Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Resolution

One doctor writes orders with multiple contingencies.  Orders one med, then discontinues it in the same order.  In illegible handwriting.

"If patient goes on grounds pass Saturday, with family, then give Ativan 1 mg oral by mouth before she leaves at 8 a.m.

If patient does not leave, but is agitated, give Haldol 10 mg oral and Benedryl 50 mg oral for one dose.

May have grounds pass Sunday care of -illegible.-

Ativan 2 mg oral now for psychosis.

Discontinue Benedryl.  Benedryl 50 mg oral daily for salivation.

Depakote 500 mg oral twice daily for bipolar.  Depakote 1000 mg oral daily for psychosis.

Discontinue previous not today Benedryl orders.

Patient is not allergic to Prolixin.  Add allergy to Penicillin."

When you seek clarification, she answers, "Why is it that whenever somebody can't read, it's my fault?"

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Post-Holiday Comfort

I wore sweats and a t-shirt to work.  Finally.  It was the day after Christmas, so I figured nobody would notice.  Nobody did.  A white lab coat was within reach if needed, which it wasn't.  Most of administration was out.

My hair remained in its post-shower frayed bun.

The day started slow, but then an avalanche of orders started- backed up from two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Plus, people panic on Fridays, not wanting to go into the weekend without medical intervention.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Solving a Problem with Alcohol

People in the office area gave me stuff for Christmas.  I was completely not expecting this.  I was planning on gifting a few good pals- that was it.  I received socks, scarves, Christmas decorations, chocolates, and decorative carry-all bags.

I was at a complete loss as to what I should give in return.  My gifts for everyone ended up being bottles of wine.   I honestly think that some of these people don't drink at all.  Oh well.

A better game plan is needed for next year.  As foreshadowing, several weeks ago I saw a neighbor pull up with bags of shiny boxes.  She called them Christmas gifts for "you know, your hairdresser, the lady who does your waxing, the dogwalker, coworkers- all those people."  I was relieved that I did not have to buy such things because I lacked such people in my life.  I also mentioned my concern about her dog- the unproductive cough could be heart failure.

The neighbor dismissed my caution, saying, "It's a hairball, that's all."

That very night, the neighbor's screams woke me up.  The dog had died.

So around October or November of next year, I am going shopping for shiny stuff for coworkers- just in case.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Triple Cocktails, Nursing Style

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone.

That's why we have Triple Cocktails.

Know them.  Ask for them for those times when everyone needs to chill.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Protect Yourself

Nurse with Attitude violated the sanctity of my calm work area.

"There is something that I would like to clarify with you," she started.  Her eyes looked above me, not at me, as if I was too far below her on the social scale to merit direct contact.

I've seen her around.  She is new-ish.  I've heard people complain about her, but everyone complains about everyone else in this place.  I was just thankful that I was away from all of them.

"What did you mean when you said that you were ashamed of me?" she continued, exasperated, yet with a firm voice.

"I have no idea what you are talking about," I replied, as I scanned the physical layout for a chance to make a run for it.  Psycho Nurse saw this as an opening to continue.  Not clarify, just continue.

"Did you, or did you not, give a donut to Nurse ---?"  She stared at me, hands on her hips, as if the answer was a definite Yes, but I was supposed to say it.

"I did not," I replied, as if anything was going to help.

"So how did she get the donut?" Psycho continued.

"From a donut shop?" I answered, and yes, there was sarcasm.  But please- this is what my professional life is supposed to be?  Middle School Hissy Fits over Nothing?

"Then why did she say that the donut was from you and that you said I couldn't have a donut because you were ashamed of me?"  Psycho stood there, as if the story made such resounding sense that I couldn't wiggle out of it.

"You have nothing to do with me, so 'ashamed' would never be an emotion I equate with you," I respsonded, carefully.

"Exactly," she agreed.  Okay.  That's good.

"It sounds like you and this other nurse have been having problems?" I queried, when I knew it was true.

"Yes!" Psycho agreed again.

"Well," I counseled, "She should just state the problem she has with you directly instead of indirectly through someone else."  Psycho seemed to be listening.  "I don't understand the emotional involvement that some people place on others at this hospital.  We all work here because we need a paycheck.  Just come in, do your job, and go home.  I don't have the interest or energy to become emotionally invested in a coworker."

"You are right!" she answered and went away.

I dodged that bullet.  But more will come.  I am learning.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nursing Home Industry

I stumbled upon a blog post that captures the situation of nursing home care.

Nursing homes are businesses, often owned by large corporations.  The goal is to make a profit, not provide good care to patients.  The direct care-givers may or may not provide for the patients' best interest.  The rest of the company is so far removed from the direct care-giving component that they could just as easily be working for a company that manufactures pencils.

In addition, the people running operations have the same motivations and personality conflicts seen in the general population.  They conduct their business, and therefore the company's business, based on their own personal goals and prejudices.  Their actions trickle down to negatively impact patient care, but this is not their concern.

The blog post details someone's career as a direct care giver and then a nursing home administrator.  The author's experience is true in many states- becoming a nursing home administrator requires acceptance into a facility's administrator-in-training program, which is based on favoritism.  Some states require a college degree; others do not.  No health care experience is necessary to run a nursing home.

I myself tried many times with many companies to get into an administrator-in-training position.  At this point, I am no longer interested in running a nursing home.  I am glad that I did not get such a position.  Not that my work life is all unicorns and rainbows, but running a nursing home would have made me more miserable, especially the younger version of myself.  (I'll have to write a few posts about my failed administrator attempts.)

The ability to provide good care to a patient does not require the same skill set needed to run a profitable company.  The nursing home industry needs to create a nexus between these gaps to ensure both quality patient care and profits.

Friday, December 19, 2014


One of the doctors is constantly ordering tests and consults for his patients.  For someone who is paranoid, it is very difficult to leave a familiar setting to have a medical procedure done.  So most tests are refused by the patients.

Imaging for one of the patients revealed a possible liver tumor.  Additional testing, including biopsy, was recommended.  Doc wrote the orders, but patient refuses.  She's delusional, convinced that we want to take her organs and sell them.  Administrative people complain about the cost to the hospital, especially when charged for No-Show appointments.  But the doctor's complaints are worse.

Doc keeps coming to me to get the biopsy done.  All I can do is make the arrangements and hope that the patient feels like complying that day.

Another nurse suggested I hold back from arranging expensive tests.  I explained to her that saving money for the hospital is not my goal.  Rather, I need this doctor to stop barging in every day, demanding to know why the biopsy was not yet done.

Although no person is an island, I have to put my needs first, just as everyone else does for themselves in this place.  Quick scheduling is desired by this doctor, so that's what he'll get so he leaves me alone.

It's about framing priorities:
Should I save money for the hospital- money that I'll never see in my paycheck;
or should I provide myself with a calmer work environment?

