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What should be done?


Has 27 years experience.

I'm hoping to get some feedback here for a friend. She was at work and had sudden, severe chest pain. The charge nurse who was on is one that she, and some others, have had problems with. She says that this charge nurse has a clique and that they give anyone who is outside their clique a hard time. The manager has been aware of that situation, but hasn't had enough to go on despite complaints from more than one person.

She went to her charge twice, telling her that she was having severe chest pain, had abnormal VS, had never had anything like this. She was clutching her chest, and was writhing. The charge nurse blew her off and told her to go take a TUMS.

She ended up going to the ER doc and was brought into a room and given a work up. She was discharged with another problem, on antibiotics.

Since then, she contacted her manager, who was receptive. There was a strong, sympathetic witness to the event. The manager is planning to talk to this charge. My friend has also spoken to another nurse who had complained about this charge nurse, the charge nurse had been spoken to, and there was obvious retaliation for that. That nurse is going to now ask for a meeting with the charge and the manager.

Now my friend is considering writing a formal letter of complaint to the hospital, but she's not sure if she wants to go forward with that. She feels like she was given substandard care by the charge and that it was based on the charge nurse's personal dislike of her. She doesn't want negative backlash on herself though.


Specializes in Medical Surgical & Nursing Manaagement. Has 21 years experience.

First....your friend is a nurse and she should know that when caring for patients she needs to be physically and mentally able to meet her patients needs. Obviously in this case she wasn't able to care for her patients and tried to do the right thing for herself and the patients, i.e., go to the ER. SHAME on the charge nurse for putting not only the nurse at risk but the patients as well! And double shame on the manager for allowing this charge nurse to run her the unit this way and put HER patients at risk. I say set up the meeting and include HR. If the staff is treated so poorly, I dread to think of how the patients are being cared for!

Edited by kayern
incomPLETE sentence


Specializes in Management, Med/Surg, Clinical Trainer. Has 20 years experience.

It sounds like the charge nurse may have a personal dislike for many people. And that is neither here nor there.

The question is what do you hope to achieve.....Would you like her to change her practice? Warn the hospital of impending law suits from her neglect? Be fired?

If you are going to step up expect them to ask you why this is important and what you think should be done.

At the minimal, the charge should have told her to go down to the ER to get checked out and had someone else cover her patients. The hospital would also appreciate knowing that there is a charge nurse endangering patients and employees lives. So they can take appropriate steps.

You are already engaged with the NM, and she plans to speak with her and allow the nurse in on the conversation. If no progress is made in the conversation, then HR may be the recourse.

Emergent, RN

Has 27 years experience.

Just an update. Both nurses did formally complain to the manager. There was a meeting between manager and charge. My friend told me that she received a text message apology from the charge that was laden with excuses, promised no retaliation, totally failed to address the larger issue of a hostile workplace. My friend says she'll just accept the apology and hope for improvement. The manager requested updates and was very supportive.

For future reference... Human Resources should be the point of contact if you do not feel like you are getting an adequate response from a nurse manager.