It's so easy to sit behind this computer and read of all your struggles and the advice about unsafe staffing and disrespectful behavior towards a nurse. I've read about some of you filing lawsuits against your abusers, even against doctors. I've read how some of you have agonized over providing quality patient care when you weren't given the tools or staff to do it. Each time, I've given my own advice when I felt moved to do so. And, each time, I wondered if standing up for yourself was really a possibility for me, for each of us, for our profession.
Then, late last night, I was hit with a disciplinary action because care wasn't provided appropriately when I was given one NA (not even certified) on her second day of employment, and me . . . to take care of 34 patients. I was further reprimanded for not documenting followup on an Ativan I had given (nevermind that I didn't have staff and that my patient's need for an antianxiety med was the result of multiple screwups by Social Services and day shift (details aren't important except to say that I was in trouble for cleaning up a mess on night shift caused by another shift). I was further reprimanded for "questionable judgement" whatever that means. And, to top it off, another nurse had reamed me after report yesterday after I confronted him about abusing a resident. Sure enough, I was somehow wrong about reporting abuse and the male nurse hadn't even been counseled or reprimanded.
Now, I'm not a bad nurse. I'm the nurse who quietly goes about doing what everyone else didn't get done (being dumped on), being a patient advocate, and, in fact, this is the first time anyone in has ever complained about my care or nursing skills!
So, here's the thank you. Much to my surprized, what was coming out of my mouth was anger. If you knew me, you'd know that I would usually feel guilty and take the blame, believing that somehow I didn't do enough or else this wouldn't be happening. I'd agonize over what I "should have done" better. With all your words echoing in my ears, I blasted administration. It went something along the lines that when they give me an unsafe staffing situation, they have the choice of whether I refuse to take the assignment and go back home or they can take the blame and the responsibility for the consequences of a situation that was caused by that kind of unsafe staffing! I further blasted them for daring to reprimand me when another nurse had abused a resident. I said, "Let's get this into some perspective, shall we?" (I was a little sarcastic there).
When I was done, I stood up and picked up my purse and stethoscope and informed them I was going home (my shift was done). Then, I told them I didn't know if I'd be back; I'd let them know in time to cover my shift if I decided to quit. I also told them I was taking 5 days off, and to deal with it, because I needed time to calmly decide if I wanted to continue working there.
Then, I marched right up and filed 5 grievances ranging from failure to reprimand the abuser, unequal and unfair discipline, failure of XYZ nurse to provide appropriate care for the resident who got the Ativan, disrespect in the workplace, and hostile working environment.
Thank you. Thank you, everyone of you, who have posted these kinds of struggles and how you dealt with them. Today? I'm gonna read a mystery novel, just because I feel like it. Then, tomorrow, I'm going to start applying for other jobs. C'est le vie!
Thank you. You all taught me that I didn't have to put up with this.
Aug 20, '02
Youda, we're here for you, and I applaud you for your actions.
I have quit jobs too over stuff like that, and I usually hike over to a few agencies and put my app in there, when I get feeling real restless...some of them are pretty good, and the money's not too bad either....
Anyhow....it is a real eye-opener to see how different facilities define "understaffed"
Keep us posted--they may even call you back and offer you a raise; I've had that happen too
Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Aug 20, '02
Aug 20, '02
My heart was pounding as I read your story-- You handled everything SO well and I can't wait to hear what happens-- Please let us know and enjoy your break!
This BB and the wonderful contributors here have taught me a lot and empowered me in many ways, too. I am much better prepared now when dealing with notoriously disrespectful (to nurses) doctors, and feel stronger about my abilities and my practice due to time spent absorbing all the views and ideas here. THANK YOU TO BRIAN AND ALLNURSES!!!
Last edit by RN-PA on Aug 20, '02