If the hospital really wanted to save money, I have a list of people who do nothing but collect a paycheck.  Firing them would cut costs and boost morale.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's okay to Retreat

My former ward had a holiday party.  It's a nice event for the patients.  The dietary department caters.  The staff brings in their own dishes as well.  A few staff members invited me to attend.  My contribution was cupcakes, which are an easier desert to serve to a large group of people- no utensils required.

Nurse Fortune was busy grabbing food for herself.  When she reached the cupcakes, glistening with red and green sprinkles, she squealed, "Ooh!  Who brought these?"

Someone nearby answered, "Enid."

"Who is that?" Nurse Fortune queried.

"Her," the person answered, and pointed at me.

Nurse Fortune turned to look.  When she saw me, her face dropped.  She slammed her plate of food onto the table, causing the rolls to bounce off.  She walked off, muttering curses about "that woman."

For those who had not witnessed this event, I pretended like nothing was wrong and then quietly slipped away.

I had no desire to attend this party.  The staff as a whole does not accept me- they never did.  At this point, I am truly an outsider.  I didn't want to fight with Nurse Fortune.  She enjoys fighting; she actually seems energized by it.  In contrast, fighting depletes me.

I returned to my quiet office area.  Much nicer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not Working on My Day Off

"We were just wondering why you didn't punch in or out last Monday," the clerk in payroll asked me on the phone.

"Because I had a PTO [paid time off] day," I answered.

"But you didn't punch," the clerk persisted.

"Because I wasn't here," I explained, again.

"Did you forget your swipe card, and that's why you didn't punch?" the clerk tried a new angle.

"No, I wasn't here at all.  I was off."

Bear in mind that I had two days off, but she was only focused on one, with no logical explanation.

Later, one of the nurses who works in my area told me that the supervisor asked her if I was here last Monday, to which she told her I was not.

I explained to the nurse that I was off two days, which should not be confusing, but for some reason, they were only concerned with one of the days.

The other nurse said that the supervisor told her, "Watch her.  She didn't punch in or out last Monday.  She may not have even been at work."

What is wrong with these people?

Keep in mind that their Favorite Children walk in, punch their time card, and then walk back out.  Or a designated person punches all of them in.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Disaster Planning

As the year comes to a close, someone decided that the hospital did not do enough disaster drills.  Problem fixed in one day.

The first announcement in the morning was to disregard all alarms and announcements.

The rest of the day was punctuated by announcements of doom and gloom.  This greatly confused patients and several staff members who did not understand that these were Mock Mock Codes.

The calamities that struck in one day included:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Blizzard
  • Hurricane
  • Hostage Situation
  • Bomb scare
  • Missing Child
  • Earthquake
  • Heat wave

Patients kept looking outside for the snow that was not falling or the hurricane that was not swaying the trees.  Visitors were confused, then scared, then really confused when nobody gave any attention to the emergency just announced overhead.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sanctuary for the Otherwise Unemployable

The front entrance to the hospital is staffed by "security guards" who double as greeters.  I've seen this trick at nursing homes, too.  One person does two jobs, but is suited to do neither.

An older man started working at the hospital several months ago.  We exchange a nod or "hello."  Finally I talked with him at length.  Oh my goodness.

He talked about the death of his mother at a hospital and beating up "the doctor who killed her."  Then stalking the doctor for years.  The restraining order to keep him away from the offices and hospitals where he worked.  To circumvent recognition, he would find out where the doctor was giving presentations or lectures, and then show up there to try to "get that bastard."

He stopped because the doctor died of a heart attack.

How do such abnormal, dysfunctional, violent people get jobs here?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Care Shift by Shift

One of the patients needed a procedure that required fasting overnight.  The facility wanted to know if he was diabetic.  I have worked on the ward with the patient, and I thought I recalled that he is diabetic, but I needed to make sure.

I called the ward and spoke to a certain nurse.  She denied that the patient was diabetic.

I mentioned that I thought he got fingersticks a few times daily and standing insulin at bedtime.

The nurse confirmed that he did get fingersticks and insulin.

"So he is diabetic," I tried to confirm, again.

"No, he is not.  The fingersticks and insulin are not given on this shift, so he is not diabetic on this shift."

In the past, I would have launched into an explanation that people are not diabetic only at certain hours, but rather continuously.  This person is too ignorant and indignant to listen, nevermind learn.

This is what I work with.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

And Another Writer!

One of the doctors has an office near my work area.  He's a kind man, but so hard to reach when you need him.  I see him quite often now.  He's in his office all day, except for a trip to a ward.  He is very busy typing and editing a book about his childhood!  And all this time I thought he was busy with patients when I was unable to reach him on the phone.

He prints a copy of his book daily, over 200 pages, which he then reads and edits by hand.  This is why the printer runs out of ink every week and why Central Supply accuses us of stealing paper.

I admire someone who can accomplish something amid the chaos, but he really needs to make himself more available to the wards.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Trying My Patience

My new office-like position requires firm boundaries, something I am not good at.  It seems that whenever I reinforce a boundary, I am in trouble for not helping out.

Most patients refuse to comply with tests and procedures.  One patient had refused a procedure multiple times.  The doctor insisted that it be done.  The facility to perform the procedure was getting angrier with each missed appointment.  For the last two appointments, I called the ward to see if the patient would confirm her attendance the day before.  Both times, the nurse manager said, "I have nothing to do with anything done outside the ward.  You set up this test, so you go ask her if she wants to go."

I need to reiterate that I make the appointment and tell the ward the time and date.  That's it.  I don't cruise around the hospital, looking for patients to undergo tests.  It's really a clerk-like position, but because the hospital's clerks are rude and incompetent, the job is mine.

I found the patient both times with the help of other patients.  When asked if she was going, the patient answered, "No."  So the procedure was rescheduled for this week.

The nurse manager called and said that the patient was discharged, to cancel the procedure, which I did.

On the day that would have been the procedure, the nurse manager called and said that the patient wasn't discharged and would undergo the procedure.  I told her no, it was cancelled, and the place is booked until next month.  More nurses and then the doctor called, telling me that the procedure needed to be done today because so much time has passed.  I told them I would let them know the new date.

The nurse manager's remark pushed me over the edge.  "Why can't you call them and explain that we need this done today?  You could at least try to help the patient."

"I could help the patient?" I yelled at her.  "For the last two appointments I was on the ward, talking to her, trying to get her to go.  When I asked you how to find the patient, you told me that it didn't concern you and I should ask an orderly.  You are the one who said the patient was discharged, which caused the cancellation this time."

"No," the idiot declared, "None of this is my job and most certainly not my fault.  You are supposed to be handling all of this, which you did not."

"You are the patient's nurse," I countered.  "Why is it that when I was a nurse on your ward, all of this was my job, and now that I am off the ward, it's still all my job?"

She couldn't follow the logic.  "It is all your job.  I am going to call people and find out for sure."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Nurse by Inheritance

One of the men in housekeeping is rather obnoxious.  He constantly tells me what to do and how to do it, adding in, "I know this because my mother was a nurse," or, "I know it's tough.  My mother was a nurse, but she made sacrifices and got it all done, and that is what you need to be doing."

