the secretary who is retiring.
I found out afterwards from pictures on FaceBook. People outside the department were invited.
They kept this so hush-hush that I did not know in advance. This scares me. They could be actively planning their next attack on me and I would have no clue.
The next day, I wanted to hear their reactions when I asked if we were going to have a retirement celebration for the secretary. "Will it be at a restaurant, or will it be here? If it's here, I'll bake cookies or cupcakes in her favorite flavor." This was my line.
The person who works closest with the retiree blushed and looked down. "Oh, she doesn't want any fuss. Definitely no party." She would not make eye contact with me.
"I see," I replied.
I sprinted to my immediate supervisor, Linda, before the first one could tip her off.
"Are we having a retirement celebration?" I asked.
She looked at me as if I were crazy. She didn't have to fumble for words. "We already went out and celebrated her retirement. Why would we do that twice?" she sneered, not even concerned that I was left out.
"I didn't know that you already had a party," I replied, trying to sound hurt.
"That's because you were not invited," she snapped, never stopping to shuffle her piles of papers.
Working as an outsider is not an unfamiliar situation to me, but it is stressful. They can ban together and have me ousted. My friend told me to not worry, that they tried that before; I prevailed then and I will prevail if it happens again.
If they replace the woman who is leaving (as opposed to dumping her tasks on me), maybe that person will not side with the crowd against me. They don't like new people, so that could be my strategy to align with the new secretary- offering her the only friendly hand she'll see in that place.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Saturday, May 27, 2017
I was shopping at a food store (essentials only- no spare cash here) when I bumped into a nurse I worked with a lifetime ago. We reviewed who died since we last saw each other.
Then we declared where we currently worked. She asked if I work with Nurse Helen. I confirmed. We both smiled. I said, "I wondered where else Helen worked. She would never tell me. Does she work there every day? Because that is her excuse for needing to leave early every day," I said.
The other nurse smiled. "No, she doesn't work with us every day. As a matter of fact, she always has to leave early," the other nurse informed me.
"Is she always on her phone?" I asked.
"Yes!" the other nurse joked. "And she shirks all responsibility."
"Same when she is with me!" I laughed.
It's good to have this information.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
"He refuses," the other nurse said, as if that settled the matter.
"No vitals, no transfer," I asserted.
One of the reasons for requiring vitals is that the patient has to be able-bodied to be admitted to psych.
Eventually the vitals were faxed. The page was blank except for four numbers. No patient name. The date was "today." Literally "today." No month, day, or year. The health care provider was "doctor." Literally "doctor." No name. No signature.
I refused the paper and told them to print the vitals from their computer system. Psych does not have access and does not use the computer system, hence the fax requirement.
They faxed a printout. Blurry. Grainy. Not a single word or number could be deciphered.
I faxed it back to them. They claimed that my fax machine messed it up.
After I told them I was skipping to the next patient for the only bed available, magically the vitals were printed and faxed clearly.
The patient arrived healthy. His behavior, however, resembled nothing of the angel described in the notes.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
I confronted the supervisor who scheduled me to work on Sunday. "Why did the weekend supervisor claim to not know that I was supposed to work?" I asked.
At first, she acted fed up and said, "Of course they knew! I am so sick of these people!"
Then she motioned me into her office.
"Listen," she ordered. "You were not on the schedule. You were on standby IN CASE somebody called out."
"I was not on standby," I corrected her. "You told me you were short even with my addition to the schedule."
"Yeah, well," she whistled through her mouth, "You were actually an extra nurse because someone usually calls out. Nobody called out, so you were lucky that the supervisor let you stay."
"I canceled my plans because you said you were 'so short' and 'desperate' and that I 'need to help on the weekends every now and then'. That was all a lie?" I asked.
She gave me a dirty look. "I said what I needed to say to get you to agree to come in. If you don't like it, well, honey, welcome to the real world. Get over it."
I was pissed. I felt duped. She was saying that it was my fault she had to lie to get me to do what she wanted me to do. Of course I would not cancel my plans and sit and home and wait in case they called me to come in. There is no paid on-call arrangement.
"Don't ever ask me to cover an extra shift or switch my day off again," I said.
