Friday, November 30, 2012
This is how my coworkers approach the day.
An attendant went berserk on me for not doing what she told me to do: Call this department, call that department, order this, go look for that. "You better stop disrespecting me right now. I am sick of this."
I float. I am not a regular or head nurse on any ward. Most of these problems are ongoing issues that I am declining to jump in and try to fix. I have tried in the past. It blows up in my face. I am busy enough with the normal workflow of the day, increased for me because I have to play catch-up because I average a week or two between working on the same ward twice.
So back to the berserk attendant: she was angry. Livid. She lost it. This had been brewing since my start at this hospital. Aggressive stuff- telling me to my face, "I don't like you;" walking around the ward, telling staff and patients that she didn't like me. As if this is relevant. As if this is what you are supposed to be doing at work. At a hospital.
So I wrote her up. This angered her more. Oh well. I am also angry, upset, and unable to fully perform my duties because this attendant focuses her energy on undermining me and being openly hostile to me.
My immediate supervisor's response: The attendant's behavior is okay because she thought that patients were in jeopardy.
This is not okay. No patient was in jeopardy. If she thought that, it was illogical and irrational, and does not entitle her to yell at me. When there is a Code, staff is not permitted to take time away from patient care to yell at one another. Plus, her complaint was not that patients were going to get hurt. Her complaint was that SHE was disrespected.
So I went to the next level of management. I was told that this attendant has been written up before and this was the third, so she is eligible to be fired. I didn't believe for a second that they would actually fire her, but she will fight hard to remove the write-up.
The next level of management was not pleased. They called in the Union themselves. (This is a union job. I have not mentioned that, have I?) "They are sick of your complaints," the union rep told me.
"I am sick of being treated this way every day while management sanctions it and encourages it. So if I am miserable, I am going to make a bunch of other people miserable also. I'm just getting started."
"Misery loves company?" he asked.
"I'm hoping that everyone hates it."
Thursday, November 29, 2012
This is the approach I am trying to take.
I find it easy to disregard negativity from patients. They are, after all, certified insane.
The staff, for the most part, are a terrible lot. They are selfish and lazy. A negative, nasty culture permeates the entire building. I just hope that it has not taken permanent hold of me.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
"You can't do this another eight years!" my friends tell me.
This is in response to why I am staying at this snake pit of a job. "Eight more years and I will be vested in the pension."
"You won't make it."
So I am applying for other nursing jobs and non-nursing jobs. I must say, this brings me glimmers of hope to think that I can work in a nicer place and maybe even earn more money. The snake pit may not be a life sentence.
Monday, November 26, 2012
"I have to tell you something very important!" she gasped as I quickened my pace.
I ignored her.
"This patient over there. I gave her two juices. Two. She has had enough. Don't give her anymore," crazy admonished me.
"Excuse me," I replied calmly with almost a smile, "I have to get to the office for my assignment. I continued walking.
I thought that went well. My new assertive stance is working sometimes.
I was floated to a few different floors, which is not unusual, because the supervisor is simply not capable of making a daily assignment. And yes, she gets paid more than I do. I ended up back on the floor with the over-juiced patient.
One of the attendants flagged me down as I arrived. "The night nurse, she said to not give that lady any more juice. She had two."
I stared at her. Is this kindergarten? Preschool?
"I don't take orders from an attendant from a nurse," I calmly replied and waited. Go ahead. Push my buttons.
And she did. "No, the nurse said you are not allowed to give her anymore juice." She was staring at me as if I was a bad child. As if she was the nurse and I was the attendant.
"I will give my patients whatever I deem necessary," I replied. "If the night nurse did not want her to have so much juice, then she should not have given her so much juice."
The attendant capitulated! "Yeah, I guess you are right about that," she said and sauntered away.
The main sub-theme in the Order Me Around theme is that I am supposed to fix somebody else's error. In this situation, the night nurse thought that she had given too much juice to a patient. The patient was not diabetic or on fluid restrictions, so this did not matter. So I was being ordered around first by the night nurse and then by an attendant because of some irrational idea of the crazy night nurse. No. I am not going to kowtow to this anymore.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
My patience left a few weeks ago. A few days ago my tolerance also disappeared. I'm still not on the offense. I am strictly defense. When someone tells me what to do, I fire back. I did not realize that so many people tell me what they think I ought to be doing. I don't tell other people what to do. I gave up telling the unlicensed assistive personnel what to do a long time ago. They won't do it anyway. So they have some nerve telling me what I should be doing.
