Saturday, June 16, 2012

Unit from Hell: The Queen Bee

On the Unit from Hell, the Queen Bee was not the unit manager.  The Queen Bee was the unit secretary.  This might seem strange to an outsider.  Actually, the entire scenario is incredulous.

The unit secretary was married to one of the shift supervisors.  I was the only one who thought that this might be an unfair arrangement.  To others, this arrangement solidified Queen Bee's position as Queen Bee, in spite of the outward appearance of having an employment position of low power.  When I was new on the unit, I did things like ask the unit secretary where stuff was, which was considered highly disrespectful.  I was told that I was not supposed to speak to her unless she spoke to me first AND wanted a response from me.  I didn't get it at first.  I tried to explain that I was the nurse and in charge of the unit, which included the unit secretary, and that I needed her to answer the phone and maintain some kind of organizational system on the unit.

Because she was not the Queen Bee, the Unit Manager had to maintain a subservient role to the unit secretary.  So the unit was under the hand of someone who not only was not a nurse, but had no interest in nursing, patient care, or customer service.  She was only interested in asserting her power.

The unit spiraled out of control often.  Queen Bee would suddenly appear and call the nursing office, not for help, but to report me for not doing work, as evidenced by too many people screaming for service.  Her husband or a different shift supervisor would appear and make a beeline to me, no matter what I was doing, and then start lecturing me on how poorly I was managing the unit.  "The phone keeps ringing and nobody answers.  No attendants are on the floor.  The patients were supposed to be taken to activities ten minutes ago and they are still waiting."  Never mind that Queen Bee was supposed to be answering the phone.  Never mind that the other nurses were missing.  Never mind that the attendants who were supposed to be on the floor and transporting patients were also missing.  This was ALL MY FAULT for not managing the floor properly.  Never mind that nobody listened to me and that if I did tell anyone to carry out the above tasks, I would be reported formally and through the grapevine for disrespect.

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