Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wrapped Around Her Finger

One of the women who works in the general vicinity of my office returned from vacation.  My supervisor was elated.  “My partner!  You are back!  I missed you so much!  I was lost without you!”

What the hell am I?

This woman doesn’t lift a finger to do her own work, never mind anyone else’s. My supervisor will actually do this woman’s work- answer her phone, help her patients, do her filing- while this woman sits on her phone or is missing entirely.  Another lack of judgment on the part of this supervisor, or does this woman have some connections?  She must be in personal favor with management to continue employment without ever doing any work, right?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Confusing Handwriting

Upon returning from a few days off, my supervisor told me that a woman named Ellie kept calling for me.  I have no idea who she is.

For the rest of the day, Ellie called for me, but always when I had just stepped out of the office.  Near the end of the day, I was in an exam room with a doctor and patient when I heard my supervisor frantically yelling, “You can’t go in there.”

A woman hollered back, “I have waited long enough!” and burst into the exam room, focused only on me.  She shoved a paper at me, which I did not take.

“Excuse me, you are violating patient privacy!” I snapped at her.  I remembered her clueless self lurking around a few months ago.

“YOU refuse to answer your phone when I call,” Ellie snapped back.

“Get out!” the doctor hissed.  Ellie stood there, just realizing that other people were in the exam room.  “Get out!” the doctor yelled this time.

Ellie huffed out.  She and the supervisor exchanged negative observations about me in the hall, such as, “I don’t know why she won’t do something as simple as answer a phonecall” and “She doesn’t normally take this long in the exam room.  She is making you wait on purpose.”

When the patient left, Ellie and the supervisor charged into the room, nevermind sanitation.  “Are you still too busy?” Ellie said sarcastically.  My supervisor was staring at me, half scared, half angry.

“What is it that you need?” I asked.

Ellie held out the paper in her hand and pointed to a spot.  “I can’t read this word.  What does it say?”

I craned my neck to look while holding out my soiled gloves, making Ellie jump.  She held a copy of a hand-written doctor’s note that had nothing to do with me.

“I don’t know.  What does it say?” I asked Ellie, smiling.

“I have to transcribe this, but I can’t if I can’t read it,” Ellie said in a nasty tone.

“Of course not,” I added.

“So what does it say?” Ellie blurted, annoyed.

“How would I know?  Why don’t you ask the doctor who scribbled it?” I suggested, still smiling at her, hoping to convey that she was acting like an idiot.

Ellie stood there with phases of confusion washing over her face.  “Isn’t that you?” she tried.
My supervisor was also confused.

I glanced at the paper again and said, “No, I am not Dr Michael Smith.  I am Nurse Enid Mueller."  I stood there, smiling, blinking.

“Is this why you’ve been calling so much?” my supervisor asked Ellie.  “Why didn’t you just tell me what you wanted and I would have told you that she has nothing to do with this doctor?”

Ellie mumbled and fled.

"What was that for?" my supervisor asked me.  I shrugged.

Completely normal in this place.  Think something weird and then get mad at others when acting on these bizarre thoughts.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Accept It or Leave

One of the newer hires is having a very tough time, very similar to my experiences.  She asked me to witness the conversation with a nursing supervisor.

The nurse mentioned that other nurses arrive late, don’t get shift report, push everything off onto her for the rest of the shift, and then leave early.  Same as my story.

The nursing supervisor pretended to not know any of this.  “You need to put it in writing, otherwise, I can’t do anything about it.”

“Can’t you come by on rounds and see them missing, or in the back on their phones, and say something?” the nurse pleaded.

“I’m too busy!” the supervisor quipped.  “You should go to your union if you have a problem with the people you work with.”

“How is this a union issue?” the nurse asked.  “I’m asking you to manage employees, which is your job as the supervisor, yes?  I’m telling you that certain employees are not pulling their weight and making it very difficult for others to do the job, and you want nothing to do with it.”

“Like I said,” the supervisor continued, “I didn’t know this and without these charges in writing from you, I can’t do anything.”

The nurse shook her head.  “Then I want to transfer to night shift.”

“Put it in writing,” the supervisor said.

The nurse pulled a paper from her pocket.  “Here it is.”

“Oh!” the supervisor gasped.  “I can’t accept this.  You have to bring it to the office and they have to stamp it.  Otherwise, it is as if it never existed.”  She paused.  “And it won’t matter.  I can’t let you go to night shift.  We are short on the day shift.  So you are stuck where you are.”

