You are the nurse manager on a pediatric unit. A nurse, Hannah, comes to you one day and asks to have her schedule changed because she does not want to work with another nurse, Aubrey, anymore. She states that Aubrey is lazy and does not do her share of department responsibilities, and she is finding it increasingly difficult to work alongside her.
Since changing the schedule for the immediate future is difficult last minute, and hearing that another staff member is not contributing equally is concerning, you decide to call Aubrey in for a meeting with you and Hannah. You choose your office as the meeting place and let each nurse know she will be given a chance to speak, and that polite language and behavior are expected.
You allow Hannah to express her concerns first. She states that the unit responsibilities such as restocking supply cabinets in the patient rooms, performing a supply check on the crash cart, and wiping down surfaces at the nurse's station are supposed to be performed once per shift. Hannah reports that about halfway through her shift, if these things are not done, she will do them but that typically the responsibilities are equally shared when she works with other nurses. Whenever she works with Aubrey, she ends up doing all of these tasks by herself, making her feel frustrated or angry for the remainder of the shift. She states it has gotten to the point where she feels annoyed even starting a shift with Aubrey and would like to be scheduled opposite of her from now on.
Aubrey is visibly upset by the meeting and these accusations. When she is given her turn to talk, she states that she is aware of the unit responsibilities and prefers to leave them towards the end of her shift, as she feels that is when the most restocking and cleaning are needed. She states that whenever she works with Hannah, she finds that they have already been completed if she completes any of the tasks about ¾ through her shift. She is aware that Hannah does not seem to like her and seems to avoid her, but until this meeting did not know why.
As the miscommunication at the root of the conflict is revealed, Hannah softens her stance. Aubrey suggests more open communication at the start of the shift regarding who will complete each task, and Hannah agrees. It is determined that each nurse will choose tasks to complete but then be allowed to complete them in their own time frame. As the manager, you incorporate this routine as part of each shift's beginning to avoid this issue in the future. About a week after the meeting, you check in with Aubrey and Hannah, who report that the tasks are being shared equally, and they are communicating much more openly with each other, which has led to a better work environment.