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This is a discussion on Incompetent Supervisors in Nursing and Professionalism, part of Nursing Career Advice ... I posted this article in another section and decided that it applies here as well. I'm with you...by GhostWindRider Aug 29, '12I posted this article in another section and decided that it applies here as well.
I'm with you on your decision. Medicine these days is questionable in it's execution of patient care and patient advocacy. I'm a former 18D, Special Forces Medical Sergeant. As such, we were trained to do procedures that you have to have 8 years of school and spend thousands of dollars on useless pre-requisite courses to get in the civilian world. In 2008, I obtained my civilian nursing license and went to work at two hospitals. Hyperbaric Technology at one and Med/Surg at the other. First two years in med surg was a great deal of fun and challenge. Heavy patient loads were not an issue when you're used to managed 2-3 or more life threatening trauma events, etc.
I was entrusted with the patient care of some of the most difficult and challenging patients. Then a rather incompetent charge nurse was moved up to the first line supervisor's position of the med surg unit. She took great pride in making sure the hospitals financial interests were covered by never calling in the back up nurse "we can handle it". I watched a patient not survive her pushes of haloperidol Q2h while not having cardiac telemetry on the patient. "We couldn't keep it on him, he flopped around too much." I was asked to come in and sit with the patient one on one but was told that I had to leave by 0230 due to hours on the clock. I left, he didn't live to see breakfast. That nurse became the supervisor.
Fast forward a year or so. The hospital is sold to a corporate ownership. CNA ratios went to 12:1 with no CNAs on duty until there were 12 patients on the floor. I arrive for my night shift and get a sketchy report on a patient that had issues. "X-ray is in there now doing a chest x-ray to rule out PE." huh?? So, I walk straight into the room and the pt. is disconnected from his IV, non-responsive, no cardiac telemetry is on him, nor in the room. Tele was ordered at 1600, 3 hours earlier. I had three other patients to see, only 1 of which I had a report on. One was a 12 year old bleeder (can't say more). Phone calls to the pt's doc and IM, orders for a contrast CT to rule out stroke. The charge THAT night was a flake that was later fired for heisting narcs. I had been raising concerns about the day shift charge nurses not correctly staffing the night shift for weeks. It was not a patient ratio issue. 5:1 at that hospital is just fine.
I made a comment to the flake charge that we should have another nurse and aid/monitor tech as we now have a guy on telemetry. She chose to call the supervisor (yep, the same flake that was promoted to supervisor and became the torch bearer for poor staffing and egotistical management practices) and say I was complaining about staffing issues. All of which were lies. I was fired that night. It gets better.
I ask the state's human rights commission to investigate practices of targetting and retribution and provide witness names and phone numbers. 1 1/2 years later I get a nice letter saying all of my claims were substantiated and found true. BUT, as I was not in a "protected" class, there is nothing the HRC would or could do. You see, i'm a white male with 22 years military service, 18 as an 18Delta. I've started thousands of IVs, many under horrible conditions, done 3 chest tubes and participated in many more, "minor exploratory surgery" to find a bleeder after chunks of metal went flying through abdomens, chests, legs and more. After 9/11, I went back and forth to the middle east doing more medicine. Spent weekends hauling wounded from helicopters at the CASH in Baghdad to overworked trauma wards. You did what you know how to do.
Since leaving that hospital 2 years ago, I have been road blocked by this "supervisor" at every turn obtaining nursing work. Several VA positions were withdrawn after a phone discussion with this supervisor. All my references, including 7 doctors (ortho, IM, OB-GYN, family practice and cardiology), several charge nurses and independant nurses as well as patients. All meant nothing as soon as that "supervisor" got on the phone.
Ultimately, i'm disgusted with the potential that poor supervisors have for destroying a career and HR sections that are so incompetent, that i'm leaving nursing (civilian) and pray for the future of patients where their lives are put on the line for budget decisions, egos, poor practices and **** poor HR staff. The nursing staff in the entire hospital has rolled over completely with the exception of 8 people who never or wouldn't dream of rocking the boat. Smile and nod, patient care be damned. It's illusionary.
What i've learned...
1. Patient advocacy is a class in a school that has little place in real practice. It has to be balanced between your career and the ego freak you have to address the patient's issue to.
2. Experience means nothing.
3. _______ nurses always get hired, _______ nurses never get fire. Explanation: I live in an area that is dominated by one particular church. They protect and guard each other like it was their money. I have seen more discrimination regarding other medical staff in favor of this particular group of people on a scale that makes the 60s pale. "Do you know so and so in Ward ___ "? "No, i'm in Ward ____, do you know so and so"? "Oh yes, he's great, we have to watch out for him." and on and on and on.
Sorry for the long story, I pray for our patients, with the future of health care (yes, doctors and nurses will be federalized and unions wiped out). If you're not healthy, get that way, your greatest danger isn't bad traffic, it may be a hospitalization.