Basically, everyone is the nurse's boss around here.

I was working with another nurse whose mother is a nurse at this very hospital.  (Nepotism!)  Housekeeper comes by and starts in on our footwear.  "You aren't supposed to wear sneakers.  I know they're more comfortable, but you are supposed to wear special shoes for nurses.  My mom was a nurse, so I know what shoes are allowed, and those are not allowed."

The other nurse whispered to me, "I can't stand this guy."  This made me feel better.  I'm not the only one he picks on.  But I had enough.

"Our mothers were also nurses," I snapped back at him.  "And we still had to go to nursing school and then sit for a licensing exam."  He looked confused.  "So until you actually have the degree and license, don't come to me with that 'My mother was a nurse' routine."

He walked away.  He has not said anything to me since then.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


One of the evil nursing supervisors is constantly roaming my new work area.  She chats with a few people.  She outright ignores me, which is great.

I overheard someone commenting about this supervisor, that she never used to come to the area, but now she frequents the place several times daily.

I think she's checking up on me for some nefarious purpose.

That's not paranoia, right?

Monday, December 1, 2014

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, but Speak Evil

A doctor complained to me about the substandard staff.

Honey, what I know could fill volumes.

The nurse called the doctor around 4 o'clock in the morning to report an Unwitnessed Fall.  The doctor demanded to know how nobody saw the patient fall when the patient is supposed to have a sitter at all times because of her high fall risk.

The nurse claimed that nobody told her that a sitter was ordered.  The doctor said she wrote the order herself the prior evening.

"Nobody told me" is a popular and accepted excuse around here.  I'm using it more myself, but to get out of doing other people's work, and not for shirking my real responsibilities to patients.  The sitter should have been part of the shift-to-shift endorsement.  Even if the sitter was not mentioned, the night nurse is supposed to (hah!) check each chart and sign off on new orders, so she would have seen the order for a sitter, but only if she read what she was signing.

The doctor said that this place is a joke and wondered how she could ever get in trouble for anything with such antics accepted daily.  I wonder the same thing myself.  Yet it happens.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stay out of my Bubble

I was in my Thanksgiving Holiday Bubble when the hospital called continuously.  They were short-staffed.

When I want overtime, they won't give it.  I finally get a family day and predictably that is when the overtime is available.

I didn't answer the multitude of calls.  This is an ongoing issue since I've been at this place.  Holiday coverage is atrocious.  There are no repercussions for calling out on a holiday.  If you show up, you are stuck because the next shift calls out.

This problem persists holiday after holiday, year after year, with no remedy tried.  That is not how I deal with scheduling.  In the past, I would get caught up in their drama, getting stranded on a floor by myself because of call-outs.

Not this time.  I was in my bubble.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stealing her Style

Linette appeared in my little office with a disheveled patient early one morning.

"Here she is!" Linette chirped.

"Here is who for what?" I asked.

"She has an appointment!" Linette continued trying to chirp, but was dwindling.

"The appointment is for a procedure that is across the hospital campus, not in my office," I told Linette, who continued to stand there, clueless.  "That means you go to the pick-up area."

Linette and the patient continued staring at me.  The patient was wearing a hospital gown and slippers, which is entirely inappropriate for the weather and for shuffling her throughout the hospital grounds in public view.  I noticed immediately, but said nothing.

"What about getting her dressed?" Linette slowly asked me, as if I was remiss.

"Yes, you should definitely do that before bringing her anywhere else," I answered, and then turned to the work on my desk.

"Hold on, I'm confused," Linette objected, hand coming up, attitude rearing its ugly head.  "I bring you a patient because you have not come to her room yet to help her get ready, and you pull this attitude with me, like you expect me to take care of the patient FOR YOU?"

"Linette, the nurses and orderlies on the patient's ward need to help her get ready."

"Don't pull that with me," Linette sneared.  "The nurse and I already discussed this.  YOU are the one who wants the patient to go out, so YOU can come to the ward and get her ready and bring her wherever she needs to go."

Linette flounced off with the patient.  Thank goodness, because I didn't know what else to do.  I have no one to appeal to.  The response will be, "Patients come first" or "It won't kill you to help somebody once, especially when they told you how desperate they were."

After a few minutes, Linette made a point of passing by my little office again.  The patient sported a very large (and warm) coat.  Bare legs still sticking out of the hospital gown.  "I found an open office with a coat inside, so I took it," Linette sneered at me.  "Good thing for you, trying to send this patient out on a frigid day with no coat.  And you call yourself a nurse."

I sat there wondering who was foolish enough to leave their office door unlocked.  I hoped their keys weren't inside a pocket.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twisted Reality

In the office, I have trouble drawing boundaries.  This is nothing new for me.

People have a way of dumping stuff on me.

I help coordinate appointments, tests, procedures, and then a bunch of other stuff gets thrown in, especially when others mess up.  Or don't want to do their work.

An orderly who transported a patient somewhere went missing.  Somehow I got dragged into the circle of replacing him with another orderly.  To me, it's a staffing issue, beyond my purview.  My solution, if you ask me, is to fire the employee who went missing.  After a while, the bad ones will all be gone.

The replacement orderly was also incognito, resulting in multiple phonecalls to my little office of people inquiring where he was.  Once I make the appointment and convey the news, my role is over, as far as I'm concerned.  If someone messes up at the appointment, it's not my job to run around and fix it.

Belle, the jerk who is the nurse of the patient (who was not missing- the patient being the more responsible and reliable person in this scenario)- called me to ask who I was sending to stay with the patient.

"I'm not sending anyone.  I have nothing to do with staffing," I explained.  "I heard that Mr Smith was the replacement."

"I don't know him," Belle answered.  "What does he look like?"

Mr Smith has a distinctive look and manner about himself and Belle most certainly knows who he is and what he looks like.  "He is quiet, but smiles at you, and wears a hat with a pom-pom," I answered.

She continued.  "But that doesn't tell me what he looks like.  How will I know it's him?" she whined.

"He never removes his outdoor jacket," I tried.

"No, doesn't sound familiar," she answered.

"He is short and overweight," I responded.

"How could you say that someone is overweight!" she started.  "You should not say that about people.  People would be offended if they heard you."

Now I was done.  This whole phonecall was a ridiculous waste of my time.  "You claimed you couldn't envision him based on his clothing and mannerisms.  So I told you height and weight and you flipped.  Do you really have no work to do except trying to get offended by a response to a question that you insisted upon knowing?"

"I'm trying to help you," she lied.

"I don't need help locating your missing staff members.  You're offended by my mere presence.  My words are irrelevant.  Grow up and find your own missing employees."  I hung up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Protect Us All

Since I started working more regularly in an office instead of a busy floor, I get to avoid a lot of people.

It's really nice.

