Saturday, July 5, 2014
Just accept the Crazy
My partner nurse was Helen. Two discharges and subsequent admissions were scheduled. We should have had more help, but we didn't. I discovered early on that nothing was ready for the discharges, although Helen had signed off on them. "You do that, but you weren't here," was her reply, as if it was my fault.
Actually anyone can check if everything is in order for a discharge, especially since I was not working on the ward.
Multiple supervisors descended upon the ward, wanting to know how this happened. I let it fly. "Because you employ dumb ass nurses and let them get away with it."
Helen told me to work through my lunch break. I told her no and went on my break. When I returned, some of the orderlies in the parking lot told me that Helen went home.
I returned to the ward to find the nursing supervisor babysitting, as a nurse must always be present on the ward. She explained, "Although you got the new position, you won't actually be working in that position. You are needed on the ward." WTF?
Things exploded for the rest of the shift. As two female patients were (supposed to be) discharged, I could admit either two males or two females, because each room has two occupants. Admissions sent one male and one female. I called the department and explained the problem. The idiot on the other end said, "Look, we all know that you don't want to do an admission. That's too bad. They are yours."
The male admission spoke a rare dialect of a rare language. The telephone translating service claimed that they could not find anyone who knew the language. His records stated that he was hospitalized for a broken hip and diabetes. I have no idea why he was on the psych ward.
The female admission was a frequent flyer. Violent. All I could do was hope that her earlier injections of Ativan and Benadryl held on until my shift was over.
The ward erupted into a noisy free-for-all. The phone lines rang incessantly. Nobody bothered to answer. I was paged overhead constantly. People from all over the hospital kept coming up to me, wanting stuff, oblivious that there was a long line of people already waiting for me and that nobody was getting anything else out of me today.
I only realized my shift was over when the next shift sought me out to ask if a code was taking place. "Why, is someone hurt?" I asked.
"No, it is so noisy and chaotic. Why is there a mattress just lying in the hallway? Is this a fort built out of the dining room tables? Why are so many patients running around naked? Do you know that they tore down the wallpaper in the dining room? Where is your staff?"
The ward ended up with more patients than there were beds, not counting the mattress in the hall that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
All the patients, whether they belonged on the ward or not, were alive and well. I decided that this was all that really mattered and I left.