Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Names Will Never Hurt Me

A patient called me a "sexy whore."  It was not meant as a compliment.

Wouldn't it be difficult to be a whore if not sexy?

No explanation.

For those of you wondering, this is usual dialogue at this place.  And this was mild.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


There are a few official romantic couples in the workplace.  One is a triangle, which I did not know about.  Nobody told me, though I tend to be left out of the loop.

Anyway, the current coupling arrangement told me about the situation.  "Chris" and "Bonnie" were married but getting divorced when "Dina" got together with Chris.  Oh.  I see.  "Everyone thought that I broke them up, but that's not true," Dina adamantly told me.  "WE were not together until the divorce was final.  Everyone says that Chris was going back and forth, but he wasn't."

I looked at Chris, smiling and shaking his head.  "Liar," I thought.  I bet that if Bonnie and Dina compared notes honestly, there would be grave disappointments.

According to Chris, this whole fiasco is why so many people dislike him and Dina.

So I mentioned my newly discovered news to some people.  I guess that makes me a bit of a gossip myself.  Everyone I talked to knew and added that Chris was indeed sleeping with both women at the same time.  As if they were present and could know this.  They also referred to Dina as a "homewrecker."  As if Chris is not also a homewrecker.

Bonnie has not remarried and is walking around plumply pregnant. I did not dare ask.

Chris is a little too huggy (is that a word?) for my tastes.  He'll even say, "Let's try that again, but with meaning," after the first hug.  Something tells me that Dina is not his last stop.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Do All Men Cheat?

"All men cheat," my coworker advised me with a grin.  He is 22 years old and screws anything that walks.  Still, I am intrigued because I have always wondered if this is true.

"Why?" I asked.  I want to know why they cheat, not why he thinks that they cheat.  Maybe I have already decided the premise is true.

"Because it's in a man's nature.  He can't help it," was the explanation.

Maybe this young stallion can't help it, but other, grown men can exercise more control than he at this active time of his life.  But do they exercise the control, or do they exercise in another woman's boudoir?

He is not alone in these pursuits . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And Now The Chorus . . .

This ad is great when it comes on the television on the ward.  First, the President speaks directly to the audience.  Second, there is patriotic singing.  Several patients stand, some place their hearts over their chests, and many of them sing along.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All in a Name

As a previous comment noted, my terminology sounds old-fashioned.  That is because the terminology used in the nursing home setting differs from my current place of employment, and my current place of employment is not aware that it's not 1947.  The nursing homes are stuck somewhere in the 1960s I think.

I fluctuate in how I refer to the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel.  I don't call them that or they would be greatly offended, but that is what they are.  They do not have a nursing license and I do.  They wish to be called "Ms" or "Mr" followed by their last name.  As you may have guessed, in contrast, few call me by this salutation.  That still does not address the issue of their proper collective name or their job function.

An old-timer explained to me that part of the problem is that, back in the day, there was a distinction between assistants who had medical training and those who did not, as reflected in their title, their pay, and their ability to bridge these assistant courses to a nursing program.  The hospital did away with this distinction years ago and now requires NO medical training or background at all whatsoever for the assistants.  The old-timers cling to their old designation to elevate themselves and become irate when I classify them with the newer assistants who have no training.

You would think that they would then defer to me because I have more education and training than any assistant, but this is not how it works in this place.

At least the assistants in the nursing home had to complete a short course and receive a certificate from the state.  Here I have assistants/orderlies/attendants/patient care technicians with no education beyond high school telling me how to perform my nursing duties.  "You're only the nurse" is their reason for not listening to my directives, but when something goes wrong, they blame me because "You're the nurse."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

You're a Stupid Bitch

"You're a stupid bitch.  When are you gonna get it through that stupid head of yours that nobody listens to you?  You're not in charge.  I am.  I don't take orders from you.  I do what I want and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.  So shut the fuck up and get out of here!"

This was screamed at me by a male orderly, on the floor, in front of staff, patients, and visitors.  What had I done?  I asked another orderly, on behalf of a patient, if that particular patient could do his laundry today.

The reaction was grossly disproportionate to the perceived offense.  At this place, what matters is not what I did, it's how the other person felt.  This person has strong negative feelings against me.  I don't know if he'll try to get me fired, have me attacked, or both.  Management's response is usually along the lines of, "You must have done SOMETHING to make him so upset."  As for this man, I refused his request to sleep with him.

During the performance, a nasty supervisor walked up behind me.  I didn't notice her and thank goodness I said nothing.  I turned to leave and saw her casually looking through papers, smiling.  She was condoning his behavior.  Enjoying the performance.  This bothered me more than his outburst.

"Perfect timing!" I said to her.  "Could you clarify an issue we have?  This orderly is in charge of nurses?"

"No, you do not understand what he was trying to tell you," she started to lecture me, as if this was again ALL MY FAULT.

The orderly was too worked up to realize that the supervisor was taking his side.  He exploded on the supervisor, "I do what I want!  Tell her that!  Tell her I don't listen to nobody and then ask her what is wrong with her."

