Take that! How I (kind of) defeated the nurse who is out to get me

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There’s this clipboard nurse upstairs who is out to get me. She has been trying to find ANY reason to “counsel” me (this is when management meets with you and your union rep to have a nice talk about how much you suck). First, she wanted to counsel me because I was “late.” Yeah, I swiped in at 11:33 a.m. three times last month, and not 11:27 a.m. Late, my ass. Oh, and there was the time I got a complaint letter about how mean I was—from the patient who hit me.

Whatever. Oh, and there was the woman who complained that I pressed the stethoscope to her chest too hard.

Fortunately, our nurse manager is great and he runs interference, and I haven’t had to do it.

So the other day, the clipboard nurse came racing triumphantly downstairs, waving a letter and looking for me. Someone had written an email to administration about an encounter we’d had. She handed it to my manager and asked for me to be called over “because we need to talk about this—this is the THIRD letter we’ve received about GuitarGirl!”

My manager read through the email and called me over, laughing. He asked the clipboard nurse if she had read the letter all the way through. She started looking uncomfortable. He handed the email to me.

Although the letter started out rather humorlessly with “I am writing to address an incident in room [number] of your Emergency Department on [date],” this was not a complaint. This was a letter effusively thanking me for my “Herculean efforts” (that’s a direct quote) in disimpacting a young lady’s badly impacted colon after the resident was unable to do it. The writer complimented me on my sense of humor and the way with which I put the patient and her partner at ease in a difficult, painful and embarrassing situation.

I remembered this incident. This poor young woman had been in a car accident and had undergone multiple surgeries on her leg in the last few weeks, necessitating lots of narcotic pain medications, which had backed her up something awful. I skillfully birthed a load of poop out of her butt (I remember saying, “Okay, it’s kind of like popping a big, poopy zit!”). After the initial blockage was out, a torrent of poop followed and actually flew off the stretcher and hit the wall behind the bed (fortunately the med student who was assisting me and I were well out of the way). Needless to say, it was smelly and messy, but I quickly cleaned up and put the woman and her partner at ease.

As we read the email, the manager and I started laughing—and so did the clipboard nurse. Although it seemed she was reluctant to admit that this was not a complaint, it was a good letter!

Of course, she had to find something to chastise me about: At some point in the letter, the writer quoted me as having used the word “sh*t.” She mentioned that such language isn’t appropriate in the workplace.

I can’t win.

So…do you have a good story about a nightmare coworker?

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Guitar Girl RN

Guitar (and now bass)-playin' rock-and-roll emergency room RN. I pulled the trigger and now I have a public blog - Guitar Girl, RN. Scary.

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9 Responses to Take that! How I (kind of) defeated the nurse who is out to get me

  1. Faeriefirefly

    I think those managers who write up every little thing either feel they have to do so to justify having their job or because the feel like they have no control in their private lives or are being criticized themselves by others. I have long ago given up on worrying about those types. Kill them with kindness and have fun. Learning a few clever come-backs is helpful too.

  2. pedsrn

    I work with a nurse like your Clipboard Nurse. My problem is that he is a junior nurse to me and has a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas. The only thing I did to ‘win’ in this situation was continue to be the best nurse I can be. Eventually management caught on and he was reprimanded for his actions.
    It was then they pointed out all of the complaints about him from patients and families, as well as his ongoing errors and attitude problem. He is well humbled these days…

  3. acey

    Agreeing with pedsrn. Be the best nurse you can be and find peace of mind in that (easier said than done, I know.)

    And when being your best isn’t enough for the borderline personality disordered clipboard toting types, document, document, document – on your interactions with them, and anyone else you think may have a stick up their nether regions and is out to cause headaches for you. A key word with a date and time on your report sheet, and a saved draft in an (non-work) email account that can be appended to is priceless when the time comes.

  4. Shauna

    I’m sorry, but being 6 minutes late 3 times in one month is cause for action. It looks bad on not only you, but the unit and the hospital you represent. Also, it’s disrespectful towards the nurse you’re relieving. S/he has worked 8-12 hours and waiting to give report before going home, with likely more work (charting, assessments, etc.) to do before leaving. Please be more considerate to your coworkers and patients, and arrive on time. At hospitals I’ve worked for, 18 minutes of tardiness would definitely be actionable.

