Friday, July 29, 2005

There need to be four of me.

That way, I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself.

Today, I had an encounter with an attending physician who'd never been on our unit before. His resident came up to me and asked, "How do I get in touch with the person who's covering for Doctor So-and-So this weekend?"

My answer was this: "Call the neuro rotating pager number (pointing at the board where it's written) and ask the person who calls you back."

Two minutes later the attending came up and asked me the same question.

Forty-five minutes later, I saw the attending wandering around the nurses' station, muttering things like "I hope I never get sick on this unit" and "This is no way to run a service" and "What the hell are they playing at, anyway?"

So I asked him. "Is there a problem?"

"Yes. I can't get hold of the person who's covering for Dr. So-and-So."

"Did you call the neuro rotating pager number?"

"No. I called (list of numbers picked, apparently at random, here). Nobody can tell me what's going on."

So I picked up the phone. I called the rotating pager. Dave called me back, pointed me to Sharma, and I called her pager number.

The attending kept hovering at my back, asking, "Is that an *attending*? Is that an *attending*??"

Sharma called back, had a short conversation with the *attending*, and answered all of his questions.

He hung up, then told me that this is no way to run a unit, he didn't understand what was going on, he hoped he never ended up with us, and he was amazed that people didn't die every day up here.

The Nurse Jo Bag of Snippy Replies was suddenly and annoyingly empty. I stood, staring at him like a calf at a new gate, with my mouth open and my hand frozen on the telephone receiver.

Whereupon he smiled pleasantly, patted me on the shoulder, and thanked me for my help.

I really should get that gun turret installed on the charge nurse's desk.


shrimplate said...

"Talking in Triangles" happens a lot. Instead of these people talking to each other, they need a nurse as a 3rd party to "facilitate" their dysfunctional communication patterns, and as an object onto which they can project their own inadequacies, such as the inability to read a bulletin board and dial a phone themselves.

This. Is. A. Phone. See the numbers? You push on them, and like magic, you are speaking to some other @$$bucket, not me. Get it?

I do often make calls and pages on behalf of doctors and residents if they are obviously too busy to do it themselves. If they are just being lazy, I just move on. I have to.

shrimplate said...

Another thought, though: you have a "new pet" now. By acting competently, that is to say normally to this attending, you have lifted his impressions of your unit.

I bet when you see him again he will be very appreciative and use you as is "go-to" person when he needs to negotiate around a unit still unfamiliar to him.

Jo said...

Just what I need: an arrogant asshat of an attending (and alliteration's artful aid!) to see me as his go-to girl.

Competence and care are their own punishments, I guess.

shrimplate said...

At least you won't have to change the litter in his box.

Anonymous said...

You don't need a gun turret, just a trap door over an alligator pit, with a push-button release on the desk. :-)