Thursday, January 16, 2014

You know how, sometimes, things get brown and ucky and dull?

That's the way things have been around here, lately. Every couple of years I kind of brown-out--not burn out--on work, and blogging, and people and nursing generally.

Then I get better.

That is what happened this last couple of months: I browned out and then got better.

A lot of it had to do with work. You guys might've heard that the flu season has started. We have a thirty-bed medical CCU, and sixteen of those beds are filled by people under the age of 50 on ventilators or ECMO (a way of oxygenating blood by taking it out of your body, zapping it with O2 through a membrane, and returning it--sort of like lung dialysis) because of the flu. These are previously-healthy people, too. The old and sick ones are just flat-out dying.

Plus, there seems to be a sale on myesthenia gravis these days. I hear that if you have six patients with MG in your NCCU at once, you'll get an eggroll. I need our eggrolls to be delivered, please.

Meanwhile, as the plague is sweeping the state (and our staff), we were preparing for a couple of really hugely fucking important surveys. One was a TDH (Department of Health) thing that happens occasionally, just to make sure we're not all licking our hands clean between patients. Another was a certification survey, which was a very, very big deal, given that the surveyors would be coming to our unit, primarily, and going through charts and asking tough questions and so on.

Joint Commission surveys are generally held to be bullshit. They go like this: everything gets repainted, stuff gets put in storage rather than left out in the halls, the bathrooms finally get fixed in the locker rooms, and you get multiple nastygrams from chart auditors in the weeks leading up. Then the JC shows up, does whatever it is they do (pity the poor souls, though it's probably better than whoring), and things go back to normal.

This was not a JC survey. It was actually, you know, hard: thorough and comprehensive. Two very nice people showed up without much warning one morning and started asking me questions about neuroanatomy. One of them stuck around until the afternoon, watching us care for patients (there are certain things you do differently for neuro patients, and differently if they're, say, stroke patients versus neurosurgery), sitting in on patient education, and generally making me and my coworkers nervous. The two of them were critical care specialists, too, which made it even more fraught.

We passed. We passed perfectly, with no demerits. First time out, spandy-new NCCU, and we fucking aced it. Nobody else in the country has ever done that on this survey. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Our manager, for whom I would take a bullet, bought us a huge lunch to celebrate. Our manager's manager, another woman I'd step into the line of fire for, came up the next day and was so overcome she was actually teary-eyed. The director of medical services and the critical-care big boss came up and congratulated us. So did the president of the entire Consolidated Research and Medical Care Gargantuan Whingnut, of which Sunnydale General is a part.

And the new nursing officer? The individual Der Alter Jo and I nicknamed The Dalek? Said nothing. No acknowledgement whatsoever.

This is the person who's responsible for approving hiring and firing and wages and working conditions and safety and all that shit, and he has not said word one about a survey which, to be honest, focused less on medical care and more on nursing care.

I kind of expected that, to be honest. Still, it sucks that the person whose job it is to make sure that my colleagues and I have safe, sane, decently-provided working conditions, continuing ed, all that stuff, was absent from the hallelujah chorus.

It baffles me that somebody so tone-deaf could keep moving up through the ranks like he has. I wonder what photos he has in his posession.

Anyway, it's been a hard slog of a couple of months. I don't know if things are getting better, or if I'm just getting acclimated to being torn four different directions at once for twelve hours at a stretch. I gained all of the seventeen pounds I had so carefully lost, and slept worse and bitched more than is normal for me, but that all seems to be evening out now.

Anyway, I'm back. Mongo is a big, furry goofball. The cats are just fine as froghair. Boyfiend is doing something brewerish tonight. Sherlock is in his flat and all is right with the world.


atlantagirl30345 said...

Can haz pics of Mongo?

Seriously, Jo, I've been waiting for these pictures for so long :). Glad to hear you're doing better.

RehabNurse said...

Maybe Dalek could have gotten wordy and said, "Great job!" (I know too much logic...)

Congratulations on surviving your inspection and certification. When the bigwigs can't appreciate you, it's nice that the other folks do.

Manglement will be manglement, but people you would take a bullet for are gems indeed!

bobbie said...

Congratulations on the great review!!

Snap to the Dalek ~ may he rot in PVS hell.

Keep on keepin' on ~

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

I am glad you are back! That sounds like a hell experience but kudos for the flying colours! Well deserved acknowledgement from the important people at least.

Stefanie said...

And I had thought you had gone the way of so many bloggers on my list these days. On to better things. kudos on your cert! and a rubber chicken to Dalek. They rise to their level of incompetency. Meanwhile we here in the land of Daniel Boone are dealing with skyward levels of flu and respiratory ailments such that I've come to be surprised we have anyone walking on the streets without so much as a sniffle. February supposed to be the peak of the flu. One can only hope. Keep writing. We're listening.

messymimi said...

