Sunday, July 24, 2011

*pace* *pace* *bang* *bang* *pace* *pace*

I do not know what to do.

DAJ and I have been chatting prior to her leaving on vacation. She's got worries about the NCCU, and so do I. She's the best formal, businessy-type letter-writer I've ever met, and I'm good at editing, so we're going to work together--after she gets back--on a formal letter of complaint about what's been going on. Meanwhile, all of us are going to keep on filling out incident reports and yelling and pointing out problems and inadequacies, and I'm going to ask for a meeting with the person who's the head of education for the chemotherapy nurses. I'm going to throw myself on her mercy and ask her if she thinks it's a good idea that we, the NCCU nurses, take over chemo administration after our chemo unit moves across the street.

I'm also going to chat with the director of the unit.

But, after that, then what?

Here's the deal: we're moving the unit sometime later this year into a designated space. Rather than carving out space in underused rooms with borrowed beds and semi-working monitors and pumps, we're going to have an actual six-bed unit, with *stuff* that works. I'm holding out hard for central monitoring (the patients could be monitored remotely in the surgical CCU, but I don't like that idea for a number of reasons) and in-room recording monitors. Frankly, not having those two things would be a dealbreaker for me.

I'm also holding out (dealbreaker again) for actual written policies as concern staffing and duties, not a make-it-up-as-we-go approach, which is what we've got. The Big Boss of the Block told me a few weeks ago that the reason we don't have formal policies yet, after ten months of being open, is that we don't *officially* open for business until this coming fall.

Which makes me wonder what we've been doing since September.

All of this is making me very thoughtful.

The Big Boss is a bully and a terror. I've known this since I started working under him five years ago, and he and I have gone head-to-head on a number of issues ranging from his harassment of other nurses to the way he treats people on committees. He doesn't like me; I don't like him. We can work together, just barely, provided our interests don't conflict too much. We both realize this.

I'm not sure I can outlast him. He's older than me, and much fatter, and in rather poor health. Unfortunately, given that he's a lump of Concentrated Evil, he's likely to last in his current position for a very long time. Evil don't die easy.

Should I leave now? Should I wait, since this unit has become my baby, and leave after we transition to a workable space? (Just the space we were given is nearly impossible, given how it's laid out. I mean, really--you guys wouldn't believe it if I told you.) Should I stick it out, hope to outlast the Big Boss, and continue to fight the good fight?

I don't think I can stick it out. I'm convinced that part of the reason I got cancer was the amount of stress I was under during the year before I was diagnosed. I don't want a second malignancy.

At the same time, how easy would it be for me to get another job within Giganto Research & Education, Inc, parent company of Sunnydale, with Big Boss still in the picture? Leaving the GREI fold isn't workable right now for a number of reasons I don't want to go into.

Will an infusion clinic hire a nurse they have to train? Is there a way I can make myself more or less bulletproof as regards Big Boss? If I'm not naturally very diplomatic, how do I learn those skills, and will they actually do me any good? Should I try to get another job here in the state, or just up and move to Missoula? Should I stick it out for a year while DAJ finishes her degree, then move with her to Seattle so we can split rent?

I tossed and turned last night and had to do deep meditative breathing to keep from getting so angry I couldn't sleep. I simply am at a loss.

I think I'll go make a coffee cake.


Silliyak said...

Create options. Get your resume out and start to polish. Seek openings. Apply other places, even if they are not totally perfect. The practice will give you confidence AND options, should the worst happen. Include out of state options/openings. Do you have contacts in other venues you could talk to about the work environment? It's not a problem, it's an opportunity. Did I mention it's mid 70's today here in NoCal? (low 60's at the coast where I am as I type this, 13:40) You have a profession where you can move around.

girl_in_greenwood said...

MOVE TO SEATTLE AND COME WORK WITH ME AND WE WILL FIGHT THE POWERS OF LORD VOLDEMORT TOGETHER. And also eat really excellent fruit. And fail to expire from heatstroke. And find the density of liberals much higher than that of conservatives. And see Mount Rainier nearly every day (weather permitting).

bobbie said...

What will be the best for YOUR long-term mental health?

theresadaugherty said...

I know the feeling,I have 2 cakes cooling in the kitchen right now.What is about baking that relieves stress?Or is it eating afterwards that does it?Here's to starting diets when the stress ends,if it ever does.

messymimi said...

