Hello, I read AN all the time. I’m a clerk in the ER (I mostly do bedside registration, co-pays, etc.) I really like the job and for me, I’m seeing all kinds of crazy stuff, meeting all kinds of interesting patients, it’s a step up from doing phlebotomy for years and nurse aide. I wanted to be a nurse for a long time, but I honestly couldn’t hack the schooling. I found it very difficult and stressful and dropped out.
But, I’m still involved in healthcare and I’m making the most money I’ve ever made in my life with excellent benefits and I have a shift I like. However…
I may be in a toxic work environment but the nursing staff in our ED are incredibly cliquey. They all go out to breakfast after work with the medical residents, play music in the station and dance around with each other and have a kind of fraternity/sorority vibe. Many of them are always making plans for daytrips and other bar-going type adventures. Many of them are in their twenties. No big deal but I’m starting to really get the feeling that they just absolutely think of us as scum. They interrupt us when we’re talking to patients, they almost crash into us (we have mobile computers we push around) as in, they WILL NOT MOVE, they wait for us to move one recently collided into one of our elderly updaters and didn’t even apologize. Each area of the ER has a nurses station where we have to sit alongside the nursing staff. They do things like throw our coats into the floor to take chairs (we don’t have lockers), never offer us any candy or anything when they do and won’t make eye contact if we ask them anything or even snap answers like we’re super annoying. They’ll even talk about us (Registration, not individually) right as we’re sitting there. There are a few nice ones but very few.
My question really is just about nursing in general. If I’m standing in a room with a patient holding their credit card and the patient has a clipboard and is signing consents --- is it normal or right for a nurse to push in , not even acknowledge us and start trying to do an IV or distribute medicines? Last night, a patient was paying $100 in cash and the rest on credit ($150) and had cash in her hands and the nurse came in and said “You need to drink this” and handed her a little vial of some kind of gastro medicine. She had to literally swap hands with the money and wasn’t sure what to do so she handed the medicine to me because her table was too out of her reach, the nurse began checking her IVs. I said, “Hey, I’m almost finished, she’s trying to pay her copay…” and the nurse said (without looking at me) “She has to take the medicine now” and walked out. Completely ignoring that she had MONEY IN HER HAND and consent forms on her lap. I walked out to the station afterward and politely said, “I know the ER is busy and we get in each other’s way, but we have to work together.” She literally got up and left. A co-worker tried to explain to another nurse the other night that we had jobs to do , too and the nurse said, “Well ours is more important.” True but…? (We literally are being timed by management on how fast and efficiently we do registration and insurance.) I never know how to deal with this kind of interruption. Doctors do it all the time, too.
Do you think it’s actually personal or do nurses just get so busy that they don’t even really notice us or is this just this ER or is this just a common thing?
I think it must be trickling down from the charge nurse. She’s only 28 or so and has a mean girl attitude. Someone had brought in a tray of cookies for the ER as a thank you. And a tech was passing them out. She approached two of us (registration) and the charge nurse yelled out, “Nuring staff only.”
It’s so demeaning. Like I said, otherwise I like the job. And if I’m being honest, like many, I’m relying on the pay to live my life. I try to ignore it but these things are starting to happen at least twice a shift. I’m starting to look for jobs elsewhere in the hospital in the paygrade. I really do admire nurses, I wanted to be one and I like working around them and helping them out. But this feels really dumb and hateful. I really don’t know how to handle it. Mostly I just let the nurse do what she has to do, smile and carry on after they walk away. But sometimes it’s so belittling that it takes me a minute or two to readjust to the blow. Even patients comment on how rude it is. Does anyone have any thoughts or helpful advice? I’ve heard that in a year, half these nurses won’t even be here, so it may just be a bad batch. A few evenings ago, a student doctor was so nice to me in the room that I felt like crying which is how I knew this has just built up... lol.