Some tasks require me to leave the office and venture into the rest of the hospital.  For such times, I am developing strategies that allow me to avoid as many people as possible by timing the trips and taking less popular routes.

On a recent trip when I should have been mostly secure, I ran into two orderlies from the night shift.  Their presence immediately struck me as strange and out of place.  Night shift was well over.  I should have ran back to my office.  Instead, I kept walking, quickly bypassing these two, who were walking slower than molasses pouring out of a refrigerator.

As I approached them, I realized that I really didn't know them and maybe had seen them once or twice in all these years.  I was wondering if I was getting paranoid.

The man and then the woman said hello to me.  I answered hello back and kept walking.

Then the female orderly started.

"Did you hear that?  She said 'hello' to you and not to me.  Well, that does it.  I'm sick of the way she treats me, as if she is so much better than everybody else.  Now I don't have to be nice to her.  We'll see how she likes it, getting treated the way she treats me."

I stopped walking.  I hesitated- what do I do?  I quickly searched my memory for either of these people and came up empty.  I've never worked night shift in this place.  As soon as I learned how, I designed my arrival and departures to avoid most people, including the outgoing night shift as I arrived for the day shift.  When I arrived for the day shift, the only night shift workers I saw were the ones on the ward where I reported.  Even then, I purposely diverted myself to the locked medication area so I did not cross paths with anyone except the outgoing medication nurse.

I turned around and looked at the couple.

"Oh my God!  She's looking at us!  Do you think she heard what I said about her?  She's still looking at me!  See how rude she is?"  The woman carried on.  She then burst out sobbing, dropping her bags and then herself onto the floor, screaming, "Lord, protect me from this woman!  I am trying to leave and she is blocking my path.  Lord Jesus, protect me from this evil!"

The man who was walking with her took a few steps back from her, staring at her with a contorted face.

I still had not said anything.  I walked away.

What the hell was that for?

Monday, November 17, 2014

It can be Worse

A nurse recruiter called me!

Don't get too excited.

The position:  7 pm - 7 am in the Psych Emergency Department of an inner city hospital.


That setting brings together the perfect storm of the most violent setting to work in as a nurse:
Inner City

I worked in that area at a nursing home and the staff was more violent than the patients.  I was an outsider.  In the Emergency Department, if my coworkers do not have my back, I am not safe from the volatile patients freshly dragged in off the street, high on drugs, bleeding from physically fighting police, still being checked for needles, knives, and guns.  Where I currently work, the patients are not from the initial wave of street sweeps.  They have been sedated, stripped of weapons, and "stabilized."  (This does not mean, however, that they are not in drug withdrawal.)

I thanked the woman for calling me and mentioned that I had actually put in an application at one of the nursing homes closer to my home that is owned by the same company as the hospital.

"Yes," she replied, "But it says here that you have psych experience, so that is why I am calling you."

Psych Experience may be my ticket, but the only destination has been to Hell.

I tried again.  "I also have nursing home experience, and that is why I applied for weekend supervisor at one of the nursing homes.  I am available on holidays."

"I don't handle nursing home hires," she responded, losing interest.

"Could you tell me who I could talk to about working at one of the nursing homes?" I asked.

"They will call you," she responded curtly and hung up.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Can I have Job Security?

My new duties would have frustrated a younger version of myself.  The tasks are mundane and do not even require a nurse.  Basically, I help facilitate the scheduling of certain tests and procedures, either within the hospital campus or at another hospital or healthcare office, if indicated.

Most of the work is not the actual coordination of the event.  It's the re-coordinating of the event because the idiot staff on the wards cannot get their acts together to get the patient off the ward and to the procedure.

I don't understand why you can't keep a patient NPO (fasting) for a procedure and then have an orderly transport the patient to the correct area at the designated time.

But readers of this blog will understand when I write that most of the staff just can't make it happen.

It is challenging to not take the attitudes personally:  "This is the third time you have cancelled with no notice.  The instructions are very clear that the patient must not eat breakfast.  Why do you keep feeding the patient right before the test?"

Other nurses in offices warned me of this.  "You have to babysit them on the wards."  "Document who you told, when you told them, then put it in writing and save a copy.  Otherwise, they will blame you."

I can cross my T's and dot my I's.  But it doesn't matter.  The staff is hell-bent on doing as little as possible, even if that means delaying or preventing patient care.  To keep a patient fasting after midnight, I would literally have to come to the hospital at midnight and stand guard over the patient, then transport the patient myself.  This is way beyond the scope of my job.

I give one written notice of time, date, and prep.  I keep a copy.  The failure rate is about 75%

I figure that these aren't my failures, as I held up my end.  I've worked as a nurse on the ward and was fully capable of maintaining NPO status and telling orderlies to transport patients.  (They usually didn't listen, but this was beyond my control.)  If patients made it to all of these appointments without a problem, then my new position would not be full-time.  It could even be cut, with the ward clerks performing the work.  But thanks to the institution's backwards ways and protection of the incompetent, I should be able to keep this job for the time being.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Avoidance is Winning

It's been a while.  I've been working in an office within the hospital.  It's almost the position that Nurse Fortune blocked.  The environment is calmer, with less noise and traffic, which suits me better than the hectic wards.  I miss the patients but not the staff.

I am better able to hide from people.

Weekends are free.  I put in for overtime, but have yet to receive any.  I would rather not work on the ward at all, but I need to.

I did not receive a raise for the new position, even though the advertised pay rate is higher than my current rate.  I presented my "evidence" to payroll and the Director of Nursing.  The response:  "That is a mistake.  There is no difference in pay among nurses."

Another office nurse told me she never got a raise when she was transferred to office work.  She declined to show me her paycheck.  We did receive Across the Board raises.  Mine amounted to about $500.  I told the other nurse.  She said she didn't notice an increase, but looked when I mentioned it and "Mine was $5000."  Five thousand dollars.  Hmmm.

The next day, she returned and told me that she was wrong about her raise, that it was really five hundred and not five thousand.  "I don't know how to count the zeros," she explained.  "After all, they are only zeros, so they are supposed to have no value, right?"

I guess I have to give up on getting any more money from this place.  My compensation will be seeing fewer people.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


About two years ago, when management started forcing people to use the computer to type certain documents, word quickly circulated to type with CAPS LOCK so you don't further struggle when you want to capitalize.

Not that most employees are familiar with when to capitalize a word.

Their explanation on why they were using caps lock was so idiotic that I couldn't even speak to them about it.

A nursing manager thought this was a good opportunity to show people not only how smart she is, but how much she wants to teach people to be better.  She brought in evidence that typing in all caps is like yelling at someone in type.

Nobody understood the analogy between typing and yelling.  After all, nobody was saying anything out loud, and they were being forced to typed.

Other managers seized the opportunity to appear more current on workplace standards.  They, too, demanded that anything typed on the computer not be in caps.

So how were people supposed to make a capital letter?  Not shift+the letter.  They press caps lock, then the letter, then caps lock again.  They type with one finger, so they can't press two keys at once.

