Saturday, June 17, 2017

Leave Already

Three evil people were recently very happy.

They were hired together 25 years ago.  Combined with their advanced age, they have reached a magical situation only possible under the old retirement plan:  They can retire.  Leave.  Collect money for not working.

This is not the retirement plan for me and others hired within the last two decades.  Actually, we have no retirement plan.

These people include a supervisor, a woman from my work area, and a secretary who is bonkers.  They are all nasty, lazy people who need to leave.

I understand that they are unemployable outside this Snake Pit.

But I am going to remind them whenever they open their mouths against me that they don't need to be here anymore.  They are working when they could be sitting at home, not aggravating me, and still collecting a check for it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Giving a Little Extra

A patient attacked a staff member on a ward I was covering.

I let the male staff perform the physical break up of the altercation.

The nurse came to me with the doctor's stat order:  two milligrams of lorazepam (Ativan) and 5 milligrams of haloperidol (Haldol).

"IM?" I asked hopefully.  (Injections.)

"No, PO," he sighed.  (Oral.)

That's not enough to calm down an agitated big guy who has already thrown punches.

I grabbed the lorazepam and asked where they keep their extra Haldol tablets.

"Give liquid Haldol in juice," he said.  "And make it a Nursing Dose."

I smiled.  Yes, we do this.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Glad to be away from Psycho Nurse

My assignment one day was to check charts on the ward where Nurse Fortune was gracing her presence.  I survived.  I’m proud.  I did have flashbacks to our prior horrible years, where I felt hostage to her wrath.

She watched me in the chart room the entire time.  Non-stop complaining on her end.

Politics:  “Your President” she kept stating, as if I alone decide on the president of the country and people who complain don’t have him as president.

Work:  “I know so much about all these patients, it makes me sick.  Nobody else knows what they are doing.”

Family:  “How can they say that my son is a behavioral problem?  Oh, he yells and talks back.  He fights.  He doesn’t listen.  He doesn’t do the work.  Not my son.  I mean, where would he learn that behavior?  Not from me.  If that’s what he does in school, which I don’t believe, then he learned it at school so they should take a serious look at themselves.”

I feel bad for any child of hers.  She’s a jerk.  She’s the only one who doesn’t see her behavior and attitude reflected in her child.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I am moving out of my current spot and getting a desk elsewhere in the building, according to Nurse Sally.  She seems nice.

I have endured three years in my current spot.  Three seems to be my limit for anything.

What she is calling a desk is one table in a large hallway.  Other people occupy other tables.  "My desk" is currently a repository of papers, binders, and boxes.

Part of the problem is that this table is adjacent to the nursing staffing people.  It will be too easy for them to be scrambling for coverage and find their solution in Nurse Enid, "who is just sitting there, doing nothing."  Unlike the other office nurses, I'm classified as a floor nurse.

Another issue is that I keep all of my current duties, plus extra as added by Nurse Sally.  Not sure when I get to sit at my new table/desk, which is nowhere near where I need to be to schedule appointments, procedures, and to do rounds with doctors.

The other issue is that someone, such as Nurse Fortune, could find out, flip out, claiming I'm getting a cushy deal, and file a complaint with our union.  Even though Nurse Sally seems nice, she is powerless against Nurse Fortune and the union.

I did some paperwork from the charts as requested.  When I handed it to Nurse Sally, she said to give it to her secretary.  Her secretary occupies one of the tables near my new table.

The secretary glared at me when I handed her the papers.  (I had the foresight and experience to make copies first.)  "Listen," she started, "Don't go thinking that you are going to make more work for me."

"Sally told to research these issues and fill out these forms and give them to you," I explained.  "That was my assignment."

"Well," she huffed, "You could have said 'no'."

"Actually, I'm not in a position to refuse an assignment," I tried.

"So because you do whatever anyone tells you, now I have more work?" she sneered.  "Does that seem right to you?"

This is a hopeless cycle everywhere in this hospital.

"Take your own advice and refuse to do it," I told the secretary.

"I didn't ask you to tell me what to do, thank you very much," she snapped.  "Let's get that straight right now.  You don't tell me what to do.  You don't give me work.  You are not my supervisor.  Don't even speak to me.  Got it?"

I left and returned to my previous (or current?) work area.  There, I realized that no provisions were made for my addition to that department.  The "desk" I used varied from day to day and was a table or counter where I could spread out papers to work on them.  My supervisor and the other employees had cabinets dedicated to their personal stuff, while she told me that I could not keep anything in the office, including pens I needed to write with.

If people ask, I'll tell them that there was not enough work in my current department to justify two nurses, so I was reassigned.

