Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Tattletale Diaries

Sometimes, in Long Term Care, there's drama among employees. Shocker, right? I generally stay out of it, which has been particularly easy with how often I've changed jobs over the past year. The only one that's been constant was the HomeCare Agency and I worked solo there, only seeing other employees if we were doing a shift change or at the occasional meeting.

I'm also a firm believer in handling minor conflicts myself. It's really not that hard to say "hey, that bothered me" or "In the future can you please ..." to a coworker. It's a little harder to say to a supervisor.

Up until today I had only reported one other employee at any of these jobs; at the Crapdorable place, one of the caregivers was so rough with the residents that they would hold off on using the bathroom or going to bed until shift change so that they wouldn't have to be handled by him. Many of them told me this, more than once. So obviously, I reported him. And felt no unsureness doing so - I'd also have happily told him to his face, and did jump in to stop him once when I observed it firsthand.

So when, yesterday, one of the Department Heads interrupted an activity with our residents and started talking badly about gay people in front of everyone I had a problem with it. And I let her know, right then and there. And she wasn't deterred. Seriously, this woman STOPPED AN ACTIVITY for the old people and started talking about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. And how servicemen and women shouldn't have to shower with gays. And that gay sex "doesn't work" (illustrated with hand gestures). And that at best, she could "love the sinner but hate the sin".

My responses, for the record were, 1. If the most uncomfortable thing a soldier has to deal with DURING A WAR is showering with someone else, he is doing very well indeed. They know they're signing up for all sorts of horrific things, and if anyone is willing to do so, they should be able to. 2. Ew, that's gross, please stop with the gestures. 3. Oh . . . kaaaaaay?

It was astoundingly inappropriate and uncomfortable. And it was all in front of the people we're there to take care of. And she only stopped when, finally, the charge nurse came into the room and changed the subject.

So, since me cutting her off with "I have several gay family members and don't like hearing that stuff" at the beginning of her rant didn't work, I went over her head today. And was nervous about it.

And it went really, really well. I talked to my Director of Nursing, who asked me some questions about it (and sounded genuinely shocked that all this happened in front of the residents) and asked me to give her a little written statement, and promised she and the other Boss Lady would handle it. And to let her know if I catch any flak for this from the Homophobic Dept. Head.


I'm so relieved. I do really like working there (really enjoy almost all my coworkers and the residents I care for) and was super disappointed by this. But as long as it gets fixed, I can keep being happy where I work and proud of the place where I do it.


  1. I do hope they have integrity, and actually deal with it. But I suggest you document your conversation with both, and from now on keep your own diary of anything that happens. With a boss that far out of it on standards of behavior, I wouldn't be even a bit surprised if she doesn't try to get even in nasty ways.

    You were SO right and courageous in what you did...but watch your back. Be prepared, and expect some landmines.

    Big hug brave one... :-)

  2. Luckily, although The Homophobe is *a* director of her dept, she's not the director of *my* department. I report to whatever charge nurse is on shift, and above her, the director of nursing. The DON & The Administrator (who does all hiring & firing) are the ones who will be addressing this with The Homophobe (who runs one of the 'support services' depts).

    And I've got copies of my statement & the DON's response in my email, so I'll be sure to hang onto those; thanks for the advice!