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lorelei1973's Latest Activity

  1. lorelei1973

    Favorite kind of facility to work in...

    I work in a state psychiatric hospital and would not want to work anywhere else. I don't do butt-wiping or brief changing, showering, dressing, feeding, etc. The therapeutic difference I make is interacting with the chronically mentally ill, and I find it fascinating and gratifying. For the most part these are adults who were damaged early in life and have suffered various psychological and developmental injuries, some more extreme than others. Many have committed crimes that would make me throw up, or at least presume that no human could do such a thing. I like the idea that I can be someone a mentally ill patient feels comfortable just being around. Our goal is to get our acutely psychotic patients stabilized, on a proven track, and ready for discharge, and that's often difficult and sometimes not even possible. I want to hear what they have to say, and just knowing all they need from me is someone who listens and takes them seriously. I have so many patients that I have witnessed come from maximum security to ready for discharge. I don't think people realize how scary it is to be both psychotic and sent to the "funny farm" simultaneously. Even people I work with forget that our clientele are just as human as any of us. Sad.
  2. lorelei1973

    cna training

    I live in Oregon, only been to Mass twice but what an incredibly beautiful place. So no, but I will say that if the program is accredited in Mass it's really up to you to get what you need out of it to pass the test. This is not rocket science. This is basic care principles, and if after verifying the credentials of the program you have chosen, you should know that the onus is on you to use what you learn to get through the skills test. There's no spoon feed.
  3. lorelei1973

    Oh, The Politics...

    It sounds like they're really not used to efficiency or having an employee who does what they would most prefer not to happen, which is to drive them. Good grief, time to have a conversation with the principles. You can do your work and circles around it; you need some clarification and commitment from your coworkers and supervisors. This is laziness (it seems sp at face value), but maybe it's the culture, and so maybe it works. It's your job now to find out if and how you fit in. But you have to have that conversation. So much room for misinterpretation when you're in a new situation -- better to hash it out than call it politics and resign yourself to feeling disconnected or sh*t upon.
  4. lorelei1973

    Should I leave my current job?

    My comment is very basic: Don't leave your current job until you've secured a new one. Don't fall prey to the "Grass is Greener" syndrome. I would suggest that you decide what makes you unhappy about your current hospital. If it's ICU work, then I'm curious why you think moving to a new ICU would make much difference in your job satisfaction. If it's hospital politics, or personnel issues, you will probably never find a workplace (for long, anyway) where those problems don't exist. If the problem is that you feel like management passes you over based on your experience level, maybe have a talk with your DON to share your concerns in a *very* positive manner. Try to find out what You can do to make this a better place for you to work, rather than what They can do.
  5. lorelei1973

    Frustrated...What would you do?

    That's a scam bordering on extortion. Better to be collecting unemployment pounding the pavement and sending out resumes than submitting to such an insult. In the end, you're essentially paying them. I'm floored that anyone (other than maybe someone who wasn't legal to work in the US) would say yes to that. If they have any adverts out there claiming $17/hr I'd turn them into the Attorney General.:angryfire
  6. lorelei1973

    how to file an incident report

    Incident reports are not optional where I work, and they're done electronically. Because so many of our nurses and staff are semi-literate (at best) when it comes to computers, we lobbied to get a desktop icon that leads the user straight to the form. So even a lack of typing skills doesn't work as an excuse -- even if one has to hunt and peck their way through the form, it's fairly idiot proof. At the bottom there's a send button so it goes directly to the intended recipients. I still don't get the computerphobia I see at work. For some people even checking their work email is so "difficult" they practically have panic attacks.
  7. lorelei1973

    Frustrated...What would you do?

    I wouldn't take it. I'd call them back and say that you feel like you were mislead into thinking you would be receiving $17/hr. and that you cannot afford to work at that wage (because, really can you? Doesn't seem so when factoring in childcare and transportation) Sure, you risk extending your unemployment, but maybe they're just low-balling you. I wouldn't bring up the topic of your current unemployment benefits. I would keep it at, "After consideration, I believe I'm worth $17 per hour at minimum, and what you're offering now simply isn't acceptable." Worst case scenario, they'll say fine and move along to the next desperate applicant. On the other hand, maybe they'll change their offer. Don't work for less than you're worth.
  8. lorelei1973

    CNA jobs...is it always like this?