No concrete advice except to keep looking for more alternatives, because sometimes there are more than we see at first.

Praying you come to a decision and have peace about it.

Anonymous said...

Document EVERYTHING, just in case. On a non-work computer.

Polish your resume.

Put out feelers within the system.

Hopefully you already have copies of commendations, good job evals, patent thank you letters, awards, etc. Keep them off site. Perhaps make copies and store them apart from the originals, also off-site.

When the situation devolves into something actively dangerous for patients (or for you), and you can't do anything about it, it is time to depart. Why? Because no matter how much those patients need you, other patents need you just as much and all patients need a healthy nurse. Feeling powerless is a major stressor.

Try really hard to keep cordial ties open with Mr. Evil. Not getting along with your boss is not the world's best reason to cite when asked why you're looking/applying for a job. But if conditions are unsafe for patients, and you can't change conditions, that sounds like a good reason to look for another job, one you can tell potential employers.

PS I live an hour south of Seattle. Summers are GLORIOUS, winters are rainy, gray, and chilly and if you're prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, you could be in difficulty by February.

Penny Mitchell said...

Document, document, document. Keep your ear to the ground. Document some more. Remember that I have a soft shoulder, even if I don't know a friggin' thing about how hospitals run. (((((Jo))))))

MamaDoodle said...

I'm voting for the move to Seattle option :) I know all the great places for coffee. And all the other stuff that Girl in Greenwood said! Do I even have to mention that today's high of 83 felt downright sweltering? Just say the word and Girl in Greenwood and I will get together and start scouting apartments :)

Anonymous said...

I like the move to Seattle option, but I say do it now rather than stick it out a year. Once you're getting your ducks in a row for your own forward momentum, others' evilness isn't going to run your life...there won't be space for it!

Celeste said...

And while you're making plans, start reading this blog. It'll get your head in the right place. No affiliation, yada yada, just a blog I like. There's so much in it about life in Seattle (including choosing the move there) and wanting a certain kind of life, that I think it'll speak to you and maybe be exactly what you need at this point in your life.

Allison said...

The other comments are spot on about living in Seattle. It's a fun place to live, but it is expensive. Check out cost of living vs. what you could make. The weather in the first quarter of the year tends to be gruesome, but if you're working full time (inside) and you join a gym it's bearable. I did it for 22 years.
Life is short, you only get one chance at it. How much misery do you want to endure? That's the strongest vote for leaving.
Does leaving affect a pension? Sometimes the misery of the job is out weighed by the pension.
I am so sorry to hear that you are working for Mr. Evil, it just sucks the life force out of a person. One of the great mysteries is why people can be so bloody mindedly awful.

woolywoman said...

save your own fucking life. just my advice.

gem said...

Seattle or Canada maybe? Check out the Okanagan in British Columbia. Serious hospital expansions in Kelowna (see ).

Lots of wineries, hiking, skiing, sailing, and good food too.

RehabRN said...

I feel for you, jo.

Do what you gotta do, then make plans B and C and be ready for whatever.

You have to be happy and healthy to really enjoy life. It's too short to work in a toxic environment and get sick.

Anonymous said...

My advice, based on a father-in-law who is Concentrated Evil--don't wait for him to die off--I don't think even the devil wants that kind of concentrated evil--my FIL had a severe head injury about 6 years ago...he wasn't expected to get out of ICU, then wasn't expected to get out of the nursing home...but 6 months later he was back, ruining my husband's business, almost ruining our marriage...and we're still waiting for him to take that dirt nap. He's going to stagger around (overweight, off balance b/c of his head injury and refusal to go to rehab) and defy all the odds and until my husband decides he's had enough, FIL is going to torment us.

You are smart, talented, and very experienced and can easily find another job that you'll enjoy. And even if you don't enjoy it as much as you enjoy your job now (oh wait, are you enjoying it? :-) ) it is just not worth it.

Just my 2 cents.

girlvet said...

get out its not worth it and you deserve better

Cartoon Characters said...

Seattle is a wonderful city, having lived my life mostly in the Northwest.

It's not as bad as people make out to be and the options for activities in the beautiful natural environment are endless.

Although this is a bad year, it's not as wet as some would make out to be - normally.

People are very much oriented to nature and health....just don't get a job at the U-dub. I worked there and didn't like it at all.