Sunday, November 29, 2009

Newsflash: Some Nurses are Assholes!

Okay, okay. Some people are assholes. And some assholes are nurses. I expect assholishness in the general public, but I don't always expect it from nurses. When I encounter a nurse that is unprofessional, it always shocks me a bit.

I spent the day at Holy Kamole, orienting to their CCU, which is much different from Sunnydale's. For one thing, the folks at Our Lady of Perpetual Propofol see many more heart patients than we at The Brain Barn do (ie, we see exactly none). They also get fresh transplant patients, folks in end-stage whatever disease, people with flaming CMV infections everywhere but their get the idea. The patient population is varied, totally not brain-screwed, and very, very sick.

So: Imagine a freshly-scrubbed, almost-recovered-from-her-weekend Jo bopping on to the floor a bit early. (I always get where I'm going a little early, so I can orient.) The night charge was kind enough to take me around and show me the various cubbyholes, then show me where they hide the snacks, and get me into the computer system. Then the day charge showed up.

And promptly completely ignored me when I ventured to introduce myself. No, seriously. I walked up to the desk, made eye contact with him, said "Hello-my-name-is-Jo-I'm-from-Sunnydale-and-I'm-orienting-today" and watched in disbelief as he looked levelly at me, then turned his back and walked away with a heavy sigh.

Um. Okay.

Sorry to be using your oxygen.

The day improved after that, as my preceptor was one of those fantastic teachers who never gets tired of explaining *why*, exactly, you need to level this line here or give these medications in this order. I love whys and wherefores. She gave me oodles of them. She also sent me hither and yon to see things like pacemaker interrogations (for non-medical folks, that involves a computer, not tying the pacemaker to a chair and threatening it) and emergent intubations and the nastiest case of scabies I've have EVER seen (the dude's right chest was covered with crust and his nipple was totally gone). So, all in all, a good experience--if you ignore the charge nurse, which I did.

Until emergent intubation number two, for which I was the runner. The charge turned to me and said, "Get saline."

"What, exactly?" I asked. "Bag? Flush? Bullet?" (Any one of the three would've been logical.)

He sighed deeply again (good thing he's well-perfused) and said, as though I were Forrest Gump on a bad day, "I need a bag of saline. You know, the big one. The liter one. With tubing. The kind with the spike on the end. You think you can do that?"

I did not shove the bag of saline (the big one, with tubing) into his ass. Instead, I brought it back in record time, considering that the bags of fluid and the spikes are kept in totally different places across the unit from one another, and handed it to him without comment.

Then we went back to ignoring one another for another few hours.

When the night nurse who was taking my patients arrived, she looked me up and down and said, "Oh. You're a new nurse. From Sunnydale." You could've cooled beer with her voice. Again, resisting the urge to put her into one of her own beds, I gave her the most thorough report-by-system I've ever managed to pull out of my hat, without comment. (And thank Frogs I had managed to do everything including fluff-and-puff for my patient, thus leaving nothing about which she could complain.) New nurse, yes. Stupid nurse, no.

Asshole? God, I hope not.


Not Nurse Ratched said...

I get soooooooo pissed at this kind of thing. Some people get away with this kind of jaw-dropping behavior, and it's so blatant and rude that it's BIZARRE. I hope you don't have too many assholes at your workplace. They can kill a job.

City Girl Marj said...

Ugh. How frustrating! The same jerks then wonder why they can't keep talented nurses in their department... :P Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with Marjorie.

If they're too stupid to figure it out, don't waste time (only if they pay you money) to explain.

And 90% of them won't get it without drawing a picture, anyway.

woolywoman said...

Oh, yes, now you have met some of the ICU nurses that I had to work with. I am so glad I work in the Brain Barn, west coast, and not the Cardiac Casa in my hospital system. I like Brains- hearts, not so much.

Michael Guzzo said...

Our Lady of Perpetual Propofol

I think I've worked here before too. It's a sleepy little hospital, right?

You handled everything perfectly. I'm sure you already know that this guy's attitude has nothing to do with you. He's just upset having to live life with a little dick, and it's making him a miserable human being.

Crabby McSlacker said...

I really doubt that that sort of unmitigated assholery works out well as a life strategy. Anyone who's that awful can't have a very happy personal life. Smart of you not to engage or take it personally.

Still: yuck.

Anonymous said...

As a patient I can say that I appreciate you non-asshole nurses. People with his personality should try being morticians instead of nurses.

Anonymous said...

I've heard of lots of asshole nurses. There was a male nurse who tried to "lighten the mood" with this girl and her male friend in the hospital. I think the girl had been raped and the guy had something serious too. but the nurse just came in and laughed and said, "man. I wish a could just be lazy and get naps like you guys all day!"

If he wants to go through rape and whatever the guy went through just so he (the male nurse) can get a nap, the author of the original post said she'd gladly trade her position for his.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. It's all over the world. And the higher up the positions get the RUDER the behaviour, the higher the level of entitlement and the more bewildering the reactions to simple questions. Like, you are too cool to answer an email from me, or simply say "I am going to need some more information"