Saturday, January 16, 2016

Switcheroo

Someone from the hospital called me.  (Not everyone hates me.  Must remember that.)

"Why is Nurse Fortune working in your office?" she asked.

It all clicked.  Finally Nurse Fortune got the job she wanted.  My job.  That damn bitch.

"Well, I'm out for a bit, so I guess they needed someone to fill in," I answered.  Should I pretend that everything is fine?

"Oh, well, you know, I'm just concerned because I know she doesn't like you and was afraid that she might try to push you out," she said.

She already pushed me out, I thought to myself.

***

Thank goodness I was forewarned about Nurse Fortune because my immediate supervisor called later.  I felt prepared to answer the phone.

"How are you?" she asked.  Fishing for information to feed the higher-ups to use against me.

"I'm fine, thank you.  How are you?  The kids?  The grandkids?" I asked, pretending to sound like I wasn't talking to someone who had screwed me over.

She jumped right into the Nurse Fortune situation.  "Nobody told me they were putting her here," she said.  "She yells at me whenever I try to say something to her."

"Yes, that is what she would do to me too," I responded.  Was she trying to clear her conscience?  She is stupid, but did she seriously think that getting rid of me was the ultimate goal?  I needed to get out of the way for Nurse Fortune to take my place.  She helped them do it and now she was stuck with this jerk.

"She has done no work!" the supervisor continued.  "She comes in late, talks on her phone, eats at the desk, then disappears for hours.  I tried telling the supervisors, but they told me that it is my responsibility to train her on what to do.  How can I when she yells at me!"

I smiled to myself.  I am glad that I am not there.  But I have to find another job, quickly.  If I have to try to go back to this hospital, I can't just have my position back.  I have to get Nurse Fortune out of it first. 

Running out of Days

I have been calling out daily.

I will run out of paid time off.  Maybe I should schedule a formal leave, just in case I can't find work?  This is in case I still have a job at the hospital.  I wait to call at night when I reach a clerk.  She has no idea who works there or doesn't.  She takes down the letters of my name, or at least I hope she does, and that is the daily routine.

Keep in mind that there is no Director of Nursing.  Part of me wants to think that as soon as a new director is found, she or he will hear of my plight, declare "This is absurd!" and reinstate me in a better position.

Ridiculous fantasy.

I better find another job.

Where is the Money?

The hospital put out some kind of advertisement in the form of a fiscal update.

Profits, Profits, Profits.  Profits from high acuities, "efficient" staffing levels, highest insurance reimbursements.

Keep in mind that we can't get raises or supplies because of the budget.  They have some nerve complaining to the employees that the company is about to go under water financially and then put out an ad about how they are so financially sound.

I guess they can afford to keep all those employees who do nothing.

Can I Appeal?

I didn't call the nurses' union about my leave.  I want to try to get another job first.  If I get another job, then I can just fade away from this Hell Hole.

Whenever I fought for myself in the past at the hospital, I lost.  This latest problem seems to have been orchestrated high up the ladder and wide.  Even the employee health doc was in on it.

The union is not on my side.  Part of me wants to complain, just to make more work for both the union and the people at the hospital.  Make them hate me even more.

The other reason to complain through the union is to try to get my job back, in case I can't find another job.  But I think I would lose.  Again.  The hospital would make up some nonsense that I refused my assignment and walked off the job.  None of what they did was in writing.  I asked.  They said they would send me a letter but I had to leave the building right away because of liability issues.  I still don't have such a letter.  I have no proof that I didn't just abandon my job that day.  Nobody will stick up for me.

Final Day?

Well, there has been a change.

I am on a leave.  Kind of.  Informal.  Maybe formal.

On the last day that I was at the hospital, I was again shooed away by my immediate supervisor.  Unfortunately, her supervisor saw me in a hallway.

"Oh, there you are," she puffed.  She cannot walk and talk.  She is unhealthy.  Keep this in mind.  "You need to go to employee health."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I don't think that you are fit for duty," she off-handedly said.

