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�2006 Candor Communications


2006-03-26 - 8:27 a.m.

stupidity and patient carelessness


before we get into part two of this two part entry about the caring-impaired (it is the most serious epidemic infesting the human race, after all), I want to thank you for clicking back to find these entries since they were uploaded in a series and not given any front entry time...

you are special and I love you more...






Night Two: Stupidity and Patient Carelessness

some times it amazes me how clueless some people can be... this usually occurs when I forget how stupid the human race collectively and individually really is at the moment and I somehow return to an idyllic state of ignorance wherein I have infinite hope for the species of which I am reportedly, and more and more reluctantly, a part...

and that comes of still being very much a child inside...

it is not something I particularly wish to change about myself, especially since I am learning (constantly learning) how to take a deep breath and remember what I know too well from experience - rather than overreact with shock and appall (or too much frustration or even anger) when faced with the obvious stupidity of the choices or actions of a typical human being...

I do have more respect for humanity than it may appear in those previous paragraphs...

I know it is not a person who is stupid (or bad), it is the choices and actions that I deem stupid that are stupid (and yes, I deem {judge, even} some actions stupid now and then... this would be one of those thens, right now)... what I try to do (right here and now) is release my frustration with momentary stupidity by calling a spade a spade (and a stupid act a stupid act) and whenever possible, finding the humor in it...

then I can let it go and forget the current reality of the bulk of human actions and continue hoping for choice and actions guided by the goodness in the human heart and enlightenment and sensitivity and conscious awareness that is possible in the human mind to actually happen more often...

and I'm not the only one, right?...

so it's another night at work and I've got two people in the hall with me... this would ordinarily be cause for celebration as I'm lucky if one person actually stays where they belong on this job, but the two people are two I rarely work with and they bring with them the habits so overlooked on the other side of the hospital where they usually work...

person one has been working here for about ten years... he worked night shift many of those years until enough night staff complained about his habit of coming late (every night, and 2-3 nights a week more than an hour late and then, after finally getting here, sleeping most of the night... when you work with a skeleton crew, that is very intrusive into the rest or your co-workers on-the-job lives... administration ignored it until recently when they were confronted by a group at a meeting and their reaction was to suspend three of those who brought to problem to their attention on some other pretext, but they at least readjusted the chronically late staff's schedule so he works fewer nights...

the trouble is, now he picks up the occasional shift wherever there's an opening and his habits have not changed much... though when he picks up a shift on my unit, which is very rare, he does come on time and does some work on his own initiative, doing his best to cooperate... I'd like to think that's because he respects me or because he knows administration respects me, but it's more likely that he's been told if more complaints are heard about him he might lose his job...

hey, there's always hope administration gets some things right...

so he's doing some filing, however well or poorly it might get done (administration has been pulling out their hair trying to figure out how to hold night staff accountable for doing their job properly... they seem to be clueless about the basic system of supervision and disciplinary action, but we all know they simply choose to look the other way as supervisors look the other way because the supervisors are nurses and nurses are too valuable to put any pressure on... they are always short nurses here)...

so anyway, he'll probably be asleep in a little while... I'll just leave it for administration to review the cameras as they are supposed to do... the closest supervisor is on the other side of the hospital... she is the person who's been in charge on the night shift for 17 years and helped protect this particular sleeping staff all the years he's been here by looking the other way as she was, until recently, his direct supervisor for at least five years...

and the landslide brings you down...

anyway, then we have the other staff who is either completely clueless or knows how to play clueless so well that nobody notices her cluelessness has negative ramifications... first of all, she's scheduled to leave at 6:30am which will leave two staff, both males, one most likely as close to fast asleep as you can get without being dead, on a unit of all girls who's primary diagnosis or causality is sexual trauma (almost always at the hands of a male, almost always at night)...

and this would be wake up time, no less, on this unit...

how unbelievably set up for failure can any system be, you might ask?...

well, these sort of oversights happen because those in charge basically do not care who is working on this unit, especially not when I am on duty, because I've kept the peace on this unit on the night shift through at least a dozen staff changes and several patient-type+ population changes for about four years now... and yet, as much as I'd like to think that their faith in me is their primary reason for not caring who they staff on this unit, it's most likely not... they simply do not think deeply enough about the actual operation of patient care on specific units in this hospital to care until after a crisis forces their hand... and since there has not been a big enough crisis on my unit while I am working to force their hand since I started on night shift, they can easily do what they do best, look away...

let's take a closer look at this other staff for tonight, Ms Clueless, who rarely works this unit and obviously is conditioned to the careless attention and rule-breaking ways of other units... so far in the past hour she's been on her cell phone most of the time... they have a no cell phone rule, but obviously this staff is taking advantage of the fact that there is no supervisor on this unit tonight and is confident that administration will not check the cameras even though checking the cameras nightly is policy...

