Advanced search

AIBU to have reprimanded a colleague?

(60 Posts)
DentyNurse Tue 26-Mar-13 11:17:54

I have worked as a receptionist at a dental practice for a few years, and I also do some nursing, when our dental nurse is off, even though I'm not qualified.

Unfortunately, our nurse doesn't keep on top of processing the instruments, she lets them really build up, and then hides them away. She doesn't bother taking out the clinical waste bags, just lets them pile up.

I'm only given short notice to nurse and I hate it, because I'll start the shift and there will be hardly any instruments prepped.

I have raised this issue twice in staff meetings, and each time the dentist has asked the nurse to ensure she stays on top of her job. But nothing has changed.

Yesterday, I had to nurse last minute. I went to set up the surgery, and there were virtually no instruments ready. Everything had been just left from Friday night. The autoclave was full of instruments that needed bagging, the sonic bath was of instruments waiting to go in the autoclave. I didn't know where to start sad

The nurse came back, while I was still sorting the instruments. I was really annoyed, so I indicated the state of the instruments and said 'This is absolutely unacceptable.' She replied it was because we'd over-run on Friday. I said that eventhough we'd over run, she obviously had just let everything pile up, anyway. I pointed out, that although I'm not a nurse, I keep on top of the instruments all the time (and I do). She told me that I couldn't speak to her like that (I hadn't raised my voice, or anything, just been quiet but very direct and firm), and stormed out of the room.

She went into the surgery, and started shouting at the dentist, saying 'She wouldn't be f* spoken to like that' as she was slamming cupboard doors etc. Eventhough the surgery door was closed the rest of the staff, and waiting patients could clearly hear her sad

She didn't speak to me for the rest of the afternoon, eventhough I was perfectly civil to her. And, last night she texted another colleague to say she wouldn't ever work with me again.

I don't know what to do. I emailed the dentist last night, explaining what happened, he hasn't replied yet. The nurse is only a teenager, whereas I'm pushing 50 and just don't know how to deal with someone who acts to unprofessionally, I've never had it before.

Should I just have kept quiet, and said nothing sad

AlanMoore Tue 26-Mar-13 11:23:21

Is the dentist shagging her or something? I wonder why she is allowed to continue being so unprofessional.

I don't think you were wrong to tell her, it sounds as though you were calm and reasonable. There's nothing more you can do now, it's up to the dentist to deal with it and you shouldn't have any negative comeback although this woman sounds like a pain in the bum. Stay calm and get on with your own work, try not to get drawn into drama/gossip about it.

Just wondering though, why aren't you trained? Sounds like the dentist should consider seconding you. It's years and years since I looked at dental nursing (did RGN instead) but can you still do on the job?

luckybarsteward Tue 26-Mar-13 11:23:21


To be honest the idea that you can act as a dental nurse, or be required to, even though not qualified, is shocking and I'm reasonably confident must be breaking some code of practice at the very least if not some law.

janey68 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:24:01

Does the dentist line manage you both?

I think you need to continue to raise the issue through the appropriate channels (you say you've spoken up in staff meetings; is it time to put it in writing now?) I don't think you're wrong to raise a legitimate concern, but it seems as though the person who manages the nurse ought to be doing their job properly

I also wonder whether the dental nurse feels a bit miffed that someone unqualified is nursing, though that of course doesn't excuse her lack of professionalism

TBH it all sounds a bit ad hoc... someone not qualified doing the nursing, instruments and waste piling up.... think the person at the top needs long hard look at the whole practice.

Hope this isn't my surgery!!

PurpleStorm Tue 26-Mar-13 11:26:01

YANBU. She's not doing her job properly.

But shouldn't you be getting some sort of nursing training if you're required to fill in for the dental nurse?

It doesn't sound right, asking an unqualified person to do the nursing.

ENormaSnob Tue 26-Mar-13 11:39:50

Why are you doing a job you are not qualified to do?

Why are you having to cover her?

What would've happened to the equipment had you not seen it?

Naysa Tue 26-Mar-13 11:46:18

Soinds like a pretty shoddy surgery if they are lettig someone who is unqualified to act as a nurse.

So YABVU what do you expect when they are so lax in other areas?

ginmakesitallok Tue 26-Mar-13 11:48:35

Do the patients know they are being nursed by someone unqualified? And yabu reprimanding her, it's her boss's job.

squeakytoy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:49:06

You arent her manager, so really even though she is in the wrong, it isnt your place to bollock her..