"Oh, now you're just being petty," she groaned.
"Welcome to the real world," I said and left.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
I am never picking up an extra shift again. Ever.
Earlier in the week, the shift supervisor asked me to cover the first shift on Sunday because so many people had already asked to be off.
I take a fitness class on Sunday mornings, which I had to cancel. Never cancel plans for this place.
I thought I was being smart by asking to be off one day during the week in return for working Sunday. “So it actually doesn’t count against you as overtime,” I explained to the supervisor, who eagerly agreed.
She confirmed with me on Friday that I was working Sunday and told me that I was covering for Nurse Anna. I took the additional step of contacting Nurse Anna, who was surprised to hear that her request to be off had been granted.
Saturday morning, as I tried to sleep in, my phone buzzed and buzzed with work calling. I have learned to not answer when they call to force them to leave a voice message as proof.
They were in a state of confusion, as usual, and said that they did not understand why Nurse Anna was claiming that she would be off on Sunday and I was covering when I was not on the schedule.
I called back and spoke to the supervisor, confirming that I was working and Nurse Anna was to be off.
On Sunday morning, as I arrived to work with Nurse Anna. “Why are you here?” we both asked.
“They said you were not coming and that I had better show up,” Anna explained.
She should have fled instead of coming inside the building. We went to her ward and began working.
Half an hour into the shift, Nurse Marie came in. She is the nurse who complained that I takeeveryone’s money, even though I am already rich. (Anyone who is independently wealthy but chooses to work in this hell hole is an idiot.)
Immediately she started screaming that I was stealing overtime, I am greedy, and that I should learn how to manage my money better so that I don’t have to take other people’s money when they really need it. She screamed at Nurse Anna. She called the supervisor and screamed at him. Then she left the ward, declaring to staff and patients alike, “I am leaving. Unlike that greedy woman, I am not so hungry that I would take food out of a baby’s mouth.”
Nurse Anna and I felt relieved that the cyclone left.
Soon afterwards, she returned with the supervisor. “Nurse Mueller,” the supervisor said to me, “You cannot just walk in here and take someone’s job. That is not right and you know it.”
“I was asked to work and assigned this ward,” I explained.
“No, there is no record of what you say,” he countered.
“Yes, I have several voicemail recordings on my phone,” I volleyed back.
This took him a moment to think of a reply. “Even so, we did not know if you were coming to work or not, so the shift goes to a more reliable nurse.”
“When have I ever not come to work?” I tried. “Since when am I unreliable?”
“This shift was promised to Nurse Marie, so you must let her work,” he decided.
“Fine,” I replied. “But Nurse Anna wanted off, and the shift was also promised to me, so instead of letting me go, how about you let Nurse Anna go?”
The supervisor was confused. “You are not going. We need you on another ward.”
Of course. The busiest, highest acuity ward with lazy staff. I passed medications the entire shift. That is why Nurse Marie rejected that ward and wanted to switch with me. And her wish was granted.
They did allow Nurse Anna to leave a little early. But I was sent to cover for her. “Oh no,” I warned the supervisor. “You are sending me back there because there is no relief. I will be mandated to stay over for the next shift, while Nurse Marie gets to prance out of here.”
“That would never happen!” the supervisor lied.
“It happened to two nurses yesterday!” I snapped back.
“We have coverage!” he insisted.
“I know how it works around here,” I continued. “You hold the shifts open until your buddies decide if they want the overtime or not. If they do, great. If not, no problem. You just mandate the prior shift to stay. This move is so transparent- transferring me to a ward at the end of the shift just to mandate me another shift- that I will have an excellent claim against this hospital for violation of labor laws. Plus, I’m covering two offices tomorrow and will gladly call out sick with a doctor’s note for exhaustion.”
He probably didn’t understand a word I said.
The supervisor later returned to the ward to make sure that I was transferring. As I handed him the keys to the ward, he was surprised. “What is this?”
“The keys. You are the only nurse on the floor until someone returns from lunch,” I explained as I walked away.
“You can’t leave this ward unattended!” he called after me.
“I’m not. You are here and are ordering me to go babysit another nurse on another ward,” I answered.