The nurse was surprised.  “I heard they are short on nights as well,” she tried.

“They are,” the supervisor responded.  “But I’m short, too, and you are part of this shift and are not going anywhere.”

After the supervisor left, the nurse turned to me.  “What am I supposed to do?” she asked.

I felt bad for her.  This was me when I started.  It’s still me.  “You have two options.  You either suck it up or you quit.  These same employees who are dumping all the work and blame on you with the blessing of the supervisor are the same people who did it to me years ago.  Nothing changes.  They will never be responsible and will never be held responsible.  When a good nurse is hired, they abuse her until she is fired or quits.  That is how it’s done here.”

“Okay,” she said softly and walked away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Floating on a Cloud

My supervisor lent me out to another department.  I covered there in the past.  In this role, I facilitate movements from crisis to short term to long term placements.

The person I am covering does not want me near her department.  She wants her friend to cover.  The friend is an idiot, so management wants someone who can actually do the job.  Me.

The day was terrible, but I handled it so well.  The day was engineered to be one disaster after another, but I simply laughed and went on.  I am so proud of myself.

First, to get into the office, I have to convince security or maintenance to let me in.  My immediate supervisor happened by when security was about to lend me the key.

“But you have the key!” my supervisor chimed.

“I do not,” I answered.

“I saw it on your keychain,” she insisted.

“How would you distinguish any key from another by sight?” I asked her.  She didn’t follow this reasoning.  I convinced the security guard to let me in anyway.

Once in, I quickly discovered messes.  The director had set up transfers into beds that were not available.  The census would be over.  Tragically over.

When the main secretary arrived late, I was next door, trying to straighten a mess with a secretary in setting up new patient records.  As I walked back into the office, this main secretary was on the phone.  “Oh, she just walked in now,” she said.  “I’m transferring a call to you, Enid.”

I picked up.  It was the director.  “Why are you late?” she started.

“I’m not late.  I’ve been here for almost two hours,” I asserted.

“The secretary said you are just walking in now,” she insisted.

“She meant that I was not at the desk, but instead was at someone else’s desk on a work-related matter, where she saw me thirty seconds earlier,” I answered, annoyed at both of them.  Troublemakers.

“Enid, I’m getting calls on my cell phone.  You can’t put two patients in the same bed.  What are you doing?” she scolded me.

“You made these arrangements yesterday.  I am fixing the messes that you created in anticipation of my arrival today,” I stated.

I’m not pretending that her mistakes are innocent.  Let the Big Wigs see that she screws the hospital to try to make me look bad.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she defended.  “If you can’t handle a simple patient transfer, then you can’t cover for me when I am out.”

“You’re stuck with me until I’m promoted,” I said and hung up on her.  They won’t promote me.  But she fears they will, so I’ll feed into her delusions.

Massive confusion and anger ensued the rest of the day when doctors and social workers realized that their patients were not being transferred as the director had arranged yesterday.

I, however, felt fine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trying to Play the Victim

Nurse Helen is very upset and anxious lately.  One of the administrative nursing Big Wigs is after her.  Helen told me this as if I would have sympathy for her.

Helen’s style of work is to do no work and then report the other nurses for make-believe wrongdoings.

“Is she going after you for always being late, always talking on your phone, or for never having any idea what is going on with any of your patients?” I asked Helen with a concerned look on my face.

Helen doesn’t understand sarcasm.  Or long sentences.

“I don’t know,” Helen babbled.  “I did nothing wrong.”

It’s great that someone is going after Helen finally, but nothing will come of it, other than making Helen nervous for a while.  This is better than no repercussions for her despicable behavior over the years.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Good Riddance

One of the doctors was asked to leave.

I am glad to see him go.  He dismisses the patients’ concerns and is easily annoyed by their special needs.

My supervisor always praised him.  She has some brains in her head about nursing and patient care, so I can’t reconcile how she could approve of his actions.

“He is going to be so mad with us,” my supervisor said.  “He’s going to think we let him get fired.”

“I never said anything about him and nobody listens to me anyway,” I offered.

“He’s politically connected,” she whined.  “I hope he doesn’t come after me.  Maybe I can call him and smooth things over.”

