New Supervisory. Why?

After returning to school, becoming an R.N. I decided to dabble in the world of supervisory. Quickly I found it is a trickle-down effect starting with the D.O.N. and I am third on the pile. Nurses General Nursing Article


New Supervisory. Why?

Basically, on the 3-11 shift, I am the only one left in charge to handle emergencies, family concerns, and personnel issues. Close to ten years in this position, now with iron clad nerve fiber, intestinal fortitude, and a sense of humor, there is not much I have not experienced in the way of adventures, and it takes something really unusual to shock me.

When you are the head nurse you get to greet the rescue squad in the hallway, clueless why they have come, only to find that an old lady in Room 110 called for help. Upon entering her room she is lying on her bed with one eye closed repeating over and over "I can't poop, I can't poop." At this point the head EMT is calling back to dispatch "Clear we have a Code Brown, resident is constipated," as they resume packing up their gear, with big grins covering their faces in obvious amusement, preparing to leave the facility.

One evening while sitting casually at the nurses' station relishing a quiet moment I glanced up and saw one of the local county policemen strolling down the hall towards me, a big grin covered his face. He had been dispatched over to the nursing home after a call to 911 from a little old lady reporting "someone had stolen her cat." When the policeman told me about the complaint I knew immediately which gray-haired "Granny" was the culprit. Upon entering her room we found her sitting on the edge of her bed

Calling out in a sweet soft voice "Here kitty, kitty". She looked so demure and loving sitting there truly convinced that someone indeed ha stolen her cat. Even with his stature, the policeman was very gentle with a soft voice he told her "Kitty is safe, he went to visit some friends." He was so convincing I almost believed him myself. Evelyn was satisfied with his explanation as she laid back down on the bed. A few days later the social worker solved this problem by bringing in a toy kitty so never again would Evelyn miss her cat.

Also, you get to be the one to talk to the operator at the FBI building when resident Mr. Jones has called proclaiming he has been kidnapped, is being helped hostage against his will, and does not know who is holding him or where he is. Then to add interest to this scenario when giving his full name states "Theodore Delano Roosevelt". This should have been a real clue to the original operator who put the call through to the FBI building in the first place that maybe there was a problem???? Entering into a nursing home setting as a visitor can be a happy, sad or scary adventure depending on one's pre-conceived notion about these types of places. A handbook should be mandatory reading for everyone planning a visit, including an itemized list of things that could possibly occur, depending on the phase of the moon. An ideal place to display the booklet would be the entrance hallway available for everyone to read. One point should be emphasized in bold print: "Everything is not as it seems." A ratio of men to women in a geriatric setting is in favor of the women since typically they outlive their partners. This can explain why most of the residents one might see are stereotypically women with a universal "Grandma" look-glistening white hair, pleasant features with a touch of character in the form of wrinkles and a plump stature. Elderly folks like to sit up front in the main lobby so they can see all the action of visitors coming and going. Even with organized activities, there remain a few idle hours for mischief to occur.

One of my demure old darlings would sit by the door in her wheelchair waiting in ambush, with her crooked smile enhanced by bright red lipstick she insisted on applying by herself, leaving the outline very crooked. Again as I mentioned "not everything is as it seems," because this old lady had a mind like a steel trap, with a memory bank of a dirty old woman. Sitting there looking oh so cute, she would catch some male visitor as he was entering, smile sweetly and gesturing to come closer. Most visitors were willing to be accommodating so they would bend over closer to hear what she was quietly whispering. Her sweet face never changed expression as she would utter the words, "My breast hurts, please, will you rub it for me?"

As the poor visitor's face turns visibly bright red or stark white from shock, the usual reaction was to stand there speechless. Their reactions would range from bolting out the front door, exiting quickly to find their friend who had accompanied them or just quietly would back away from her. Yet, another casualty "bites the dust." When this problem was brought to my attention, Bertha and I had a discussion about her behavior where I was informed: "A lady cannot have any fun in life anymore."

Through the years of being a caretaker for my special residents often means treating the mind, body, and soul. So on occasion, I have shut the barn door so the horse will not get out, feed the chickens, removed the big brown hairy spider from the doorway and even set the bear trap. Some days it means being a friend, daughter, mother or grandmother in the eyes of one of my loving, confused old folks who may need a gentle touch or TLC that day. A job I would not trade for anything.

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46 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg and L & D.

beautifully written, with much heart and soul.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Beautiful!! Of course this is a topic near and dear to my own heart, as I too am a geriatric nurse. Well done!


7 Posts

Specializes in Med surg, LTC.

I loved it! Very endearing and well written!


22 Posts

Lindsey Mcgraw, you are one in a million. You deserve your post.:redpinkhe:angel:


28 Posts

Specializes in rehab,geriatrics.

great article written by true geriatric nurse.I have the same heart for this field 30 years in geriatrics.Each of us has our own special shift we love and each shift is very different.Our residents give us much,much more than we give or do for them-11/7 supervisor

Wendy Leebov Ed.D.

1 Article; 20 Posts

This really gave me a glimspe into your world... and your residents were so ucky to have you. Thanks for sharing it.

Wendy Leebov

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