Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Weekend in Nursing (alternate title: How to Manipulate a Pharmacist)

so i've been at this nursing thing for... what, nearly 5 months now? what a whirlwind it's been! it's been pretty good so far. i mean, those who i bitch and moan to about how hard it is wah wah wah blah blah blah know that it's best to roll their eyes because just six months ago i was bitching and moaning about how sad i was to not have a job.

and it's not just learning nursing stuff. i'm learning life stuff, too! like when i wanted to "call in [sick]" to study for a test, i had a verbal beat down from a friend who told me that i'm an adult now, and i need to learn to suck it up like an adult. i'm learning to cherish my friendships and make bigger efforts to maintain and nurture them. i'm learning to manage my time and to make some for myself.

starting this summer i'll be trying to work mostly weekends since i need to bulk up on some clinical hours (playing pretend NP for school) which can only be completed on weekdays. plus, weekends are more laid back for several reasons: bosslady isn't around to breathe on me all the time, there aren't usually too many people around to bother me, not as many patients to discharge, etc, less doctors taking care of more of my patients so i get to know them better, etc.

i worked this weekend and all of those perks applied with one small exception: the Evil Pharmacy.

allow me to explain. at some point in college, i had a reputation for being able to "work it" to score deals, discounts, free food, better service, etc. i still maintain that it didn't involve any cleavage (i was too much of a square then), but people will say what they want to say.

my general algorithm for "working it" with any personnel in the hospital goes as follows:

1) increase pitch of voice. purposely sound like a disgustingly cute, helpless asian girl. --check. that's like half the battle! double bonus since i'm short.

2) show earnest interest in what the person is saying (even if you have none), and try to be as helpful as you can (even if you could probably delegate the task to someone else).

3) pretend you're filipino (child's play!). try speaking tagalog and fail, which (if they're filipino) will endear you to them more. --this only works half the time, unfortunately. but says a lot about how many filipinos work at this hospital.

4) feign complete lack of knowledge about absolutely everything. simultaneously inflate the importance and knowledge of person you're addressing --mostly works with doctors, although some are such assholes that flattery doesn't even reach their shriveled, hardened hearts. pharmacists don't speak enough english to be affected by purposeful flattery.

5) cry. real tears. hard, racking sobs that won't stop and mess up your makeup. -- to be avoided at all costs.

usually this methodology works on all food services, all transport services, all security guards, most other nurses (ICU nurses excluded--they must do genetic testing to determine if there is a "bitchy" blood marker present before they hire) and i'd say 85% of physicians. all of these people are willing to work with me and will get stuff done for me. and most of the time we end up being friends, which sometimes leads to more perks (thank you Food Services for the chocolate pudding hookups!)

there is one group of people on which none of these tactics work and they are called Pharmacists. they make all nurses lives difficult and this weekend, made me resort to tactic #5, which had previously been left in my Secret Arsenal of Persuasive Coercion but this weekend, i was forced to play my hand. after being given the runaround for 3 hours trying to find a patient's elusive medication which the night nurse swore she had no problem getting, being shouted at over the phone by several pharmacists, and then phone transferred from floor to floor without being informed of said transfer, i decided that the best way to get things done was to just show up. which resulted in more shouting (from the pharmacists) and then--oh the shame!--tears (supplied by yours truly).

the worst thing wasn't that they made me cry. the most fucked up thing was that it took a minor breakdown on my part for them to take notice and start looking for the medication in earnest. i stood at the window sobbing for a good 15 minutes, they found the medication (hiding under someone else's), didn't even apologize, and then had the audacity to ask if i was new! (later when i relayed this story to the night nurse, she said it was because an older nurse would have just shouted right back at them--profanity optional but almost always used--and then demanded that they give her the goddamn medication.) (i'll have to think about working that into my algorithm.)

aside from my mortification at being a crybaby and now losing any street cred i might have at my place of work (they laughed at me this morning when i came back for more medication--fuckers!), the principle of it still irks me. everyone's job in this goddamn hospital is hard. everyone gets shit on by SOMEone (some of us more literally than others), but if everyone went out of their way to make someone else's job a little easier, i really think it'd come back to them in a really good way, eventually. plus, HELLO ASSHOLES, it's called professional courtesy. try it sometime!

i think part of the reason why i was so sensitive to all this was also because i am at my core such a people pleaser. i hate making people's lives harder (unless they totally deserve it), i hate bothering them (which explains my sore shoulders from moving patients on my own), and i hate it when they are upset with me (even if it's unwarranted and even if it's an Evil Pharmacist). so even when my patient is supposed to come first, i try to navigate all of the cranky, overworked, understaffed people i have to come into contact with and usually end up failing or being really stressed or not eating because i waste so much time doing stupid things for people to make them happy.

also related to being a people pleaser is that i want ALL people to like me and think well of me. so when someone yells at me--even if it's an Evil Pharmacist and even if i'm in the right--i feel like a small, small child who's in the wrong. and then i want to cry. which i did, with impunity.

... but at least it got me that Xanax!