    • rnrachel

      Is this sarcasm? I couldn’t tell. I figured it was sarcasm.

  5. Ma

    Time to wise up! Get a clip-board of your own. Even though you are honest, that will not save you. Get a calender! Document what time you clock in and out every day. Are you the only one being “Zoned in on.” If not, could it be a race issue?” If you feel it may be, Document if others recieve promotions, special understandings/(Light-Duty/tardies/ assistant/days out of work/~~~~and know there is someone with more tardies/days out/etc. Do not let anyone know about your documentation, which you know includes the Date/Time/ Unit/ Documentation/and your signing at the end of each day. If you have papers/notes that you know you did, and disappear at work/and are written up. Document every conversation in your journal. Every talk between you and Clipboard. If another co-worker see’s that you are being treated differently/ ask them to anonamously write a statement of the situation and just how it occured(Witness)Keep it in your journal. Have witness date/time/sign/(If there is someone you trust, it is even better if you get a 2nd witness(person who just states Witness did write the paper/then get it notorized! But still get the written statement, even if you do not trust a 2nd witness!!!! Go to work on time! Just sayin’ that gives CB no room to make you look bad. Set your clock 30 minutes earlier, no matter how bad it hurts. Then she will have to start re-inventing the wheel. Keep copies of everything. Always count ALL narcs before you go home and make sure the next nurse signs the count was correct. I don’t care if they say,” I trust you.”
    1. TRUST
    2. ASSUME
    Saw a case one time:

    1.African American employee was in a devistating car-accident. Out for months with broken bones, etc. Very professional employee!! Dr. wrote excuse for employee to come back “Light-Duty.” Was told, “there is no such thing as light-duty.”

    2. Caucasion employee(Same Title as #1) Got a breast augmentation by choice. Dr. wrote an excuse for light duty. Light Duty was granted for 6 weeks.

    When the schedule would go up, #1 would get a copy of it. A line drawn through days of the week by #1’s name. LD(Light Duty) written by #2’s name.

    #1 was smart. She never argued the proof, but kept quiet and Obtained Copies of every Monthly schedule. Recorded telephone conversations with Admin., asking if any light duty job at all available. Even if it was just taking vitals for everyone in the building, or helping with paperwork, answering phones, anything at all because she really needed to work because she was out of work with no money for a long time.
    #1 Was told,”There is no such thing as light duty here.”

    Keep daily records of comments people say, a little recorder in your pocket is always a great tool from people changing there story. Check in your state to see if it is Legal To Record voices. Most states it is as long as one person knows the conversation is being recorded.

    By the way, #1 won her racial-discrimination law suite.
    1.Documentation/Copies/Recorded conversations.
    If you are ever-ever, out of work, have a physician excuse/ make a copy of it, and keep it with your files at home :)

    You have to get LEGAL/ have proof/ Because when it comes down to it,..you are going to be alone/sadly even though how much your co-workers love you, they do not want to compromise their jobs. So sad that honesty and a good hand shake are not good enough in this world today. Seems like the honest people get picked on. Many prayers!!!!

  6. kellykul

    Sorry but you shouldn’t be late to work and 3 times in 1 month. I am very rarely late. I can’t remember the last time I was late getting to work. Probably 2 years ago. I agree it is inconsiderate for the offgoing nurse. I am late under extenuating circumstances (i.e. snowstorm). It just feels so much better to start my shift not running late. I am fortunate to work for a company that feels like punching in at 7:01 makes you tardy and counts as an occurrence. If more companies did that you wouldn’t have people showing up late to work.

  7. rnrachel

    A friend of mine wrote a paper when she was in school on how nurses need to treat each other with respect and not attack one another. We need to be a team. Even if someone has done something wrong, talk to them in person and try to resolve problems; don’t do around with an ax to grind, trying to slash every person down.

  8. tinathecma

    Holy Mackerel! Clipboard Nurse sounds like a nightmare to work with. You ever plan on transferring to another unit because of her?