unique ethical problem

Nurses General Nursing


I am a fairly new nurse and have had some problems with another nurse. She is very, very two-faced and backstabbing. I feel I am able to get along with most people and have had no open conflicts with her, however, I endured about six months of persecution from her during which I felt she and two nursing assistants were sabotaging my patient care, by hiding charts, records, mars and playing games with pumps and supplies, etc. That time was very stressful for me, as I was new, and I made med errors. I finally went to my supervisor after I had witnessed for the umpteenth time, this same nurse discussing with the assistants about how they were going to sabotage a nurse assistant who was coming on. I didn't enjoy my suspicians about what was being done to me, but couldn't tolerate what I witnessed being done to another and the patients, and then as a result those nurses. My supervisor listened and gave some light, friendly advice. One of the assistants quit and the situation went covert and not as direct. Now it is mainly character assasination, as this nurse is very clever and devious. She has now engratiated herself with my supervisor and several of the house supervisors, meeting with them informally on a daily basis. She does, though, have run-ins almost daily with one of us staff nurses, and I don't feel like she is competent at patient care, either, even though she has been at this for decades.

Recently, a co-worker has come forward and told me that she witnessed this nurse and the assistants hide my mars, notes and records, and charts with new orders , and discussions about how funny it is when I get behind and can't find things. With this evidence that has come to light, I'm wondering if I need to go to the nursing board.

I have to be very careful about how I handle this, because this nurse is clever enough to set me up for life.

What should I do?



219 Posts

We had a saying in the Army, which I think applies here. "When in doubt as to how to procedd in any combat situation, empty the clip.";) Gary


209 Posts

Before you utilize your chain of comand to report her, I would suggest confronting her. These type of individuals only prey on those that they think are weak.


105 Posts

My thoughts and prayers are with you on this situation, I graduate in May 2002 and this scares me! I have heard horror stories and seen some in action of the treatment of new nurses. I just have to wonder though, if she is spending all this time playing games, who then is responsible for her patients.

I'm not sure what I would do, but dont back down and dont let her know she has gotten to you and dont bow down to her level.

Best of luck!



1,091 Posts

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

Talk to the person that wittnessed this thing. See if they are willing to back you up, and take it to the supervisor. If they are not........you have no proof and could just make things worse. If they are your set........and try and get it in writing first, so that they cannot turn tale and hide after the fact. Then confront this person.......tell them you have a wittness that watched her hide your charts and stuff. tell her anymore of this, and you and the wittness will go up the chain of command to handle it. Take no garbage!

Evidence is everything.......


648 Posts

I would take Rick's advice _but_ if your co-worker is not willing to back you, I would strongly advise you to consider a new work spot and I am not one to advise people to turn tail and run, but some of these folks love triangulating and if NO one is willing to hold them accountable, then why stay in this hell? There's a ton of other jobs out there.

BTW, I always say that you should consider that it will take a year before your co-workers know you, respect your knowledge base and show you some acceptance (especially in critical care) but these people are malicious and don't care if they hurt others (that is patients!!! HIDING MARS--that's outrageous!!) These people want to be king of the small mountain and they are willing to mess with the safety of patients to do it. I wouldn't stay. I also would in a very matter of fact way state my problem in my exit interview: "I felt I was being harassed by certain staff members and the supervisor was not supportive. I did not see this situation ever improving and I felt it was in my best interest to move on." They won't even say, "I"m sorry," to you but over time, they may put the picture together and change it."

These people are malicious and I have worked with some pretty b****Y folks in my time, but these people show malice toward clients. Don't get caught up in this pathetic soap opera if you cannot get someone to help you on it.


215 Posts


There are a few steps you should take.

1. When you are unable to locate your records make a note of the time and when you find the record add the note to the chart. "0900-1000 Searched entire unit for chart. Located it blank." This will cover you if orders are not timely noted.

2. Complete an incident report for each time your records are missing. Note everyone on duty on the incident report.

3. If you cannot find a chart for more then an hour you should immediately notify the on duty supervisor and your security. Request a security camera to be installed above your chart rack.

4. The next time you are at work speak to the supervisor/manager and explain what has been going on with your records. Back it up in writing. Only report and document what you directly observed. If you report what was said to you will need to include a name.

5. During the meeting with nursing management, specifically ask who is responsible for reporting to BRN and JCAHO, Police Department.

6. Notify and copy your memo to your malpractice insurer.

In my state(s) loss of control of confidential information is a criminal felony. Delay in noting and implementing orders can also be considered patient abuse. Again my state(s) have mandated reporting for all persons at risk (including hospitalized/institutionalized).

If you aren't comfortable with confronting your suspects, make the arrangements for the meeting in front of your suspects.

You will survive this if you are cautious. Good luck.


6,011 Posts


BBQ I believe that Sharon has summarized it perfectly!

Paper trails are hard to get rid of. In addition to your own copy I would suggest a copy to security and one to human resources.

I used to work with one who was the manager's vacation/partying/cruise taking buddy and any thing said confidentially went to the buddy before you finished your shift.

I miss working but I don't miss that at all.

Loss of control of confidential material is indeed a security risk.


753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.


I believe I used to work with the nurse you're talking about. It makes for a miserable shift. Sharon's plan sounds awesome. Like some others said, the easy way may be to confront her. This is what I did with the nurse I worked with. Everytime I had a situation come up that I felt she was behind, I'd confront her..usually in front of witnesses. The last thing people like this want is to be called out, esp in front of others. I feel for ya, girl!

Good luck! P.S. Don't send her back to me ;)



1,577 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

I just cannot believe that another nurse would sabatoge your patients. She could seriously HARM them! How could another nurse purposely harm a patient ? This type of behavior has me baffled. I once heard a story where an ICU nurse prposely sabatoged a new ICU staffers Patients. This nurse actually tipped over chest tube drainage systems and I think may have unhooked the pt from the ventilator. Can you even imagine?

I believe your story. I don't understand how a person who calls herself a nurse could intentionally cause harm to another nurses patients.

I agree with what Sharon recommended. Good Luck and keep us posted!



35 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/ante/post Partum.

This is not only bad behavior, it sounds like it could easily escalate to the criminal. Without doubt, as others have advised you should inform your supervisor, confront the nurse with witnesses, and document each incident. I also agree with notifying security with your supervisor's knowledge. This is not only dangerous for you and your patients, it could escalate to involve others as well. This kind of petty, back-biting and negative behavior affects morale on the entire unit. Any manager worth their salt would halt this stuff dead in its tracks. Very destructive for the whole unit.

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