Sunday, February 5, 2017

Dodging Accusations but not Damage


Introduction
I have not posted much in the last few months because something bad happened at work.  I feel so stupid writing this months later because I am still employed at this place and cannot find another job.

What happened
My immediate supervisor, Linda, orchestrated an accusation against me.  It did not involve patients, thank goodness.  I will not divulge details here, lest someone read this, so I hope this is clear enough.

I had a day off and arrived back to the office area, now filled with stacks and bags of papers everywhere.  Everyone ignored me.  Linda was flurried and nervous, repeatedly telling me that there was a mandatory staff meeting at 10 o'clock.

I quietly hid out and overheard some conversations about other employees being witnesses against me.  Forewarned, I reviewed the hospital's policies on the topics.

At the meeting were my supervisor, her supervisor, and another managerial nurse to "discuss the charges against Enid."

I did my best to act surprised and confused.  I really was, but I had two hours to prepare.

I could have stopped the process and demanded union representation.  I did not do this because I planned on using the lack of union representation as a defense if they decided in this meeting that I was guilty.  The event was called a "staff meeting," after all, not a trial.

Doing my best to appear bewildered and not accusatory towards my supervisor, I explained that the wrong-doings I was accused of were:
-Things that my supervisor told me to do
-Knew that I was doing because she watches me all day
-Were projects worked on for the past eight weeks and were not a secret, one-time event

The idea that this was not a slam-dunk against me was starting to form in the other nurses' minds.  My supervisor sat there with an angry pout.

I needed to damage her more.

I explained that these projects, now turned into charges against me, were undertaken because we can't find anything because Linda makes multiple copies of everything; she does not secure patient medical files; and she sends out protected health information without a signed release.  The theme was that she is a hoarder with no regard for privacy regulations.  I cited hospital policies for all of this.

The other two nurses were shocked with every accusation I threw out.  My idiot supervisor admitted to each one with, "Yes, but it is just easier this way."  She grew increasingly flustered and angry.  I remained calm.  Inside, I was nervous and angry.

After the meeting, I went to lunch and then hid out in a storage room until the end of the shift.

The next day, she was still angry.  "You made me look stupid," she complained to me.

"That was a very stupid thing you did," I answered back.  "I have done nothing to you that was so horrible that you had to lodge false accusations against me."

"Well, I had a question, and the lady I usually go to for my questions was not here that day, so I had to go to the director of the hospital instead," she explained.

"On my day off?  You were confused about an issue that was not important and instead of waiting for me to discuss, you went to the director of the hospital and filed a formal complaint against me?  That is your explanation?  You accidentally prosecuted me?"

She stood there, staring at me.  She didn't get it.

"When I came into work, I could have been fired, reported to the board of nursing, or even arrested because of your false claims," I continued.

"No, you are making this into a big deal," she tried.

"No, this is a big deal.  I understand that you don't like me, but your scheme was out of proportion to anything I have done.  What you did to me is what you would do to someone who had an affair with your husband or purposely burned down your house.  I can't work with someone who plotted against me for months for no reason.  You can't name a single thing I did to you, can you?" I stood there, waiting for her response.

"You don't get it," I continued.  "You need to apologize to me, which you will never do because you don't see that you did anything wrong.  You are upset that I successfully defended myself against your false charges.  If you want me out of your department, all you have to do is say so.  You didn't need to do this."

Going to the Director

A week went by.  I needed proof that the charges were cleared, but no supervisor would provide anything in writing.  I went to the director of the hospital to make sure that he understood the situation from my angle.

He was confused.  We enlightened each other.  When my supervisor initially went to him with her accusations, he investigated, found the allegations ridiculous, and told her to get rid of the piles of "evidence" against me because they were a fire hazard.

Wow.  This made my supervisor look even more evil.  "This was not shared with me at the two hour inquisition," I explained.

He said he did not know that they pursued the charges.  I listed the attendees and his face reddened.  "They are jealous of you, that is why they did this," he said.