As I watched her dialing various numbers and not getting hold of the doctor, I realized how influenced she is by reputations, rumors, and public opinion.  She places no value on actual performance.  This is why she screws me over whenever she can.  She doesn’t think that I have any redeeming value in the eyes of others.

The doctor can’t be politically connected well or he would still be here.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Leaving Early!

“You can go early because you missed lunch,” my supervisor told me.  “Call the office and tell them.”

Two back-to-back doctors caused me to work through lunch.  I was going to eat a snack while I finished the paperwork and then leave at the usual time.  But if she was offering a rare early dismissal, I was taking it.

The secretary of the shift supervisor told me I had to speak to the supervisor directly.  Every supervisor is horrible, but this one is really bad.  “I do not accept,” was her response.  “Your supervisor must call me.”

“I’m not speaking to her,” was my supervisor’s response.  “You already told her and that is good enough.  I don’t need you reporting me because you didn’t get a lunch.”

No matter how long we work together, she will not drop her suspicions about me.

Who would I report her to?  Her friend, the nursing supervisor; or her friend, the human resources director?

I was in a bind.  My immediate supervisor told me to leave early, while the shift supervisor was going to make a big deal of this.  People outside of the nursing department leave early as a routine.  No special circumstances required.

Well, I left early.  I chose the option that left me with extra time.

This event may signal that the evil nursing supervisor is not getting promoted to Director of Nursing.  She was low-key for months, but now can return to making enemies of almost everyone.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Feline Therapy

The newest animal therapist is a cat!

Well-groomed, so soft.  He doesn't like to be held and doesn't seem to notice the patients, but they love seeing him and trying to pet him as he scoots by.

I would like to see one of those miniature horses and the reaction of the patients.

Inspirational Prose (Not Yet)

If I was well-rested and drinking a steady supply of wine, I could write beautiful, inspirational stuff.

But for now, alcohol is a coping mechanism.

Will her Deal ever Break?

One of the people who has an office near me is a foul-mouthed, lazy, rude, piece of trash.

That's putting it kindly.

Her latest boyfriend is a drug dealer, "which is not a deal breaker," she has been explaining on the phone to her buddies (when she is supposed to be working).

How long can her derailed train keep going?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Another Baby on the Way

One of the nastiest nurses confronted me about telling people she was pregnant.  She is new, yet already confident in her behavior.

This atmosphere of confrontations and accusations and severe attitudes is what makes me hate this place.

I had heard she was pregnant from several people.  I had nothing to add to the story.  She's a big woman who wears loose-fitting clothing.  Honestly, she looks no different.  Pregnancy rumors are quite popular here and I pay them little mind.  I was happy to think that she might be missing for a few months on a maternity leave.  But for now, I had to deflect her wrath.

"I do not appreciate people talking about me," she lectured.

"Are you pregnant or not?" I asked.

"How is that any of your business?" she snapped.

"It's not, you're right.  That is a rumor which I chose not to believe because you didn't tell me yourself.  I would have told you 'congratulations' if you told me you were pregnant, but I guess not," I said.

"Why does everyone want to know?" she snapped again.

"Because babies make people happy," I explained, as if this was all innocent.  "In this hospital, they reserve a big conference room and throw extravagant baby showers, fully catered, with everyone chipping in for a big gift, plus a gift card to Babies R Us, while still bringing individual gifts.  It's quite an event.  New moms especially love that a baby shower at this hospital gets them everything on their registry.  The shower in the spring required two vans to get all the stuff out of the conference room and to that nurse's house," I continued.

This is true.  Some make out better than others, but overall, baby showers are given often and well.

She is very materialistic and the thought of a lavish shower seemed to calm her.

"But if you don't want people knowing you are pregnant and you don't want them talking about you, then nobody will be comfortable holding the celebration for you.  It's up to you," I said as I walked away.

"I would get a shower?" she asked.

"Only if you were pregnant and you wanted people to celebrate, which doesn't seem to be the case," I said and continued to walk.

"I am pregnant!" she called out.

"Congratulations!" I called back.

I wonder if she is lying.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When Quitting is an Option

One of the nurses quit.  She just received her full licensing as a nurse practitioner and this hospital has no openings.  "I went back to school so I wouldn't have to work in a place like this," she explained about not being upset that the hospital did not offer her a new position.

