Case 021 - Community Nursing

I was working as a Community Nurse for people with Learning Disabilities. I enjoyed the job thoroughly and found it rewarding. I began teacher training because it was something I had always wanted to do. It was something I did without funding from the Trust I worked in. My job suddenly changed from Community Nurse to Home Manager which I found very stressful. After six months of doing this job and being scapegoated by my manager and the staff team I became ill and went off sick with stress and anxiety.

On return to work I asked my manager for me to go back into the community but she refused and insisted I go into another home. I was better supported for a year by one of the other Community Nurses who did regular supervision sessions. I made quite a success of this job. After a year my manager proposed to me that I should take over running another home in addition to the one I was already running. I was happy with this because my confidence had grown and I felt I could take this on board.

A few weeks after starting this post I was told by my manager that the Community Nurse would no longer be doing my supervision and that she (my manager) would be doing this instead. I then began another long slippery road into stress and anxiety. My manager would constantly undermine my authority with her friends that worked under me. She encouraged them to complain about things behind my back to give her the excuse to call me into her office and put me down. The first thing I knew about any issues was when I was being called into her office and told off about them. I was constantly being contacted at home by people about petty things which I had to respond to otherwise they would tell my manager and I would be in trouble again.

If I had any serious problems (of which there were many due to the staff teams being so closely linked with the boss) I was not supported and basically told what to do, which usually went badly wrong. I was even phoned at home and told I had made bad decisions. After seven or eight months of constantly chasing my tail and being hyper stressed I once more went off sick. This time I did not go back. I eventually chose to take on a Deputy House Manager's job in a different part of the trust, losing £4000 a year wages. It was worth it. My new manager was supportive and approachable and we got on well. After working for 18 months in the same job and re-building my confidence I moved on into a teaching post and have again started teacher training which I previously never completed due to stress.

Throughout my difficult phase I was supported by my union rep who would have liked to go down the grievance path and even constructive dismissal. I didn't want to do this because my manager was so clever and always 10 steps ahead of everyone. She could get away with murder and was well supported by her manager who liked her having power so he could take less responsibility.

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