"I need out of that department," I explained.  "I can't work with someone who went to such lengths to get me in serious trouble and continued in spite of your order to stop."

He agreed.  "Until I can figure something out, just stay in your office and work on your computer and ignore the rest of them."

"But I don't have a desk or office or computer," I said.  "Everything was rearranged so that everyone but me has a work station."

"I will find somewhere for you!" he exclaimed.  Will not happen.

Going back to my supervisor

I confronted my supervisor.  "The director of this hospital told me that after you filed charges against me, he investigated and told you the charges were unfounded.  Is this true?"

She was surprised, but said nothing.

I said, "This new information makes you look more evil than I originally thought.  You staged this bad situation, were ordered to stop, and continued anyway."  She said nothing.  "I am done.  I will help the doctors with the patients, but that's it until I get transferred out."

Aftermath

My home base is still this office area.  No words have been exchanged between any of the other staff and me, except necessary talking with my supervisor.

The events were reported to the union by me for documentation and to ruffle the involved nurses.  Nothing will happen to them for this attempt to set me up.

Like other employees, I do the bare minimum, which is a struggle for me because that is not my work ethic.  When my supervisor tells me to do paperwork or filing, I tell her "I am not falling for that trick again" or "put it in writing so I have protection when you change your mind."

I still do not have my own work space.  I try to stay in hiding places throughout the hospital.

She still does not understand the irreparable harm done to our working relationship.  "But that thing was dropped!" she says often.  I was vindicated.  She was not.  She does not understand that I cannot trust her.  She and her buddies are probably actively plotting their next attack.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Answer is No


One of the nurses helps the patients create artistic displays on the ward for holidays or times of the year.  Often I pick up supplies or decorations to add to the display or the creation of artwork for the display.

An orderly came through my little area of the hospital to socialize with others.  After confirming with her that she was working with the artistic nurse that shift, I asked her to bring a bag of supplies back with her.

"Is this for a patient?" she asked.

"It's for the Valentine Day display," I explained.

"Then I'm not doing it," she said.  "I only do work if it's for a patient.  I don't do personal favors for the staff."

"It's not a personal favor.  It's for a project that the patients are doing," I tried.

"If that nurse wants whatever you have, she can come get it herself or you can bring it to her.  Ain't nothing in my job description that says I have to help people with no art display," she asserted and left.

Wow.  I didn't expect that from this particular person.  I've worked with her many times.  A few years back, she became very ill on a ward where I was the charge nurse.  I dropped everything to take care of her.  She asked me questions and I answered her about the illness she found out she has after lots of tests.  That is all personal and does not directly affect the patients, yet I did this for her and did not assert that "I don't do personal favors for the staff."

She is on the lazy side, even with patient care, though in her mind she may think that she goes above and beyond for the patients.

I do not have the option of claiming that I don't have to do a particular task if it does not directly affect a patient.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Addressing Tone Instead of the Issues


Nurse Helen wrote up one of the good orderlies for positioning himself on the ward where he could not see all the patients at once.  Such a spot does not exist.  Logic also does not exist in this place.

Nurse Helen is a nightmare to work with.

Working with great people is so rare.  In the past, I have protected the good employees when something happened.  If someone needed an extended break, it was no problem.

There are quite a few bad apples on Helen's ward.  Here's the issue:  she would never write them up for any of their daily infractions because they would make work a living hell for Helen.

So instead, Helen targets professionals who will continue to be professional towards Helen even after the write-up.

One of the representatives from the orderlies' union met with Nurse Helen to discuss the write-up.  Their voices were clear through the closed door, so I listened.  It's entertaining.

The union rep is an idiot.  Nurse Helen gave an impressive explanation of her position:  She is the nurse in charge on the ward and she gives directives to promote patient safety and the orderlies need to listen.

The union rep distracted Helen by tone policing her, interrupting her often to tell her to "not be so angry" and "you are too upset to think clearly."  Each time Helen would stop her story and explain, "Yes, of course I'm angry that nobody listens" or "No, I am not upset."  The union rep said that Helen should have handled the situation differently by talking to the orderly "like a friend" and by "asking the orderly to do something instead of telling him to do something."