“Where are the nurses for this ward?” he asked.
“Out to lunch, as I already told you. But we can’t leave your princess all alone, so I have to go over there to work while she sits on her phone,” I explained and left.
I ignored Nurse Marie the remainder of the shift. Patients kept coming up to me, asking me for things, saying that Nurse Marie had refused them all day. Oh well.
The next shift did arrive, late of course, but I was relieved of my duties. When they saw Nurse Anna’s name on the report, they asked why she wasn’t there.
“She left early because she was supposed to have off,” I explained.
“But she came in anyway?” one of them gasped. “That bitch. She did that to steal your overtime, you know that, right?”
I stared at her and then walked out.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Linda had lent me out to another department the day before. She would not have done this if she thought this doctor was coming, because then she would have to help the doctor herself.
"I wrote on the calendar that the doctor is coming today for this week's visit," I responded.
"You are not to be believed," Linda said.
I stared at her. "What is that supposed to mean?" I asked.
Linda said nothing.
"If you think every word I say is a lie, why didn't you call the doctor and ask her which day she scheduled?" I continued.
"I'm not going to bother the doctor just because you do not tell the truth to people," Linda answered. She turned to leave.
I called out after her. "If you thought I lied about which day the doctor was coming, you would not have let me work somewhere else. You would have kept me here to help the doctor. You are the one who is lying."
If she did set up for the doctor yesterday, she messed up. It's not a big deal. She would just have to put everything away. Someone else may have noticed, so to cover up her increasing forgetfulness, she said I lied about when the doctor was coming.
Friday, May 19, 2017
I took report from a nurse. She's a train wreck, as were most of the patients. Nothing unusual.
But here's the part that angered me.
She said that a male patient complained about a painful lump on his butt.
"Your assessment is in the chart?" I asked. "I'll reassess to see if it is worsening until I can locate the doctor."
She glared at me. "He is a HOMOSEXUAL!" she scolded me. "He is only saying that to get people to look at his butt."
"Are you saying that you denied care to a patient based on his sexual orientation?" I shot back at her.
"He is lying!" she announced.
"How would you know? You didn't even look at the patient!" I countered.
"I don't have to," she muttered. "I am married. I have a husband. I cannot be looking at another man."
"You are a medical professional, supposedly," I clearly said to her. "You need to find a new profession if you think that looking at a patient's body is a violation of your marriage."
"It is against the Bible and God," she declared.
"You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of homosexual men," I said. "I won't even broach your misplaced reliance on God at this time. We are female. The doctor is female. The patient gets no thrill out of women looking at him."
The other nurse stood there defiantly.
"What is wrong with you?" I added.
Now for the record, if a heterosexual patient had a physical complaint, she probably would not have assessed the patient. She is lazy and has no nursing or people skills. If the painful lump were on the nose, she would not have bothered to look.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
One of the patients kept drenching her bathroom and herself in water.
She could offer no explanation.
Finally, she confessed.
"I'm a failure. I try to wash my face like the women in those commercials, you know, the ones where they throw all the water up into their faces. But when I do it, the water goes all over."
This meme is for her.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Early on, she accused another orderly of sexual harassment. Their union took his side, as did the administration of the hospital.
I've worked with this male orderly and fully believe that he said and did what the new female orderly accused him of. He's worked at the hospital for decades and is one of the people who says and does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and gets away with it every time.
This is not meant to be a debate on whether or not sexual harassment should be reported. Predictably, in this altered universe of a hospital, the accuser was the one who was found to be wrong.
She stuck around, hoping for full time.
She approached me upset, saying that the director of nursing held a meeting with her. She was next up for a full-time position, but because of her earlier sexual harassment complaint, she could not have full-time. "The two of you might end up assigned to the same ward, and we can't have Mr X working with the woman who tried to get him fired."
Sure, it's wrong. We commiserated together. This is retribution for making the sexual harassment complaint. The scheduling problem is ridiculous. Plenty of orderlies and nurses have long lists of people they refuse to work with; some are honored, some are not.
But the orderly has no proof that full-time is available and that it is being withheld because of the reasons given above. Hospital administration will not cooperate in producing such evidence, and the orderly's union will take her money but not speak to her.
