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Is our ward sister showing favouritism?

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I believe our ward sister is showing favouritism towards one of my colleagues and it is impacting on the career opportunities of the rest of our team. They are good friends and share a flat. What can we do?

Favouritism is a subtle form of discrimination and there should be no place for it in the workplace. Your manager should be aware of the potential conflict of interest in having a particular friendship with one member of the team. So what can you and your colleagues do?

First, be clear about what you mean by favouritism. Do you have any specific examples of this? To tackle this successfully you do need these. Get together with your colleagues and compile your ‘case’ in as objective a way as possible. Gather as many examples as you can. Be clear that the favouritism is genuine and, if possible, provable. The more it occurs, the stronger your case. At no time should you be tempted to challenge the person to whom you think favouritism is being shown.

Favouritism is often difficult to prove but once you have gathered the facts, you should seek some professional advice – possibly, at first, from your trade union or professional representative. They can help you decide if you have
a case and how best to progress.

One option is to approach your ward sister in a friendly and constructive way and state how you feel. You could do this during an appraisal or at some other time when you are alone with her. This may improve the situation without making things too formal. At the same time, it is vital you have a firm professional footing with your ward sister and you have agreed objectives that are met. Otherwise she or he could argue that not rewarding you is in some way justifiable.

If this fails, your human resources department may have to be involved and put formal grievance procedures
in place. Trusts should have a sympathetic approach to such situations and you should not feel intimidated by taking formal action.

It is hard to be more specific without all the facts but this general approach should help you go some way to resolving the situation.

Chris Pearce, formerly a director of nursing, is a life coach with www.lifegoalspecialists.co.uk

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