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- Aug 29, '12 by MBARNBSNWhy is this "supervisor" on your list of people to contact? I understand that applications ask for names and numbers, but guess what? You do not have to put that supervisor down with a phone number. Or you can do so and say you are not authorizing anyone to talk to him/her. Or you can use HR's phone number instead of his/her number. In the event that you live in a small town where this Supervisor can find other ways to ruin your career, then you will need to move.
BTW, I understand what you are going through... I have had bad supervisors in the past and to avoid unemployment, I have taken all of the advice listed above. I refuse to allow ANYONE to ruin my career because I need it to feed me and my family. Good Luck!
- Aug 29, '12 by eleectrosaurusSo I had to google the 18D thing..
Special forces medical sergeants are considered to be the finest first-response/trauma medical technicians in the world. Training for the special forces medical sergeants consists of 60 weeks of formal classroom training and practice exercises.
Some of the skills you’ll learn are:
- Physical conditioning, parachuting, swimming and scuba diving
- Using land warfare weapons and communications devices
- Handling and using explosives
- Bomb and mine disposal
- Aug 29, '12 by GhostWindRiderThank you sir, much appreciated. I have found a bit of professional jealousy in the hospital environment. Not with other nurses, they're always great. It's some supervisor along the way. Just one particular one in my case. Bad choice by the hospital. They've lost alot of nurses due to this supervisor. There are 6 schools graduating nurses within 250 miles however, so they simply rotate them through. I love medicine. It's sad what non operational nurses are doing to medicine for their own gain or promotion. Patients suffer for it, and sometimes more.
- Aug 29, '12 by Cold StethoscopeAs I said...
It sounds to me like you have excellent grounds for a defamation lawsuit. Your former employer has no right to destroy your career, especially given that you were vindicated by a state agency.
If you're not using your former supervisor as a reference, why are they contacting her?
Dude, sue her *** off. Litigation doesn't solve all problems, but it goes a long way to solving some of them.
Quote from SunShine35They are not allowed to give any info besides verification of employment and if you are eligible for rehire.^ This.
- Aug 30, '12 by Mulanquote "I was fired that night." quote
For what reason?
- Aug 30, '12 by Cold StethoscopeQuote from Mulanquote "I was fired that night." quote
For what reason?Quote from GhostWindRiderFor complaining about staffing issues? Was there more to it?I made a comment to the flake charge that we should have another nurse and aid/monitor tech as we now have a guy on telemetry. She chose to call the supervisor (yep, the same flake that was promoted to supervisor and became the torch bearer for poor staffing and egotistical management practices) and say I was complaining about staffing issues. All of which were lies. I was fired that night. It gets better.
- Aug 30, '12 by ZeroNightskyeI'm sorry to hear that. With what you've done in the military, I'm surprised you don't have job offers lefts and right. I'll echo what others have said, and say that you probably should sue this supervisor. But aside from that, maybe stress your military experience on a resume? And leave her off it.
- Aug 30, '12 by GhostWindRiderHi all, thanks for the comments and suggestions. I had an HR officer at a VA region be frank and say more than he should have, but he knew that. Combat vet, he passed on the deal. He said though there's 100,000 people here, all the sups talk to each other, facebook (puke) and all that. There seems to be this little behind the scenes clique that goes on.
Regarding lawyers and suing. I approached an attorney initially, he too was blunt, he said "see that temple on the side of the hill over there? That's what you're up against." Couldn't find an attorney to take the case. That's when I went to the human rights people, on his suggestion. However, as a white male and worse a combat vet (no PTSD), I was in a thoroughly unprotected class and open to any form of retribution / attack etc. that a sup threw at me. It's a non-union state (thank the Lord), but the church influence here is disturbing. I have taken some advice and pulled all references to this hospital from my resumes and dropped references from the 1 remaining nurse that still works there.
Have had dozens of interviews and did one or two to generate some lines of investigation to see who talks to who. 3 days later, someone called ME to ask about me. I asked how they got that information... it seems that at another location, the nurse manager walks to floor asking other nurses if they know so and so. To be honest, i'm deeply disturbed by the nature of these nurses thinking they're doing the right thing by destroying reputations.
- Aug 30, '12 by GhostWindRiderYou made the same leap to conclusions that the manager did. I wasn't complaining about staffing issues. In fact, I made it clear their staffing matrix was excellent. My issue was that the day shift charge nurses were not looking at post-surg patients coming to the floor and staffing the night shift accordingly. No monitor tech for a pt. on telemetry, that sort of thing. Staffing numbers were not the issue, it was day charge nurses not doing their job. Example: "We have X number of patients in beds. We have X number of nurses schedule tonight with 2 aids. Put so and so on call and send so and so home at 2300. HOWEVER, there would still be 2-3 patients in PACU or the ORs.