I will not allow myself to get excited about this move because it may not happen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

That's Okay

I had to cover a unit, which involved the narc count.  The process was a lot more involved than I remembered.

"Oh, someone lost some pills," the nurse explained.

"Who?" I asked.

She smiled.  There was more than one nurse and they were all favored children.

"If you or I did that, we'd be sitting in jail right now," I said.

The other nurse shook her head in agreement.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Drawing a Line

The nurse whose office I sometimes cover joined a meeting, late, and plopped herself down next to me.

In front of me was only a notebook, upon which I was fervidly writing my grocery list.

This nurse spread her pile of papers into my space and onto my notebook, over my hand and pen.  This was no accident.

What was the proper response?  She was pushing me and I had to push back.

I placed my arm on the table and mushed her papers back into her area.

This startled her, but she didn't put the papers back onto me and my area.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another Hat I Wear

I don't understand the fixation on my wearing a hat.

I am not the only person who wears a hat.  There is nothing unusual about my hat.  I wear a warm hat in the cold and a hat with a brim when it's sunny.

"There you are in your hat!" one of the orderlies cooed in the parking lot.

I stared at her.  For the record, she is not well-balanced.

"Oh!  That's right.  You said there's a reason why you wear it."  She paused, trying to think.  "To protect your heart!" she declared.

"My eyes!" I corrected her.

"Your eyes?" she said, confused.  "How would a hat protect your eyes?  And what would your eyes need protection from?"

"The sun," I answered.

Still confused.  "But we need the sun," she tried.  "That can't be why you would wear a hat."

"Sure it is," I insisted.  "How could a hat protect someone's heart?"

"How would I know?" she answered.  "You're the one who is wearing the hat."

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Maybe She's Just Not a Nice Person

A social worker asked me if the secretary who retired is actually gone.

“Yes,” I responded.

“Oh good!” she squealed.  “That woman was so rude and nasty.”

Someone else joined in.  “Yeah!  I thought it was just me.  This whole time I thought that I did something bad to her.  I’m so glad to hear that’s just how she was.”

Me too.  She was super nice to my supervisor, but that was to secure favors.  Everyone else was worth nothing to her, so she showed them her ugly side.

 A social worker asked me if the secretary who retired is actually gone.

“Yes,” I responded.

“Oh good!” she squealed.  “That woman was so rude and nasty.”

Someone else joined in.  “Yeah!  I thought it was just me.  This whole time I thought that I did something bad to her.  I’m so glad to hear that’s just how she was.”

Me too.  She was super nice to our supervisor, but that was to secure favors.  Everyone else was worth nothing to her, so she showed them her ugly side.

Friday, June 9, 2017

All Eyes on Me

I escorted a new admission to the secured ward where Nurse Helen was assigned.

As soon as she saw the patient and me, she started crying to the supervisor who was nearby, "Why can't Enid do it?  She has no work.  It's not fair.  She does nothing.  Tell her to do the admission!"

Meanwhile, another horrible nurse started calling my name from across the room.  "Enid!  Enid!  Enid!"  I looked over at her.  "Can you let me into this room?"

"You don't have a key?" I shouted back.

"I forgot it inside this room," she responded.

"Why are you asking me?" I continued the game.  "There are at least five orderlies in between you and me.  Why can't one of them let you into the room?"

She said nothing.

"Why can't the people inside that room let you back in?" I continued.  "Are you telling me that you knocked on the door and everyone inside ignored you?"

Of course she hadn't knocked on the door or asked someone next to the door to let her in.  Just like Nurse Helen, she could focus only on me.


But I was proud of myself for holding my ground.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Careless Planning

I'm getting good at seeing the nonsense for what it is.

Some of the higher-ups met with me and said I was (finally) being moved out of my current department.  I requested this last year when my supervisor staged a set-up to get me fired.

Let's not get excited.  I've heard this before.

The Details:  There is no time frame for this move, but my new assignments begin immediately, while my existing workload will remain my responsibility.

"So this is adding more work and not actually granting my request for a transfer?" I asked to confirm.

They fidgeted.  "Well," one of them offered, "You are so great at what you do, so we need you to advise us on modifying care plans."

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"Give suggestions on how to improve them," was the answer.

I didn't prolong the meeting.  Whatever they want from me, they won't say directly.

Later I bumped into the secretary of one of the women from the meeting.

"Did they tell you that they expect you to fix every care plan?" she asked.

"Not in those words," I answered.

"Yeah, we had a meeting earlier today and someone suggested that you be given the assignment of doing care plans because the nurses aren't filling them out or updating them," she explained.  "They said, 'Get Enid involved.  She loves to fix things.'"

