was dismayed at how sloppy everything was and have never seen anything like it before. Am I obligated to report this. Or should I just say something to her? Or do nothing? I am a new nurse (6 mo) and certainly don't go around around looking for stuff to criticize but this was just plain frustrating and I had a huge mess to clean up.


gonzo1, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN. Has 18 years experience.

Usually I only report this if it happens more than once. Or if patient safety, or mine is threatened.

I always chart "assumed pt care at this time" when I take over a pt, so I can't be held responsible for stuff not done before in a timely manner.

I have reported other nurses once or twice if the situation was really bad and I thought there might be a lot of missed meds or tests, just to cover my butt.

Sad that we have to think like this.

Since this is the first time I would talk to the nurse directly. Maybe she was just having a bad shift and got frazzled. If this continues to be a problem with her and talking to her does not solve the problem, then you should bring it up with the supervisor. You will find in nursing that there is a reasonable expectation that nurses work together and bring up matters with each other for resolution before talking to supervisors. However, each workplace culture will be a little different. Running to the supervisor with every little thing won't be appreciated, yet you can't let major problems just go on and on. You always have to keep patient safety in mind. Hopefully you can resolve this by bringing it to the attention of the nurse.


Specializes in icu/er.

i always try to talk to the person first, believe me the last thing you want to be labled as is a person who is always running to the unit manager reporting other staff. sometimes it's hard enough just being a nurse and the last thing you need is that tattle-tale stigma over your head. you'd be amazed how constructive crtitisim from a co-worker will do at times.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I agree, tell the nurse directly first. I have had some doozy days where I have forgotten to chart certain things. But if it continues, then, you have a reason. But, follow the chain of command-speaking to the immediate person above you first. Many times, issues can be solved within the ward or unit before calling in the guns.

SillyStudent, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU, CCL, EP. Has 8 years experience.

It is always best to talk to the other nurse first. We all have bad days. The notable exception is, she didn't do something that hurt your patient. In that case you might have to say something.


Specializes in Cardiac/Telemetry, Hospice, Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

Yeah I really can't see myself bringing it to the boss. That would feel pretty yucky. My busy night last night helped me forget all about it anyway. I had 3 of my patients all on multiple electrolyte protocols and I was playing piggyback wars all night plus running a couple of PCA's and prepping one for surgery. Quite frankly the busiest night yet in my new career as a RN. 13 1/2 hours without a break. That is unusual on my unit. Usually I always get breaks. But lot's of people pitched in and helped me and I am grateful to be working with such great people. Thanks everyone for the input. I certainly don't want to be a tattle tale. I was just frustrated in the moment.


This nurse may have had a day from Hades and just did not and could not do it all. Been there and done that a few times. Most working nurses have a day like this every great once in awhile. I am sure you are frustrated and angry over the mess you were left, but stop and think..this could happen to you one of these nights, and hopefully your fellow workers will cut you some slack. Speak to her, and get her side of the story before you report her. If this behavior continues, then

make the report official. Hope this helps. Blessings.


Specializes in LTC, office. Has 19 years experience.

I think it's always best to approach the nurse in question first. But if something is a continuous problem and affecting patient care it can be not only appropriate but necessary to let management know.

I am not the nurse who sits in the NM office tattling about every little thing. But it does have it's place and time.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

I think the difference between tattling and voicing concerns depends on who is impacted by your co-workers omissions - you or the patient. I could accept a little more work if the previous shift was busy, I have done that myself, although I always tried to include omissions in my report. But an omission that jeopardized my patient may be another matter if it happened too often. I would diplomatically confront the nurse, and let her know that while you do understand that some shifts are busier than others, she needs to let you know. How often have I heard "I just had the shift from Hell, I apologize if I forgot something". Geez, how many times have I said that?

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