Practice-Based Scenarios

The following 11 scenarios illustrate some of the more common examples of workplace incivility in long-term care settings. You can work through them by yourself or gather some colleagues and work through them together as part of a facilitated discussion. You may want to tackle one or two scenarios at a time, rather than working through all of them at once.

Read through each scenario example and select which response you feel best fits the situation. We encourage you to think of other approaches that might be helpful in addressing the uncivil behaviour in each scenario.

Scenario 1

Noreen is prickly with the people she works with. You observe her making a sarcastic remark at the nursing station before stomping off down the hall. You are not the only one who has noticed this behaviour, but you are afraid to say or do anything that might further upset Noreen. What do you do?

For example,
• “Noreen, can I speak with you privately?”
• Describe the impact the behaviour had on you
“I’m not sure that you noticed the impact your comment had on those of us at the nursing station. I felt disrespected by your remark, and you left the nursing station before any of us could respond”.
“I know how hard you work – all of us are working full out right now. When I hear a comment that is disrespectful to us, it makes our work more difficult because we feel less like a team”.
• Give Noreen space and time “I just wanted to leave that with you”.

While Option B is a possible alternative, there is no guarantee that Noreen will be on shift when the supervisor addresses the team or if she is on shift, she may not recognize the comment is directed at her.

Scenario 2

Whenever Steven calls Laura to assist him with a transfer she never answers her phone. This has become a pattern and many other staff on the floor are becoming frustrated with Laura and how she does not help her partner with transfers. What should Steven do?
For example, Steven could say “Can we have an agreement about the phone? We’re meant to be partners today and I need to count on you for help. I’ll only call you if I need you. Of course, I’m available to help you if you need it as well. Would that work for you?”

Scenario 3

Joti has just been hired and makes it a point to be friendly with all her co-workers. However, she notices that her colleague Priya never greets her and gives her the cold shoulder. Joti can’t think of anything she has said or done that would prompt this behaviour. What should she do?

For example, Joti could say “Have I done something to offend you? If I have, I’d love to have the chance to fix it.”

Scenario 5

Marten, a recently graduated LPN, is leading report on his first solo shift. He reads out the bowel movement list and suggests that Mrs. Rose has an enema. Two of the care aides look at each other and roll their eyes. One says sarcastically, “Well, good luck with that. We only ever use a suppository for her”. Marten feels rebuffed by their comment but simply continues reading the list. Small things like this continue to happen over the following few weeks – it’s always the same HCA who makes the sarcastic comment or rolls their eyes at his suggestions. Marten knows he needs to speak with the HCA about their behaviour but feels very apprehensive about doing so. What should he do?

Scenario 6

Kwame is reading the evening shift report and notes that one of the scheduled baths did not get done this morning. The evening HCAs begin to grumble about the day shift, “They always just leave the heavy work for us.” How should Kwame respond?

Pause report. “Let’s talk about this. I’m not entirely sure what kind of a shift days had today, but I did chat with the day nurse as they were going off shift and she noted that they worked short for half the shift. Can we extend some grace and compassion towards the day team and think about what we could do to support them? We’ve all experienced working short, and during those times there’s just not enough time to get everything done. No one feels good leaving at the end of that kind of shift, knowing that some tasks remain incomplete.”

Scenario 9

There is a tendency for weekend staff to call in sick. It’s not always a specific person, but it is impacting everyone’s workload. It is Sunday morning and Dalisay has called in sick. The nurse-in-charge, Lindsay, overhears staff gossiping about her ‘frequent fake sick calls’. How should Lindsay address this?

Call a huddle – “let’s talk about this. We don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life outside of work. It is not our job to police our colleagues’ attendance. We will have to trust that management will address this. Our job is NOT to talk about Dalisay”

Remind staff to be soft on people and hard on problems.

As the nurse in charge, speak to management about setting up a team meeting to address concerns surrounding short staffing and outlining strategies for working with limited resources.

Scenario 10

Lisa, an LPN, worked her first, post-orientation shift yesterday morning and has come in today to find a long list on her desk, written in red pen. Lisa finds that the list is from the evening LPN yesterday and it has outlined every task that Lisa did not complete yesterday. How should Lisa react? Choose all that apply.

Scenario 11

Harpreet was frustrated with one of her colleagues, Sukhi, after their shift this morning and wrote a scathing Facebook post. While she did not name Sukhi directly, it was obvious who she was talking about. Harpreet realised that this was inappropriate and deleted the comment later that afternoon. A different colleague had already seen the post, taken a screenshot prior to it being deleted and showed it to Sukhi.

  • A) What should Harpreet have done once she realized her mistake in writing the post?
  • B) What could Harpreet have done instead of writing the Facebook post?
  • Explain to Sukhi what you’ve done and apologize to her. Let her know that you shouldn’t have done it, that you won’t do it again and that you’ve learned from the mistake.
  • Recognize the impact of being frustrated and take a short walk on your lunchbreak.
  • Resist the urge to complain to colleagues in the lunchroom and/or post on social media, rather speak directly to Sukhi about your frustrations.