Monday, April 24, 2017

Do Not Volunteer for your Employer

One of the higher nursing administrators sent me an email, asking me to work a health fair next month.  My task would be taking blood pressure readings for members of the public.

No thank you.

Later, this woman sought me out to pressure me.

"It's easy," she said.

"Actually, it's not easy to come to work on my day off and take blood pressures on a long line of strangers," I replied.

I wondered if they expected me to take off a day during the week, or if this would be overtime.  But since I did not want to do it, I did not inquire further.

The following week, someone from social services skipped up to me, asking me for my shirt size because I was "volunteering" at the health fair.

"I am not participating in the health fair," I answered.  "And what do you mean by 'volunteering'?  Why wouldn't I be paid?"

She had no response, but a nosy person nearby chimed in with her unsolicited opinion.

"They never pay people for the health fair.  It says 'volunteers' in the email," she insisted.

"I have my email.  The word 'volunteer' is not in it," I explained.

"Why would you think you would get paid?" she sneered.

"Because my boss approached me at my place of employment and asked me to work at the hospital doing nurse duties.  That's why I would expect to be paid.  This is not a charity," I answered.

It shut her up.


When I was in nursing school, one of the instructors always said, "Don't give it away for free."

I can see donating my time and skills through a charity servicing the poor.  I will not donate my time and skills to my employer.  They don't pay me my worth as it is.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Do As I Say Before I Forget to be Nice

My day off.

Twenty minutes before shift change a nurse calls me.

“There is no one to relieve us.  You need to come in,” she snaps.

For background, this place does not have “on call” nurses.

“Oh, I wish you had called me sooner.  I’m already 70 miles away to visit an old friend,” I chirped.

One of the nurses in the background hollered, “No, we don’t have to give you ADVANCE NOTICE because if you left your house NOW, you could make it.”

That’s one of the things I don’t understand about this place.  They think that they can scream at me to do whatever they want, and when I refuse, they point out that they are correct and I must obey because I am lower than dirt.

That was their plan for inducing me to come into work on my day off so they didn't have to do mandatory overtime?

Friday, April 7, 2017


One of the patients is hyperactive and attention seeking with a loud voice that carries throughout the ward.

As soon as someone enters the ward, he calls out to them from wherever he is and runs after them if their path is not redirected towards him.

He asks for random stuff non-stop.

He is never quiet.  This is frustrating for everyone around him, patients and staff alike.

Most staff lacks professionalism on a good day, never mind after a few hours of listening to this person carry on and on.

On this particular day, I was on the ward doing something or other.  I heard the not-so-nice answers from the ward staff, as well as staff coming to the ward for specific tasks.

As one of the social workers was leaving, he called out to her to bring him potato chips.  She turned to him and said, "If you want potato chips, tell your mother to bring them on her next visit.  I am not your waitress."

Three orderlies, along with a secretary not even from that ward, acted horrified and converged in a group, each proclaiming that they cannot believe how rude and unprofessional that social worker is.  They went on and on about how some people should be fired for the way they treat patients.

I challenged them.  I was tired of this.  I knew I would not win my argument against people who can't see themselves, but I have really had it with this place.

"While I sat here, I heard multiple staff members, yourselves included, say things to that patient that were not only non-therapeutic, but outright rude and mean."  They gasped as if I was saying something untrue.  "I get it.  He is obnoxious and never stops.  But what I don't understand is why all of you are right, but that particular person is so wrong she should be fired.  How do you decide who you gang up against?"

"She should not have said that," one of the orderlies answered.

"And you should not have said, 'Are you drunk or are you just plain stupid?' when the patient mispronounced your name," I answered back to that orderly.

Again more gasps.  "What she said was worse than what I said," the orderly persisted.

"All of you said stuff you should not have," I continued, for my benefit, not theirs.  They have no introspect.  "Yet when you discuss how terrible that social worker was, you don't also mention that you all had similar responses.  She is entirely wrong and the rest of you are completely innocent.  I'm really tired of this group lynch mob mentality around here."

I left.


A few days later, that social worker greeted me.  She thanked me for sticking up for her.  A psychologist had been around the corner, listening to my challenge of the group consensus that the social worker was wrong and they were right.

"They learned nothing from it.  They only confirmed that I, too, am the terrible person they think I am," I replied.

"Us normal people know better," she answered.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Leave Me Alone Instead

I am finding it easier to call out my supervisor on her behavior.

Most months, she hides the schedule worksheet from me.  She hand delivers it to the other employees with instructions to return to her.  If I ask her for it, she says it did not arrive yet.  If she lets me see it, she has not marked any days off for herself and denies wanting any.  Then, she waits until I schedule a day off, then has a showdown because she wanted the same day.

