Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Snake Pit

One of the day attendants (who was a complete pain in the ass) switched to the evening shift and in return, my ward received an attendant who switched from evenings to days.

Remember I can't win.  There are no normal people working here.

The new attendant is late every day, while the prior attendant, in spite of all her flaws, was early every day.  Every day there is no attendant on the floor for a good twenty minutes into the shift.  The first attendant to arrive complains boisterously that he is coming in later the next day.

On one particular day, the other attendants decided that they were not going to do any work until the chronically late new attendant showed up.  Fortunately, the patients are used to the attendants doing little work, so the flow of the ward was not severely altered.

When the new attendant slowly walked onto the ward, she was already an hour late.  I know the trick.  You may wonder why she does not get in trouble for being late.  She will say she was here the entire time and that the nurse (me) lied because she is vindictive and mean.  Her time card will not show the lateness because- ooops!- she forgot her time card (again) and had to sign in at the office.

I don't see a way of winning this, so I just do what I have to get done in spite of the late attendant.

On this day, the attendant, oblivious to my workload, sauntered up to me and launched into a lazy, roundabout soliloquy on why she was late.  I continued working and didn't answer her.  She eventually wandered off.

Later, I passed her in a hallway and I heard her call out after me, "Why didn't you answer me?"

I turned back to her and said, "I didn't hear you.  What did you ask me?"

She lost it.  Screamed her damn head off right next to patient rooms.  "When I speak to you, you stop what you are doing and you listen to me.  Who do you think you are, ignoring me?  You better start respecting me right now or you're going to have some real problems."

I've had it.  Really I've had it.  Every attendant is the same self-righteous, do nothing boss of the nurse.  My previous method of handling such an altercation was to ignore it, keep walking, and hope it would eventually stop happening, which it never did.

On this day, I tried my new approach.  I was so pissed that she was screaming demands of respect at me that I ROARED back and ran right up to her.  She got scared.  She stopped screaming, her body jumped, and she backed up a step.  "Don't you EVER tell me what to do.  Your friends in administration may cover your late, disrespectful ass, but I will make your life on this ward miserable until your buddies can figure out how to transfer you out."

She more quietly tried to retort, "I heard about you that you harrass people."

I shot back, "Well, you didn't listen to the warnings and fucked with me anyway.  Now you'll pay."

I'm not like this.  At least I wasn't in my prior life, before the psych ward.  I want a team of people to work with to provide care for the patients.  Instead, I'm dodging bullets and launching counterattacks.  Administration is corrupt and so are the people I work with directly.  Sitting down with a nursing supervisor to work out the disagreement will blow up in my face, not the attendants.  So I won't do that again.

In my martial arts class, another student told me that whenever anyone strikes you, you immediately strike back.  She said this is called, "Speaking when spoken to" and it shows the other person that you will meet their action with an equal reaction.  This is so different from my prior approach of ignoring the attack and hoping it will stop.  One of the keys is an immediate, powerful response.  Talking about the situation later does not work with this crowd.  They only respond to screams and threats.

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