Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stay out of my Bubble

I was in my Thanksgiving Holiday Bubble when the hospital called continuously.  They were short-staffed.

When I want overtime, they won't give it.  I finally get a family day and predictably that is when the overtime is available.

I didn't answer the multitude of calls.  This is an ongoing issue since I've been at this place.  Holiday coverage is atrocious.  There are no repercussions for calling out on a holiday.  If you show up, you are stuck because the next shift calls out.

This problem persists holiday after holiday, year after year, with no remedy tried.  That is not how I deal with scheduling.  In the past, I would get caught up in their drama, getting stranded on a floor by myself because of call-outs.

Not this time.  I was in my bubble.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stealing her Style

Linette appeared in my little office with a disheveled patient early one morning.

"Here she is!" Linette chirped.

"Here is who for what?" I asked.

"She has an appointment!" Linette continued trying to chirp, but was dwindling.

"The appointment is for a procedure that is across the hospital campus, not in my office," I told Linette, who continued to stand there, clueless.  "That means you go to the pick-up area."

Linette and the patient continued staring at me.  The patient was wearing a hospital gown and slippers, which is entirely inappropriate for the weather and for shuffling her throughout the hospital grounds in public view.  I noticed immediately, but said nothing.

"What about getting her dressed?" Linette slowly asked me, as if I was remiss.

"Yes, you should definitely do that before bringing her anywhere else," I answered, and then turned to the work on my desk.

"Hold on, I'm confused," Linette objected, hand coming up, attitude rearing its ugly head.  "I bring you a patient because you have not come to her room yet to help her get ready, and you pull this attitude with me, like you expect me to take care of the patient FOR YOU?"

"Linette, the nurses and orderlies on the patient's ward need to help her get ready."

"Don't pull that with me," Linette sneared.  "The nurse and I already discussed this.  YOU are the one who wants the patient to go out, so YOU can come to the ward and get her ready and bring her wherever she needs to go."

Linette flounced off with the patient.  Thank goodness, because I didn't know what else to do.  I have no one to appeal to.  The response will be, "Patients come first" or "It won't kill you to help somebody once, especially when they told you how desperate they were."

After a few minutes, Linette made a point of passing by my little office again.  The patient sported a very large (and warm) coat.  Bare legs still sticking out of the hospital gown.  "I found an open office with a coat inside, so I took it," Linette sneered at me.  "Good thing for you, trying to send this patient out on a frigid day with no coat.  And you call yourself a nurse."

I sat there wondering who was foolish enough to leave their office door unlocked.  I hoped their keys weren't inside a pocket.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twisted Reality

In the office, I have trouble drawing boundaries.  This is nothing new for me.

People have a way of dumping stuff on me.

I help coordinate appointments, tests, procedures, and then a bunch of other stuff gets thrown in, especially when others mess up.  Or don't want to do their work.

An orderly who transported a patient somewhere went missing.  Somehow I got dragged into the circle of replacing him with another orderly.  To me, it's a staffing issue, beyond my purview.  My solution, if you ask me, is to fire the employee who went missing.  After a while, the bad ones will all be gone.

The replacement orderly was also incognito, resulting in multiple phonecalls to my little office of people inquiring where he was.  Once I make the appointment and convey the news, my role is over, as far as I'm concerned.  If someone messes up at the appointment, it's not my job to run around and fix it.

Belle, the jerk who is the nurse of the patient (who was not missing- the patient being the more responsible and reliable person in this scenario)- called me to ask who I was sending to stay with the patient.

"I'm not sending anyone.  I have nothing to do with staffing," I explained.  "I heard that Mr Smith was the replacement."

"I don't know him," Belle answered.  "What does he look like?"

Mr Smith has a distinctive look and manner about himself and Belle most certainly knows who he is and what he looks like.  "He is quiet, but smiles at you, and wears a hat with a pom-pom," I answered.

She continued.  "But that doesn't tell me what he looks like.  How will I know it's him?" she whined.

"He never removes his outdoor jacket," I tried.

"No, doesn't sound familiar," she answered.

"He is short and overweight," I responded.

"How could you say that someone is overweight!" she started.  "You should not say that about people.  People would be offended if they heard you."

Now I was done.  This whole phonecall was a ridiculous waste of my time.  "You claimed you couldn't envision him based on his clothing and mannerisms.  So I told you height and weight and you flipped.  Do you really have no work to do except trying to get offended by a response to a question that you insisted upon knowing?"

"I'm trying to help you," she lied.

"I don't need help locating your missing staff members.  You're offended by my mere presence.  My words are irrelevant.  Grow up and find your own missing employees."  I hung up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Protect Us All

Since I started working more regularly in an office instead of a busy floor, I get to avoid a lot of people.

It's really nice.

Some tasks require me to leave the office and venture into the rest of the hospital.  For such times, I am developing strategies that allow me to avoid as many people as possible by timing the trips and taking less popular routes.

On a recent trip when I should have been mostly secure, I ran into two orderlies from the night shift.  Their presence immediately struck me as strange and out of place.  Night shift was well over.  I should have ran back to my office.  Instead, I kept walking, quickly bypassing these two, who were walking slower than molasses pouring out of a refrigerator.

As I approached them, I realized that I really didn't know them and maybe had seen them once or twice in all these years.  I was wondering if I was getting paranoid.

The man and then the woman said hello to me.  I answered hello back and kept walking.

Then the female orderly started.