They spoke as if I would be altering the format of the care plans, not actually doing them myself.  That's what they meant by 'modify.'  Writing the content of the care plans for each individual patient. This is not possible.  I don't know each patient.  There are hundreds of patients.  The nurses taking care of the patient have to write the care plan based on the individual patient's needs and goals and update them when a new problem arises.

They are sneaky.  They did the same thing with emergency services, first pretending that they wanted me to improve the policy when all they wanted was for me to take blame for incidents.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nope. Not Happening.

During a meeting, someone asked the medical director if he was planning to confer with the psychologist handling a patient's case.

"No," he said, nonchalantly, shaking his head, "I don't speak to psychotic people masquerading as doctors."

Wow.  I wish this were an option for me!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sure, I'll Do That Person's Job Too

Someone asked me if the retired secretary’s position had been filled yet because she wanted it.

“Not that I know of,” I replied.  “The hospital has not been filling empty positions, but rather distributing the work to others.  They will probably give her workload to me.”

“How can they put more work on you when you already do so much!” the person gasped.

“Oh, thank you for noticing!” I answered.

(The departed secretary didn’t do much and they keep adding to my responsibilities, so this is a strong possibility.  My supervisor will embrace the idea.)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Minds Already Lost

On a breezy, sunny day, I walked through the parking lot, holding onto the hat on my head.

Inside, an employee asked me why I was holding my head outside, “As if your head would come off!” she laughed.

“My hat,” I explained.  “My hat would blow off my head.”

“Why would your hat blow away?” she asked, genuinely confused.

“Because of the wind,” I explained.  Did she just land on planet earth?

She did not understand.

The next day, an employee who was present for the above exchanged approached me.

“You know,” she said, “I was walking outside and it was windy.  I noticed that I put my hand on my head so that my wig would not blow off!”

I stared at her.

“I thought it was strange when I heard that you had your hand on your head because you thought your hat would blow away.  But now I realize that I do the same thing!”  She seemed quite proud of herself for connecting her reaction to a stimulus.

How could people have so little self awareness?

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Breaking the Cycle

When you are so exposed to bad behavior you can sense it coming
I joined a friend at her place of work on her lunch break.  She can’t leave, but she can have visitors.  Some of her coworkers joined us.

A woman marched herself through our group, loudly clapping and shouting, “Come on!  Get to the conference room for the celebratory lunch!  I’m starving!”

One of the women stood up to follow.

“We already stopped in,” my friend said as she motioned for the coworker to sit back down.

The interrupting woman grabbed the arm of the person about to sit, shouting, “I have to talk to you NOW.  In private.”

“Let go of her!” my friend snapped.  “We are on our lunch break.  You can meet with her after lunch.  I thought you said you were ‘starving’.”

The woman looked around the group and left.

“Should we have gone with her?” someone asked.

“No,” I said.  “I recognized the bullying based on my own workplace.  She wants to break up any cohesion.”  I turned to the woman who had stood to follow, the one who was grabbed and pulled.  

“You appeared to be the weakest because you obeyed her order to leave, then someone else’s order to sit.  So she upped her abuse by putting her hands on you to see how far she could push you without you pushing back.  She crossed a bold line.  Yell at her to take her hands off you.”

“I’m not strong.  I can’t do this,” the woman replied.

“I know,” I said.  “It’s not easy.  Later, find her when she is seated, and with some witnesses, remain standing and calmly tell her that she is never to put her hands on you again.  Don’t wait for her response, which will be acting shocked and claiming that you are lying.  Depart immediately, leaving an image in the witnesses’ minds of her attacking you.”

Good or bad advice?

I want to make it clear that I do not blame the victim.  She seemed weaker and that is why she was chosen.  But the aggressor chose to attack.  We were all in the room with this more susceptible person and we did not attack her.  She was bullied because the perpetrator thought she could get away with it.  Normal people don't go around attacking vulnerable people.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Don't Know How She Does It

I covered an office so that one of the administrative nurses could get ready for an event at the hospital.  The position requires heavy phone time.

Other administrative nurses (how come some people are saddled with back-breaking work while others get to play all day?) crowded into the office, giggling and shouting and otherwise making it impossible for me to hear on the phone, nevermind concentrate.  The workload was heavier than usual because the secretary was out sick.

One of the nurses commented, “I’m so glad your secretary isn’t here.  We could never have done this with HER in here.”

That was it.  They wouldn’t dare do this to the secretary, but I am what?  Garbage to be disregarded?

“Ladies,” I shouted over their loud bantering, “I can’t hear on the phone.  Please!”

The nurse whose office it was replied, “Well, that is how it is.  This is a busy hospital.  If you can’t cope, you’ll never get far.”

“Your noise level is not reflective of the hospital’s busyness, but rather your lack of work.” 