I maintain my composure most days.  You are amazed, yes?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dance of the Dead

I am snagging shifts in the office job that was taken away from me.  They really need help, but Nurse Fortune, who is not in charge, has decided to not allow me into that position.

Another nurse, "Belle," is very jealous of me when I work in the office.  She always has her phone plastered to her ear.  She wears a skirt and heals, which prevent her from walking, standing, or giving hands-on care.  She won't answer a phone call, help a doctor, or speak to a patient.  Most people don't bother with her because she is useless and usually nowhere to be found.  New patients sometimes try to engage her, but quickly learn to not bother.

Belle's only display of effort is when she finds out that I am working in the office and not on a ward.  Other nurses who work in the offices tell me that she passes through every morning and asks for me.  I myself see her walk by every morning when I am in the office and ask, "So, are you working in here today?"  A moment after seeing me, one of her buddies in the scheduling office would call me and tell me I was reassigned to Belle's ward.  So I stopped answering the phone when they called.  It would take a supervisor an hour or two to get to the office to tell me in person to move to Belle's ward.

I've worked with Belle in the past regularly and it was hell.  She made it so.  Dumped everything on me, disappeared, all sanctioned by her buddy supervisor.  If something was not done, it was my fault because Belle had delegated it to me.  Every person directed every concern at me because Belle is useless and would tell them that I was the person to go to.  She would go to lunch and then call after she was due back and say, "I'm not returning from lunch because I just realized that I never took my morning coffee break.  The supervisor said it was okay.  Oh, I did not do any documentation because I was going to do it when I got back, but the supervisor said it was okay for me to give that to you to do."

I reported her and the supervisor.  They both swore it never happened.  As for my proof, the documentation was all in my name and handwriting because I got to it first, just so I could complain that I did it all.

The next time we worked together, Belle would scream that I was trying to get her in trouble when she did nothing wrong while in reality, she was being so good to me because I took longer than I should to give out medication.

So anyway, I was working in the office one day, successfully avoiding Belle and her phonecalls.  At the close of the shift, she started calling.  I did not pick up.  Then she paged me overhead repeatedly to her location- STAT.  Eventually one of the doctors saw me with my bag, trying to leave.  The doctor told me I was needed STAT.  That's ridiculous.  I have no special skills or certifications that would necessitate my presence anywhere.  I decided to go over to Belle's ward to cover my ass.  Belle had on her jacket and was clutching her purse.

"There you are!" so scolded me.  "This patient is having chest pain right as I'm trying to leave, and the next shift isn't here yet.  Good luck.  Bye."

I was so pissed.  "You call a Code Blue if you need help.  How dare you try to dump your compromised patient on me."  I ran off the ward before she could.

I locked myself in the office with the lights off.  I didn't know Belle's next move, but I figured it would be to screw me over, and I thought that if I was there, I could help myself somehow.

Soon enough, a supervisor was banging on the office door.  "Enid!  Are you there?  We need help!"

I opened the door with my bag in my hand.  I decided to act like nothing was wrong.  "I was just leaving.  Are you okay?"

"Didn't Belle tell you?  A patient is having chest pain!"

"Medical emergencies happen all the time here," I responded.  "I'm not clear on why you are in the office section looking for help when there are nurses on the floor to deal with this exact situation."

"Just go over there and help them!" the supervisor quipped and ran away.

They could so easily spin this into a story about how I (not Belle) abandoned a patient, specially tailored for the Board of Nursing to revoke my license.

I walked back over to Belle's ward.  She was on the desk phone and did not see me approach.  "Enid is in her car.  She just left this patient to die.  I asked her for help and she acted like she is too good to help anyone."  Two other nurses, both with their jackets and bags in hand, saw me approach and were surprised, but said nothing.

When Belle turned around and saw me, her reaction was priceless.  She dropped the phone and her mouth.  "I . . . I . . . didn't know where you were," Belle stammered.

"Yet that didn't stop you from telling a supervisor that you knew that I was in my car.  How did you see through buildings and trees to see me inside my car?"

"I thought you left," Belle tried explaining.

"Well now that you see that I did not leave, are you going to call back the supervisor and tell him that you were mistaken and that I was actually standing right behind you the entire time?"

Belle stood there.

"Where is this dead patient you spoke of?" I asked Belle.

Another nurse giggled.  "He's right there, the one dancing to the music on the television."

I walked out.

I don't know what any of that was about, but it's not good.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keep Applying?

One of the nurses at the hospital calls out sick to work at her per diem job in a nursing home.  At this point, she has run out of paid time off, but takes home more from the per diem job than from this hospital, so she says it's worth it.  The hospital does not seem to mind that she takes unpaid days.

She told me to do the same.

I told her I was having trouble finding work anywhere else.  "Trouble" is really an understatement.  "Snowball's chance in Hell" may be more accurate to describe my situation.

I would rather fold towels in a department store than work as a nurse.  It's just that nursing pays more, if only I could find a part-time nursing gig.  It's not that I want more work.  I need more money.

She said she got a new per diem position at a nearby nursing home.  I have applied there a few times over the years.  They never hired me.  It's a low-end kind of place.  I remember the patient load as heavy and the pay low.

She said that the nursing home "expanded" by building a brand-new building next to the existing disgusting nursing home building and branding the new place some kind of rehabilitation spa.  She said they are looking for good nurses for the better building.

I can envision the scenario:
Promise patients and their families the world, and then shift that burden onto one nurse, who is also supposed to be providing the world to her other 74 patients.  With three nursing assistants to "help" the nurse with 75 patients.

I applied online.  I also applied to another nursing home chain that would never hire me in the past.

I know I need to do something else.  In the meantime, I have bills to pay.  Is it crazy to keep applying to places that would not hire me in the past?  New people are in charge of hiring.  Nobody stays.  They may hire me while the past hiring managers didn't want me.

If I could work someplace else per diem, I would not have to worry about snagging overtime at the hospital, where I am usually paired with employees from Hell.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How do I find a new job?

[Warning:  Do not take career advice from me.]

My latest job searching strategy is to look for/attend Open Interview Days or Job Fairs.  This way, I get an interview without wasting more time.

Wish me luck.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Where do you come up with this?

Nurse Fortune went into one of her rants.  This type of rant can be characterized as Jealous:  Nurse Enid has ___ [fill in blank] better than I do, which proves she receives undeserved favorable treatment.  Logic and facts are irrelevant.

Today's topic was the cost of health insurance.  Although she does not know what coverage I have and how much I pay, her rant was:

"I pay over $200 every paycheck for health insurance.  It never used to be that high.  Then, as soon as Nurse Enid started working here, my premium more than doubled.  Doubled.  Why?  Because she wanted to only pay a little for the same coverage I have.  So they let her pay what, $50 a paycheck, and then passed the additional charges on to me?  This is wrong.  This is so wrong, as soon as they come down on that little bitch, I'm going to get what's mine."