The union rep finished the meeting by telling Helen that she was being "silly" by wasting everyone's time to process the grievance.

This situation is one of the reasons why this place is so frustrating.



Monday, January 9, 2017

Job Hunting


The search for a New Job continues.

Without success.

A few jobs seemed to be crafted for my set of skills and experiences.  No response.

One place called me about my application for a clinical research nurse.  She explained that I need certification.  This I do not have.

I apply for jobs even if I don't have the experience or certifications specified in the ad because the people who write the ads aren't the people who do the interviewing or hiring and usually have no idea what is needed.  For example, an ad will state that a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing is required, while the next paragraph will specify an Associate's Degree.

Anyway, this person went on to explain that my experience can be used to gain certification as a clinical research nurse.  Trying to play the game, I said that I would pursue certification once hired.

The person explained that she could set me up with an open house and courses to become certified.  At this point, I detected something amiss.  After asking a few questions, the caller admitted that she was not calling on behalf of an employer, but instead she works for some kind of education company.

I was not happy.  One, she got my hopes up.  Two, the ad was fraudulent.

I tracked down the original ad and reported it as fake.

And this is why I still work where I work, in case anyone was wondering.  (And I have not won the lottery.)


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Liquid Breakfast


An employee was removed by police.  The nursing supervisor said she was drinking.

I didn't smell anything on her.

She is normally bizarre, talks back to authority, is suspicious, and does little work.

This morning nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

But the supervisor was able to get her out.  The cops approached and said, "So we hear you were drinking before coming to work today."

This took the employee by surprise.  She denied the accusation, but was escorted out.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

To Stay or Leave?


If the bad employees left, this place would be bearable.

This will not happen.  I know that.

After reading the article "Why You'll Never Quit the Job You Hate."  I realized that I stay at this Snake Pit because (I can't find another job) and I focus on the positive aspects:

- A paycheck every two weeks.
- Health Insurance.
- Short commute.
- More paid time off than most other employers.

"Comfortable" was the term used in the article.

Uncomfortable describes my emotional state while at work, but the above benefits make my life more comfortable overall.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

She who is not to be Trusted


My supervisor left the office for an off-site meeting.  Another nurse was sent in her place.  (Keep in mind that I am constantly asked to justify my existence in this office.  The office could run for a few hours without pulling a nurse from a floor to fill in for my supervisor.)

The substitute arrived right after my supervisor left.  One of the witches (not a nurse) who occupies the area called out to the sub and hustled her into an exam room.  I hurried to the door to listen.

"Here are the keys," the witch said to the substitute.  "At the end of the day, DON'T give them to Enid.  Give them back to me."

For the rest of the shift, I pretended that nothing was amiss.  I made small chat with the substitute nurse and was very careful to not say anything of substance.  I hoped to give her the impression that my supervisor's suspicions of me were baseless.

It didn't work.  While helping a doctor with a confused and resistant patient, I laughed along with the patient to distract him and make him more cooperative.  The substitute nurse just stood there, not helping.  She said, "You see, Enid, this is why people don't like you.  When you laugh, you sound evil."

I looked at her with no laugh or smile.

"It's true!" she continued.  As if her opinion was a fact that could be true.

I said nothing.  The orderly who escorted the patient was supposed to be inside the room to control the patient.  Where was he?  Down the hall on his phone, oblivious to the circus caused by the patient.  Two people who were supposed to be helping the patient were not; instead, one thought it was okay to criticize me personally.  It didn't matter that I got the patient through the procedure.  The nurse won't mention that part of the day, only that she doesn't like working with me.

On the inside, I was a swirl of negative emotions.  I felt stupid for staying in the job, stupid for not being able to find another position, stupid for not being able to fix this.  I am stagnate in this job.  This halts not only my professional growth, but it is so emotionally draining that I have no energy left for personal growth and development.