Friday, March 05, 2010

Who is rude?

SSN Y subscribes to the philosophy that "when life/work becomes not smooth [i.e. 不順], with incidents cropping up repeatedly, it is a signal that it's time to change [a.k.a. move-on]".

I share the same philosophy too.


Hi [Edited: snipped friend's name],

How are you doing? Are you settling into [Edited: snipped name of Canadian city] life?

Quite a few things are happening at work here and the morale of all the staff is dampened.

I got another ridiculous hit today. A parent angry over the renovations noise took her anger out on the afternoon staff. The patient was upgraded from a 4-bedded room to a 2-bedded room after the mother's complaints over the renovation noise this morning. When we took over the shift this afternoon, the patient's mother pushed my HCA to prevent her from taking temperature. [Edit: The renovation manager was escalated to speak to the mother. He informed us that the mother wanted the renovations to be stopped while her child is hospitalized, but the best that he could offer was to stop the renovations for a short while and to resume later in the afternoon. I asked him if the mother was ok with it, he just shrugged his shoulders and gave a "bo pian" i.e. "can't do anything about it" smile]. Since I heard of this difficult parent, and the child's medication was due, I quickly headed to the room with the child's medications.

When I was in the room, I saw that the IV drip was finishing and thus I left the room and returned quickly with the IV replacement. Then the mother called her husband on the hospital phone and complained loudly about her unhappiness over the noise, hospital service and threatened to leave for [Edited: snipped a restructured hospital's name] tonight. At one point, her words were, "Give us free, we also don't want to stay". I just kept quiet and waited for her to finish her call. After giving the oral medication, I had to wait for her to feed her fretful child a bottle of water to calm the child down [Edit: which took about 5 minutes]. Then I started the nebulizer. She snatched the nebulizer mask from me while it was on-going. Later, she accused me of being rude in that I left the room [Edit: after a few minutes of the nebulizer] instead of watching over the entire nebulization process.

We get such nonsense from time to time, so I would have easily ignored the matter. The worse part was when the NO on-duty (who addresses PR issues) blamed me for starting another problem. From my perspective, the parent was angry over the renovation noise and was just finding excuses to vent her anger. Thus, I told the NO in her face that her accusation is bullshit, and that in any other restructured hospital, nurses are NOT treated as such. I told her I would quit the job if the blame is pushed to me. The issue of the angry parent was escalated further to the ADON G, who emphasised that everyone should keep calm and solve the problem together. She did not mention any blame on the staff since I vented my side of the story and my workload of the overflow of adult medical/surgical patients. [It's a paediatric ward, but I had 5 paeds and 5 adult medical/surgical patients under my care at the start of my shift.] Finally, the ADON spoke to the mother and came out with the command to the staff to "do not bring up the noise issue again". When evening came, I just pretended that all was normal and served her child's medication after having to check on them a few rounds for the child to be ready.

Back to migration issue. I am still waiting for [Edited: snipped name of Canadian province] nursing board's reply. I think I will probably bring forward my plans to leave. Instead of waiting to pass the nursing exams, I may go once I get a job when the temporary nursing license is approved. Afterall, more than half of the trained day-shift nursing staff at my ward have plans to leave within this year. Those with plans to leave: SSN 1 of 2, SN 3 of 5 (including me), SEN 2 of 3.

Please share your experiences at [Edited: snipped name of Canadian city]. Would love to hear about them.

Best Regards


p.s. SSN R asked me during dinner if I regretted joining nursing. I told her honestly, "The nursing part is ok, it's the other nonsense that's..."

p.p.s. Not all patients and NOK [next-of-kins] are difficult, of course. We also have many thankful ones. E.g. Recently, we had an elderly female patient whose children are already themselves in the "golden age". One of them remarked to me when he found that I was a local nurse [i.e. born-and-bred local].

"It's a tough job, nursing", he said appreciatively. "Not many want to be in it."

"Yes, it has its challenges", I replied.

"There are few local nurses. But we need more given our ageing population. I, myself, am an example."

"That's why we need so many foreign nurses. At the rate our population is ageing, we will be needing more." [Note: I discreetly omitted that the rate at which we are losing our local nurses is also a major factor.]


[Addendum: 10-March-2010]

The day after on Sunday 7-March-2010, my NO spoke to me to get my side of the story. Thereafter, she remarked must "sayang" [Malay word for "shower with love"] us for what we had gone through, especially me. Perhaps the admin staff noted on Monday 8-March-2010 that I was not quite back to my usual bubbly self yet, and so my NO spoke to me again. She shared about her experience with the other NO (the NO on-duty that day). I agreed with her that the other NO probably had a slip of tongue, and that she didn't mean to blame me. From my past observation, the other NO is actually one of those that I respect. She is very responsible and is usually supportive of the nurses.

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