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"I noticed that sometimes you limp or have trouble bending over," she said, as she leaned against the wall for support.  "You are a liability to the company."

I was at a loss for words for a moment.  "I have a touch of arthritis," I slowly said.  "We both do.  We aren't spring chicks," I added, trying for solidarity.

"No, don't even try.  I already spoke to the director.  We can't put you on the floor and have you claiming that you hurt yourself and suing the hospital.  You are supposed to be in Employee Health right now," she continued.

"What do you mean, Put me on the floor?  I work in the office.  There have been no physical issues with me in the office.  I pick stuff up for other people who can't do it," I tried.

"An office is one thing, but the floor is another.  We don't think you are physically capable of working the floor anymore," she said.

"That's not true, but it's also not relevant because I don't work the floor, I work in scheduling," I said more firmly.  It didn't matter.

"You are a nurse and all nurses have to be able to work the floor, and you can't, so you have to leave," she said and plucked herself off the wall.

"So are you coming with me?" I called after her.  She looked at me, uncomprehending.  "Your walk is more impaired than mine.  You have diabetes and hypertension.  You are not safe to work the floor either and so you should leave with me."

"I don't know what you are talking about," she winced, shaking her head.

"You can't single me out as unfit to do a job that isn't even mine to do.  You are more unfit than I am by far, so why aren't required to leave the hospital?" I answered.

"Because I don't work the floor," she answered with a roll of her eyes, as if this was so obvious.  "I work in an office."

"As do I!" I pleaded.

"Just go," she said, "And when you are cured, you can come back to work."  She hesitated.  "If we still have an opening for you."

***

At Employee Health, everything had been set up.  I didn't even have to wait.  I signed in, sat in the crowded waiting room, and was immediately called in, which annoyed my fellow coworkers.  As usual.  The doctor and his witnesses told me that I am a liability to the hospital because I could get hurt and sue and that they were doing me a favor by enabling me to go home and rest.

"Rest where?  I can't pay the rent if I don't have a paycheck!" I responded.  They paid me no mind.

I left the building.

I don't even know where to start.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Adult Coloring is Okay. Finally.

Adult coloring books.

Awesome idea.

Actually, kind of strange that they have taken off, but I am so glad they have.  In both the nursing home and psych ward, patients love to color.  Some accused the staff of treating the patients "like children" by providing coloring books and pages along with crayons, colored pencils, and markers.  But some adults love to color.  It was their choice.

Adult coloring books finally legitimize this activity.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Stress and How to Relieve It (Hint: Quit)

One of the ladies who helps me in the Intake Office told me that the nurse I (unofficially) mentor, my "twin," has developed such a stressed appearance and manner in the two years that she has been working here. 

"I don't see her every day, so it's an obvious change to me," she explained.

She's right.  I can't see it because the change is gradual.  It's very stressful working the wards, putting up with nursing mis-managers.

I bumped into a social worker at a store.  (I need new yoga pants.)  She quit two months ago.  She looks great.  She said that the grass is greener on the other side.  "The only thing," she said, "Is that there isn't as much paid time off anywhere else."

I'm trying to find a new place to work.

Isn't it ironic that we work in a place where the main goal is to restore the mental health of patients?
 

Banishment

I arrived to my office area ahead of everyone.  (The office where I have been working for over a year.  My home base.)  I set up an exam room for a doctor who usually comes that day.  When my immediate supervisor arrived, she laughed and called out, "Hi, Kathy," presumably directed at someone else.  As she got to my door, the source of the light in the area, she gasped.  "What are YOU doing here?" she said.  Nasty.

"I work here," I said faintly, but couldn't muster a smile.  If I asked her why she was happy when she thought Kathy was here, but turned nasty when she realized it was me instead, she would say I was being insubordinate and disrespectful.

"I don't think you work here today," she answered back sternly.  "You better get moving before you get in trouble."

I wasn't sure what to do.  Either way, I would be in trouble.  I couldn't disappear from my assigned work area while I waited for another assignment. 

The supervisor went into the exam room and put away everything I had just set up for the doctor.