She said that I should go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.  I said I didn't want to acquire more debt and at this point in my career, the anticipated financial pay out is not worth it.  She is much younger and has years to work at the higher salary to recoup the money she spent to become a nurse practitioner, over $50,000 for the Master's Degree, not the doctorate.  She doesn't even have a position yet.  She's going to subsist on her husband's salary until she finds work.  This is not an option for me.

She said that this place is an insult to intelligent nurses because we babysit the support staff and waste time defending ourselves instead of doing actual nursing tasks.  "How many more times are you going to get called to the office and told that an orderly doesn't like the tone your voice reached after telling him ten times to put down his cell phone and assist a patient?"

She's right.  But jobs are not easy to come by.  I've thought about relocating.  Maybe people are nicer in a different area of the planet.

May she find success and happiness on her next path.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Weight of Words

A nursing assistant appeared in my office.  "Can I weigh myself?" she asked.

"You can do whatever you want," I replied.

She left.  A few minutes later, she returned.  "Can you help me?"

"Help you what?"

"Use the scale," she answered.

"It's the same scale used throughout the hospital," I answered.

"Well, I don't know how to use it," she answered.

"When we worked together on the wards, you used to weigh patients on your own," I said.

She didn't answer.  This explains some wild weight losses and gains that exasperated clinicians.

We walked down to the scale.  She placed one foot, spilling out of the back of its clog, onto the scale.  "Both feet need to be on the scale," I instructed.  [And yes, clogs and open-back shoes are prohibited footwear.]

"I can't fit both and still be comfortable," she snarked.

"The weight is not accurate unless you are fully on the scale," I insisted.  Both clogs and their overflowing heels made it onto the scale.

She weighs more than two of me.

"Is that overweight?" she asked.

Now, I could have been all cushy and non-confrontational.  But I wasn't feeling it.  I was simple and direct.  "Yes," I answered.

"I am not overweight!" she snapped.  "I like the way I look.  My man likes the way I look."

"Good for you.  I'm going back to work.  Bye," I said and started to walk away.

"Why did you say I'm overweight?" she yelled.

"It's a mathematical computation based on your height.  The chart is right here."  I pointed to the Body Mass Index chart, originally in color, but this was a gray copy.

"Your math does not apply to me, okay?  I am SPECIAL.  I am UNIQUE.  I have my own set of rules for my own life, got it?"  She sauntered away, mumbling to herself.

Her perceived uniqueness is not unique to her.  The rules of the workplace do not apply to the workers.

I don't know if she wanted to know her actual weight or she just wanted to pick a fight with me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Balancing Sleep and Work

I was never a morning person.  I get a second wind of energy around 10 o'clock at night.  If I'm not in bed by nightfall, once the later hours roll around, I am wide awake.

This is one of the reasons why I tried working night shift.  As it turns out, sitting around at home and doing what I want all night is not the same as working under florescent lights with overactive patients who have no idea that it's time to sleep.  Plus, people who have never worked overnight do not understand how obnoxious they are when they remark, "Gee, it must be great to be off all day."

Evening shift seemed ideal.  But I would not go to bed until 3 or 4 in the morning, then wake up just before I had to be at work, with little time to run errands or make phonecalls.  When the shift ended, all the stores and businesses were closed for the day and most normal people were already in bed.  Anything I did during the day, before work, had that ticking clock hanging over my head.

Having to work at 7 in the morning is not easy.  But at least I'm done at 3:30.  When I am off, I notice neighbors leaving for work at 8 or 9, only to get back home at 6 or 7, or even later.  An entire day gone just to work.

I used to be able to take a quick nap after work.  No more.  I'm exhausted, yet I cannot sleep.  And I'm too drained to do anything else.

This place is not ideal for a lot of reasons, but at least the hours aren't too bad.  I would rather be independently wealthy, but this is not much of a time commitment compared to other jobs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Work at the Asylum

Same old stuff.

People tell me that I have the best stories about my work.  My place of employment is mentally draining and so irritating, but it is not mundane.  It's funny if you look past the outright rudeness and sabotage.  My writing will hopefully be more on the light side and not dismal-sounding.

After so many years at the same place, I've noticed the patterns.  Someone does or says something ridiculous and gets all worked up about Nothing.

Goal:  Take a step back, filter it all, and present the humorous parts.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Command Voices

This cartoon was meant to be funny, but I think it is a good depiction of auditory hallucinations or hearing command voices.