"Did you hear that?  She said 'hello' to you and not to me.  Well, that does it.  I'm sick of the way she treats me, as if she is so much better than everybody else.  Now I don't have to be nice to her.  We'll see how she likes it, getting treated the way she treats me."

I stopped walking.  I hesitated- what do I do?  I quickly searched my memory for either of these people and came up empty.  I've never worked night shift in this place.  As soon as I learned how, I designed my arrival and departures to avoid most people, including the outgoing night shift as I arrived for the day shift.  When I arrived for the day shift, the only night shift workers I saw were the ones on the ward where I reported.  Even then, I purposely diverted myself to the locked medication area so I did not cross paths with anyone except the outgoing medication nurse.

I turned around and looked at the couple.

"Oh my God!  She's looking at us!  Do you think she heard what I said about her?  She's still looking at me!  See how rude she is?"  The woman carried on.  She then burst out sobbing, dropping her bags and then herself onto the floor, screaming, "Lord, protect me from this woman!  I am trying to leave and she is blocking my path.  Lord Jesus, protect me from this evil!"

The man who was walking with her took a few steps back from her, staring at her with a contorted face.

I still had not said anything.  I walked away.

What the hell was that for?

Monday, November 17, 2014

It can be Worse

A nurse recruiter called me!

Don't get too excited.

The position:  7 pm - 7 am in the Psych Emergency Department of an inner city hospital.


That setting brings together the perfect storm of the most violent setting to work in as a nurse:
Inner City

I worked in that area at a nursing home and the staff was more violent than the patients.  I was an outsider.  In the Emergency Department, if my coworkers do not have my back, I am not safe from the volatile patients freshly dragged in off the street, high on drugs, bleeding from physically fighting police, still being checked for needles, knives, and guns.  Where I currently work, the patients are not from the initial wave of street sweeps.  They have been sedated, stripped of weapons, and "stabilized."  (This does not mean, however, that they are not in drug withdrawal.)

I thanked the woman for calling me and mentioned that I had actually put in an application at one of the nursing homes closer to my home that is owned by the same company as the hospital.

"Yes," she replied, "But it says here that you have psych experience, so that is why I am calling you."

Psych Experience may be my ticket, but the only destination has been to Hell.

I tried again.  "I also have nursing home experience, and that is why I applied for weekend supervisor at one of the nursing homes.  I am available on holidays."

"I don't handle nursing home hires," she responded, losing interest.

"Could you tell me who I could talk to about working at one of the nursing homes?" I asked.

"They will call you," she responded curtly and hung up.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Can I have Job Security?

My new duties would have frustrated a younger version of myself.  The tasks are mundane and do not even require a nurse.  Basically, I help facilitate the scheduling of certain tests and procedures, either within the hospital campus or at another hospital or healthcare office, if indicated.

Most of the work is not the actual coordination of the event.  It's the re-coordinating of the event because the idiot staff on the wards cannot get their acts together to get the patient off the ward and to the procedure.

I don't understand why you can't keep a patient NPO (fasting) for a procedure and then have an orderly transport the patient to the correct area at the designated time.

But readers of this blog will understand when I write that most of the staff just can't make it happen.

It is challenging to not take the attitudes personally:  "This is the third time you have cancelled with no notice.  The instructions are very clear that the patient must not eat breakfast.  Why do you keep feeding the patient right before the test?"

Other nurses in offices warned me of this.  "You have to babysit them on the wards."  "Document who you told, when you told them, then put it in writing and save a copy.  Otherwise, they will blame you."

I can cross my T's and dot my I's.  But it doesn't matter.  The staff is hell-bent on doing as little as possible, even if that means delaying or preventing patient care.  To keep a patient fasting after midnight, I would literally have to come to the hospital at midnight and stand guard over the patient, then transport the patient myself.  This is way beyond the scope of my job.

I give one written notice of time, date, and prep.  I keep a copy.  The failure rate is about 75%

I figure that these aren't my failures, as I held up my end.  I've worked as a nurse on the ward and was fully capable of maintaining NPO status and telling orderlies to transport patients.  (They usually didn't listen, but this was beyond my control.)  If patients made it to all of these appointments without a problem, then my new position would not be full-time.  It could even be cut, with the ward clerks performing the work.  But thanks to the institution's backwards ways and protection of the incompetent, I should be able to keep this job for the time being.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Avoidance is Winning

It's been a while.  I've been working in an office within the hospital.  It's almost the position that Nurse Fortune blocked.  The environment is calmer, with less noise and traffic, which suits me better than the hectic wards.  I miss the patients but not the staff.

I am better able to hide from people.

Weekends are free.  I put in for overtime, but have yet to receive any.  I would rather not work on the ward at all, but I need to.

I did not receive a raise for the new position, even though the advertised pay rate is higher than my current rate.  I presented my "evidence" to payroll and the Director of Nursing.  The response:  "That is a mistake.  There is no difference in pay among nurses."

Another office nurse told me she never got a raise when she was transferred to office work.  She declined to show me her paycheck.  We did receive Across the Board raises.  Mine amounted to about $500.  I told the other nurse.  She said she didn't notice an increase, but looked when I mentioned it and "Mine was $5000."  Five thousand dollars.  Hmmm.

The next day, she returned and told me that she was wrong about her raise, that it was really five hundred and not five thousand.  "I don't know how to count the zeros," she explained.  "After all, they are only zeros, so they are supposed to have no value, right?"

I guess I have to give up on getting any more money from this place.  My compensation will be seeing fewer people.