Monday, September 28, 2009

Revenge is a Dish Best Served in 57 Minutes

I am firmly convinced that HR departments (at least the one in my hospital) are run by sadistic, soulless evil minions of Satan. After doing four full night shifts in a row, I went to the department to pick up some income tax forms. Now herein lies the dilemma – my shift usually ends at 0700. The HR department opens at 0800. I went down to the department at 0740 to see if some kind soul would just type in a seven letter password, click print and hand me the piece of paper so I could go home, flop onto my couch and dream that I’m a fabulously wealthy traveler. Instead I walked into a room full of people who at first completely ignored me and then proceeded to berate me for being there. I very politely asked if they could kindly print me the form so I could make my train and get some rest before I would have to come back for yet another night. One particular man told me that I would have to come back in precisely 19 minutes to get the form. For a moment I thought he was joking. He was not. I asked him again, this time practically begging. He told me that since the department is not officially open for another 19 minutes, he cannot print me the form I needed, despite the fact that he was logged onto his computer. Clearly, I was going to lose the battle so I retreated to Starbucks cursing under my breath.

In exactly 19 minutes I was defeated but slightly more caffeinated and crabbily asked for my form. And then that malicious troll tells me “2 more minutes”. This was far too much for my over-caffeinated sleep deprived and emotionally labile brain. I started to wildly point at the massive digital clock in front of the department that said 0800 and demanded that my form be print. He then pointed to his clunky analogue wrist watch and said, “not according to my watch”. Standing there for 2 minutes, I watched him calmly sip his coffee and smear icing over his keyboard and thought to myself that I would exact payment from him a hundred fold if I ever got the opportunity. He finally opened the application, asked for my employee number and last name and gave me my form. Feeling livid yet helpless I asked him why he couldn’t have just done that for me 20 minutes ago. “You’re not special enough to break rules for” was his curt reply.

I stormed out of the department, got home an hour later than I normally would have and ate a giant bowl of rice to try to silence the fury within. After a hot shower and a long nap, my encounter with the evil HR troll became nothing more than an irritating memory.

However, on rare occasions, karma works in my favour. On my next set of shifts, the very same troll was in the waiting room and triaged to fast track for flank pain. He looked visibly uncomfortable while I looked positively overjoyed. When I went out to the waiting room to introduce myself and to bring him inside the department, he didn’t initially recognize me. But boy oh boy did that change fast! Normally I use a 20 gauge angiocath – he got a 16 gauge (it’s a much fatter IV needle). He then started to look at me as if he recognized me (and wronged me) but wisely kept quiet. Perhaps he was cursing his dumb luck and was hoping that I wouldn’t remember him. Fat chance buddy. Fat chance. He was ordered 4-6 mg morphine q4h prn. I normally push morphine but for him, I made a cute little mini-bag and let it drip slowly. I kept an eye on him but in 3 hours he asked for another dose. The satisfaction I felt in telling him that he would have to wait exactly 57 minutes for his next dose while watching his face contort in agony and horror was beyond anything I can articulate. After 57 minutes had passed, I took my sweet time in setting up another mini bag. A better person than me would have let the entire thing go. A better person would not have had this to blog about.

So let this be a lesson to evil HR people who don’t take mercy on night shifting staff – vengeance will be sought and you won’t enjoy it one bit!

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

You would be better to complain re: that employee attitude to HR Director in a nicely worded letter asking for dept to open at 0730 or provide some other resource for night staff - rather than compromising your own integrity by purposely providing substandard nursing care in some sad revenge ploy. NOT professional... very inappropriate. Immature, even.

Firefly said...

The dose was q4h. It would have been unethical of you to give him his dose any sooner.
Love the blog. :)

Katie said...

It's substandard nursing care to give q4h morphine q4h? Fascinating.

WarmSocks said...

I love it! Well told.

little d, S.N. said...

Anonymous, he simply wasn't special enough to break federal regulations for!

Morphine via IV drip is a PERFECTLY legitimate nursing intervention, responsible AND gives a more level pain medication dose. He should feel lucky to have such assiduous nursing!

Love the blog, Maha!

Raspberry-Scrubs said...

Karam works so well when it needs to happen :o) Love the blog and NICE JOB on the 57 minute...PRICELESS I'm sure!