I overheard her telling the witch, "I'm bringing the schedule worksheet for next month upstairs.  Did you need to change anything?"

When she returned, I asked her if the schedule worksheet was available yet.  She replied, "I just brought it upstairs.  It was hanging up all week for you to fill out," she added snottily.

"You had me work elsewhere all week and forbade me to step foot in this area," I reminded her.

"Oh yeah," she agreed.  "Well, that's okay.  All you have to do is put in a request form."

"You know that requires multiple signatures and advance notice," I said.

Her face revealed that she did not care.

"Is there some reason why you hide the worksheet from me month after month while personally delivering it to all the other employees?"  I said this calmly.

She was flustered.  "That's not what happened."

"So tell me what's really happening."

"I just told you.  You were working somewhere else when the worksheet was available."

"So why didn't you call me on the phone and tell me?" I asked, still calm.

No response.

"It seems like you are playing games to try to hurt me professionally.  You are the manager of this area.  All you have to do is tell your supervisor to take me out of your department, but you continue to not do so.  I have told you this before.  If you insist upon keeping me in your department, it will not be to harass me."

She scurried away.  I shut my door and worked on my computer for the rest of the day.  She will not start treating me well.  I have nobody to turn to for remediation.  Right now the goal is to get her to leave me alone while so I can constructively use my time.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Procrastinating an Emergency

An employee was hurt on the night shift an hour before I arrived to work.

My supervisor was half an hour late that day.  Her absences and lateness has substantially increased lately.  Maybe she's dying.  Or getting someone to cover for her.

Anyway, I did not know about the injury until my supervisor arrived.  A band of people followed her to locate me.

The employee was sobbing in pain and shock.  The doctor was yelling at me, "How much longer must this woman wait to get into the emergency room?"  The night shift supervisor was yelling at me, "Why does it take you so long to find the papers for this incident?"

"What?" was all I could muster.  "Why are you all waiting around for me?  This has nothing to do with me!"

The night supervisor was demanding that I let her into a restricted area.  "I don't have keys for those doors," I replied.  "You must have a master key on your supervisor's key ring."

"Which key is that?" she asked me as she reached into her pocket to bring out pounds of tangled keys and key fobs.

I didn't extend my hand to take any of this mess.  I asked the injured employee if she would like to be seen in the emergency room.  She bobbed her head affirmatively.  I took out my cell phone and explained, lest I be reported for using my personal phone during working hours, "I am calling the ER to send a stretcher to get her, not because it is part of my job duties, but because I am a caring human being."  This was met with confused stares.

What is wrong with these people?

The entire time my supervisor was spying from a distance.  Not helping.  Spying.

This was all taking place within the confines of the locked psych areas.  As the emergency transport arrived, I startled my supervisor when I called out to her, requesting that she hold open one of the locked doors for the stretcher.

She obeyed.  Just as help entered the door I was holding open, I heard the door slam behind me.  I turned and saw my supervisor walking away.  "I'm sorry," I said to the guys pushing the stretcher.  "I thought someone was holding that door."

"It was probably time for her coffee break," one of them quipped.

Tales of our incompetence and disdain for work have apparently traveled.

I scurried around them to scan open the locked door.

After all the commotion was cleared, I approached my supervisor.  "Why did you shut the door on those people?" I asked.

"Because it's not my job to help them," she answered back.  "And it's not your job, either."

"Actually, it is our job to help someone in need, not only as employees, but as human beings," I answered.

Her actions are becoming increasingly contemptible.

Note to self: If ever injured or sick on the job, call for help myself from my cell phone.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Opportunity Behind a Closed Door

The witch shuts her office door when I have a parade of patients.  She could help, but it interferes with doing nothing.

Once a month the one doctor she helps sees a few patients.  I see more patients in a week than he sees all year.

My supervisor was out (again).  I took a page out of the witch's handbook: I shut my office door.

Through the shut door I could hear her complaining.  "Who does she think she is, shutting that door so she don't have to help nobody?  Wait til I tell Linda that she refused to help patients."

My supervisor will tell me that I was wrong.  I plan to defend myself by saying that I was on the phone and HIPAA required the door to be shut.

And next time, I will shut my door again.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sniff Test

For my bothersome arthritic areas, I apply a bit of menthol-based rub.

I stopped doing this before work because the witch who works near me would scream and complain and my supervisor would tell me to stop doing things that upset others.

They both wear perfume and body sprays.  They frequently spray thick air fresheners and always have one plugged into an outlet.  They eat pungent food at their desks and leave the containers in the trash cans to continue permeating the area.