I let things slide for a long time because I was new and did not think that I knew enough. That has changed. If I am not sure of the institutional way of doing something, I plow ahead anyway and do it my way. The organized, logical way. If someone objects, I tell them that their way is asinine. Which it is.
No, I am not making friends this way, but I wasn't making any friends the old way. Now I feel better because I am voicing my opinion. Standing up for myself. Scaring away the vultures.
The attendants no longer have to take vital signs measurements. A while back, I was written up because I took blood pressure readings myself after noticing that attendants handed in wild numbers not possible in living, conscious patients. I was "disrespecting" the attendants by not relying upon these ridiculous numbers. Other nurses complained about the numbers (not my treatment) and now the attendants are not permitted to take blood pressure readings. Am I given any credit for heralding this change? No. Anyway, one of the nurses, who is very lazy, yelled at some attendants to take a blood pressure reading. The attendants refused, naturally. Arguments ensued. The attendants made the mistake of asking me, in my new attitude mode, if it was proper for a nurse to ask an attendant to do such a thing.
"No, absolutely not," I replied. "I would never rely on a single piece of information that any of you give to me. You approach patient care as a joke, not caring that your passive-aggressive shenanigans could cost a patient her life."
From the looks on their faces, this was not the answer they were expecting. Good. Now leave me alone.
Friday, November 9, 2012
One person called me from work during my vacation.
We'll call him Steve. He is an attendant.
I don't know what Steve wants. He wants sex, right? All men do. He asked me out for drinks a few times. I had the sense to decline. He seems nice, but I don't trust him, and you have to trust your instincts.
For the past month or so, he has delivered coffee to me on whatever ward I was working. One of these deliveries attracted the attention of another nurse.
"What is going on with THAT?" she inquired of me.
"Nothing. He just brought me coffee because I didn't have any."
She told me what I was already feeling- Don't trust him. She said that he used to date an attendant and she had his baby about four years ago. She still works there.
This bothered me. I don't know Steve's story with this woman, and I really don't care. Yet I feel odd that he openly shows me niceness in this snake pit where most other people are openly hostile towards me, and all the while his former lover and Baby Mama is either seeing it for herself or hearing about it through the grapevine. She has said nothing to me.
I am waiting for her to do something.
Steve is from the same tribe as the supervisors and he hangs out in the offices a lot. I feel like he is acting like a double agent, trying to befriend me in order to report back to them. Paranoid? He has never asked me anything about the job or asked me to give him special treatment.
I am suspicious because he is being nice. That is what this place has done to me.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I have been on vacation. I didn't go anywhere special. It was nice to get away from the hospital and the nasty employees.
The next schedule was not posted before I left on vacation. Finding a schedule is difficult enough when I am in the building, never mind calling around by phone and hoping that the person on the other end tells you the correct information.
On Monday, I kept getting bounced back to a particular supervisor. She told me that my next scheduled day to work is Wednesday. I offered to come in on Tuesday, as horrible weather conditions were predicted and I can walk to work. (Dream come true for some. Ultra convenient when the car doesn't start or there is a snowstorm.) She says, "I'll note that you are available for Tuesday. Are you already on the schedule to work on Tuesday?"
Me: "You just told me I was not on the schedule again until Wednesday. I don't know if I'm scheduled to work Tuesday. I don't have the schedule. That is why I am calling."
She didn't catch on.
I called back on the night shift when the roads were covered in ice compounded by some combination of snow and freezing rain that was not snow, just terribly cold and dangerous. Same supervisor answered the phone. She told me that I am not scheduled to work on Tuesday and that I can't come in because no overtime is allowed.
I told her it's not overtime because I did not work two days in the week already. She wouldn't budge.
Keep in mind that this supervisor was on overtime herself at this point. She gives out overtime every day- to her favorite children.
It's not that I like being there. I really hate it. I need more money each month to pay the bills. The student loans are as much as my rent, which is not cheap. And I don't live in a luxury apartment. I don't want per diem shifts at the nursing home. The patient load is unmanageable and my license would be at risk as I was slammed with very sick people and no time to manage all of them. I would be floated to the busiest floor and the aides would do whatever they wanted because I would be too busy trying to figure out the medications and wound care. Then a guilt-ridden daughter would descend upon me, demanding that I drop everything and search the building for her mother's missing green pants or she will call the police to report a theft.
So I am looking for a part-time gig. Preferably not in nursing, but nothing else seems to pay as well.