"Is the doctor not coming today?" I asked her.

"Oh, he is coming," she answered as she busied herself with her many bags from home.

"Did I not set up the room correctly?" I probed. 

She wouldn't look me in the eye.  "I don't want you putting me in trouble for giving you work.  You put a lot of people in trouble by complaining that you don't want to do any work.  So if anyone asks, I have no work for you.  I never told you to do anything.  So you can leave.  There is no work for you in this office," she finished, dismissing me from her presence. 

I grabbed my bag and jacket and left that section of the hospital.  I wandered over to the area where the Intake Office is located.  Everything was locked this early.  I hid from nursing administrative people until I saw maintenance trudge along with ladders and open the door I needed.  I helped hold the door open for them, smiling, nodding in agreement when they said, "Oh, you are early for work today!" 

The Intake Office was unlocked with nobody inside.  So I set myself up and managed to stay there for the rest of my shift.  Nobody voiced any concerns or objections. 

My immediate supervisor has this situation almost entirely wrong.  Her supervisors have been throwing a bunch of work at me through her.  These supervisors wanted their buddies to have the job that I got, so they are trying to make the job miserable and/or get me fired.  I cannot do all of the work they throw at me; plus, it's a set-up to fail and be fired.  I protest, unsuccessfully.  So the top supervisor tells my immediate supervisor to tell me to do the work, a directive that my immediate supervisor blindly follows.  This could be why she thinks that I "put her in trouble" by reporting her for telling me to do tasks that are outside my job duties.  She doesn't realize that she was a pawn of the top supervisors and they, not me, set her up to take the fall just in case I prevailed in this battle. 

Is this normal?  Are other people able to come to work, do their predetermined job, and go home?  It seems that every day I am fighting to survive in this place.  It's not even a high-paying, prestigious job.
 

At Your Service

"After careful consideration, we are naming you as our new Head First Responder to emergency codes," the witch beamed ear to ear while everyone else around the table smiled and nodded.  Everyone except me. 

"What?" I asked. 

"It's a new position.  Well, in addition to your other position.  Or positions.  I don't know what you do every day.  Anyway, you will be responding to all the codes, you know, emergencies, to lead the team in what they are supposed to be doing, directing the staff, calling for additional help as you determine is necessary, documenting, doing the reports, and replacing any supply used."  She said this in one breath and then smiled big when she could breathe again. 

"What?" I asked again. 

The smile dissipated from the faces of some of the people present.  Another witch chimed in. 

"Well, you know we had that problem a few months back," she said slowly, ready to change direction if she sensed I was not believing her. 

I didn't say anything.  There have been many problems and I didn't want to express any interest by asking which problem they were using to justify this latest dump on me. 

Annoyed by my silence, she said curtly, "YOU were at the meeting." 

Oh yes.  One of many strange things here.  About a month ago, a meeting was sprung on me with my immediate supervisor frantic, warning me to "Don't miss this mandatory meeting!  You will be in trouble!"  She ignored my protests that nobody told me and that I'm not important enough to be specifically requested at a meeting. 

Maybe fifteen people were at the meeting last month.  The woman who spoke was supposedly reviewing an emergency event, but "because of HIPAA, we can't say the patient's name or condition."  I didn't recall hearing about the event that was the topic of the meeting, but I am out of the loop and without a patient's name or even a date, I had no chance of knowing.  She kept looking at me, as if this whole meeting was directed to me, which is strange because nobody thinks I am important.  The speaker concluded that oxygen should have been given to the patient sooner, even though the patient had no difficulty breathing, the oxygen saturation was 99 percent on room air, and the patient had no bad effects from not getting oxygen.  I left the meeting thinking that this was a waste of time and made no sense.

 

Now I was connecting the dots.  That meeting was staged to lay the ground work for shifting emergency response to me instead of the nurses and doctors who are on the wards taking care of the patients. 

"None of this makes any sense," I said. 

The original witch smiled and said, "That's okay.  It will after we explain it to you.  We have time.  You are not expected to begin fulfilling these duties until the first of next month." 

