Monday, June 23, 2014

Enforcing Boundaries

One of my fellow nurses, "Tina," shows an interest in the patients- but she is an idiot with no decorum or sense of boundaries.  She talks and talks intensely, seemingly without thinking.  I picked up on her lack of fondness for me and kept my distance from her.  Thankfully I don't work with her often.  She shows no empathy for a patient's turmoil or feelings, as if she doesn't even pick up on signals that she is being intrusive.

In one instant, a teenage patient was trying to get his bedsheets changed before anyone noticed that he had wet the bed- again.  Someone noticed and brought it to Tina's attention.  In the middle of the dayroom, in front of many other patients, Tina loudly berated the patient, "I told you this before.  If you wet the bed, you need to tell me.  You can't just hide it.  You were trying to hide it.  I told you not to.  Don't you remember that I told you this?  How do you expect to get treatment for wetting your bed if you pretend that you don't wet your bed?  Don't walk away from me when I am talking to you.  Where are you going?  I am trying to tell you something very important, and you try to walk away and not listen.  From now on, I'm going to ask you several times a day if you have wet the bed.  Do you understand?  Why aren't you answering me?  I asked you a very simple question.  Do you understand that you have to tell me every time you wet the bed because I have to call your doctors and tell them.  Everyone needs to know that this is going on."  She was oblivious to the patient's embarrassment, his facial expressions, his glances around the room at everyone listening, laughing at him.

Tina is obsessed with bed bugs and keeps insisting that she finds them on her ward.  She walks up to patients in the open and starts moving their clothing to check for bites from the supposed bed bugs.  Most people don't like this, never mind patients on a psych ward.  Someone really needs to deck her.  One day during the patient's lunch, she came up to a big guy, eating his lunch.  She pushed up his shirt sleeve as she told him that she was looking for the bed bug rash.

He sternly told her, "Don't touch me."  When a big guy who lives in prison or on the streets when he is not on a psych ward tells you to not touch him, you don't touch him.

Our Tina doesn't pick up on warnings.  She didn't stop trying to move his sleeves as she stated in an irritated manner, "I am checking for the rash because you had bugs in your belongings.  Why would you want to walk around with bugs crawling all over you?  You are not making any sense.  I am trying to help you and you are telling me that you want the bugs on you.  Well, that's not going to happen.  The bugs will not stay just on you.  You are going to give everyone in here the bugs that are crawling on you and then I will have an even bigger bug problem on this ward."

Big guy stood up in what I perceived to be the last warning.  "Bitch, you and your bugs need to get the fuck away from me."  Orderlies had to redirect both Nurse Tina and the patient.

Tina kept ranting within earshot of the patient and other patients about how she tries to help people, "But some people would rather live with parasites."


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