Friday, June 1, 2012

These Boots are not Made for Walking, But They will Walk all over Me

These boots look great, don't they?  One of the patient care technicians thought so.  She wore them today.  (PCTs do not have to wear scrubs.  They do have to wear sensible shoes.)  She walked around confidently, smiling ear to ear, taking notice of everyone looking at her.  We were hit with a sudden heat wave and maintenance can't seem to coordinate the air conditioning service with the actual weather, so the temperature inside the building was roughly the same 90 degrees it was outside the building.  If her feet were saturated with sweat, she didn't let on.  By noon, the flirtatious trips around the unit gave way to sitting in a corner.  I asked her to escort a patient to another department for a test.  "I can't," was her soft reply, along with her smile that wins everyone else over.  Not me.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because my feet are killing me in these boots," she replied, leaning forward and stroking the soft black suede.  She gave me a knowing, softer smile, as if she were seeking mutual female understanding of painful fashion.

"Please put on appropriate foot wear and take the patient" was my reply.  She's at work in a health care facility, not a fashion show or nightclub.

She shot me a look of death.  Her feet were suddenly able to move enough to carry her off the unit, without the patient, and without telling me where she was going.

A short time later, she returned with the nursing supervisor of the day.

"Nurse, I think we've had this talk before," the supervisor started.  "You need to get along with the staff."  She stood there staring at me, looking defeated.

"I do.  They're great," I replied.  "While you're here, could you clarify an issue for me and the PCT who came in behind you?"  They both looked a bit surprised.  "She has informed me that her high heels have caused her so much pain that she is unable to carry out her assigned duties.  Should she change into sneakers or should I call the physician on call to examine her for a work-related injury?"

The end result:  The entire situation was MY FAULT because I LET her wear the high heels for half the shift instead of sending her at the beginning of the shift to the nursing office for wearing inappropriate footwear.  In the future, I need to show consideration for my fellow staff members and show them that I care.  (But I don't care that she wore highly inappropriate footwear and was in pain.)  There is no doubt that if I had told this PCT when she arrived [25 minutes late] to report to the supervisor for wearing high heels, I would have been met within the minute by the supervisor and criticized for harassing the PCT.  (The supervisor's response time is not as swift when there is a code.)

Thus established, the PCT spent the rest of the shift in an armchair, feet up in those high heels, talking on her phone.  She also left 20 minutes early so she could get to the time clock on time because she "can't walk fast in these boots."

Other staff members who were working grew angry with me for "letting" her do nothing for the rest of the shift.  I tried to explain that this edict came from the supervisor and that it was only fair, considering that I failed to guide her in podiatric safety.  They were not understanding.

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