This particular supervisor is not only in charge on paper, she is in charge in her head.  She does not handle people well when they exercise any autonomy.  Although his tirade was aimed at me, this supervisor was not going to let an orderly scream that Nobody (even if it meant me) tells him what to do.

So the two of them had a screaming match on the floor in front of everyone.  She yelled at him for telling her what to do and say.  He yelled back that he's a man and no woman tells him what to do.

She didn't tell him to leave, but she did take away his scheduled overtime for the rest of the week.  He complained to people about it, blaming me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

They Do as I Do, Not Say

To get on or off a ward, you need to use an electronic card to open the door.  For reasons not clear to me, most employees do not have such cards or do not carry them.  So they stand at the door and ring to be let in.  When they wish to leave, they usually track down the Nurse, because what qualifies a person to be a doorman if not nursing school?  "But you're the Nurse!" is the usual explanation when I ask them why they couldn't have the orderly SITTING NEXT TO THE DOOR let them out.  "But I'm the Nurse," in contrast, does not seem to be an acceptable response when I explain to someone why they can't remove a patient from the ward without telling me.

Anyhow, with my New and Improved Outlook, I do not buzz people in or out.  This saves me significant time not only with not performing the actual task, but also with avoiding the distraction and interruption, which costs time in refocusing on what I was doing, but also in avoiding the new task that the visitor was going to push onto me.  I do not think that I ever buzzed anyone in and had that person reduce my work.  The visitor has always given me MORE work, nevermind that I already had more than enough.

To illustrate:  after lunch, when most were away on their break, I was in the common patient area, signing the medication records, which I need to do in a timely fashion.  An orderly was in the room, not on break, reading the newspaper.  Another employee rang at the door.  And rang.  And rang.  In the past, I would have stopped my work, opened the door, been reprimanded by someone who is not my supervisor for not being fast enough, and then had their work dumped on me.  If I did not get to the door, the orderly would reprimand me, "Nurse!  You don't answer the door?" as I scurried to open the door in a vain attempt to squash any formal complaints they were about to make about me.

No more.  The orderly continued reading the paper through all the buzzes.  Eventually I saw her looking at me.  As if I was supposed to stop working to answer the door while she continued reading the newspaper.  The person started banging.  I continued signing the record.  The orderly got up and answered the door!  I heard her saying, "I don't know why she can't answer the door."  I suppressed my desire to shout back, "I can't answer the door because I am working.  You can answer the door because you are not doing anything else."  But I didn't shout this because it would have been a useless argument:  others think that my first and foremost concern should be doing Whatever Task Others Think I Should Be Doing.

They respond better to Showing than Telling.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Know How

I just finished reading I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson.  It is also a movie.  I prefer to read the book before watching the movie and I do this on my own time frame- the movie came out over a year ago, I think.  The book is entertaining whether you have children or not.  The main character's hectic pace and time commitment to her career/job can be similar to a nurse's lifestyle, especially those of us who work extra shifts or second jobs.

Allison Pearson wrote another book, I Think I Love You.  The main character is in teenage-love with singer David Cassidy.  I read that book first and did not find it as entertaining.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Writing Goals

"What are your goals for your career here?" another nurse asked me.

It's a legitimate question in a job interview or from a supervisor during a review.  But in my workplace, given my persona-non-grata status, I had to be careful.

This particular nurse seems knowledgeable and she is well-spoken.  She also tends to disappear.

"To not get fired," was my reply.  This is not a very good goal.  The truth is that I have no other goals at this point at this facility.  I need a paycheck and I get a [meager] one every two weeks.  I'm too honest.  Revealing this goal may have sounded like a joke to the inquirer, or may have set me up as too vulnerable.

"No, really, did you want to go into administration?" she continued.  She thought I was joking.  I don't trust her.  I can't trust anybody there.  She has been training in the admissions office, where she screens referrals from hospitals for their potential to be rehabilitated at the facility.  I doubt that I would ever be allowed to do anything other than floor nursing.  I have applied for in-house transfers to other departments.  So far, nothing.

"I don't think they would let me into administration," I said as flatly as possible.  Based on my experiences as a nurse and a person, nursing administration is not appealing.

"You're probably right," she answered, studying me.  "So what do you think is here for you?"

Suppressing the first response that popped into my head about the paycheck, I replied, probably too truthfully again, "I don't think that there is anything else here for me other than my current position."

"But didn't you have goals for working here?" she continued.

"I had vague notions, but until I actually got into the place and started working, I couldn't form concrete goals.  I thought about participating in some of the research projects and about proctoring student nurses that do their clinicals here.  My inquiries were shut down immediately.  I can't even get to the special classes and presentations here because the other nurses have seniority and get to go while I have to stay back and cover the floor."  Maybe I had said too much.  I have to suppress my thoughts and opinions so much that sometimes they escape me.

The exchange mercifully ended when her cell phone rang and she scurried off.

I tried to think of some goals for me at this place.  Successful people have goals and write them down.  So here are mine.  They will have to do for now.
1.  Do not get fired.
2.  Keep mouth shut.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

Patriotic holidays are weird for me because most of my coworkers do not understand their meaning.  They also do not understand the timing.  The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that is celebrated on the same date every year.  This confuses my coworkers because other non-religious holidays, such as Memorial Day or Labor Day, are officially celebrated on a particular day of the year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

There is No Work

Why don’t I get a different job?