next she's exited through the back door, which has cost a few excellent staff their jobs over the years as it is a breach of security and shows up on the Safety Officer's computer records the next day and even if no one reports it, he must address what is on his computer records as kids have run away through back doors and stuff has been stolen through back doors and that is one rule they actually try to pay attention to (they might even put up a sign) because it brings them very bad publicity and ultimately, that (and theft) costs them money...

loss of money is the one thing that gets administration to act quickly...

but the word stupidity was used and I do not go there unless something so simple is deliberately overlooked or done to cause a problem for everyone... and the truly stupid act I am observing is this staff who has been on her cell phone for a few hours and who's left the building through a back door actually volunteered to do rounds (or at least to do rounds first) and is wearing high heels...

click click click click click click click click click click...

now the most important thing of all on the night shift is to try to maintain an atmosphere that allows the kids to stay asleep... this is not only best for the kids, it is best for the staff, especially staff who hardly know the kids because they don't work the unit much... so wearing heels while making round of their bedrooms is about the stupidest move a night staff can make short of actually leaving the job, sleeping, or abusing a kid... and actually, sleeping might not be as stupid as there's less chance of waking a kid and therein having a reportable patient interaction for a sleeping staff than for a staff clicking her heels a hundred times as she walks up and down the hallway and steps into each room to check if the kid is safe and sleeping every fifteen minutes...

so far I've noticed a half dozen wake ups just from where I am sitting, though the person making rounds and recording if the kids are asleep or awake is not paying attention closely enough to notice even the obvious wake up (she had to ask me if a kid who called out to ask us to close her door had awakened to close her door on her own... talking on a cell phone and leaving the facility through a back door would make it difficult to hear what is going on with the kids you are supposed to be monitoring closely, I suppose)...

did I mention that the two girls who were on suicide watch last night are still on it and the absolute most unsafe thing we could possibly do is wake them unnecessarily?...

welcome to the world of residential psychiatric care in a well respected (nationally, no less) psychiatric hospital... unfortunately, this is not the exception and is all too indicative of the quality of medical care in this country today and I doubt anything will improve as long as medical care is a for-profit business first and a human service second...

but what's really eating at the back of candoor's mind?...

remember Baby A?... I think I mentioned that the service was beautiful, although Berry and Bert brought to my attention just this week as we were walking the trail (in our apparent preparation for the marathon we are apparently going to try to complete in January) that it was tainted for them and others by the preacher's insistence to testify and drone on a bit too long (they were both incensed about it as they asked him to keep it about Baby A, not about recruiting) in an attempt to convert the people assembled to pay last respects for Baby A...

quite tacky, actually, but I overlooked it at the time...

I mean, it's all well and good that you believe in what you believe in and want others to believe in it too, but to use the death of a baby, well, I understand their displeasure... Berry's been a member of that congregation for six years too, quite active in many of the activities, and twice went on mission work to impoverished places... but she's in it to help people, not to recruit...

I just don't understand how any good thing can be turned so unpleasant as how faith in a perfect being and goodness can become a sword of condemnation the way religion can... how love can be rejected simply because it is not packaged the way you might think it is supposed to be packaged... all that judgment and rejection in the name of something supposedly so good leaves me with a sour taste and an awkward feeling that maybe there's some insidious negativity beneath the facade of goodness...

but then, that's not it either...

a review of the records of the still birth of Baby A, Berry's little girl, revealed that Berry was put on a Class C medication and no fetal monitoring (not even an ultrasound) was done?... simply, a Class C medication is one strongly contraindicated for pregnant women... clearly stated in the PDR (Physician's Desk Reference, basically the accepted primary drug information resource) is that the drug they put her on to control her blood pressure is contraindicated for pregnancy until all other measures have failed (it was the first drug she was put on) because the potential for miscarriage or still birth is high...

they are talking to lawyers about it...

so in the end, for this less than positive entry, at least, my frustration and anger is not so much with my working situation as I've come to accept this administration as it is or the simple stupidity and incompetence and negligence of the staff and supervisors and administration around me, it is about the gross negligence, possibly legally provable malpractice, that very likely killed Baby A...

and there are those supposedly good religious people who suggest it was because Bert did not join Berry's congregation, because he is of a different flock and open to all spiritual paths to enlightenment and God... this is probably not a good time for me to be around religious folk of the closed minded my-way-or-go-to-hell ilk...

and maybe it was because the doctor didn't care or was under pressure to reduce the number of tests and use of equipment at the hospital for patients who were not paying cash (we are covered for free in hospital care because we work for the parent company of the hospital)... in any case, Baby A is dead and Berry and Bert are pulling themselves out of the depression of the loss by allowing the anger over the possible malpractice, or at least culpable negligence, to motivate them to do something...

and in my mind I keep seeing Berry sitting here reading book after book about pregnancy, baby care, parenting, health care, and self-improvement for seven months because she was going to be the best mother she could possibly be.,.. and she will be a great one, someday...

she turned in her resignation this week and is already working somewhere else...

and life goes on...






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