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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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I would like to ask for some guidelines and possible ways forward,

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I would like to ask for some guidelines and possible ways forward, as I appear to be working at a toxic work place. The problem is that this is a 50 bed country general hospital, where the director of nursing, is atrocious. She enjoys making a scene usually around a nursing shortae, setting up intense distress in the staff, before disappearing into her office quite happy with the rest of her day. I am amazed at how many balls she can keep in the air as she wages battle on many fronts. I have been working here on a tweve month contract for three months, and have felt her disapproval for the past four or five weeks. She has started a few skirmishes directed at me, and I have stood up to her only, when patient care would have been quite adversely effected. The only way forward after the last event was to apologise after a couple of days, which caused her to treat me normally for a while. the staff appear to feel better supported since I arrived, but at this stage all I can consistently do is liten. I am a manager of a surgical area and maternity unit and medical ward. The staff regularly cry and are unhappy in their work, with many episodes every week of very heavy workloads. I help where I can but am told to get to my office and do my work. The DON does the rostering and I suspect she does it punitively, causing staff to overly worry about their shift requests and later when they often don't receive quite reasonable requests, they then worry about not having a shift swap approved. When I first started at this job I was allowed to approve shift swaps, then after about 4 weeks, she directed me not to approve any shift swaps in the maternity unit as she had trouble making the roster work due to low midwife numbers. Within a few days that goal post had shifted and she denied ever saying that, instead saying that I could no longer approve any shift swaps. After the last skirmish, I received an hour and a half of telling off, and during that time she brought up performance issues with me not meeting due dates for work she had set for me. She was right I hadn't achieved all of my due dates, but when I listed the tasks, plans etc she had set, there were 64 of them, so no wonder. That was last week and at that time she told me that she worked many liong hours and perhaps I should consider that too to keep up with my work. After that I made a decision to come in early and sort any problems on the wards before she got there and every thing was going smoothly. Yesterday she told me to only work between 8 and 4:30, so when I turned up at 8 today there she was causing bedlam in both wards again. This boss displays symptoms of megalomania and narcissistic personality disorder, and is quite disruptive. Some of her perceived failings supposedly displayed by the staff actually are what she displays as her normal motus operandi. Please advise some strategies, so that I can move forward, assist my staff to return to working without distress and improve patient care and satisfaction.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mina replied 6 years ago.



I am sorry to hear about these difficulties you are dealing with. I can imagine how this might affect you and make your working life difficult. From your description, I understand that your manager quite enjoys the sense of power and authority she has and takes possibly pleasure from using this power. At the same time, she appears to lack other necessary management skills and the combination of all this creates chaos, frustration and tears to her staff. Obviously this treatment can severely affect your sense of achievement and your confidence and self esteem. In most cases, teams split (in favor of one or the other) and although this may seem inevitable, doesn't really help. People with the traits you described usually feel more settled when they feel that everyone beneath them feels intimidated and respect them completely. As you described, when you apologized things improved for a while and this happened because you "admitted" your mistakes and you stopped challenging her. But how long can you feel that you can actually do this for and why would you want to put yourself into this very difficult situation?


The situation you describe definitely needs some intervention and you sound quite alone in your role. First of all, I would suggest that you accessed some professional support so you have some supervision. If she is supposed to offer this to you, then you can always do this in confidence and pay to have someone privately. In some cases it is also wise to go above her, e.g. the director of the hospital and raise the issues that have come to your attention avoiding as much as possible personal remarks about her. You would need to show that because of the frequent problems in the wards, your staff is affected and this affects their roles and effectiveness. You would need to be very diplomatic about it, possibly raising the issue that you would like some help from above on how to improve team work and effectiveness. If you do not receive this support you could still go to HR and complain. At this point, other people would just quit and find a new job. How far you are willing to take this is up to you and how much you feel that you can take. Hopefully there is going to be someone above that can have a more objective idea of how to move forward. You should definitely be supported in this and request this from your superiors. I would advise you to think about your priorities and act accordingly. Either way, you are dealing with a very stressful situation and you need to expect some disturbance in your life if this has not already happened.


I hope this helps


Please feel free to share any feedback on these thoughts


All the best



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