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Old 11-07-2007, 10:44 AM
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Default Needing Some Advice

This is gonna sound really stupid, and I guess to understand it, you would just have to work at this place, and then you really wouldnt understand it even then lol. Anyhow, I'm gonna try to give a little back ground on the whole thing before getting to what we need advice on. I have worked there for several years, I love our hospital and my coworkers, its like an extended family. Now our hospital in itself is tiny, its 18 bed, we have less than 25 nursing staff, and we are out here in the sticks of nowhere. We (the nursing staff) all get along great, we cheer with each other over the great moments in our lives and we cry with each other of the bad things in each of our lives. But for the past year and a half, our D.O.N (who is married) has been having an an affair with our only male RN, who is also married, and works only nights. At first it didn't bother me so much, but as the affair goes along it becomes more and more out there that they are having an affair. Our D.O.N. is no longer avaliable to us during the day because she chooses to work the LVN spot on night shift to have time with her "lover" instead of hiring another LVN. That is putting our other RNs in bad spots because our D.O.N isn't avaliable to handle situations that need handling by her. The man she is having the affair with is using his spot in her life to get her to change things at the hospital to how he wants them to be, and not what is necessarily right for the whole. Anytime someone tries to point out to her that what he wants isn't good for the whole of the hospital she says the same thing everytime, "Lets agree to disagree". Things have gotten so bad that its embarrassing to work there, and makes most of us feel unprofessional, and makes us look bad. In example, the nurse she is having the affair with walked up the nurses station saw that we still had a patient he does not like (and he is the charge nurse), threw his keys on the desk and yelled "g**d**n it, I knew she'd still be here". That embarrassed all of us who were there, but we can't say anything to him or to our D.O.N about it. Our D.O.N hired another nurse who is a friend of her "lover", and this woman, she's 30 years old, she has a tongue bar which she wears to work faithfully every day, and shows it off to coworkers and patients by sticking her tongue out or playing with. She doesn't mind telling people about her nipple piercings, and she cusses like a salior, every other word out of her mouth is the f word, and she talks loud, patients family has complained about her swearing cos she does it at the nurses station, and I have to follow this womans orders cos she a charge nurse. Its embarrassing, its unprofesional, and when the family walks up the desk, it makes all of us look bad. We've complained to our D.O.N about it, and while she did talk to her about the swearing, all it did was stop her from cussing when our D.O.N is coming onto her night shift, and the tongue ring is still there. She even swore while she was on the phone with the Texas Department of Health.
Some of us have even tried sitting and talking to our D.O.N, who was a wonderful leader at one time, and a sweet woman, and explaining to her how her affair is affecting all of us, and in bad way, we pointed out things that have changed and are wrong and making us all look bad, and all she could say in her defense is "I really love him". Alot of our staff has quit over her affair with him and the effects it has had on all of us. We have lost 2 of our best RNs over it, 3 CNAs, 2 LVNs. And because we are in the middle of nowhere, no one wants to come here and work, and I am at the point that I am ready to leave, I'd rather work at Wal-Mart than stay in this mess, but at the same time I am torn about it because I have worked there so long, and there so many people I have grown attatched to, including patients. It makes my day when one of our patients comes in and holds my hand and say I'm so glad you are here. Or to hear them say, this might not be a fancy hospital, but I would rather be here than anywhere else because the nurses here are the nicest of all the hospitals I've ever been in. That makes you feel so good to know you are doing your job and doing it good enough to make that kind of impression on your patients. I like being there for the patients, and I know most of them inside and outside the hospital because its such a small community. But there HAS to be something we can do about our situation with our D.O.N and her lover and about the potty mouthed nurse. Our administrator knows about it, but I guess has chosen to stay out of it. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas?
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:09 AM
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Who told the administrator?

I say get a bunch of yourselves together and see the administrator en masse.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:03 PM
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I agree Geena; but it must be done with unity that states to the administrator that this is NOT acceptable behavior and if you are not going to do something about this, then perhaps the public has the right to know.

I'm betting "something" would be stirring if that were to occur.

Good luck. I'm sorry you are going through such a mess.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:17 PM
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Wow, what a mess. I don't think you can do anything about the swearing gum-chewing cow. It's not against the law to be a biotch. But you can do something about the affair. You can bring it to the attention of the board. As in the board of directors that the administrator reports to. No board wants to pay out millions of bucks in a sexual harassment suit. And that's exactly what this is. A member of senior management is having an affair with a subordinate, thus creating a hostile work environment. Cha-ching! There are probably a dozen salivating lawyers that would love to hear about this.