"I have no emergency training," I tried. 

"That's okay.  You were chosen because you are so smart and can handle anything.  It's an honor.  A compliment," the witch lied. 

"I'm not here around the clock," I tried another angle.  "You need to leave the current emergency response system in place." 

"We know you aren't here around the clock," the witch replied and giggled, with other witches joining her.  "So when you are not here, the original emergency plan is in effect."  She paused.  "It all works out.  We planned this.  It took a few weeks, but we wrote a whole new policy making you responsible for this." 

"You did all this without me, and I am supposedly the center of this new plan," I said.  I was pissed.  This is a set-up. 

"But you were at that meeting," the witch repeated. 

I needed to flee before I lost my composure.  "I have to use the bathroom!" I blurted and walked to the door, where an Evil Supervisor had been standing, listening. 

"Oh, Nurse Enid, I am so happy that I found you," she sang.  She looked at the people in the room and said, "Did you have the meeting?  Everything has been told to Nurse Enid?" 

"Yes, looks like we're done here," the main witch answered. 

"Great," the Evil Supervisor said.  "Nurse Enid, now that you have this new important duty, I regret that I must tell you that you have already been derelict in your duties.  One of the wards just called me and reported that they looked through their supply of sterile gloves, which is your job, not theirs, by the way, and found that more than half had expired months ago.  I thought, How could this happen?  We all know Nurse Enid to be such a good worker.  So I said to them, 'Before you write her up, let me speak to her.  Let me ask her how she could let such a thing slide and place our patients in jeopardy.'  So I am giving you an opportunity right now to fix this error that you made before I have to write it up." 

I looked over at the main witch with a disgusted look. 

"I'm not sure that old stuff is covered in this new position," the main witch said. 

"But it is having an adverse effect on patient care right now," the supervisor countered. 

"True," the main witch answered. 

They were all in on this. 

"You know what," I said to the supervisor, trying to sound calm, "I was just on my way to the bathroom when you appeared.  I have no sterile gloves in my work area, so I have none to give to a ward.  So you go right ahead and write me up, in actual writing and not orally, so we can take it from there.  And make sure you send me a copy." 

"If that's what you want," Evil Supervisor said. 

"In writing is best," I answered. 

She sent no write-up to me. 

What in the world am I supposed to do now?
 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Late, Lazy, and Entitled

I was in a kitchenette near the staffing office.  A clerk called an orderly and asked why she was not at work.  It was half an hour into the shift.  The speakerphone was on.

Clerk:  Marie, why aren't you at work?

Marie:  It's my day off.

Clerk:  No, Marie, it's not your day off.  You are on the schedule.

Marie:  No, it's Wednesday, my day off.

Clerk:  Today is Tuesday.

Marie:  No, it's Wednesday and I am off.

Clerk:  Marie, it's Tuesday and you were supposed to be here at seven.  Are you coming in or not?

Marie:  Not on my day off.

Clerk:  Marie, you are not off.  So are you coming in or not?

Marie:  Okay, if you say it's Tuesday.

Clerk:  I do say it's Tuesday.  Look at your phone.

Marie:  Fine.  I'll come in.

Clerk:  Okay.  Punch in when you get here and go to your home ward.

Marie:  What?

Clerk:  PUNCH IN WHEN YOU ARRIVE AND GO TO YOUR USUAL WARD.

Marie:  Oh, I'll just sign in.

Clerk:  No, you won't.  You will punch in when you get here so there is a record of when you arrived.

Marie:  But I won't get paid a full day if I do it that way, so I'll just sign in.  That's how I do it.

Clerk:  You aren't getting paid a full day because you aren't here for the full day.  PUNCH IN when you arrive.

Marie:  Well, now I don't know if I can make it.

Clerk:  Okay Marie.  I tried.  It's out of my hands now.

***

Marie is a nightmare to work with.  She is more instrusive than the patients.  She argues every assignment and ultimately does absolutely nothing.  She is missing for most of the shift.

I don't understand why the hospital puts up with her but persecutes me.