Jason Acosta said...

anonymous should grow some balls if he/she/it is going to judge people on blogs. wow, how brave to "anonymously" throw judgement on someone. love the blog and the story maha, rock on.

Christine said...

Nice critical thinking!! Love it! Some jerks need to be put in their place too! I didn't see a compromise in care!

Old MD Girl said...

Awesome. Karma's a bitch, ain't it.

Ignore the mornonic anons.

Old MD Girl said...

Oh I thought I would add that the best way to get what you want from these people is to shower them with ass-kissing, and to pretend that you don't mind waiting at all. You still want to throttle them, but sometimes you'll actually get what you want. :-)

PurpleRN said...

As one of my favourite nursing quotes says,

"Be nice to your nurse. She doesn't get to decide whether or not you get an IV, but she *does* decide what size and where it goes"

danielle said...

Are you sure you didnt steal this from an episode of Hawthorne??? LOL
Bet he doesnt mess with a nurse again - as I have always taught my kids - dont mess with people who have weapons at hand - and nurses always have lots of weapons....

LivingDeadNurse said...

good grief remind me never to piss you off..lol

i would never have the guts to do that...wow

Liz said...

Seriously, I LOVED this story...well, at first I suffered along with you and dreamed for your revenge....

And then! What a turnaround!

And yes, Anonymous, she did not deviate at all from acting as any conscientious nurse should have. She just enjoyed her heaven sent payback!

Actually, while the MS drip took a bit longer to act, it also covered him longer than a push would have.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

You should have put the IV in the dorsal vein of the penis.

Renee said...

I'm a nurse and I am not going to be anonymous, so...damn. A 16 gauge? I could see an 18 gauge IV if you could justify that maybe, possibly the person was going to need blood or diagnostics that required a large bore IV, but you were sadistic and cruel by going for a 16 gauge without justification.

A much better strategy in my opinion would have been to introduce to yourself fully and remind him that he had an opportunity to provide you with customer service and sweetly state with a smile "It is so nice that we employees can look out for each other, isn't it?" And then I would have smothered the SOB with kindness.

I don't know, patients can piss me off on a regular basis, and I proudly wear the "bitch" tag on occasion, but I don't think a revenge/karma mindset is part of nursing.

chuckr44 said...

People like this don't learn anything until the tables are turned. What you did was right.

An Open Heart said...

Wow, tough room. It is a rare opportunity in life that a person gets to 'pay back' someone who has wronged them in a perfectly legit way. Did he thank you when he was released?

;o)
S

Susan said...

Malicious, petty, unethical, small minded...just a few descriptives come to mind while reading this passage.
OK, so he had asshole behavior in his lordly office position..and you respond by treating him less than human when you get him by the short hairs writhing in pain.
Smooth move...too bad you couldn't rise above it, take the high road and treat him with loving kindness.
Better luck next time!

Kimberly said...

wah wah wah everyone thats judging...cant you keep your shit to yourself.

Well played Head Nurse!

Chris said...

Always late to the game, but I've had a similar experience with a police officer. On call as a nurse for an ER with a 10 minute call back time. I'd just been served my meal in a cafe 5 min. from the ER and got a 911 call back. Speeding to the ER(5 miles over the speed limit and got pulled over. This small town cop insisted on writing the ticket right there. He wouldn't write at the hospital even though he was on his way there too. The ER doc was angry and told him he'd better hope the tables are never turned. Well, 2 weeks later the same ER doc was on when this cop/EMT had his nose broken by an angry father who's baby hadn't recieved the proper care by this EMT/cop.ER doc refused to give him pain meds before setting then packing his horribly broken nose. After the cop left, I just smiled and the Dr. stated that there is no law saying he has to premedicate a fractured nose. The look on the cops face when he saw I was his nurse and who the doc was was priceless. I did of course ask to give pain meds but didn't argue when doc said "no, this is a big tough man. he won't need it." Love Karma!

PUI prof said...

Love your blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, those anons sure loved to throw the adjectives at you. At best you were a little petty and being all smiling, kind and perfect might have been better, as you showed him up by being the better person, but that said, I read this post with glee. :D The man was a total, inconsiderate ass. Anyone who will make an exhausted nurse just come off a night shift wait for no reason at all deserves a kick up at the ass.

Tee said...

Flank pain, huh? Would it be wrong of me to wish that this jerk had a 9 mm kidney stone?