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Trouble brews over a pat on the back!

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

Lucky for me I left this one facility a few weeks ago, because this situation kind of made me upset! Just reminds me that human affection is not tolerated in most facilities anymore...and that is so sad.

In this facility we had a couple that worked there, they have been married for quite some time and work in different departments entirely. I worked there a year before I knew that they were married in fact...they just never did public shows of affection where I saw them.

Well, I guess last week the wife patted her hubby on the shoulders at work (after he had had a horrid day) as she walked by him. We are talking a walk past...pat on back saying "hope your day gets better"...and continue walking! This isn't typically what I would call a public show of affection, heck...we nurses and Caregivers do that all the time!

Anyway...she was taken off the floor by the Admin and told that she was to NEVER touch her husband at work again, and to never bring up the fact or show the fact that they are married!!! WHAT?!?! A pat on the back??? Heck, us nurses and caregivers do that all the time...what the heck is wrong with a pat on the back???

I mean, a kiss or a long hug may be too much...heck, a small hug would be okay for me between two people who are married and support each other when the day is tough (again staff does this for eachother!). But to be chewed out and threatened for dismissal for a pat on the back??? I felt this crossed the line of power trip beyond!!!

Why is it that the art of compassionate touch (not sexual) like a pat on the shoulder or a hug for a crying patient or staff member is considered a grey area but accepted more readily than one between to adults that are legally married working in the same facility? Heck, I gave a hug to my hubby when he came in as a paramedic for one of my patients and I didn't get harrassed (one arm hug really quick). It is a cultural sign of compassion and love...and releases endorphines that make you feel good and loved. Isn't that what we as healthcare professionals encourage??? Or did the friv lawsuits on harrassment distroy all shows of affection, compassion, empathy?

What is your take???

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Possibly there were other "times" when this couple did display public affection?

Otherwise, a little over the top by administration, IMHO.

Apparently whomever reported this made it sound like a big deal, which it wasn't IMO. It sounds like whomever did the reporting has issues, unfortunately your co-worker got blasted over this. I doubt this woman's husband is going to sue her for sexual harassment over a pat on the back.:uhoh3:

Given and received pats on the back "hope your day gets better" kinda thing from both female and male co-workers. Have certainly participate in hugging and crying on the shoulder over REALLY bad shifts.

I also don't understand the administrators reaction to this. Not to even be allowed to acknowledge she is married to a co-worker on ANOTHER unit.:smackingf

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

NO..not these two! They really have good working ethics, and understand that showing affection is frowned upon in the work place. Heck, the most I have seen is a loving smile from across the hall..they even make sure their breaks are separate from eachother so as not to get into trouble.

It just chaps my hide that a pat is considered wrong..and more so for a married couple than it is between patient and staff (which I consider to be borderline...have to watch that patient touching so much now a days).

Wouldn't it be nice if a nice pat on the back was okay (as long as it was mutual..there are people that do not like physical contact) no matter whom it was for...

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

Yes, not being able to even discuss that they are married? What gives any administration that right???

These two are the most wonderful couple, they met at church and work and are the sweetest people! The entire facility went to their wedding, and they are considered the best couple by everyone...it is not like anyone is offended by them being married. In fact, once I found out it was like "have you been living under a rock?"..LOL!

I don't know..this just stings like administration (which btw is not affiliated by any nursing...the administration there has nothing to do with nursing, even though they are a care facility! Another reason I left!!!) overstepping their bounds and trying to get absolute dictatorship control over their employees by taking things people hold dear and threatening loss of a job over it! Like threatening your family if you screw up at work! UHGGGGGG!

What a sad and sorry story. I can not believe there was not something else said or reported to administration to have a incident like this happen. I guess when we hold a patient's family member after the death of their loved one, or we smile and wish others a good day, we are crossing an invisible line. I am beginning to think I have been doing this job a little too long when human kindness and concern are a reason for a reprimand.

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

I guess when we hold a patient's family member after the death of their loved one, or we smile and wish others a good day, we are crossing an invisible line. I am beginning to think I have been doing this job a little too long when human kindness and concern are a reason for a reprimand.

Exactly...very sad indeed isn't it! I feel exactly the way you do, and I guess that is why this hurts me to the core. If it can happen to two sweet loving caring people like them...it can certainly happen to me and others I work with!

Anyway...she was taken off the floor by the Admin and told that she was to NEVER touch her husband at work again, and to never bring up the fact or show the fact that they are married!!!

Sounds like a case of Admin going to push them as far as they can. The couple needs to say "Stop."

They have agreed to everything else so Admin thinks they can continue to dictate.

I would tell them to STHU, then I would inform them that I would be taking my breaks with whomever I wished to in the future. As long as one isn't the supervisor of the other it shouldn't matter.

I would also seek employment elsewhere if I were them.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

This sounds very bizarre. Sounds like there's more to the story than what has been told.

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

That sounds ridiculous. Is admin banning back pats between all staff? Just the married ones? Stupid.

How ridiculous! My husband and I work together, and although we never kiss or anything even CLOSE to that at work, I have hugged him during a particularly bad day and frequently put my hand on his back when reading his computer screen or something similar... I don't see where a pat on the back is anything NEAR offensive!!!

renerian, BSN, RN

Specializes in MS Home Health.

Very, very sad........................

renerian:banghead:

Sounds like Administration has other ulterior motives, to me.

That's ridiculous.

As long as the couple are not obviously "making out", kissing, hugging, all wrapped up in each other......there's nothing wrong with a pat on the back. Like you say, non married employees do that all the time.

That's an abuse of authority in my opinion.

I met my husband at work. He was a CNA and I was the RN. I was a "self professed nun" and hadnt dated in a year. One night I am at work and I see this handsome man working with one of my CNAs. All I said was "emma, who is that adorable man?" those nuts I worked with decided that night to set us up together, the bunch of busy bodies lol. Before long most of the facility and residents were in on it. It was almost comical. Within a month he was bringing me a rose and an icee every day. He would just put them on my med cart when I wasnt looking and then leave. (he worked nights and I worked evenings...he had just been orienting on evenings) I would come out of a room and there would be a rose and an icee. The residents started calling him The Rose Man. He would bring me supper and we would sit outside and eat together on my lunch. The residents and staff would watch us out the window. The first time he ever kissed me at work we could hear them cheering from the second floor lol It wasnt long before they were planning our wedding lol. It did me NO good to tell them we needed to date first lol.

But I will be honest...we um...sort of got into quite a bit of trouble when after dating for a while...at shift change...um..I would pull him into my med room and kiss on him:D

This has nothing to do with this thread. I just wanted to tell yall how I met the love of my life:p

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