Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keeping everyone honest (My "war stories")

I call my early years in Nursing my "war stories" period because nothing was easy, but today I feel like writing one of my old war stories just to show how evolution truly works in the work place.  Many years ago I went to work in our local hospital as the Evening Nursing Supervisor covering the entire hospital. One night we were overcrowded and I was looking for a space to put an extra bed.  Our ER was bursting at the seams and it was apparent that we were going to need a few beds someplace even if we did not know where we were going to find these beds.  I walked into a three-bed ward with the brilliant idea of turning the ward from a three-bed to a five-bed ward for the night.  The room was large enough so I was pretty sure it would work.  I walked into the ward and started poking around to see how I could rearrange things. In the far corner of the room was an old screen door.  I had a flashlight in my pocket so I whipped it out and began to examine the door.  My intention was to unlock the door and to make sure there was a clear path if the door needed to be used as a fire door.  Of course in that hospital I always knew that I had to be responsible for surprises and smart enough to find a cure pretty quickly.  The door was no exception.  Undoubtly that door had not been opened in twenty-thirty years, even if it was a "fire escape door."  It was rusted so intensely that the rust had pretty much soddered the lock together permanently, which meant we had to saw a few things apart to open the door.

I called the night watchman to come help me and to bring his tools.  We worked for at least an hour before we could undo the weathering effects on that lock and break the rust free to open the door.  A couple of hours later we had rearranged the room, moved in two new beds and night stands, and the two new patients arrived from the ER.  This was the beginning of my clean-up campaign for that hospital which lasted for several more years.  Sometimes when I look back at the health care conditions that existed in those days I am totally appalled, and most of all, the more I searched the more I found, which did not make me the fair-haired child of the moment in a hospital that liked its status quo.  That was the beginning of surprises for the entire hospital because I was determined to see it cleaned up, safe, and functional no matter how many cages I had to rattle.  Shortly before this incident, there was a hospital fire in Ohio, I think it was, and many people died.  I wasn't ready for a repeat performance of that horror, so I began to survey the entire building and I was making my plans.  It was easy to see that some people were making lots of money and not much if any money was going towards upkeep and fire prevention. Most of my nurses were in favor of my "getting involved in change," but others were worried about their jobs and did not want to "rock" the boat.  So I always knew that I would accept total responsibility for everything that I did, which I did, and mostly I worked alone in my silent investigation with a camera and cultures.

1 comment:

LC David said...

Good an excellent war story,
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