This is pure illogical nonsense.  But the point is that she is after me and blames me for her problems, real and imagined.

Another employee joined in, explaining that her car insurance doubled when I started working here.  She makes Nurse Fortune's argument seem a little more logical in that the health insurance cost is at least associated with the workplace.

The employee explained (and this is priceless!):

"My car insurance is so high now because I live in a bad neighborhood, the insurance company told me.  That is just another word for 'black.'  I have to pay so much more so that Certain Others pay close to nothing.  My brother got arrested because he was smoking marijuana in his car.  That's not even illegal, okay?  White people do it all the time and nothing happens to them.  Just to be on the safe side, I stopped smoking weed while driving.  When my car insurance renewal came, I checked off that I use my car for work.  The other option was 'for pleasure,' but I no longer smoke weed in the car because of what they did to my brother, so there is no pleasure when I drive to work.  And for that, obeying some made-up law that doesn't even exist, they doubled my car insurance rate."


And this is my fault how?

This is their rationale for taking action against me.  There is no future for me at this hospital.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Another Writer

"Linette" is an orderly who is crazier than most of the patients.  At least she wears scrubs to somewhat distinguish herself from the patients who do not have a key to leave.

On a related note, I bring in my old scrubs for the patients to wear.  Most have no clothes when they are picked up on the street.

Linette talks about her dreams of the prior night, which usually involve bad things happening to her family.  I am not sure if they were dreams or acid trips.  A ringing phone or even a television blip about A Developing Story will put her into a panic.  For the record, she has had to leave work many times to pick up her children from the police station.  So these scenarios about her son getting stabbed or her daughter getting kidnapped could really happen.

A few months ago, when she was probably high from smoking something, Linette babbled on and on about a party she would be throwing for her birthday/anniversary/some holiday I had never heard of.  She insisted I would be invited.  Please no.  I don't want to go and I don't know how to get out of it without setting off Psycho Linette.

Every few days, Linette mentions this future party.  The reason for the party has been expanded to include the completion of Linette's book, she informed me today.  What?  She's not capable of writing her own name, nevermind a sentence, a paragraph, a coherent thought, or a bunch of coherent thoughts strung together to form a book!

This is going to be good, I thought, and asked if it was fiction or non-fiction.

This question puzzled Linette.  After a moment, she replied, "It's more like a memoir.  Of my life.  Cause I have been through so much."

I said that I couldn't wait to see it.  Reading her creation would be too far-reaching a characterization.

If she actually conveys the rambles of her mind into print, that would be some incredible stuff.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ignore Energy Drainers

I am at a point where I ignore most of my coworkers.  Thankfully, most reciprocate and don't approach me.

Nurse Fortune carried on all shift about me, how I was spying on her and out to get her.  We did not speak to each other once.  She screamed at the supervisor all morning for not supplying her with enough staff.  "You are doing this on purpose so you can say that I am incompetent and should not have the job that is mine.  Well, it's not going to work.  This is all YOUR fault.  I will write a letter about it."

There is no point in speaking to my coworkers.  First, they twist anything I say into a big mess.  Second, they have no useful and accurate information to provide.  If I asked an orderly if he brought a patient to an appointment, the orderly would answer, "That is my break time.  I am not the one who was in charge of the trip.  How can I do all of this that you have given me.  You forget, I had to bring the juice up from the kitchen all by myself yesterday."  It's a waste of my energy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Full Moon

Are patients worse during a full moon?


I need to do my own studies.

I recall Full Moons when all was quiet, as well as nights of pure hell.  And I've had some horrific days with no full moon near.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cats and Dogs

The lazy clerk asked about my cat.

This is strange because she never asks any nice questions.  Also, I don't have a cat.

"I don't have a cat," I answered.

"Yes, you do.  You have lots of them, actually.  You are always telling me about them.  So what happened, you got rid of them?"

"I have never discussed cats with you, ever," I answered her.

She replied, "Well, if you never stood there and told me story after story about your damn cats, then I must be going crazy."  Yup.  You are.

I told her, "I have no cats.  I watch cat videos on the internet like everyone else, but I don't have cats of my own."

She was confused.  "So your cats are in videos on the internet?"

I tried explaining to her the concept of cat videos and their abundance on the internet, but she had never heard of cat videos and was not grasping the concept.

Most of the people I've worked with do not have pets.  They verbalize their disgust when they hear about Americans allowing cats and dogs inside the home.

I don't like talking about animals with coworkers because someone tells the same sad story:  "My son brought home a little white dog once.  It was cute.  Damn thing cost me $700 to buy from a breeder.  I had to go with my son to some house.  Dogs were everywhere.  When I heard how much they get for a baby dog, I thought about going into the business.  But I can't have all them dogs up in my house, pissing.  It's better to have them in the yard, but my landlady would never go for that.  Anyway, this dog would throw up, it started limping, all while getting bigger and bigger.  Finally I had to put it out on the street.  Who wants some sick, nasty, big dog in their house?"

Nobody has ever heard of bringing a pet to the vet.  Multiple people chime in that they had to give their children's beloved cat or dog to the humane society "when it got sick."

Monday, October 6, 2014

Working in Scrubs

One of the best parts about being a nurse for me is wearing scrubs.

They are comfortable and cheap.  I don't have to worry about coordinating an outfit every day.  I just grab a top, a bottom, and some sneakers.  Done.

They hold up in the wash and can air dry.  Most don't need ironing.  When I feel especially put together, I iron.  That feeling unravels soon into my shift.

Someday I will work from home in real pajamas.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Skill of Gobbledygook

On the ward, I was leafing through a pile of papers, looking for something good, and I found it!  Nurse Fortune's letter explaining why she should have received the in-house jobs that she applied for.  The body of the letter took up half a page- and was ONE LONG SENTENCE.

The gist of Fortune's claim was that she has been employed at the hospital longer than the people who received the transfers and she has done nothing wrong; therefore, the jobs should have gone to her.

She did not address the fact that other nurses applied but did not receive the jobs- and most of them have seniority over her.  If the hospital agreed with Nurse Fortune's reasoning, that the jobs should be given to the nurses with the longest length of service, then Nurse Fortune still would not have qualified.

Aside from the misspellings, grammar atrocities, and illogical reasoning, the letter was most notable for words and phrases that made no sense.

"Absent a egregious commissions on the parts of the objecter . . ."

"In compliance and not irregularities of the standardize mechanism of the operations . . ."

"Outwardly projecting the governance of the matrix and by core competencies . . ."

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nobody said this was Fair

A representative from the nurses' union called me.

I no longer bother with the union because I find them ineffective.  Plus, they are supporting Nurse Fortune's thwarting of my in-house transfer.

I need to leave this place of employment as quickly as possible.  I've known that for quite some time.  I just can't find work anywhere else.