My advice was for her to write a letter to the director of nursing with a copy to the union, accepting the full-time position, with mention of the possible scheduling conflict as something to be dealt with if it arises.
Now she has a dated letter floating around. It's either proof of the hospital's wrong doings or proof that she is delusional.
Of course the hospital did not respond in writing. Instead, the orderly was called back to the director of nursing's office and told that months ago, before the full-time offer was made, an employee complained that the orderly showed her a picture of a naked man in the parking lot. Because it was on hospital grounds, it counts as being at work, and that she is a sexual harasser.
Hold on. When I complained about the witch who went psycho on me in the parking lot, trying to use the incident to bolster my request that I be reassigned to a different area of the hospital, I was told that what happens in the parking lot has nothing to do with work.
The orderly denied showing a naked picture to anyone. We both agreed that if this was such an issue, it would have been addressed months ago when it supposedly happened.
I asked for the identity of the complainer and was surprised, not because she is nice, which she is not, but because she has no interactions with nursing. She works in a different building that handles billing and insurance matters. I only know of her because she parks in the fire lanes and sometimes has loud arguments with security about her right to do so.
"She has to be connected to someone and is cooperating with the hospital's plan to not give you full-time," I offered. Then it occurred to me. Her favored, albeit illegal, parking spots are on camera because they are next to the buildings. The woman refuses to walk far in her high heels. "If you showed her the naked picture in the parking lot, it's on camera."
We both smiled for a moment at the genius of this idea, but the reality of the circumstances soon hit us. "There is no way that the hospital will let you review months of footage to demonstrate that you and this woman never interacted in the parking lot. Your own union will take the hospital's side with such a request. Even if the hospital rescinds this complaint, they will invent another accusation against you to justify not giving you full-time," I told her.
"You need to get out," I continued. "Other people stay for the health insurance and tuition reimbursement, but you cannot even have that because you are part-time. All you get is a lousy paycheck, made less by the mandatory union dues- the same union that took someone else's side and now ignores you. This will not get any better. I speak from experience."
She agreed, but said she can't find other work. "I get it," I told her. "But you could probably make more money waiting tables in a diner. Run!"
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I am the only one there who is not in charge of anything, which makes me feel very out of place.
In addition, last year I accidentally attended the meeting and administrative Nurse Wilma spiraled into a tirade.
My immediate supervisor, Linda, obediently runs to the meeting every morning, chastising me to "not be late." I would rather stay behind and enjoy twenty minutes without her.
For the meetings I attended, I "leaned in," sitting next to the medical director. But I didn't open my mouth. Not even once.
Well, I've attended my last meeting.
The door to the room stays open because people come in and out throughout the meeting as they get called away. Nurse Wilma usually sits near the door.
As I approached the doorway to enter, she slammed the door shut in my face.
SLAMMED THE DOOR IN MY FACE
I jumped back, otherwise, the door would have hit me. I lamented not being bigger and stronger. I could have stopped the door with my strong foot and then quickly flung it open, smacking Nurse Wilma in the face instead.
But I'm not big and strong. I'm little old me. I heard Nurse Wilma laughing, indicating that she did this on purpose and thought it funny. I tried the door handle. Locked. I heard the medical director call out, "Open the door and let her in!"
So I scooted out of there. I was halfway down the hall when I heard Nurse Wilma open the door and declare, "She's not out here."
I ducked into a room so nobody would see me if they poked their head out of the meeting room.
For the rest of the morning, I flitted around the hospital, checking on charts- one of my latest additional assignments.
As I left for lunch, my supervisor, Linda, questioned my whereabouts.
"After being physically ousted from the meeting, I worked on one of my other assignments," I said.
"Oh, yeah, I saw Wilma shut the door on you," Linda confirmed.
"Why didn't you open the door and let me in? I was a few steps behind you," I questioned, just to make her uncomfortable.
"I am not the one who shut the door," Linda replied. "What did you expect me to do?"
"Laugh right along with Wilma is what I expected of you," I said as I left for lunch.
Monday, May 15, 2017
Twice a year, a mobile service comes to the hospital to do health screenings on the patients.