    Good for you for finding this out. Now what? I would call or write your local state agency responsible for enforcement, but frame this as a question first (are they in violation and how so? May I have your name and title?) so you get the ground rules. Hate to sound like a troublemaker, but I am. If you're serious, find out the statues specific to your situation and be prepared to offer documented violations into evidence. Hearsay is you or a coworker saying "I wasn't given a break" ... essentially this is ******* in the wind without the testimony of you and others to back your claim up. Can be a slow process. And your original question points to that: "Is it always like this?" Well, in many cases yes it really is, but only because it's a fight most people aren't willing to take on.
  9. lorelei1973

    CNA jobs...is it always like this?

    There are no federal laws regarding breaks and meal periods, so you will have to find out what your state law says and/or what your company's employee handbook says. Even if you are entitled to breaks under state law, they do not have to be paid. Again, this is a state law thing. Before you consider blowing the whistle, make sure you have legal ground to stand on. Yeah, I know it seems like common sense. Maybe this will be helpful: http://www.ewin.com/articles/restper.htm
  10. lorelei1973

    Hospital changes attendance policy

    Without getting into too much detail, she had an arrest for DUI which was pretty bad, and had been in the nurse monitoring program on and off for years, so she was on the chopping block until the union intervened and got her back with a Last Chance Agreement. Following that for a year she'd been subjected to random U/A's, had to participate in a 12 step program and provide documentation, and was always clean. One weekend she took a very strong opiate derivative that she'd had left over from an old scrip (if it were current, that would be okay) due to some shoulder pain that she couldn't get rid of. She never even thought about what might happen if she were called to come down to the lab for a U/A the following week. But of course, she was, and her dirty U/A got her fired for violating her Last Chance Agreement. Understand that her work performance was always stellar -- wasn't like she was stealing from the narc drawer or coming to work three sheets to the wind. For whatever reason, our HR department chose not to report her termination to the Board. She still has an active license and hopefully a job somewhere. I wish HR would focus on the work we do, not what happens on our own time. Working as a nurse or a CNA in a psych hospital is incredibly stressful. Most of my co-workers have Axis I diagnoses and sometimes Axis II diagnoses (PTSD) as well. Comes with the territory.
  11. lorelei1973

    Being a Nurse for a Killer

    As horrifying as this crime was, this patient is a human, albeit of the Hannibal Lecter variety (psychiatrist? VERY creepy). If you work with the criminal psych population you have to be very detached from the circumstances that brought them to you. If you have a personal link, you must recuse yourself from the case. Otherwise, they come to you as a deeply disturbed individual with the same rights as every other patient, not someone who did something so reprehensible it affects your ability to do your job. If detachment proves impossible for a nurse, it's probably best to work in another area/specialty.
  12. lorelei1973

    threatened at work

    I work in a psych hospital with the criminally insane and all the patients know our first and last names. Some have internet privileges and can easily look us up, no matter how private we try to keep our identity. People with Axis II diagnoses in particular (anti-socials, psychopaths) will find out who you are, if they really want to, whether you tell them your name or not. By refusing to sign a document you put yourself at risk of insubordination. It's pretty naive to think that by refusing to sign with your full name would in any way protect you if this patient was indeed serious. But the chances of that are slim to none, especially once she is stabilized. Working with psych patients is hazardous, but most of the hazards occur while they are hospitalized. When they're stable enough for discharge, they aren't the same person who presented in the ER with psychosis and generally aren't interested in stalking hospital employees. Yes, it has happened, but much of the responsibility lies with the employee to ensure they have excellent boundaries and thoroughly professional behavior.
  13. lorelei1973