A Happy Snoopy Dance for you and your NCCU!

It's hard not to let the one person who is silent spoil the parade, i know, but everyone is good for something, even if only being a bad example. That person is just a bad example of how to be a boss.

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Wow !~! Doing the Happy Dance here in the Bay for you and your entire crew. What an accomplishment !~! And kudos coming from the correct people almost make up for the jerk. I'm sorry he has aphasia at the worst moments...

May the rest of the season be smooth sailing; I'm really glad to see you back. You had me worried there for a bit.

clairesmum said...

glad to hear from you again, and that your NCCU did so amazingly well - strong women rock!

Rosanna said...

Hearty Congratulations To All, Jo, on your NCCU's ~ *A.*C.*I.*N.*G.* of ~ the grueling Certification Survey!! Way to GO!! ('Also glad you're "back" & okay, too~~~~I just might have some bourbon in your honor tonight. So, there. Haha!!)

'Sounds like your new Nursing Officer is a lot like one of my Nurse Managers was. When I, in simply commenting about what a *wonderful* nurse a certain longtime, recently-retired nurse had been ............ (i.e., who additionally had been ROUTINELY thanked/praised for her excellent Patient Care; and for her genuine, all-around helpfulness, not only by her grateful patients; and by her/our nursing and medical colleagues, but also by our NURSE MANAGER herself, too!!) ............ my Nurse Manager simperingly said, "Well, there are OTHER good nurses who (still) work here, too."

With the current push toward "Kinder/Gentler; Non-Hostile; Non-Toxic; Non -Adult Bullying; More Civil Workplaces," your new Nursing Officer, Jo; and my Nurse Manager maybe both just have/had ............ a real-bad-case of Impacted Civility, (haha)!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I've missed your blog. Big congratulations on the survey--that's awesome.

Krista Mellish said...

I just came across your blog out of shear curiosity. And I have to say I am a big fan. Thank you for what you do and I endlessly say (most) nurses who love (most) patient, need to be told when they do a fab job. Like what happened got a perfect score. But really at the end of the day you really do work for your patients and what lucky ones they are to have you caring for them. Nurses also really do need to be paid more. They truly do the life saving.....congrats and I am sending you a great big thank you for what you do hug from Canada :)

Pam said...

A thousand congrats on passing that survey, Jo. I work on a neuro unit (NOT intensive care), and we get all nervous just for the Joint Commission surveys. That your unit passed this higher survey, with flying colors, on its first try, is truly impressive. Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. You're a hell of a writer, and despite the Nursing Officer's snub, probably a dang good nurse.
I'm 3yrs out of nursing school, and I find myself googling "I Hate Nursing" just to see if I had anyone to commiserate with. I actually like the act of nursing. It's the profession—the bureaucracy and politics and (lack of) management and passive-aggressive-speak and near total discordance between a hospital's mission and actual behavior that has driven me near postal.

Yet you've given me the hope to carry on!
So carry on!


Cr0w$C@lling said...

Well Done!

Caitlin Stone said...

I'm so glad you're back! I just started working in an Intensive Care Unit and I was wondering; what is the difference between ICU and CCU? A lot of those acronyms get thrown around and the definitions aren't always clear.
Congratulations on the flying colors in the survey! I'd love to work in a place with such emphasis on exceptional nursing care.
Take care and good luck!

Eileen said...

Glad you're back and WELL DONE!!!!!

The Dalek - we used to assume promoted out of harm's way... He's obviously superfluous to requirements judging by the result.

Caitlin, as I understand it:
ICU - fairly general causes of needing critical care
CCU - cardiac causes of needing critical care
PICU - small people needing critical care
NNCCU - very small people needing critical care

Sharon Tulloch said...

Well done!

ownuprojas said...

New to your blog but LOVE IT! Great job on your perfect score on the certification survey! Remember that those that are important recognize your great work and sacrifices! Keep keepin' on!

ymendez87 said...

Congratulations on your excellent survey! I completely know the feeling of being over whelmed during state survey. I currently work in a long term skilled facility as a LPN. My job has open window for State surveys now. which, ugh I am so thrilled about(nope not at all). I hope my facility's survey goes as smooth as yours did. For me, survey week has always been the week I wished I was on vacation. It is the worst, annoying feeling having the state surveyors all in your charts, watching your every move when you just looking to get your work done, but I always manage to get through it. I am new to your blog :) love it so far!

WNJ said...

"The cats are just fine as froghair." - I actually don't have any idea what could these mean. Good luck! :)