I wish I had enough faith in human kind to encourage you to just meet with the administrator or the board, but my own work environment has sucked any shred of faith or hope out of me. If you meet with the administrator, you are dancing with danger. Even if you do it en masse. But a tersely worded letter from a lawyer to the chairman of the board will set things straight in a nanosecond. Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:42 PM
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I agree with the others, it's important to speak in a united voice with others who feel the same way you do. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with this kind of stuff in the workplace. Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:14 PM
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thanks so much everyone. Several of us have gone to the admin about it recently, and he just made a comment along the lines of he knew it was going on. So I guess we will figure something out. Going to the board is not really a good idea, its kinda hard to explain that whole situation all together, but it would be pointless. Several have suggested going to the others spouses, but I am against that because there are very young children involved for both of them, and that would be the last thing I would want to do to those babies.

I'll let ya know when we've figured something else out.

Thanks so much again

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Old 11-15-2007, 05:41 PM
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Its another case of being between a rock and a hard place. You can't tell the spouses as it is not your place to do that, and will cause hostility between you and the DON. I don't think it is sexual harassment (mind you Australia has just updated their definitions 3 years ago) as both parties are consenting to the contact at work. But you might want to investigate work place harassment on such grounds as not being treated equally in the workplace.

You need your patients to provide written complaints to the hospital. Our hospital has forms in the rooms and they are sealed and given to administration and the board of directors. So they are taken VERY seriously. Just remember that you can not tell someone to complain, just notify them that if they have a problem to write it down and you can pass it onto the administration. If necessary have it sealed and addressed to the administration to stop the DON from opening it.

Contact your registration board, or union (even if not in it they sometimes will give you some advice) and tell them the story. There might be some breech of regulation for registration as a nurse.

We are patient advocates. If it endangers the patients safety you need to do something about it. Good Luck!
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:44 AM
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Ok, I'm not a clairvoyant, astrologer or Tarot card reader, but I have some very strong 'feelings' from what you wrote in your post on this situation.

Your DON is going to come unstuck in the not too distant future, and probably without the necessary intervention of co-workers.

She will bounce back tho, as long as she manages to distance herself from the charge nurse when it happens.

I note that you write about your DON and how much this is effecting her. However, I believe the charge nurse lover sounds like a screaming psychopath rather than she's found a worthy companion. I'd hazard a guess he wasn't in post long before the affair happened too, or there was some other significant catalytic change in circumstances at the unit that set things off.

He's obviously abusing his relationship with her to attain privileges and she's just getting more sucked in as it continues.

I'm pretty concerned for the DON who has displayed a shift of character and is apparently far removed from her normal self. I have pity for her because this guy lives in a deviant manipulative world where he cares for no one but himself. He will drop her without notice once her usefulness has expired.

I would focus less on the DON (although she is the point of concern - in a caring perspective) but more on the 'cause' - who is more concern from the destructive and scheming potential (which is becoming more real every day). It is unlikely that he is able to prevent himself from acting out his deviant ways in other areas too such as probably having another woman on the go (potty mouth woman he brought in?), sitting on his butt all night long delegating, sweet talking other female nurses, acting macho around male co-workers. He possibly has some other form of risk-taking behaviour pattern such as illicit drugs, gambling, poker - something that involves his perceived 'superior intellect' rather than some skilled or physical activity.

Typical work behaviours he might exhibit include:
Poor attention to pt need - failing to ensure proper care.
Aggressive nature - treating some staff and patients in contemptible manner.
Taking advantage of his status - like fraud or theft from the service (eg taking off time he's not entitled too & getting DON to ok it).
Lying and deceiving - particularly making out he's got some qualification or other that he really hasn't. ( I once worked with an ex-SAS, diving instructor, shark hunter, clinical nurse tutor, university lecturer (& I think astronaut) - all before he was 35 yrs old!)

I'm not suggesting a vendetta against him or going out of your way to 'sleuth him out'. That would be dangerous to yourself or colleagues. But I would find it highly unlikely that he doesn't fall foul of several people in other dealings and those events need to be documented when they do occur and sent thru the channels - bypassing the DON.

I believe something significant will happen that will breach the 'trust' he has glibly attained from his DON/lover - maybe seeing another woman or serious theft/abuse (tho she's likely to believe his stories about any of them for the first 3 or 4 times until she jeopardises her values even more than she already is).

Trouble with psychopaths is they're pretty good at what they do - faking loyalty and being most plausible in twisting reality. Fortunately, their behaviour always gives it away and the words rarely match the actions. I would not recommend getting into it tho with him; remember he doesn't care a lot about anyone.

I just hope your DON doesn't get too burned by him and she recovers quickly when the whole thing blows up. It would be nice if she still had some people like you there to catch her when it happens but if she goes for too long, I realise she may burn all her bridges.

Administration probably feel the same; a once good DON gone bad? They probably have little idea how to deal with or support the DON. Unfortunately she is probably more a symptom of a psychopath in the ranks and he will continue for as long as the good times roll.

Of course, I could be wrong.
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:42 AM
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These "affairs" never last very long - and when they end, it isn't pretty. If you can hang in there long enough, you will see things change dramatically!
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