Simple answer:  I am trying to.

Nursing is not my first or even second career attempt.  I attended college right after high school, just like most other people my age, and took out hefty loans to cover the costs of earning what was, in hindsight, a worthless degree.  We were told that we would make the amount of the loan in a first year salary.  That didn’t happen.  The jobs were low-paying, hard to acquire, and even more difficult to hold onto.

I went underwater at age 18 and have not come up since then.  I am buried in student loandebt.  Several years of forbearances exponentially multiplied the debt.  At the current pace of repayment, assuming that I don’t lose this job, I will finish paying the loans when I am 67.  Social Security will be out of money before then, so I guess I have to work until I mercifully drop dead.  Some people purchase a house.  I purchased pieces of paper for my rented walls.

I live in a metropolitan area where nurses are among the highest paid in the country.  The rent is higher than most other places.  I tried living in a cheaper area.  Yes, rent was less, but so was the salary.  Much less.  My student loans payments do not decrease based on where in the country I live.  Only the rent and the salary decrease.  Everything else costs relatively the same.  So I my residence stays put.

There is no nursing shortage.  People need to stop saying that.  Nursing schools no longer teach students how to be a nurse.  It’s a liability thing.  Harm a patient and there could be a massive lawsuit.  Your employer is supposed to train you.  Because there is no nursing shortage, few hospitals and nursing homes are willing to hire a new graduate and then waste another nurse to teach the new nurse how to do the job.  Once trained, the new and now experienced nurse will jump ship to a higher paying job, so the hospital avoids this altogether by seeking experienced nurses only.  Budget cutbacks in these institutions means fewer nursing jobs- just dump the ever-increasing workload on fewer nurses.

I have applications on file at every hospital in my geographical area and renew them on the designated schedule.  I have literally applied at every healthcare facility in the area.  There are no openings.

What about another career?  As I mentioned above, I have tried a few others without success.  I am loath to return to school and increase my student loan debt and still be unable to find work in the new field.  In my neighborhood are all kinds of well-educated individuals who used to have cushy jobs are now hopelessly out of work, competing with the local teenagers for the jobs at Burger King.  Most people I know live with relatives or have a bunch of roommates.

So that is why I am still at this horrible job that upsets me so.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Go Away

Today at work I was quiet and cautious.  I scared off a lot of people and also a lot of work.

"Why you look terrible today?" asked a nasty coworker.

"I look fantastic," was my reply.  I would have never said this before.

Yet he persisted.  "No, you are different.  Horrible."

"I look a thousand times better than you," I replied curtly and walked off.  He stopped.

I had a lot less work to do when people were too afraid to approach me.  It was great.

Aimee sought me out.  I didn't see her all day, which isn't too hard to do because she works in the administrative area and I work on the patient care floors.  She started off nasty, "Are you mad at me?"  Now if she actually cared in a good way, she would have asked in a concerned tone and not one that sounded like, "Are you mad at me, because I hope you are."

"No," I replied honesty.  Mad is an emotion you have towards someone with whom you have an ongoing relationship.  As for Aimee, I feel that any relationship that we may have had was severed when she went on and on about being offended over a ridiculous excuse.

"Don't lie to me!" she snapped.

"You don't get to tell me what to do," I replied sternly.  Tears welled up in her eyes.  Maybe nobody ever spoke sternly to this spoilt brat?  "Now unlike you, I have a lot of work to do."  The phone rang next to me so I grabbed it and turned away from her.  She stood there.  I line formed in front of me of patients and random coworkers wanting stuff.  For once, I was glad for the never-ending flow.  As I took on one issue, another person ran up with something else, and so on.  Aimee continue standing there, shaking her head, folding her arms, gasping.  Finally she walked off.

She had some nerve.  Does she really expect to me to continue to be available whenever she feels like yelling at me for not behaving and reacting the way she wishes?  I don't know what she'll do next.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Real Friends

After the good/bad encounter that I detailed yesterday, I was very blessed to have an unusual amount of texts and phonecalls from friends and relatives.  I did not tell anyone about the encounter, so all of this extra contact was coincidental.  And I was so grateful for it.  I need to concentrate on my real friends and my family OUTSIDE work.  While it would have been wonderful to have at least civil relations with people at work, this does not seem possible.  I understand this now.

I am also grateful to have this blog to write about what happened and how I am feeling, knowing that someone is reading my ramblings.  I feel like a fool for thinking that I could be on friendly terms with anyone at my job.  The warning signs were all present with "Aimee" as well as the others in the After Work Socialization Group.  I thought I was being easy-going, not bothered by little things, limiting the people and the outing to little more than just that- a little outing with some coworkers.  I was so wrong.  So foolish.  I just hope that Aimee does not damage me at work.  She works in one of the offices and while I am unsure of what it is that she does, I fear that she has the access to do something terrible to me.

I have been off from work and also called out to reflect on the situation.  I don't know what my next day of work will bring and how my new approach of basically not interracting with any coworker will pan out.