What would you have said to this CNA

Nurses Relations


I was almost done posting this but it went away? Sorry if it comes up twice???

Anyway, I am an RN on a busy day shift med-surg/onc floor. The other day it was crazy. It was about 1400 and I had not eaten or peed. I was starting to feel a bit sick. I told the HUC that I was not feeling well and that I was going to take a quick break to pee and eat something real quick. I told her to tell the CNA I was working with that I was not feeling good, would be back quickly, and to give her this note.

The note said - Take temp in 502 and get water for 507. Thanks

Well when I got back, the CNA working with me was livid. She demanded to talk to me in private. She says (and I quote) "I am not your N-word" (but she says the word if ya know what I mean) "You can't just leave me notes and expect me to do what you say"

I was just so shocked! First that she would use the N word (we are both white) and second, that she seemed to not care that I had to get off the floor for just a few min.

So I end up apologizing to HER, explaining why I left the note, and telling her how bad I had to take a quick break. She really didn't care, didn't even give the water or take the temp, and just talked trash about me for the rest of the shift. I heard her later telling the other cna's that 'she put me in my place"

this type of behavior is so dishearting for me, We should ALL be there to support eachother and the patients. What would you guys have done?


6 Posts


Well, I myself am a CNA but hopefully in a couple wks I will be going to school to be a nurse. (Im just waiting for my NET results)......Anyway, I think you shouldve written her up, thats all it is to it because that CNA did not follow supervisor directions plus the way that she handled herself was not professional at all. I agree when you say we all are there to provide care and to work as a team. She would have been written up on basis of rude behavior and refusal in patient care.


181 Posts

Why did you wait so long to eat, or even pee? What happned to cause you to wait till you felt sick to take a break?

I think it was a mistake to apologize to the CNA. She sounds like a bitter little troublemaker, and if I were you, I would tell that clown that you will not tolerate her behavior, and if it should continue, you will have no other choice than to report her behavior, in writing. If she continues to act like an ass, then follow up on the warning. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the note. It was a reasonable thing to do. Stand up for yourself, and your position. You must be tough when its called for. You dont have to put up with that crap. Choose not to.

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

Wow. Unbelievable. This is insubordination, plain and simple. Part of her job is to take direction from you, and writing down a couple of tasks for her to complete is in no way, shape, or form inappropriate. Her response was. I'd either report her behavior to the NM or write her up, whichever is appropriate in your facility.


101 Posts

It was a bad day, thats why I waited so long to get a break. I know that waiting until you feel sick is not a good.....And usually take a break sooner. This CNA has been a problem for a long time. And I believe she is in the process of getting fired. Not for what she said to me, but for many other comments overheard by managment. I just could not believe she told me "I am not your

N-word." Who even says this anymore? It just shocked me so much, I didn't really know how to handle it. I did report her to the NM and will not have to work with her again. Thank God.


198 Posts

Next time you work with her leave her a laundry list and have a digital voice recorder in your pocket for the response... Bye bye PITA! See who gets put in their place now!!

Really though, you are a very sweet and understanding person,but she misreads your compassionate heart for weakness. I would really pull her aside and let her know that in hindsight her response to your note was way out of line and you will not tolerate her insubordination or her hateful racist comments and write her up on the spot.


280 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Disease Management, smoking Cessati.

I would have waited till she was done, and then given her the choice to do what was asked or go home. Write her up or report whichever is appropriate. If she chose to go home, she would most likely be terminated for abandonment. I would never take that kind of behavior again, I know you were shocked but you are the one responsible for the patients, and it's your license on the line. If she refuses her duties she is at fault no matter how you give her that responsibility in writing or verbally.


68 Posts

Two words. Insubordination and write-up.


90 Posts

Hello. I'm not trying to be mean, but you asked our opinion. So here it goes. You were so busy that you couldn't take a pee break? You couldn't take a 2 minute break to eat a cracker? But you did have time to write down the 2 tasks, explain your condition to the HUC and ask her to pass along a note to your CNA? You did have time to step away from your work in private to argue with your CNA about this stupid note you left her?:selfbonk:

With all that being said please write this CNA up for deliberately ignoring a tasks given to her by a RN. The CNA has already admitted to you that she can't be trusted to complete the tasks you give her. Include that in your report.

Of course the best way to communicate is verbally or hand delivering the note to the CNA in case there are any questions. But in this particular case you were unable to because of an emergency. And just a reminder in case you've forgotten, the CNA is the subordinate.

Keep your head up and keep moving forward. This too will pass. ;) Take care.


16 Posts

you should definetly right that CNA up. No questions asked.


164 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, LTC, Rehab, HH.

She caught you off guard, lucky for her, this time. But lucky for you that you will know how to address it when it happens again.

Not sure why the comments questioning you about not taking a restroom break.??? Its not uncommon for nurses to be so bogged down, busy running up and down halls doing their job, that before they know it, they missed lunch, no bathroom break and look up to see dinner trays going down the hall. But most aides get their 15 minute breaks, lunch breaks, whatever.(How do I know this? They track you down and tell you) Other aides (and the same nurse who is already over loaded) can cover for them, but no other nurse can cover for another, they have their own load.

And about the comment someone wrote that she took the time to write it down? Well, yea, what's wrong with keeping notes? Let's say Nurse goes in a room, does an accuchek on mrs smith, she says she has no water. In the hall mr jones appears disoriented and is removing his diaper. Mrs vicodin is screaming for her pain pill. Do you think she should have done the aides job too and gone and done what she wrote on her hand(place of many reminders)? She probably already was doing some of her aides job.. Who knows how many water pitchers or call lights this nurse answered? Its obvious she wasn't sitting at the nurses station, or hiding in a back room. She was busy.

Some nurses pull call lights when patients request something. And don't help. And let the call light go on until the aide shows up.

If I were an aide, I would prefer a note over a call light any day.

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg.

OK what I would have done:

CNA: I am not your N-word! You can't just leave me notes and expect me to do what you say"

Me: um excuse you, last time I checked those two things were in your job description. Next time you are sick don't expect me to cover your lazy butt. (Then I would have "muttered" something kind of mean) *writes up CNA*

Then the rest of the shift, I would have bothered her like no other! Go do this! Did you do this? Did you do this? You did this wrong! And I would have not allowed her to take a break.

That is just me though........ I wouldn't recommend it. It just really bothers me that you do everything for the team and the someone like this won't give you a break! I am a get-even-type of person. :D

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