Friday, June 15, 2012

Unit from Hell: Princess

The Unit from Hell was staffed by competing queens and one princess.

Princess was cute and stylishly dressed.  You would never know, based on appearance alone, that she was reporting to work as a nurse.  Tight blouses, cleavage front and center, glitter in the hair, makeup more apropos on a stage than a hospital ward, pants so tight it was a wonder she could breathe, and high heels to add four inches to her short stature, complete with perfectly polished toenails peaking out.  Long, vibrant nails on fingers decorated with gorgeous gems.  Dangling bracelets and earrings.  Thick gold chain necklaces with various baubles hanging from some of the strands.

The start of the day was Princess driving her brand new Lexus SUV, music blaring, into the fire lane next the hospital entrance.  With the motor still running, she would precariously jump out and solidly land on those high heels with only one hand to help balance herself, as the other held the cell phone to her ear.  She would wave and smile at some as she sprinted to the time clock.  Lines didn't faze her.  She ran up to the clock, punched in, oblivious to any shouts or groans from others, and turned and sauntered back to her vehicle.

About half an hour later, she would appear on the unit, cell phone still glued to her ear.  "Did you set up the report?" I would eventually hear her bark.  It was hard for me to distinguish when she was talking to me instead of talking to someone on the phone.  One of my many disrespectful acts against her, as far as she was concerned.

I resented setting up the entire unit and then have her stroll in late with everything ready for her.  Any problems discovered later were then blamed on me because she wasn't there.

Princess was related to many in Administration, or at least she had far closer relations with them than I did.  There were conversations about parties, celebrations, births, trips taken together.

Princess timed my breaks.  If she felt I was late returning from break, she had someone from Administration waiting for me when I returned to the unit, ready to lecture me on lateness and making Princess handle the unit by herself.  Princess, on the other hand, disappeared from the unit several times during the shift, but "That didn't count because it wasn't my scheduled break."

Her signature mark was perhaps not doing any work and then going to lunch around 12:30 or 1:00.  Around 2:30, she would call the unit and tell me, "I'm not coming back because I didn't really get a break today, so I'm adding it onto my lunch, which puts me past 3:00, so it wouldn't make any sense for me to return.  So-and-So said it's okay."

She also sabotaged me.  If I had a organized stacks of files, she would toss them about.  I thought I was going crazy until I saw her doing it one day.  I asked her why she would do that and she replied, "If you choose to get upset about a bunch of papers, that's on you."

If I scheduled a day off, she would go to the office and request the same day off and bump me.  She would proudly teeter up to me and sneer, "I'm just giving you the courtesy of letting you know that I also needed the same day off, so you can't have it because I have seniority."

She essentially became a decoration.  She had everyone trained- patients, doctors, hospital attendants, other nurses- to go to me instead of her because "That's not my job, it's hers."  On my day off, another nurse would be floated to the unit to cover, and would complain to me the next day that everything fell on them because Princess did nothing and then disappeared.  Anything that could wait until I got back waited until I got back.

People complained that I was letting Princess "get away with it."  What was I to do?  Administration was on her side.  Whenever she felt pressure to do any work, she called one of her buddies to come down on me that I wasn't doing enough.

That unit was hell.

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