Union rep wanted me to grieve the transfer taken from me.  She confirmed that administration initially rescinded my transfer based on Nurse Fortune's complaint about the position not going to her.  Union rep said that the hospital dismissed Fortune's original complaint, and now she is in some kind of arbitration or mediation process, which could take over a year.  The hospital was going to wait for the outcome of that process before deciding to put me back into the new job, but Nurse Fortune declared that she would sue the hospital if I was given back the new job, regardless of the mediation.  So the hospital's legal counsel is involved now and said that the safest thing to do would be to not transfer me anywhere because it would prompt Nurse Fortune to sue.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I threatened to sue for having my new position taken away, the hospital would not only not give me the job, they would fire me.

I asked why administration was allowing Nurse Fortune to hold the hospital hostage to her jealousy.  The union rep said that Nurse Fortune is mean, nasty, vindictive, lazy, and should have been fired a long time ago.  The hospital thinks that firing her at this point would look like she was fired for protesting not getting the jobs she applied for, so they are going to hang onto her.

I said I wasn't interested in her opinion.  I can only look at acts, and in this situation, the union is supporting Nurse Fortune in blocking me from my new job.  I have been chastised and even given a poor evaluation for not pleasing Nurse Fortune.  Fortune's work performance is despicable, yet she is not written up or fired for it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Paranoid or Manipulative?

Nurse Fortune's rants and accusations continue.  They center around my "stealing" a job that she wanted, and that I report her for being late and not doing any work.

My question:  Is this paranoia?

On its face, it seems paranoid- people are out to get her.  But her claims are not reality-based:  if I reported her for so many atrocities, why is she still employed?  As for the jobs that were "stolen" from her, they remain unfilled.  Administration revoked the transfers for the other nurse and me.  Her claims, therefore, are more of a hostile sabotage of my standing in the workplace.  They may have a paranoid angle, but I think her claims of my being out to get her are purposeful lies promulgated to make others angry with me and to make me quit.

A few in-house transfers were posted recently.  I thought to myself:  Maybe Nurse Fortune can apply for these too, and then go berserk on the people who are hired.  Then the hospital can cancel those transfers as well because Nurse Fortune is displeased again.

I spoke to a supervisor about transferring to another ward.  "That's just how Nurse Fortune is," was her reply.  "Plus, nobody else will work with her."  Why the hell am I the sacrificial lamb?  Fire her.

One of the social workers called it a "toxic environment."  She told me to put in for a transfer in writing.

The problem with putting in for a transfer to another ward is that it will make things worse.  First, the request will not be granted.  Second, the matter will not be addressed in a timely and professional fashion.  Third, my request to transfer will immediately get back to Nurse Fortune, who will add it to her list of complaints about me in her shift-long rants.  I will still be stuck on the ward with Nurse Fortune while she undermines me further by pointing out, "You don't even want to be on this ward.  You asked for a transfer."  Just when the issue of the transfer request is dying down, the Director of Nursing will revive it by saying to me, in front of Nurse Fortune, "Oh yeah, by the way, I meant to tell you, your request that you put in several months ago, you know, to move off this ward, that is denied.  I understand that you have a problem with Nurse Fortune, but you will just have to learn how to get along with her."

Annual Popularity Review

I received my annual popularity work review from an evil supervisor.  No surprises.

Every other word was misspelled.  The grammar was atrocious.  The math was wrong with both the tallying of the earned points as well as the division to arrive at the average score.

I received the lowest ratings on leadership, ability to get along with others, and team work.  This is laughable.  Nobody on my ward gets along with anybody else.  They do little to no work, argue about it, and then disappear.  I get more help from the patients than the staff.

(The plus side of everyone hating everyone else:  No rumors get spread.  Really.  When a bunch of people do not speak to one another, they can't spread the rumors they heard.  I am blissfully isolated from hearing rumors.)

The summary paragraph is defamatory:
"Nurse will learn to get along with others so that she stops jeopardizing patient safety."

It sounds as if I arrive on the ward attacking the staff and the patients are caught in the middle.

This is like blackmail.  Morph into something that the supervisor wants (which is impossible because I will always be white) and she will stop writing that I jeopardize patients.

When did I jeopardize patients?  Never.  Where are the previous write-ups about jeopardizing patient safety?  The supervisor is so concerned about patient safety that she saves her concern for my annual review and does not address the situations as they happen.

The two primary nurses I work with (Helen and Fortune) won't go near a patient.  If a physical assessment is needed, they wait for me.  They have never taken a blood pressure on a patient.  They won't come out from behind the nursing station because a patient might attack them.  If a doctor orders an injection STAT, and I am on break, they hold the order until I return.  And I'm the one who jeopardizes patient safety?

The jerky nurses and orderlies who are assigned to the ward do not like me.  They are openly hostile to me.  They don't want to get along with me.  They want me gone.  This entire scenario will not resolve by an action on my part.  The ward needs to be broken up and people fired.

I am so sick of hearing that other people's lack of work and disdain for me is fixable only by me.  Nevermind that the staff does not get along with anyone else, not even themselves.  Nurses and orderlies hate floating to my ward.  Doctors come to me, looking for patients, because the other nurses don't know any of the patients and the orderlies either ignore the doctor or shrug, "I don't know that patient."

I'm not signing any part of the review.  I will try what the clerk did with her bad review.  I will accuse the supervisor of all kinds of discrimination.  I will insist that the goals are impossible to attain because of rules that she herself set up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sick Day

I called in sick to avoid Nurse Fortune.

I feel nauseated just thinking of her and her non-stop tirades about stealing her job.

Another nurse gave me this plan.  He has just about depleted all of his paid time off, including sick time, in order to avoid working with certain nurses who land him in trouble every time.  He said that he sometimes gets a written warning about abusing sick time, but it is nothing compared to the problems he is blamed for when he works with certain nurses.

He received his annual review, predictably receiving the lowest scores possible on the subjective areas:

  • Gets along with others
  • Works as a member of the team
  • Demonstrates leadership

Even if he had perfect attendance, the scoring of the annual review would still be so low that he would not qualify for a raise.  I have not received my annual review yet.  I predict poor scores for myself as well.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rules of Overtime

I was scheduled to work overtime for the weekend.  One of Fortune's buddies in the office cancelled me.  Fortune told me that she bumped me from the schedule "because that is how seniority works.  Did you consider that when you stole my promotion?"

I have never seen or heard of Fortune working overtime.  Plus, her inability to work weekends was her main qualification for the office position that I "stole from her."

Predictably, I was called to cover when Fortune called out.  I said no.

You might think that Fortune's reckless record of attendance will catch up with her.  But that is not how things work at this hospital.

Instead, an evil supervisor left a message on my phone:  "Nurse Enid, I do not understand something.  You were down for overtime this weekend because this is something you wanted.  Now that you have been called to come in, you do not pick up your phone.  We thought you were interested in helping us out when we need you.  You were the one who requested the overtime shifts from us.  In the future, we will not be able to rely upon you to come in if this is what you do when we give you overtime."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wishful Thinking

I wished that Nurse Fortune would go away.  It worked!

