ETHICAL PROBLEMS: Night shift shenanigans

June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 66 - 66
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    Recently I switched to the night shift, which I like more than I expected—except for one problem. Another nurse on my shift sometimes slips out of the unit to visit her boyfriend, an RN who works on another floor. She's usually gone for only about 10 minutes and nothing bad has ever happened, but I don't like being left “in charge” by default so she can socialize.

    When I talked to my nurse-manager about this, she brushed me off, saying the unit is quiet at night and I can handle things. Then she said she didn't want to lose this nurse because she has a lot of experience and staffing the night shift is especially hard.

    Now what? —C.L., N.H.

    Do you get the feeling that you're being set up? Right now, you're in a no-win situation. If you do nothing, despite knowing that a colleague is shirking her responsibilities, you could be held responsible if something “bad” ...

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