They stared at me, surprised.

“Why am I in here, trying to do your work, while you sit there, chit chatting?  I have my own assignments to complete.”  Then I threw in the magic words to get them out.  “I’ll go work on a floor until you are ready to actually leave for the event.”

The nurse whose office it was shooed the rest out.  “We all have work to do,” she said to me.

“So do it,” I said.

I could only get away with this because this particular nurse is so incompetent that senior management has taken notice.  She reports me every time I cover her office, so management has to review my performance.  Every Damn Time.  They told me that I am much better at the job than she is.  This does not matter because they will never bump her out of her high-paying position and give it to me.  Our salaries are in the union contract, so this is how I know that she earns almost double what I do.

The woman left eventually.

When I returned from lunch, she was in the office, staring into space.  “Oh, this doctor called for you.  Here is his number.”

The torn piece of paper did not have enough digits to be a phone number.  “What did he want?” I asked.

“How would I know?” she asked, bewildered.  “You are the one working in this office today.”

This woman is impossible.

“Let me get this straight,” I started.  “This is your full-time position.  I am covering for you today, even though you are in the office.  A doctor calls.  You know what he wants because you work on his caseload.  But instead of answering his question, you tell him that I will call him back.  I can’t help him.  I would have to waste time looking through the piles of papers, hoping to find the patient he’s calling about.  Even if I found the patient’s file, I still couldn’t help the doctor because you don’t put notes on anything, so I have no clue about the status of any file in this office.  And you think that was an appropriate response you gave to the doctor?  Why did you answer the phone if you had no intention of assisting the caller?”

She couldn’t follow all these words.  “Well, just make sure you call him back.  You shouldn’t keep him waiting.”

And she’s the one who commands a high salary and her own office.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Burning Bridges

Burning bridges
I ran into the retiring woman on her last day.

“It’s the last time you have to see her,” I told myself.

“I hope you enjoy your retirement,” I said to her.

“Retirement?” she retorted.

My heart sank.  Had I misunderstood?  Did I have to keep seeing her every day?

“How can I retire on the meager pension they offer here?” she sneered.  “We aren’t all made of money like you.”

Ah yes.  This prevalent misconception that I am independently wealthy and work at the hospital merely to take a salary away from a needy person.

I let it slide, concentrating on my future without this particular person.

“I had to retire from this job because my daughter has to return to work so soon after having a baby,” she quipped.

Oh- she is upset about a family situation but projecting her anger onto me instead.

“I didn’t know.  Congratulations on the new baby!” I said.

“Yeah, right,” she continued.  “You’ve been spreading my business all over this hospital for years and now you’re gonna stand there and tell me you didn’t know my daughter had a baby.  BULL SHIT.”

Once the cursing started, I figured I was justified in walking away.  Or cursing back, but we were within earshot of witnesses, who would later recall only my transgressions.

This caught me by surprise.  I knew the conversation was sliding downhill fast and that I couldn’t rescue it, but I was not expecting this.  This is why she has been so nasty to me over the years?  She thinks I spread her business around the hospital?

First, I don’t know her or her business.  I know her name and that she has some adult children, but that is all.  Second, I barely talk to anyone unless I have to about hospital business.

And what would make her interesting to talk about?

Good riddance.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Nothing You

One of the administrative nurses, Natalie, tried dumping a hopeless paperwork project on me.  Only my direct supervisor is my boss, so the technique is for the dumper to command me through my supervisor.

“Oh just do it and hush!” my supervisor told me.

Well, I didn’t.

My supervisor and/or Natalie reported me to one of the big wigs, who ambushed me one afternoon.

I remained calm.  I briefly explained that I do not work in the department that is claiming that I did not do an assignment.

The big wig appeared disinterested.  “Oh, okay, so don’t do their work then,” she grumbled, and left.

That went well? I wondered.

Soon Natalie called.  “I understand that you did not do the assignment and that you are upset with me,” she started.  “This is only paperwork.  There is nothing to get emotional about.”

This place has taught me how to twist a story as well.  “I have no emotional connection to you,” I responded coldly.

She fumbled for words.  “Oh, well, I mean, you are upset about the paperwork,” she tried.

“I have no emotional connection to any inanimate object,” I replied, colder than before.

Logical, right?  If I have no emotional connection to a living person, then how could I to a non-living thing?

“So are you going to do the paperwork, or not?” Natalie continued.

“No,” I answered firmly.

She started huffing.  “It needs to get done.  I have too much work.  You can do it.  You have nothing to do.  You can do it fast if you wanted to.  You make problems for people.”

I interrupted her.  “Natalie, you sound upset and emotional.  I’m going to let you stop here so you can gain control over yourself.”

Then I hung up.