    Hospital changes attendance policy

    So true, so true.
  14. lorelei1973

    Hospital changes attendance policy

    First of all, get a copy of the old policy and the new policy. Analyze the differences for possible reasons for the change. Not blowing my horn here, but I just got someone out of predismissal for attendance issues. In the past she had big problems, but things sort of went hush hush while she accrued sick leave as demanded. Then one day, she was LATE. And she called ahead and said she was late, but would be there. And then out of the blue... She was on the verge of being terminated. I proposed to HR that she be put in a probationary status, and I did that because there was no getting around this girl's history. The head of HR for the entire state compromised from 24 to 18 months, but as i understand it she cannot be late as part of the program. Nor can she go into LWOP status. When I explained this to the employee, she was over the moon. I advised her to think about her shift beginning 15 minutes ahead of normal, and frame it in her mind that way. I have not had a chance to look up the draft agreement that HR is putting together that we both have to sign. It has to be airtight. Lateness happens. You wrap your head around a start time and how long it takes you to get there. So to combat the possibility you know your official start time, you have to get used to the fact that you need to be there earlier than that. For absences, get the paperwork in place showing you have a condition (H1N1 maybe) requiring you might have to take off to care for a child with pneumonis Oor a child with diabetes or cystic fibrosis, or even behavioral issues, or your own mental health, or WHATEVER. I've see ONE employee blow her last chance agreement. One month before it was up she took a painkiller on one of her days off. That was the end of her job, even though she'd been a model employee and never impaired on the job. I was incredulous that my own stupid union let this LCA go through without an end date. At some point anyone with any kind of issue needs to be assured that they will no longer be in perpetual boiling water with management again.
  15. lorelei1973

    back to Work with a Warning

    I don't know where you live or what the laws are in your state, nor whether you belong to a union. If you're in a "right to work" state, you can be dismissed just like that. If you are represented by a union, you have a collective bargaining agreement which specifies the steps of discipline. I'm a union steward in a hospital in a "union" state, so as a public employee (which I am) I would be subjected to progressive discipline even if I weren't protected by a contract. This means that there would be verbal warning, followed by written warning, followed by a pay reduction for a 3 month period, and then pre-dismissal. However, if I were new (within my trial service period of six months or a year) none of this would apply. Similarly, if I did something really egregious, like came to work drunk and accidentally killed a patient, I could be dismissed on the spot and subject to criminal charges. Okay so, all that being said, I have to assume the period you were out of work was not a FMLA-covered absence. in order to qualify for FMLA you have to have worked at the facility for a certain length of time, and it depends upon hours. Generally six months isn't long enough. The details you've given are a little sketchy. What I would say is that you are being given a second chance but unless you have union representation, you may correctly interpret this verbal warning at face value. On the other hand, it is unrealistic to expect ANY employee to never be sick, or never have to care for a sick family member for the duration of their employment. So you need to talk to your administration and clarify the terms. If they want to place you on a probationary status, that's reasonable. But you have to pose the question, what if I am too sick to work? Do I even need to bother to call in sick? Is there a timeframe on this? Research your state family medical leave laws in addition to the federal law. Educate yourself about what is legal and what is not. If you find yourself terminated while in a family medical leave status, you have grounds to sue for discrimination. On the other hand, unless you get it in writing what the expectations are (I would insist) you will have nothing to show an attorney or your union or the EEOC if your employer decides to cut you loose down the road.
  16. lorelei1973

    Double Shifts

    I know several RN's at my hospital who do 2 16s and an 8 and LOVE IT and wouldn't trade it for anything. The idea of having 4 days off in their opinion is well worth the long hours on workdays. But ultimately it comes down to what you can handle. As a CNA doing the tough "dirty work" and not much else, it will test your physical and mental stamina. I know CNA's who do back to back doubles 5 days a week because the OT is available. They're no worse for wear; they're automatons. You have to think about how this will impact your life and how you feel about being on your feet for all those hours. For some it seems effortless, for others it's hazardous to themselves and their patients. Consider what you think you can handle before you agree to the schedule. Living on Red Bull and coffee isn't the magic bullet for everyone. If you aren't sure because you've never worked that many hours straight before, ask for a trial period. And if they tell you this is all we have, otherwise hit the road, I'd be looking around at other jobs just in case this is unmanageable.