Last year, my supervisor, Linda, set up the dates for this year so that we would get the first time slot of the day. I specifically remember her doing this. She ordered me out of the trailer while she spoke to the staff. When she emerged, she proudly declared her foresight in setting up the appointments a year in advance to get the choice times.
“When are the dates? I asked.
“That doesn’t concern you!” she snapped at me.
She didn’t write the dates on the master calendar or otherwise convey them me.
On Friday, I answered the phone. The mobile service was calling to confirm that they are coming on Monday.
I checked with my supervisor.
“No!” she shook her head. “I did not set a date with them!”
“You did,” I countered. “You didn’t share the date with anyone, but I remember you setting it up inside the trailer.”
The issue with them coming with no notice is that we don’t have time to compile the lists of eligible patients for the various tests, get their written consent, and get orders from the doctors.
So the date was pushed back a few weeks.
Later, my supervisor asked if I was getting her emails. “No,” I answered.
“Well, I’ve sent out a lot about the mobile testing. I don’t want you going around and telling people that I don’t send you emails when you are the one who refuses to receive them,” the brat continued.
“Listen,” I said, “You can’t refuse to receive an email. You do not understand how email works, and I am tired of you telling people that I don’t read my email when in actuality, you never sent me email.” Her face was contorting into anger. “Show me the email you sent me with my email address listed as a recipient.”
“Right here,” she declared, turning her computer monitor towards me.
(She has not let me see her monitor in a very long time. She turns it off if I enter the room.) It was an email about the mobile testing, signed from the both of us.
I pointed to the line of recipients. “My name is not here, so you did not send this email to me.”
“Your name is on this email,” she insisted. “See? It says, ‘From Linda and Enid.’ So you can’t say you didn’t get it.”
I stared at her for a moment. It’s not just that she doesn't grasp computers and email, but she then runs with it in a crusade against me. When she tells people that I pretend to not receive email, they don’t ask if she actually sent the email. They simply believe her allegations against me without further probing.
“First, typing part of someone’s name in the body of the email does not generate a copy to that person,” I attempted to explain. “You have to go to the ‘To’ field and type the email address.” She was not following and instead was still with an angry face, as if all my words were lies. I continued.
“Second, you do not sign someone’s name to a letter without asking the person and sending them a copy, neither of which you did. If I had done this to you, you would have reported me to the director of the hospital. Again.”
As I turned to leave, she added more proof of her stupidity. “It doesn’t matter that I didn’t send it to you because it’s on the internet, so you can see it anyway.”
I shook my head and walked out.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Running a ward is not an easy job, except for Satan’s favorite children who shirk responsibility and get away with it every time.
One of the tasks of the nurse manager of a ward is to review the performance of the support staff every year. For Satan’s children, this is their opportunity to reward those they like and strike down those they don’t like.
If they don’t like you, your appeal of a bad review will go nowhere. I speak from experience.
One of the nurse managers was never accepted as the Person in Charge. Her staff, as well as the outgoing and incoming shifts, give her a very hard time.
This year, she gave a low score to the ward clerk. This clerk deserves to be fired, but that will never happen. The charts are a wreck. She comes in late, disappears, will not answer the phone, and screams at anyone who asks her to do anything.
I saw the review and thought the nurse manager was being generous.
The clerk thought the review was inaccurate in that she is a fantastic employee who works very hard. The charts fall apart because other people drop them and she is not their servant. Papers are misfiled because other people misfiled them.
I eavesdropped on the meeting with the clerk, nurse manager, and one of the higher-ups. Predictably, the nurse manager was wrong for giving the clerk a bad evaluation because multiple write-ups are required before someone can get a bad score; otherwise, the employee proceeds through the year, thinking their job performance is great.
The higher-up changed the clerk’s evaluation to a perfect score over the objections of the nurse manager. The clerk joyously fled the room, screaming back at the nurse manager, “I told you I would win, you stupid bitch. Now I’m going to tell everyone they were right about you. Go fuck yourself.”
The nurse manager said to the higher up, “See? This is what I deal with every day from her!”
