Sunday, September 12, 2010

Older Daughter nursing a grudge against manager

Older Daughter, you'll remember, became a nurse recently.

And she's employed, in a hospital, in Indianapolis, working three 12 hour shifts a week. The days vary from week to week -- but she does work days.

But things haven't been all rosy for Older Daughter. She bent down to pick up her purse a few months back and fell awkwardly. She wound up looking for work on crutches. She got an offer anyway and was scheduled to start... and then her doctor told her she'd have to have surgery on the knee. From bending down wrong.

The hospital pushed back her start date to give her time to recover because, as it turns out, one-legged nurses are notoriously ineffective. Also, it's hard to carry meds and crutches.

Eventually, she started work -- but the knee was not responding as hoped to therapy. Her doctor said a little more scoping and scraping would be in order. They found a five day window between scheduled shifts and did the work. Nevertheless, she still had some restrictions when she went back to work. Her doctor wanted her to sit 15 minutes every hour.

Her manager wants her to stay on her feet for the entire 12 hour shift.

It's not just Older Daughter who is allegedly required to stay wholly vertical for so long; every nurse on the floor is under the same directive.

Now, certainly, one can't have nurses lounging in a patient's room. But there are no chairs at the nursing station. Computer terminals have no chairs. There is a meal break, when work permits, and sitting is allowed then -- but it seems extraordinary (to me at least) to impose this requirement even on people with healthy knees.

Long Suffering Spouse stands during most of the school day, but that works out to about half the length of Older Daughter's shift. And when Long Suffering Spouse returns home... she needs to sit down.

It has occurred to me, in fact, that standing for virtually an entire 12 hour shift must violate some health and safety code -- but Older Daughter says this is not so. Not in Indiana, anyway.

The standing order re: standing has damaged the relationship between Older Daughter and her manager. But this is not the only issue that Older Daughter has with her.

It seems that Older Daughter's training is incomplete -- and yet she has been dumped into situations where she has minimal training or none at all.

The unit where Older Daughter works is supposed to be for persons with difficulty breathing. In practice, it has become the dumping ground for psych patients and drug addicts. Last week Older Daughter had to care for a person dying of AIDS who showered her with bodily fluids -- I let her mother discuss the specifics with her. I am too delicate. Almost everyone on the floor is on Medicaid or some other government program. And Medicaid pays less than private insurance, and Medicaid patients are pronounced fit for discharge far sooner, and in a far more fragile state of health, than their privately insured fellow patients. It has occurred to me that the hospital may figure that these are the people least likely to sue. And it certainly gives me warm and fuzzy feelings about the days to come when we are all dependent on government payments for our health care.

For some reason, Older Daughter chafes against being plunged into situations without adequate training. She worries that someone may die because she doesn't know what to do. This is another source of friction with Older Daughter's manager -- who tells my daughter that she will be trained before getting put into these situations, but schedules her into them anyway. Other nurses on the floor have expressed similar concerns: There is 100% turnover of the nurses on the unit every six months.

One hundred per cent! If my daughter is not exaggerating, that surely says something (and not something nice) about the management of the floor.

Older Daughter talks about quitting after every shift. I'm encouraging her to stick it out for at least six months -- that seems to be the minimum quantum of experience necessary to get a better job.

But I still can't help but think that things might be better for Older Daughter if she was allowed to sit down, at least occasionally, at the nursing station or in the hallway while (for example) making entries on a patient's chart. I don't think that's crazy; do you?


Jeni said...

I always thought there were laws, rules, regulations as to how long any person can be required to work without a break to go sit down. However, if some of my own prior work experience is any evidence, this doesn't always apply in food service as, depending on how busy a place might be, you could end up running your butt off for the full 8-hour shift. Accordingly, the health-service industry is also supposed to have all kinds of regulations too pertaining to how many people must be present to lift a patient properly, move the patient -minor things like that -(supposedly to help prevent injuries to the employees) but I know from things my kids have experienced working as Certified Nurse Assistants and in the home healthcare industry, these regs are frequently violated. Improper or insufficient training though sounds like that place has huge potential to be named in a lawsuit somewhere down the road though, don't 'cha think?

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

no, i don't agree. i think she should take her days off to find another job. it's easier to find one when you already have one and i say go, and fast!

just my 2 cents...

smiles, bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Your daughter is being badly treated, Curmy. There must be laws that prevent this sort of attitude against staff.