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Invasive Love and Radiological Romance

Dear Office-Politics,

I work in an endovascular suite, which consists of nurse’s, radiology techs, scrub techs and surgeons. The lead radiology tech (male) has been dating a female radiology tech who is under his management. He also allows her to make numerous decisions, which no other tech is permitted to make. This situation seems to be OK with upper management. The lead tech is well known in the hospital because his mother and father both retired from the same facility.

Please advise on this situation. It certainly causes tension in the suite especially if the two of them are arguing.


Invasive love

dr. gregory ketchum

Dear Invasive love,

It sounds like things have gotten a little too casual in the endovascular unit: favoritism, nepotism, arguing radiology techs and patient care potentially suffering from it all.

So, let’s start with a few questions:

    1. Has anyone said anything to the administration or to the two lovebirds?

    2. How does the rest of the staff feel about the situation?

    3. Have you taken any steps to address it already?

    4. Has patient care been impacted by this radiological romance?

    5. Have you checked with HR to see what the policy regarding a situation like this is?

What is the hospital policy?
Bottom line, I would think this is against hospital policy, both for a supervisor to be dating a subordinate, but also for the subordinate being allowed to make decisions that no other tech is allowed to make. Not only does this create a grand workplace distraction, it could also be potentially dangerous for the patients. Should anything negative happen to any patient on your unit the hospital could face some pretty stiff legal action if one of the patients got hold of a very aggressive shark-like attorney. I’m surprised to hear that the hospital administration is so asleep at the switch, so it sounds like it’s up to you and your coworkers to flip that switch.

Quit and Move to Alaska?
Given our discussion thus far, what do you think you should do now? Well, you could quit and move to Alaska, but that wasn’t the first solution that came to my mind. Let’s put our heads together and really think this through. So you’re thinking of going to HR to both discover the hospital policy and to report the situation? I like your thinking: it’s direct and to the point and handles the situation in a professional manner. You’re also thinking of taking a few coworkers with you to HR? I like that too, because it gives more weight to the seriousness of the situation and keeps you from looking like a malcontent who just doesn’t like to see other people find true love at work.

Factually report concerns to HR
OK, so far so good, but let’s think about how you’re going to present your concerns. So one of your friends suggested that you say you wished you could date subordinates too and it’s not fair that John Q. Radiology Tech gets to do it if you can’t. Well, that’s certainly one approach, but let’s put on our thinking caps and look for another answer. What? You’re going to lay out the facts as you see them:

    1. A supervisor is dating a subordinate.

    2. The subordinate gets favored treatment such as getting to make decisions that other techs aren’t allowed to make.

    3. Their inappropriate relationship causes tension and low morale on the unit especially when they argue, which they periodically do.

    4. You’re concerned that patient care could be negatively impacted.

    5. You believe this situation is putting the hospital in potential legal jeopardy should anything untoward happen to any patient on the unit, whether it was a direct result of their relationship, the subordinate’s making decisions that may be out of her scope, or their arguments.

Document and Deadlines
That’s all very good and I couldn’t have said it better myself, but there’s just one more step we have to take: what will you ask HR to do? What should we ask for? A pay raise to keep quiet? Na. I know you’re joking. How about asking them to investigate the situation and resolve it? Yea, that’s the ticket and while you’re at it let them know that you would like to meet again as a group for a follow-up conversation once they’ve had a chance to investigate. Also ask HR to specify a date that you will meet so this doesn’t go on forever or get forgotten. That’s it then, that’s your way through. What? I forgot something? You’re right, you should take careful notes of your meeting with HR and make sure that HR and everyone in your group has a copy.

I knew that if we just sat down and put our heads together and thought through the real issues involved here that we’d come up with a solution. You’ve got a very strong case to take to HR so let’s get moving. I know you can do it.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Dr. Greg

Dr. Greg Ketchum, dubbed the “Frasier of the Cubicles” by the San Francisco Chronicle, is a former clinical psychologist-turned CEO and media career coach. He presides over an executive talent firm, providing coaching and recruiting for executives and Fortune 500 companies. A unique mix of psychology and coaching expertise gives Dr. Greg a great understanding of people and what it takes for career success. Combined with his keen insight into today’s job market, and infused with his trademark quick wit, Dr. Greg challenges Office-Politics readers to reach for career success on their own terms — and to have a good time doing it.

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