The higher-up shrugged and said, “She’s just venting. What you did to her was wrong. Let it go and learn your lesson for a change. We are tired of fixing the problems you cause on your ward. You need to get along with your staff.”
The higher-up left the room, leaving the nurse manager sitting there, dumbfounded.
I went in.
“You weren’t wrong,” I told the woman.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Here’s my advice, for what it’s worth,” I offered. “From now on, give every employee the highest scores possible. You can’t win. They will not become better employees and start treating you like a human being. If anyone questions the perfect scores, tell them that all of your staff embodies the values and behaviors that this hospital cultivates and rewards.”
“No, I’m serious,” I went on. “You make misery for yourself giving them bad reviews. In any other place, such behavior would merit termination, not a raise and a pass at coming in late and cursing out your manager for the next year. A perfect review does not translate into a lot of money. If a clerk or orderly is not at the top of their salary grid, the most money they can get for an excellent review is $500. It doesn’t come out of your pocket. Let the company pay these horrible workers a few extra hundred a year. This is what they want.”
I think she started to think about it seriously.
Saturday, May 6, 2017
So far, I have had zero responses. But I’m counting this as good.
Rarely does someone call me about my application. If I do get called, it’s to work in hell as a nurse, even though I applied for a completely different position.
It is futile to try to convince the person that I was not looking to work as a floor nurse, but rather in something that does not require manual labor.
At this point, my view on nursing is that it’s heavy physical labor. They put you on a pedestal- the most beloved profession, selfless, caring. Then they crucify you when you don’t fill a patient’s drink order immediately because you were busy doing CPR to save someone’s life. Or fire you when a patient falls and breaks a hip because you were in another room helping one of the other dozens of patients.
I’m a nurse, not a robot.
And I am done.
Friday, May 5, 2017
One of the doctors who I assist is a bit disorganized.
We were in an exam room when she realized that she did not have her phone. “I must have left it in the bathroom!” she exclaimed.
“Which one?” I asked.
“The one right by the desk of that nice lady,” she specified.
“There are no nice ladies here,” I said.
“Please go find it!” she pleaded.
I begged an orderly to stay with the doctor and patient while I retraced the doctor’s steps, continuously dialing her phone number in hopes of hearing the ring.
As I approached my work area, the start point, I heard the faint ringing. Thank goodness nobody had taken her phone.
As I knocked on the closed bathroom door, the “nice lady,” who is not nice at all, called out from her desk, “Hey! You aren’t allowed to use that bathroom.”
The door was unlocked. If someone had answered my knock, I would not have heard the person over the woman’s shouting. I opened the door and grabbed the phone.
There was no way she did not hear the phone ringing and ringing.
“The doctor forgot her phone in this bathroom,” I explained.
The woman replied, “You see, that’s your problem. You answer back to people. You need to learn some manners.”
This woman is a secretary and has been ordering me around for years, telling me how to do my job and that she knows how to be a nurse better than I do.
“What I said earlier was not ‘answering back,’ but this is,” I said firmly. “You don’t own this bathroom. I will use it whenever I wish. Second, you saw the doctor use the bathroom. You heard her phone ringing repeatedly. You could have answered it or at least taken it for safekeeping. You’re a jerk.” I walked away, phones in hand, the secretary’s mouth hanging open.
After reuniting the doctor with her phone, I told her that the “nice lady” could not be bothered to rescue her phone and hollered at me.
“I don’t know how you work here full-time,” the doctor said.
Outcome: The next day, my supervisor showed me an email that had surprised her so much that she forgot to hide it from me. The “nice lady” is retiring!
I outlived another one!
Thursday, May 4, 2017
The first was the woman who does payroll. It is May, and I have yet to be paid any of my overtime for the entire year. That’s four missing months. The woman claimed I would have my (past-due) overtime pay in the next check.
Spoiler alert: The check was still missing the four months of overtime.
The other person processed an invoice so that a patient could receive a piece of medical equipment that was ordered last year.
In both instances, these people were doing their jobs. They were not doing me a personal favor. So it stuck out that they both approached me with the same phrase in the same week.
I don’t answer the phone, “Hello. You owe me for answering the phone. What do you want, for which you will also owe me?”