Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to the Grindstone

Well, this week I rejoined the working class. After 6 weeks of unemployment, I am sweating it out like a grunt. Everyone has been nice....mostly. I have run into a few personalities that I can tell are not going to be fun to work with at all, but that's work I suppose. The doctors have all been relatively nice, or maybe tolerant is the word. I only screwed up the orders 3 times in 3 days! The nurses are optimistic that it will work out for the best. Well, not all of them. I ran into a particularly nasty one last night. For the most part, what I am encountering most is people asking why I am doing this job. I'm getting pretty tired of explaining myself. I thought I was going to be ok with it, but its getting harder and harder when everyone acts like I'm lowering myself. The general attitude is that I should feel a little shamed for working as a Tech instead of a Nurse. Really? Is being
a Tech that shameful? I was a CNA for awhile and I don't remember being that ashamed about it. Maybe its only shameful if one goes from being a nurse to a tech in a backward-type motion?? I don't know, but I thought I was going to be fine with it and then everyone keeps responding in the same way when I tell them that I'm a nurse. I filled out a medicine list the first day and was told that I couldn't do that because "I'm not a nurse anymore", then last night I was copying down what the ambulance driver was telling me and I was told that this is the same as "taking report" and I'm not able to do that either...I'm not licensed personnel. I explained that I am licensed and was told (by the nasty one in a nasty tone) that I am not a nurse as far as the hospital is concerned, that my job description doesn't include clinical skills and I am a liability in the Emergency Room. Hmm. Tell me
what you really think of me Ms. Attitude. That did, unfortunately, make me feel ashamed and belittled and I didn't shake it for the rest of the night. Liability, huh? Well, I guess so. The problem is that some things seem so simple and elementary I don't think about it being a "clinical skill", like filling out a med list. My supervisor gave me a responsibilities list which reads like a to-do list that I make my kids, complete with take out the trash, but what I need to know are the things that I CAN'T do. These are the things that are getting me in trouble. Every time I do something wrong the only excuse I can think of is that I'm a nurse and I don't realize that I'm not allowed to do it, to which the only rational reply is " Then what are you doing here?" Its so hard for me to keep my place behind the desk when someone needs help. Its second nature for me to jump in and start doing
things. I've been told that I need to stay out of the way because there isn't anything I can do that is helpful...I'm just the secretary. There are 3 nurses in particular that are very supportive and one of them is the senior nurse. They all think that I should have an expanded job role. I agree. Why can't I do small simple things if the nurses are busy? The other night we were so slammed we had people in the hallways and had to go on diversion. I told the nurses it seems stupid that they are suffering and I'm sitting behind the desk!! There are things I can be doing! I can draw blood for them, give oral medicines, dress wounds...all kinds of small jobs that bog them down. I do understand that I can't do what they can do because I'm an LPN and they are RN's but that distinction I am used to. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing triage for instance because that is considered 1st assessment
and has always been an RN's job. The answer I got is that they don't want me doing things the other tech's can't do because if the nurses get used to me being able to do it then they might ask the other tech to do it and she may not know enough to say that she can't. Ok, I understand that but there has got to be a middle ground somewhere. I cannot work in a place where every one thinks I should be ashamed of myself. Its hard enough to do the job already, I don't need them making it more excrutiating. Yesterday I almost swallowed my tongue when a family member asked me if I was a nurse and I had to take a deep breath and tell her no. I pray that this gets easier. Please God don't let it get harder. What I truly pray for is that my brain stops thinking like a nurse and starts thinking like a tech, maybe then I will stop getting myself into trouble already! My supervisor was worried that
the other nurses would dump their work on me and use me....but in reality I think I'm the problem. I keep trying to do things that I shouldn't and if I perform outside my role I probably am a liability, legally speaking, whether I am licensed or not and I surely do not want to compromise the hospital just by being who I am. Only time will tell now, I guess. I just have to take one day at a time and hopefully one day I will find that its not hard anymore. Maybe one day I will find myself thinking like a tech, but then again by that time I will probably have moved into a nursing role and will have to retrain myself all over again. Oh, well. While I'm figuring it out, I am earning a living and paying my bills. I suppose that's the best reason of all.


GunDiva said...

Oh, that sucks. I actually do know exactly what you mean. I worked in a Level Three trauma center and did everything as an EMT; trauma team, COR team, you name it, I did it. As soon as they upgraded to a Level Two trauma center I was no longer allowed to do ANYTHING. All EMTs basically turned into glorified bed changers and transporters. Literally, all of my experience gained in that same ER meant nothing because of the Trauma Level designation and the roles have to be so clearly delineated.

It sucked and I quit.

GunDiva said...

Have an award for you at my place. Stop by and pick it up.

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