But only for three days.

She returned to work, late of course.  She laughed and laughed for the first hour, and then reverted to her prior behavior of loud ranting while accomplishing nothing.

"I don't do any work?  You go and report me for not doing anything.  Then how does the work get done if I don't do it?  Does this make any sense to you?  What am I doing now?  Working.  That's right.  I AM WORKING.  Do you consider any of that when you run to the supervisor and tell her that I have done nothing?  That I am late all the time?  That I disappear from the floor for hours at a time?  None of this is true.  You don't mention to the supervisor that you are lying.  You act like it's the truth when you tell her that I take a two hour lunch.  Well, it's not.  Sometimes I fall asleep and don't make it back to the floor on time, but that is not part of my break.  That is called, 'Being a mother.'  You should try it sometime.  Then you would understand why sometimes I am tired.  I work around the clock.  When you are done with work, you are done.  That's it.  After I leave here, long after my shift has ended, mind you, I still have to work because I am a mother.  It never ends."

Patients watch her and make comments such as, "I got locked up for talking to myself, but look at her.  She's worse, but they let her leave."

It is extremely difficult for me to work with this woman present.

Fortune also ranted about the unfairness of our health insurance premiums.  "Why is it that I have to pay more for my family plan than people who only have themselves on the plan?  That is discriminatory against people for bearing children and wanting those children to have access to medical care."  She demanded to know what I do "with all that extra cash you steal out of my child's mouth."

Right before leaving for lunch, Nurse Fortune's rant turned to not getting a lunch.  "I can't even take a lunch break because of that baby.  As soon as I leave, she's going to run to the supervisor and tell them that I've been gone for three hours.  Does anyone even look at these cameras?  When have I ever been gone for three hours.  Now I have to starve and feel weak and maybe even faint to satisfy that crazy woman."  Fortune then left for her break.

An hour and a half later, at change of shift, she appeared.  She told the incoming nurses, "I was not ALLOWED to have a break all shift because of HER."  One of the evening nurses asked where she was, as she had just come onto the ward.  Fortune said, "I just told you.  I was not PERMITTED to have a break and they better do something with this woman because I cannot work in this environment."

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Victim

I caught Nurse Fortune talking about me!

I know she does it.  What she says within my earshot is bad, so I figured what she said behind my back was worse.  Part of me said to not bother with her, while the other part said, "This is going to be good."

So I put my ear next to the door of the break room and listened.

Nurse Fortune was telling two orderlies about her feelings towards me.  "She took my job.  It was a slap in the face.  Who the hell does she think she is, marching in here, not even been here more than a few years, taking a job from someone who is HER SENIOR.  She thinks she is so wonderful, stealing something from someone with a child to support.  Well, she has something coming to her.  When I'm slapped, I just don't fall down.  I slap back.  She thinks she won because the hospital dismissed my complaint.  Well, guess what.  I'm taking it to the next level, where she will learn what it feels like to be slapped in the face."

Her thinking is highly warped.  I applied for an in-house transfer, one of several, and got it.  It was then taken from me because Nurse Fortune was "upset" that she did not get any of the in-house transfers that she applied for.  It is so difficult working a ward with her.  Sure, the hospital denied her the new job when they appointed other nurses, but the hospital also gave into her demands by revoking the positions.  Why not give her all the positions she applied for and then let her abdicate all but one, and then fire her lazy, vindictive ass?  Don't tell me it's too much work to fire someone.  It's a lot of work to keep this volatile nurse hired.

Eventually one of the orderlies opened the door.  I walked in.  Nurse Fortune was startled, but quickly composed herself.  I looked at her, but she would not make eye contact with me.

I wish I could work this angle better.  I have done nothing on purpose to annoy Nurse Fortune; rather, I walk on eggshells around her.  Still she is incensed by my mere presence.  How can I push her over the edge?  Just a little nudge from my end should do it.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Setting Priorities in Nursing School

During the orientation to my nursing school program, one of the [many, never ending] speakers told the incoming class something that was met with criticism from a lot of students.

"Make nursing school your Number One priority."

People called out things like, "I have children!" or, "I have a life outside of school," or, "I need to earn a living to pay for school."

The speaker offered some explanations.  Like most of the faculty and staff at the School of Nursing, she was a self-enamored kind of a person, so convinced in her own rightness that any explanation of her views was unnecessary.

I remembered what she had told us because I disagreed and because I remembered the roar of protest.

As school continued, I came to agree with her statement.

Nursing school needs to be one of the top priorities in your life.  It's not wonderful and it's mostly irrelevant to the practice of nursing, but you have to devote considerable time, effort, emotions, and money to nursing school in order to earn the degree that will qualify you to sit for the licensing exam.  You may never read another EKG after nursing school, but you need to figure out how to read EKGs to get through school.  Should the need arise while you are a practicing nurse, you can learn then.  (YouTube is wonderful for this- but it did not exist when I was in school!)

To those student nurses who are also parents, this statement does not mean that you should attend a clinical instead of taking your child to the emergency room with a suspected fracture.  You have to balance your priorities.  The time you are in nursing school may not be the time you take the children hiking every weekend.  It's not fair to you or your family to make a partial investment in nursing school, only to have you flunk out after draining time and money away from the family.

People who are not fresh out of high school go into nursing school for intentional, specific reasons that their current situations do not meet, such as career fulfillment or finances.  Nursing school is intense but temporary.  Put off as much as you can so that you can graduate from nursing school.

Going off on a Rant- And not coming back

Strange day.  Nurse Fortune was only a few minutes late and she did work.  She ranted all day long, which is normal, except that the rants centered around "Somebody reported me for being late, taking a two hour lunch, and not doing any work, all of which is untrue."  I think of her as a highly confrontational person, but her behavior on this day was passive-aggressive.

My gut reaction was, "Oh no!  She thinks I reported her."  Then I realized that this is the same behavior she would display with any other nurse, just to let them know her displeasure in her own existence on the planet.

Nurse Fortune has two modes at work, which she hides from nobody:
1-  Ranting
2-  Missing

Nobody has to report her for anything.  She does not hide her lateness or her non-stop griping.  It's not all her fault.  She has gotten away with it for years.

I've been drawing boundaries with her.  She has her work and I have mine.  Unless there is a catastrophe, I don't do her work.  She has NEVER helped me.  After her two hour argument with the night nurse the other day, I gleefully vacated the ward at the end of the shift, leaving her to continue carrying on, "I have all of this work that's not done and the other nurse just leaves me."

She was quick to draw boundaries when a patient asked her about a medication.  "That's NOT MY JOB," she snapped at the patient.  "You are supposed to ask HER.  I don't know why she would not provide you with the education you requested, as if I am supposed to DO HER JOB FOR HER.  Well, she has something else coming if she thinks that I am here to serve HER.  Just wait.  Wait until she finds out that I DON'T PLAY. . ."  The patient wandered off with a bewildered look on his face.