RunningAgain Tue 26-Mar-13 11:50:40

Can you just tell me which surgery it is so I can avoid it please. It sounds awful.

DeepPurple Tue 26-Mar-13 11:50:57

You act as a nurse even though you aren't qualified? shock

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 26-Mar-13 11:52:29

You ought to have gone to your line manager, not her direct. She's reacted badly, granted, but it's not your place to reprimand her.

TheRealFellatio Tue 26-Mar-13 11:52:41

It sounds as though the dentist needs to sort himself out to be honest - he's running a bit of a shoddy ship. Is he a good dentist but a crap people manager?

Are there not liability issues with allowing you to nurse? I don't really know about these things but it doesn't sound right.

WorraLiberty Tue 26-Mar-13 11:54:19

It really isn't your place to tell her off, so she was bound to be pissed off.

Her work sounds lax to say the least but that's for the dentist to sort out.

I am actually shocked that a dental surgery are using a nurse who is not qualified!!!!! I imagine it would make the public liabilty null and void - what is the dentist thinking shock

GirlWiththeLionHeart Tue 26-Mar-13 11:57:30

You should have spoken to her line manager.

lurkedtoolong Tue 26-Mar-13 11:58:18

You were probably being a bit unreasonable to speak to her but I can understand why you did.

What I can't understand is why you've been happy to perform the duties of a dental nurse and presumably pass yourself off to patients as one for years without bringing the ethics of this up.

I think your entire workplace sounds shoddy and unprofessional. The dentist, the nurse and you.

AngryGnome Tue 26-Mar-13 11:58:27

Surely it is not legal for an unqualified receptionist to provide nursing care? How has this situation arisen?

LadyBigtoes Tue 26-Mar-13 12:02:24

You have spoken to her manager already and nothing's changed. Her failure to do her job left you in the shit and you had it out with her. Perfectly reasonable I'd say. (I wouldn't do it but that's because I'm scared of confrontation!)

It does sound as if the whole practise is badly managed - you shouldn't be doing work you're not qualified for, she should be being disciplined and given warnings, then sacked if she won't do her job. I'd put this to them or look elsewhere.

scarletforya Tue 26-Mar-13 12:07:07


You've no business telling off someone who is not working for you. That was well out of order. As for using a 'firm and direct' voice, who do you think you are?

The instruments are not yoru business. If you're asked to 'nurse' please refuse. You shouldn't have agreed to play nurse and you certainly shouldn't be telling the real nurse how to do her job.

Granted, it sounds disgusting how the instruments are managed but it's not your business, other than raising it as you already have and sticking to your own work, Reception you should have stayed out of it.

If the surgery ran over on Friday that does explain the instruments being left until Monday. Sounds disgusting to me but I'm neither a Dentist or a Nurse so I don't know.

LessMissAbs Tue 26-Mar-13 12:09:47

My grid d is studying Dentistry and works part time as a dental nurse, although not qualified. That practice is a pretty tight ship and I dont for a moment imagine they would do it if it wasn't allowed. By don't you check with the general dental council?
otherwise, its a management issue. The dental nurse's way of working is lazy and incompetent, particularly if someone else has to step in. The dentist sounds like he/she doesn't want to get involved, but they are running abusiness and they need to deal with things like this...

LessMissAbs Tue 26-Mar-13 12:10:27

Should read my friend is studying dentistry

BlameItOnTheBogey Tue 26-Mar-13 12:12:51

Sounds awful. I used to act as a dental nurse when at uni. Totally unqualified. I just had to clean the kit (was shown how) and operate that hoover thing in people's mouths. Sure real dental nurses do much more than this but as a cover role it was fine to do without any formal training.

I think YA Definitely NBU

Maggie111 Tue 26-Mar-13 12:19:15

No I don't think you were being unreasonable - you're the one who has to suffer when she doesn't do her job properly by clearing up after her!

rivig Tue 26-Mar-13 12:20:20

YANBU the Dentist is being totally unreasonable in allowing this to continue. I would get out of that set up faster than fast if the dentist does nothing and I would not be available any more then the dentist would have to face what is going on. Can't help wondering what the relationship is between the nurse and the dentist - family member or is the dentist a push over to lazy employees? You have my sympathies. Shame you can't tell us which area you are in so we could change dentist if necessary as I would hate to be a patient there. I will be paying greater attention at my own dentist in future.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now