It’s a Block, Kind Of

FTW - not for the win

My life has been one set of aggravations after another lately and I feel like the picture implies.  And it sounds trite and trivial to whine about them in a pubic forum, but sometimes we have to vent.  The problem is that I can’t spin them in ways to make it sound less trivial and less trite.  When I do write it out and go back over it the words sound like some teen who’s parents took the car away from. So it’s kind of like a block.  But I’m going to spit it out, get the vitriol, hate and anger out.  We’ll see what happens.

My doctor’s office.
They don’t seem to realize that I need answers sooner rather than later.  You see I had a result on a test which my doc wanted me to get further worked-up for.  They assured me that the office staff would get on it.  That was a week ago.  And today they don’t even return my phone call.  WTF?!  The results are life-altering and frankly I’m scared as hell about it.  I want, no I crave answers to what is going on.  That’s the fucked up thing as a nurse, you know enough to be totally freaked out, but not enough to be rational.  Reading Up to Date at work does not help the situation.

My Floor
I love my staff.  My co-workers are some of the most awesome nurses I have ever worked with and we’re one hell of a good team.  When shit goes south, I know they have my back and likewise for them.  But the patients, oh, our wonderful patients.  I’m slowly losing interest in little old demented ladies, the non-compliant trainwrecks that circle through every month or so, the stupid admissions and the psych cases that need “medical clearance” before going to in-patient psych.  It’s no longer a challenge.  Which is dangerous for me.  I get complacent.  I get bored.  I need to leave and find new adventures but the economy is still to fragile and based on item #1, I don’t want to be changing anything yet.  So I’m stuck.

The Floats
I’m tired of floaters to our floor.  I appreciate having them fill our holes and some days a body is better than nothing, but only barely.  What’s worse is when they get floated because our staff gets canceled (thanks to our convoluted staffing office’s system that no one understands and is about as transparent as mud), or they get floated to a sister unit as that unit can’t staff themselves.  Ever.  So I give up one of our floor nurses, trained in ACLS, stokes, rhythms etc., who can handle anything that gets admitted for someone who I have to carefully tailor the assignment for and hope they are there for the entire shift (one floor in the whole f-ing hospital has a special dispensation to have different hours 6-6 vs 7-7 and their nurses, even when floated keep that time, so we lose a nurse at 0630).  And if anything gets funky I pretty much end up taking over the patient(true story).

Our Aides
Who do as little as possible so it is like having no aide at all.  ‘Nuff said.

My Sister Unit
Them whose shit don’t stink, those that are better than us as they get “critical care differential”, those who take care of open heart patients and stent patients, those who can only take ACLS certified floats.  Yes, those bastards.  They tend to forget that I used to work with all of them before our units split apart.  So you have a post-open heart patient.  Big deal.  Been there, done that.  With four other patients.  Oooh, you had to pull a sheath.  And?  It wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t so fucking condescending about it.  Yes, we’re the other tele unit, the dump unit, the one you turf the trainwrecks and pain in the ass patients too.  Even though you are an Intermediate Care Unit, the only true step-down type patients you take of are cardiac stuff, we get a ton of the nasty medical stuff that should probably go to you.  You stonewall any attempt to take any sort of non-cardiac patient all the time.  And I’m sorry that you had to take an admit the other night, we had 3 nurses and didn’t have the ability to take an admit at the time.  Yet in your busyness, you Ms. Charge Nurse-lifer still found the time to come up and chat with us for 45minutes.  You were really busy.  The classic line though was when one of you looked at our patients and said, “They have a chest tube!  Shouldn’t they be in the IMCU?  Can you handle it?”  No, we can’t.  I was wondering what that funny thing sticking out of their chest was, maybe I need to get them transferred!  No, the reason they are up here, I wanted to tell her, was because the surgeon wasn’t as picky as your typical guy is, because God forbid, his holiness, the cardio-thoracic surgeon would have to go a floor above yours and the ICU!  We can take care of a patient with chest tubes, it ain’t rocket science like you make it out to be.

Last, but not least, our Day Shift
I’m not starting a Days vs Nights war, this is not a general meditation of day shift, but my feelings towards our lovely day shift.  It can be summed up simply:  can you just get your shit done?  Ever?  Nursing is a 24-hour job, but that doesn’t mean you can dump everything on the night shift.  I am sick and tired of spending the first 3, 4, 5 or more hours of my shift cleaning up your messes.  I know I can’t say anything because all we do at night is sit around talking (yes, more than one has said this).  I mean we have to have something to do, right?  Nearly every night for the last 3 months has been  like walking into a war zone when I get to work.  Some days are better than others, but they are the exception.  It’s not a good sign when the nurse you get report from answers every question of “Did this get done yet?” with, “Oh, I didn’t see that.”  Not a good sign when the patient has been on the floor since 1600 and nothing is done and they’re lying in their own waste.  Having been around during the day for other things at work, I see the manic take hold until all of them are wandering around in circles looking like they are doing a lot but really doing nothing at all.  And if you really want to see frantic useless action, call a Code.  It’s like the proverbial chicken with their head off.  While it is nice to be welcomed by your patients, it’s never a good sign when they say, “I’m so glad you’re here!”  So yes, day shift, I’m not a fan.  Don’t you dare give my nurses shit when everything isn’t complete on a patient who arrived at 0630, because it never is when y’all do it.

At least I feel a little better now.

My GI doc appointment is actually scheduled now, my PCPs office called at 1900 last night to let me know.  Guess they heard my ranting.  Dude looks like a child though.  Could be interesting.


  1. Our Aides
    Who do as little as possible so it is like having no aide at all. ‘Nuff said.

    Actually it’s worse because of the time you waste trying to get them to do their job properly.

    I hope you do feel better… sometimes a good rant is like a fleet for the brain. (Sorry about the image.)


  2. Righteous rant and all of it universally true. I have to say your blog makes me realize the med/surg tele floor I just left isn’t unique in it’s brand of Hell. And it made me all warm and fuzzy inside to read how the stupid cows in your ICU look down on you and the work you do just like the stupid cows in our ICU.

    And the aides? We have great aides on the day shift but our night shift aides are fuckin’ worthless. I would rather just do total patient care than be under the mistaken impression any of their lazy asses would wake up from their little naps and get out of a chair and actually do something.

    My boss said it best when he described the type of nursing we have to do and the stuff we put up with: “You people are like the Navy Seals of the hospital. You can’t say “no” to a mission.”

    Seriously, you’re a good nurse: the whole package of smart, funny and compassionate. Don’t leave the profession, find something else in the profession because it would be a damn shame to lose you.


    1. Thanks! You just made my day. As for leaving, it’s nursing for life, I’m just ready to leave my job, not the career.


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