This happened last year also and it was a pleasurable time. The atmosphere is calmer and more professional.
I also found out that employees of the hospital get full reimbursement for professional expenses such as license renewal, continuing education, dues for professional associations, and tuition. Everyone except nurses. “The nurses agreed to not receive any reimbursements for anything. It’s in their contract,” the business office explained when I called. I scanned the contract and found a paragraph about foregoing reimbursements in exchange for three yearly scholarships of one thousand dollars each.
Someone also tipped me off that one of the administrative nurses, who is also a union representative, volunteered me to type medication lists for patients on an as-needed basis. Such lists are needed for transfers, admissions, discharges, and whenever anyone wants a list of medications that the patient is currently prescribed. This is a clerical function that would not exist at all if the place used electronic medical records.
I was sitting and stewing over the lack of reimbursement and this union rep volunteering me for a shit job when she “happened” to find me and “mentioned” this new typing duty to me. I said it was clerical and that I was not on-call to construct such lists on demand. She said that it’s not clerical because it involves medications and that “only a nurse can write names of medications,” and that this new task cannot be given to a clerk because it is not in their job description.
“It’s not in my job description either,” I answered.
“Well, it is now,” she responded.
“Why can my job duties be expanded while nobody else’s can?” I asked. “From a union perspective,” I added.
“Because they can!” she quipped. “It’s called ‘being a team player.’ You should be happy that I saved you from another task. Someone wanted you to review nursing documentation for survey prep. I told them, ‘No.’ You cannot assume any additional work and be ping-ponged all over the hospital.”
“I’ll do it!” I said.
She glared at me. “No. We cannot have our nurses doing stuff that other disciplines should handle.”
I was annoyed. I pay this union over one hundred dollars a month to be screwed by them. “Can you distinguish why typing lists and stocking supplies, which are additional activities that you personally assigned to me this year, cannot be done by other disciplines, yet reviewing nurses’ notes is beyond my capabilities?”
“You cannot be doing work for other people!” she said nastily.
“You know what I’m noticing?” I said calmly. “Whenever an intellectual task is put on the table, you direct it elsewhere. But when a task that requires no nursing skills has to get done, you send it my way. It’s like you are thwarting my professional development as a nurse at this hospital.”
“That is not what is going on here!” she roared. “And you better get permission from me and the union before you take on any assignments on your own.” She stormed out.
A secretary had been listening. “You know she bad mouths you in meetings?”
I looked at her.
“The directors of various departments notice that you do detailed work. They want you on their projects. She tells them no, that you refuse to help anyone and don’t want to do any work.”
“I figured,” I said. “What do I do?”
“Go to the department that oversees the charting. Tell them that you are interested.”
I found a guy who does risk management. “Your union rep said you filed a complaint against this department and that you are terrible to work with anyway, so we dropped the request to have you do some work for us,” he said.
“I had not heard about this until a few minutes ago,” I explained. “I am interested. Please, if you have any projects for me, tell me personally.”
My own union sabotages me to administration. This is how I lose every altercation. I'm not getting my hopes up, but if I can transition around the hospital I may be able to survive until I can find a new job.