Problematic Coworkers

Nurse assistants find that most of the time they become close with their co-workers. People that work together in high stress environments like hospitals and nursing homes create strong bonds. They are together, day after day, and working together in the face of illness and death. While this sounds dramatic, think about what CNAs see each day- disease, decline, and death. Sharing those things with someone will bring you closer together.

Coworkers that Steal

This is why when a CNA finds that someone they work with is stealing from their employer, residents, or from co-workers, they feel betrayed. Some aides may ‘cover up’ small offenses (stealing pens or even undergarments/bed pads) but will be at a loss when the items that are being stolen escalate.

There are people that are unable to control their stealing habits. These people are known as kleptomaniacs and literally cannot stop stealing. Their crimes may be small, but some people with this problem steal more and more, from small items to large. Some may progress to stealing the identities of those they care for or work with, getting credit cards and other items in the names of those victims.

Not all people that steal are kleptomaniacs. Some may be in need (such as with stealing food), others may just be opportunists (they see something and just take it because they can), and still others may just be in it for the ‘thrill’.

If you find that a co-worker is stealing, it is up to you to do the right thing. That may be a hard call to make. Is the person in need? If so, confront them and if you are able, offer them help or try to help them get in touch with someone who can help them. If they refuse help, you may need to inform your employer of the co-worker’s thefts. This type of theft is the hardest on people’s conscience, because you want to help the person that is in need, yet you cannot allow them to continue stealing.

In the case of other people that steal, inform your employer right away. Even if you have a bond with that person, a co-worker that steals items or money is a danger to all other employees possessions and money. Any time that you find that you need to ‘tell on’ someone you work with, it is difficult, though the end result may be that the co-worker receives the help they need…or they are fired and no one has to worry about losing items or cash.

When You Don’t Get Along With Co-Workers

Let’s be honest, you will eventually come across co-workers that you just will not like. The person may not have a good work ethic, they may be obnoxious, or they may rub you wrong for no apparent reason. You may not like it, but sometimes you will find that you must work with the staff members you dislike. If you find yourself in that situation, try to make the best of it.

Avoid talking about politics or religion at work. This is one sure fire way to find yourself at odds with co-workers. Even if you think that you are not being confrontational, these hot topics always raise the ire of at least one person that you must work with. If someone decides that they cannot stand your stance on one of those two subjects, it is likely to make work a very unpleasant place to go, especially if the person is a hall team-mate.

Working with an unpleasant person can still work, if you know how to handle yourself. Again, avoid talking about hot topics. If they bring up the topic, do not push any issue that you believe in strongly, as much as you would like to. Remember – you must work with this person everyday. Unless they quit or are fired, they are there for the long haul.

Smile as much as possible. Believe it or not, being pleasant to an unpleasant person can usually bring them around. It may take some time, but a smile can rub off onto people. The old saying about attracting more bees with honey than vinegar is true.

Sometimes we do not like another CNA because we think they are not working as hard as we are. You can always tackle rooms together – this can put you into a role model situation. You both go into a room together and work quickly, yet efficiently. It may be just that the aide is not very organized or has not had good training. You can take the opportunity to show, not tell the aide how to be a good aide.

Lastly, there are some co-workers that are just not good natured no matter what you do. You can ask to trade assignments with another aide or you can do what most of us do – grin and bear it. No matter what, you always get to go home at the end of your shift. Try to keep on a good attitude for your residents, as they are already home.