I figured that fighting her vehement protestation of my arthritis cream by pointing out the odors that she herself brings into the workplace would be met with accusations of cultural insensitivity.  Plus, hospital policy prohibits strong bodily scents.  This rule would be used against me, not her.

At the time, I was more naive and did not realize that her behavior had nothing to do with the scent and everything to do with the wearer.

Now that I see her for the nasty person she is, I put the arthritic cream to the test.  I detected the menthol odor on an orderly hanging out in the hallway after dropping off a patient.  Making small talk, I stood near him.

The witch finally passed by.  She started screaming, "Oh my God!  That's disgusting!  Who the hell wears BenGay when other people have to smell it?  Don't you give a damn about the other people who have to smell your nasty ass?"

The patients and employees in the area stared at us.

The orderly became very upset.  He had trouble getting out his words.  "I'm sorry," he stammered.  "My back was bothering me this morning, so I put on just a little.  I didn't realize everyone was bothered by it."

She was thrown off.  She quietly said, "Oh, that was you?  That's okay.  I thought it was somebody else."

"What was all that for?" he called after her, but she kept walking.

I think I will go back to wearing menthol rub.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Singing Instead of Screaming Hate

On a day when my supervisor was actually at work, the witch who occupies space in the area was blasting music.  She sometimes plays music softly when the supervisor is around, but the volume goes up when the supervisor is out.

The first odd thing I noticed that the music was louder than when the supervisor is absent.

Next it started to occur to me that it was the same song over and over.  The words were unclear, but with time and constant repetition I finally deciphered them.  They were something like this:

White bitch, white bitch.
Everybody hates you.
Why don't you get the fuck out of here?

And then it repeated.  No other words or stanzas.  She must have put a clip of a song on a loop and was playing it over and over for my ears.

Or maybe it was just her new favorite song and she could not get enough.

I tested my theory by loudly announcing when I was leaving the area, then allowing the door to slam, but not actually leaving.  Music turned off.  I waited before opening and slamming the door and announcing my return.  Music back on.  I repeated this test a few more times with the same results.

I took lunch and then stayed away for the afternoon by telling my supervisor I was checking supplies on the wards (another job she volunteered me for).

What would you have done?  Keep in mind that I do not work in a normal place.  If I said anything to the player of the music, she would go ballistic and accuse me of violating her cultural beliefs of playing music.  My supervisor would agree that I was harassing her.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sharing more than a Password

Last week for a few days my immediate supervisor, Linda, lent me out to an office in another department.  As usual, she then called out during those days.

I wonder if she does this to create more problems, or to ensure that I am not left unsupervised in her office.

One of the doctors that I am supposed to assist had to be assisted by a floater nurse.  Neither the doctor nor this nurse is computer literate.  The doctor's handwriting is utterly illegible, so I help her type her notes into Word.  The doctor and nurse called me in my temporary office for help.

Over the phone I guided them on what to click to find the files.  The doctor wrote down how to save and print documents.

I did not dare go to the doctor to help because the last time I did that, I was in trouble for going near my homebase when I was assigned elsewhere and for leaving my assigned work area.  Yes, I was in trouble for covering two departments while people who do nothing do not get into trouble.

Well, my supervisor tried getting me in trouble anyway.  "You have my computer password!" she accused.

"No, I don't," I replied firmly.  I wasn't going to let her get far this time.  "Where's your evidence?"

"You told the doctor where to find the files on MY computer!" she snapped.

"Over the PHONE!" I snapped back.  "And the files are located in the same place on all of the computers in this hospital because you had The Computer Lady put them on the hospital's intranet."

"Why did the doctor call you when the instructions are right here on the wall?" my supervisor persisted as she swept her arm in a general pointing over hundred of papers tacked to the wall.

For the record, the walls in this work area are covered in so many papers that finding anything is impossible.

artistic interpretation of the wall paper situation

"How did you get into my computer if you did not have the password?" my supervisor continued.

"I didn't.  Any employee can use his or her own user name and password to log on to any computer in this building."  I was explaining to someone who doesn't believe a word I tell her.

"I only gave my password to one person to give to the doctor," she said.  She named that horrible woman who screamed at me in the parking lot.  The one who was supposed to be a "witness" in my impromptu trial at the end of last year.  My supervisor would rather trust that lazy, lying, violent witch than me.

"If other people have your password, change it.  Problem solved," I stated simply.

"Why should I change my password because of YOU?" she retorted.

"You should change your password because YOU gave it out to people, which is expressly prohibited in hospital policy," I challenged her.  "You have the nerve to accuse me, with no proof, of getting your password when you are the one who wrote it down and handed it out to people?  Is that what you are going to tell the director of the hospital when you report me this time?"

She glared at me.  I walked out.  She didn't understand or believe a word I said.