I took two weeks off from the hospital. I have never had such a long hiatus from a job. The most I've taken is about a week. I usually take a few days here and there, return to work with a backlog of work awaiting me, and dive in.
This time, my prolonged absence highlighted that nobody else does much. Some people became afraid.
I returned on a Saturday, which is a light day to return. My partner nurse arrived late, as usual, and immediately laid into me. "Let me tell you something," she started. She was miffed that I didn't stop working to give her whining my full attention. "You were out for several days," she tried.
"I know that," I quipped and kept going.
She tried again. "When you were out, nobody did any work." She looked at me for sympathy maybe.
"I know that too," I quipped, still going.
"Well, what happened is that you didn't come back and do the work, so I had to do so much work." She looked at me with tears in her eyes, and not from missing me.
"You aren't seriously looking for sympathy from me because you had to pull your own weight around here for a few days, are you?" I shot back at her.
"I'm just saying that you should have consideration for other people and not take off so many days at once," she continued.
"Really? This coming from a nurse who had used up all of her paid time off last year by March?" I yelled back. She stared at me. "And then you took off FIVE unpaid weeks OVER THE SUMMER to tour Europe?" She continued staring.
The rest of the day, she scrambled to cope with the onslaught of two weeks of unchecked medication errors and unfinished work that couldn't be (logically) blamed on me. I worked on the last two weeks of laboratory tests: orders never carried out and results never relayed to doctors.
I really don't understand how these nurses get away with it.