Thursday, May 29, 2014

Failing the Test for Organization

I finally took competency tests at my prospective per diem job at a large hospital.  I am not pleased and I am not taking them again unless I am on the clock and getting paid.  I cannot believe that a hospital operates this way.  (Though I say that about my current place.)

I left message after message to schedule my appointment.  Finally the woman who hired me called me back- when I was at work with the Head of Psychiatry and could not answer her call.  She left a rambling message that a lot of time has passed and I have not come in to complete the three tests and, "Oh, I see here that I wrote that I needed to return your calls.  I guess I didn't return them until now.  Ok.  So if you could call me back and schedule these tests, that would be great."

I poked around their phone system and finally got a clerk-like person, Stephanie.  She asked when I wanted to come in.  "This Friday, 8 a.m.," I told her.

She replied, "Ok.  This Friday at 8 o'clock.  And why are you coming in?"

"To take the required nurse competency tests before I start my employment," I answered, trying to keep cool.  I had explained that at the beginning.

I drove through massive traffic to arrive at 7:45 on Friday.  Nobody knew what I was talking about.  Stephanie starts at 9 a.m., I was told  At 9:30 a.m., Stephanie appeared, which I only know because I heard someone calling out to her- not because she sought me out in the waiting area.

Stephanie's response:  "Yeah, um, I'm not sure why you wanted to come in today."

Me:  "To take the pre-employment RN competency tests," I explained as coolly as I could.

Stephanie:  "That is why it was not clear.  We don't give those on Fridays, so I didn't know why you wanted to come in on a Friday to take the test when we don't give the test on Fridays."

There goes half my day off for nothing.

"Can I come in next Wednesday?" I asked.

"Sure," said Stephanie.

I sought confirmation, "You administer the tests on Wednesdays?"

"Yes," Stephanie said, looking bewildered.

On Wednesday, I appeared and had a similar run-around.  Nobody knew what I was talking about.  Finally Stephanie appeared and shuttled me to a computer.  She got the program up and running and left me unattended in the room.  I answered multiple-choice questions about medications I had never heard of and some that fell out of use years ago.  80% is passing.  I scored 76%

I returned to the desk and told the new face that I was ready for the next test.  She didn't understand.  I asked for Stephanie.  She said that Stephanie had left for the day.

I left too.  I figured I'd try again.  They probably wouldn't remember that I already took the test and failed.  I showed up and met a different batch of confused people.  After much hesitation and several phone calls, they brought me to a computer and started up the same test I already failed.

I had learned from my prior attempt.  Smart phone by my side, I looked up the unfamiliar medications and reference ranges for blood values.  I realized how I answered many of the questions incorrectly the first time around, and was feeling very confident about passing this time.  My score:  78%  It could not be possible.

I would like to mention that the location of my testing was the front office of a very busy building.  Visitors did not understand that I did not work there.  They kept barging in on me, asking for stuff.  One woman even yelled at me that I was just sitting there, "Playing a game on the computer," while she needed help.

I returned to the desk and asked to start the next test.  This new face asked me which one.  I said it would be a psych test.  She typed and clicked the mouse and read and read.  Finally she declared, "There is no psych test."

"Psychiatric," I clarified.

Again more typing and clicking.  "No, I don't see that test, either," she answered.  She asked if I wanted to take any other test.

"Yes, the two tests that I need in order to work here," I answered.

"Did they say where you would be working?" she asked.

"Behavioral Health," I replied.

"Let me see if they have a test for that," she answered, and typed and clicked some more.  "No," she declared.  "Maybe you have to take a medication test?"

"I already took one," I answered.

"Here is one called Mental Medications," she said.  "Maybe that is the one you need?"

"Yes," I responded.  How does she not know that behavioral health, psych, and mental are all interchangeable?

Let's not get too excited.  She pulled up the next test and I sat down to see Maternal-Newborn.  "Wait," I said.  "This is not Mental.  It is Maternal."

"Same thing," she responded.

"No, it is not.  I need the mental health tests."

"I'm pretty sure you need this one," she answered.  She went from not knowing anything to knowing which test I needed in just a few minutes.  Now I was getting mad.

I whizzed through the test, knowing very little.  Click, click, click.  I did not bother to consult my phone.  A man came through (remember how open this is) and introduced himself as the union rep.  He saw the test and welcomed me to Labor and Delivery.  I said I was hired for the psych department.  He asked why I was taking the maternal-newborn test.  "I don't know," I answered.  He said that no new hire has passed any of these tests so far.

That made me feel better.  I decided that I would take three tests, as instructed, and hope that they are so disorganized that I can start working in spite of my scores.  My score on the maternal test, which were mostly guesses:  74%  Just a hair worse than the medication test, where I looked-up the answers.

The next new face at the desk hesitated quite a bit, then called up another test for me on alcohol and drug withdrawal.  Again, not an area I am familiar with.  Clicked my guesses as quickly as possible.  My score:  78%  How could I achieve the same score with almost random clicking as I did with researched answers?

When done, I appeared at the desk to announce my completion and my expectation that I would be orienting soon.  The woman asked, "Why are you taking these tests?"

I answered, "They are required in order to work here as a nurse," I answered.

She replied, "That is so cute!  You want to be an RN!  I think you also have to go to school, though."

I looked at her and then just walked away.

I am still going to write about the disorganization of my current hospital, but this place might be far worse.  Wow.

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