Lazy Nurses-How Do You Handle This?

We all have times when we are not feeling the point of exchanging our time for the almighty dollar. But most of us snap out of these feelings relatively quickly and realize that we have a job to do, and it's unfair to expect others to pull our weight. Unfortunately, I did say "most" of us.  There are some nurses who are chronically lazy and refuse to work every day. 

These nurses are just plain lazy and act like it's everyone else's job to pick up their slack.  I work on a crazy busy Med-Surg floor, and I seem to meet myself coming and going every day of the week.  If I'm not passing meds, calling physicians, waiting on family members, or doing assessments, admits and discharges, I'm dealing with nurses who didn't get the "it's a work day" memo. 

A few years ago we had a nurse on our floor who was missing for almost half of her shift. She's was a smoker and disappeared for 30-minutes, every couple of hours. But she was friends with the charge nurse, so it was okay for her to shun her responsibilities and have other nurses take care of her patients. 

This laziness angered me because I was working myself to death and getting paid about the same as a nurse lazy-bum.  I wasn't the only nurse fuming about this, and I'm sure I won't be the last.  There's always that one nurse in every facility that thinks she's a princess and work is beneath her. 

So what can you do about a lazy nurse?  Well, thankfully there are some things you can do if you are facing a situation like this.  First of all, refuse to cover for her. If she is in the habit of taking a lot of breaks, just be clear that you are too busy to watch anyone else's patients because you are dealing with your own.  Don't be afraid to speak with the nurse in private and tell her, (nicely) that you would like her to show more initiative when it comes to doing her work. 

Keep a record of when she takes breaks, when she leaves the floor and when she returns. This way you'll have documentation to show your boss how frequently she is missing. 

If you feel you can't talk to the nurse in question, then explain your concerns to your manager.  Ask for a private meeting and let your manager know that you feel the nurse is taking too many breaks. It's possible that your manager isn't aware of the problem and may appreciate you informing her of the situation. 

If the problem persists, address it with human resources.  If the charge nurse doesn't deal with the problem, then human resources can discuss it with the charge nurse and hopefully they can convince your supervisor that it's time to speak with the lazy nurse.  

If you're nervous about speaking with your superiors alone, then talk to other nurses and ask them if they'd be willing to join you to address your complaint with your charge nurse or human resources. 

Regardless of who you choose to speak with about a lazy nurse, it's important to realize that you need to talk with someone because it's hard enough to do your work, without having to fill in for others too. Every nurse has the right to be treated fairly in the workplace.  The longer you're quiet about it, the longer it will last. 

Do you have lazy nurses at your workplace? How do you deal with them? Comment below!