Saturday, September 21, 2013
One of the nastiest supervisors called me to a meeting with the clerk. This particular clerk comes and goes as she pleases, talks on her phone, and eats. I never know if she is scheduled to work or not. I copy any needed forms myself and file in the charts as the papers come in. The clerk answers to no one. She screams, curses, sings, dances- just like the patients. The only difference is that I can't medicate her.
We went into a little room. Supervisor and the clerk sat down and told me to sit. I declined and stood in the doorway. You appear more authoritative if you stand. Plus, I had an quick escape route. The chair that the supervisor sat in held open the door. Still seated, she twisted and grabbed the door to shut it. She couldn't get the door to budge because she was still sitting in the chair that was preventing the door from moving. I stood there, watching her, as she struggled, stopped and looked at the door, then tried again. And this woman is supposed to be in charge of me.
Supervisor gave up on the door. "We have been wanting to discuss this with you for over a month," the supervisor opened.
After a silence, supervisor prompted clerk to speak. "I needed a file. After I looked for it, I found it."
Silence again. Both of them staring at me, as if I was supposed to say something. "Thank you for sharing that with me." I turned to leave.
"Wait!" supervisor called out. "We are not done."
I inched a little back into the doorway. "What is it that you want from me?"
Supervisor said, "The problem is that there is a lack of communication, and the lack is coming from you. You do not communicate with the staff and that is why the staff cannot work as a team."
I am so sick of management throwing out buzz words and blaming me for the hospital-wide apathy.
I've read the same magazine articles, so I used some buzz words myself. "Let me repeat back to you what I heard so I can make sure that I am receiving the correct message. You waited two months to tell me something, and I am the one who does not communicate?"
They both rushed to gasp "Yes!" at the same time. Such idiots. Then Supervisor started a long speech about communication, team work, consequences, blah blah blah. I could barely hear her because a psychiatrist walked past me into the room, stopped in front of me, and began showing me a chart and discussing medication, completely oblivious to Supervisor's ongoing soliloquy. Supervisor is so self-absorbed that she continue talking at me, oblivious that I could barely hear her over the doctor standing in between us.
I was able to steer the doctor and myself away from the room, thereby ending the meeting.
It wasn't over, though.
Supervisor found me and presented me with a blank (and ripped) piece of paper with her signature and the clerk's. "You need to sign this," she said as she shoved the paper at my hand, which was dialing the phone. I messed up dialing, grabbed the paper, and tossed it. "Excuse me, I am on the phone," I sternly asserted, and went back to dialing. Supervisor stood there while I left a message for a social worker that a family member was on the ward, claiming to have a scheduled appointment with her.
Supervisor presented the paper again. "I am not signing anything," I stated, and walked away.
Into my view came the clerk, in a patient care area, loudly telling some attendants and patients that I was "a stuck-up bitch who thinks she's better than everyone else."
Supervisor followed me and said, "If you don't sign, I am going to write that you refused to sign."
Now I had really had it with this woman. "You wouldn't write that," I coolly said to her, "Because that's the truth and you only lie." She looked perplexed, probably because I don't usually say nasty things to her and also because she didn't quite follow it.
The family member approached me again. "Is the social worker coming?" he asked.
"I don't know," I answered. "I left a message for her."
"Could you page her? I have been waiting for over an hour," he whined. He had been waiting three minutes, tops.
Supervisor jumped in. "Nurse, this is what we were talking about, your lack of communication. You need to communicate to the clerk that she needs to page the social worker overhead." This does not describe a lack of communication. Maybe a lack of delegation, but I can't delegate work to others because they will not do it.
So I communicated to Supervisor, by demonstration, what happens when I ask a staff member to do something. I called out to the clerk and said, "Could you page the social worker to come to our ward to meet with this family?"
The clerk exploded in front of everyone- patients, visitors, Supervisor, other staff. "Bitch, you just don't get it. How many times to I have to fucking tell you that I don't work for you. But you keep ordering me around, like I am some kind of servant. I ain't nobody's God damn servant. I am not your servant. I am not the servant of social services. If the social worker wants to see a family, tell them to get their lazy asses down here and see the family." The clerk then turned directly to Supervisor and screamed, "See how she treats me? This is exactly what I was telling you. You tell her to stop, but she goes ahead and does it anyway right in front of you, like you don't see it." She started to walk off the ward, screaming into the air, "I'm done with all of you. I'm going straight to the top now." She left.
And yes, while the clerk was putting on her loud cursing show, I picked up the phone and softly spoke as I paged overhead, allowing the clerk's rant to be heard all over the hospital.
After the clerk stormed out, Supervisor turned to me and said, "I just spoke to you about the way you treat the staff, and then you go and upset the clerk again, right in front of me."
As she started speaking, I turned and headed down a hallway, where Supervisor would never follow because she might come in contact with a patient.