Thursday, November 08, 2012

GNIE: Started preceptorship

I started clinical last weekend. I am grateful that my preceptor HH is very supportive. She was previously from the GNEA training program (predecessor of my current GNIE program) and has worked as an RN in Canada for around 7 years. Several of the staff at the unit are also GNEA graduates. It is a busy unit, but staff atmosphere was generally cordial. 


Coincidentally on my first day, both my RN preceptor HH and LPN X each has student nurse understudying them. LPN X was assigned the relatively stable patients, but a couple of them were isolation cases.

During report taking, I was relatively slow in taking notes as I was new to this hospital's Kardex system. Thus, I asked LPN X and her student if I was holding them up, and made it a point to give way to them. After all, my learning objective for the day was "seek-and-find", not patient care, so it didn't matter to me. I would later realize that it was a bad move on my part (playing the "humble RN student") because some people are like sharks -- if you give an inch, they would take a mile. [“得寸进尺”]

At around 11:45-12:00, lunch was served. I assisted HH in setting up the patients. While at a 4-bedder attending to HH's patient, I assisted and/or visually checked that all the other patients in the room (who were under the care of LPN X) were set up with their food too. All were eating except for bed 2 (under the care of LPN X), who was sleeping soundly and as I recalled from earlier in the morning, did not like to be woken up. My preceptor came by and told me not to worry about bed 2 and to get on with my own stuff. I returned to the nursing station to continue with my "seek-and-find". It was around 12:40.

At around 12:50, LPN X shouted as she walked towards the nursing station, "Why isn't bed 2 eating his food?" As her team partner, RN HH, was not at the nursing station, LPN X directed her anger at me. I looked surprised and asked her which patient she was referring to, since I was not familiar with the bed numbering yet.

LPN X did not answer my question. Instead she raised her voice and repeatedly shouted her question. A few other staff were around at the nursing station. One of them, RN B told LPN X, "Now, now, don't you shout at WD. She is a nice and quiet student." But LPN X ignored her, so RN B said, "She doesn't even know which bed you're referring to." Then RN B explained to me the bed numbering system, after which I replied LPN X that the patient was sleeping.

"Patient was sleeping! Patient was sleeping! If the patient was sleeping, you have to wake him up! I went for my break from 12:15 to 12:45, to find that my patient has not eaten when I came back. 12:15 to 12:45, half an hour! What were you doing for the whole half hour? You didn't check the patients? What were you doing?", LPN X was shouting at the top of her voice.

I stared at her stunned. Then LPN X walked back to her patient's room in a huff. A shocked silence hung in the air. RN B told me to ignore LPN X and reassured me that it is not an issue. When my preceptor heard about the matter, she was really angry with LPN X. She told me not to let LPN X bother me and asked if I was alright. I told her honestly, "Yes (I am alright), it is not my problem."

I did not mention it but at no point did LPN X nor her student hand-over the care of their patients to me before they went on a break. In the first place, since the lunch trays arrived at least 15min before the start of their lunch breaks, LPN X and her student nurse were responsible for and should have set-up their patients for meals before they left. LPN X did not do her own job, but instead attempted to push the responsibility of her own failure to the easiest victim on hand. 
IMHO, I think bullies like LPN X are really stupid. As the Chinese saying goes, “知己知彼,百战不殆” ["know thyself and know thy enemy, 100 battles without a defeat"]. LPN X was too impulsive to attack so quickly -- on the very 1st day of meeting me without finding out more about me. [Admittedly, I am good at hiding my strengths so that others would underestimate me. Thus, if and when I need to "take action", they would be defeated by surprise. E.g. Now that my GNIE classmate AP knows me much better, she is a little wary of me -- as she said (in a recent discussion with me, AP and PY) that I am smart and "can be manipulative".]
You see, I am pretty good at writing official letters (e.g. of complaints). The last time I did so was when I helped IJ with his resignation letter over an incident where he was harassed at work by a Care Aide Manager. According to IJ, the Care Aide Manager eventually lost her job (due to a compounding of various incidents). For now, I have documented the incident in my own records. Should LPN X continue to be offensive repeatedly, I am prepared to lodge an official incident report/complaint with detailed history on the hospital incident reporting system, with CLPNBC and/or with WorkSafeBC. As far as CLPNBC requirements go, LPN X's behaviour clearly did not meet its Code of Ethics. As for WorkSafeBC, it takes "Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace" seriously, and there will be ramifications for an alleged bully found guilty of inappropriate conduct.

Other then the above incident, the other staff were cordial and supportive of my learning experience. During my breaks, I noticed that the staff chat happily in the staff lounge. From their own life stories that they shared, it seems to me that I am working with people who mostly do not believe in being stressed during/over work, count their blessings in life, and appreciate karma (i.e. believe in being nice to others so that they will get a good life themselves). 

As for my preceptor HH, I really appreciate that she would ask me from time to time if I was alright. I noticed that my preceptor was really effective in her time management and efficient at work. I suppose that comes with her years of experience. In addition, not only was HH teaching me about nursing, she was also guiding me on handling people (patients, NOKs, colleagues) at work. I hope to learn her time management skills and develop her ability to handle workplace interactions over time.

It is not the pace-of-work that makes or breaks the joy of nursing, it is the people.


  1. Women can be such bitches eh?

    I dare say LPN X wouldn't have treated you the same way if you were a man.

    1. Hi CK,

      Thanks for visiting and your comment.

      Yup, I agree with your observation. According to research, women tend to bully other women, whereas men bully other men and women equally.

      As I have updated above, LPN X picked the wrong victim. I am generally patient and have a "3 strikes before you're out" allowance. But if she should cross the mark, she will get her comeuppance.

      Cheers, WD.