Friday, February 28, 2014

I don't like your tone

It was such a bad day, even though I have been trying to not let things get to me.

One of the attendants was assigned to do blood pressure on ten patients.  Ten.  Not 500.  Ten.  He did a few and then disappeared from the ward, returned with coffee, and sat at the desk, talking loudly into his phone.  I need the blood pressure readings for medication administration and not just for the fun of it.  I prefer to do them myself and have in the past, which still angers people.  As unchecked patients came for their medications, I called out to the attendant to do their blood pressures.

He went on a rant in the middle of the ward.  "I'm done with that assignment.  You can't give me more to do.  If more patients need blood pressure, you have to do it yourself."

He was supported by the other nurse on the floor, "Leave him alone!  Stop arguing with people and just do it!"  This nurse has never done a blood pressure.  She claims she can't hear and she doesn't know how to use the blood pressure machine.

So I did the remaining blood pressures myself.  The attendant went missing.  Then I was called into the supervisor's office about the attendant.  "Help me understand," she started, already in his favor, "Why you singled him out to do work."

"Everyone had a job at that time.  This particular attendant's job was to take the blood pressure of ten patients.  He did four and then sat behind the desk, drinking coffee and talking on his cell phone.  I don't think it was unreasonable to tell him to complete the task."

The supervisor said, "Put it in writing or this is nothing I can do about it."  No.  We've been down this road before.  Putting it in writing is proof against me that I complain too much.  I did not go to the supervisor about the attendant.  The attendant went to the supervisor because he has the nerve to think that he can complain about being told to do work when he is at work.

The morning raged on with screaming patients, exacerbating the already noisy and chaotic environment.

By noon, the situation had come to a boil and I ended up injecting a patient as she ran naked all over the ward, screaming and cursing and knocking things down.

Another patient decided that we were coming after her next and preemptively punched several staff members in the face until she could be brought under control.

I had psychiatrists and medical doctors crowding the floor to treat people and medicate.  The employee clinic was calling and calling for paperwork from me about all the injured employees.

Where was the supervisor during all of this?  In her office, repeatedly calling the ward, demanding that I come to her office, ignoring my response that she needed to come to the ward immediately.  Then she said one of those lines I can't stand, "You are holding people up."  As if I'm waiting for my nail polish to dry.  I'm busy working and there is too much work piling up for one person to handle.

I eventually flew into her office and found the attendant from the morning with his union rep.  The supervisor launched into her speech, "I conducted an investigation on your unit as well as other units.  The reason why people are unable to do work is because they do not like your tone."

I countered, "He stopped doing work before I even spoke to him.  He purposely stopped performing his assignment so I would speak to him and then he would use that as an excuse to stop working and leave the unit.  This is not new behavior."

The supervisor continued, "Other units have more teamwork.  It is common that more than one person takes blood pressure.  You put all that work on one person.  He told you he had done too much work, so you should have had another attendant step in, but you didn't."

I said, "I can't ask someone else to do his assignment.  They each have their own assignments and will not help one another.  There is no teamwork on that ward."

The supervisor said, "As the nurse, you are supposed to foster teamwork, and you don't, so you can't expect people to do any work, especially with your tone."

I concluded the meeting:  "We have covered this before.  It is all my fault, either because of my tone or my lack of forming a team, so the staff does not have to work.  It is irrelevant that they did no work before I ever worked here and they do no work when I am off.  If this is okay with administration, that this attendant does no work, then that is fine with me.  I don't like his tone, either, so it must be okay that I also do no work, right?"

I walked out.


  1. I dislike nursing supervisors who foster a negative working environment such as fostering fear and private investigations on the job rather than willing to lend a hand and assist when and where they may be needed.It is a shame when you lose a good nurse due to the fact that you have ill qualified bosses who are not degreed in human resource management!

  2. Thanks! This place fosters negativity and persecution. I know it's toxic and I must leave.