You've heard the song "Just another day in Paradise"?? Well tonight was just "another day in HELL". For purposes of the distant reader, I am going to back up one day to the night before last.....
I had decided since my post titled "just another rant... " that I was just going to keep to myself and pass any information to the day shift charge RN instead of trying to approach my charge nurse. I thought that I had done a good job in my attempts to stay away and not bother the charge nurse (every request feels like a "bother"). However, I guess I was mistaken. Theresa and I took lunch together (as usual), and I told the charge nurse prior to going to lunch that I was taking my lunch. After we ate, I stepped off the floor to smoke (still during my lunch period). Theresa stayed behind due to the charge nurses prior request (or demand) that "per the DON" we are no longer allowed to have more than one nurse off the floor at a time. When I returned to the floor at the end of my lunch period, the charge nurse with hands on hips approached me and pointed at me then to the breakroom and stated "Candy, I need to talk to you." I replied that it was fine and requested to have someone wittness our conversation. I do not feel comfortable with any conversations with this charge nurse without a wittness. Upon my request for a wittness, the charge nurse stated "we can just do it here (at nurses station) if you want". I stated that I didn't have anything to hide and didn't care who heard what he had to say to me. At this time he proceeded (in what I must say was a very un-professional tone) to tell me that I was not to leave the floor without telling him. I explained that my patients were being covered by one of the other nurses during my lunch period and that I told him that I was going to lunch. His reply was that "yes" he knew I was going to lunch but I didn't tell him that I was leaving the floor. I told him that I assumed my lunch was my time and assumed (incorrectly) that he knew that I would be taking time off the floor. His reply was "dont do it again".
Later that night, I went to the desk to inform him that I was going to step off the floor for a minute (another nurse, again was covering my patients). He informed me, again at the nurses station that I was not allowed to have any more breaks that night. In response I informed him that my patients were covered and ok and that I WAS going to take a quick break. He told me that if I went off the floor that I could "clock out and go home". Other things were said....I really lost track of all of it but in the end I basically told him that I was going to take a break and if he still wanted to send me home when I returned then I would go home, but I WAS going to take a break. Somewhere in the midst of this conversation, I notified the DON of the arrising situation. When I returned to the floor, I approached him at the nurses station and asked if he wanted me to go home. He replied "no", he further stated something about not wanting to be "punitive" but that it was important to him that he know where all the staff is at all times. I agreed that he should know where the staff is and agreed to inform him (even during my lunch periods) of my leaving the floor.
Later that evening when things had cooled off a little, I approached him again (at the nurses station) and told him that it seemed as though his expectations had changed on a daily basis and that in order to avoid similar situations in the future it would be helpful for me to know what his expectations were. He again stated that he just wanted to know when I was leaving the floor. I agreed. I then asked him if there was an issue with the amount of breaks/time off the floor that I had. He replied "no".
I finished out the remainder of my shift without issues....taking my breaks as I have done since prior to him becoming charge nurse.
Moving forward to last night............
I decided to work in the hall rather than close to the nurses station again in attempt to "keep clear" to hopefully avoid confrontation. I took my breaks as usual and informed him each time that I left the floor including twice during my lunch (once at the beginning and once at the end). I noticed as I was leaving the floor on one break that he was taking tally marks each time that I left the floor. Now, realize if you would that this is the same man that less than 24 hours prior stated to me that he did not have an issue with the number of breaks that I had been taking, only that I needed to let him know when I was going off the floor. When I first realized what was happening, I kindof laughed to myself thinking that there are much more important things for him to worry about than how many breaks I'm taking...for instance, am I doing my JOB? Are my medications late? Are my patients clean and dry? Am I getting my work done in the time allotted during my shift? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES!! A couple more questions he might worry about rather than my breaks is Are my patients in pain? Are my patients being neglected? Do the other nurses feel burdened by my taking breaks? The answer to these questions is NO. I always ensure that my patients are comfortable and stable prior to leaving the floor in addition to making sure that someone is watching them.
In a nutshell, I feel like this nurse is being unreasonable in his actions toward me. I don't really know what is going on but there is obviously some issues. I worked with him prior to his becoming charge nurse and we took breaks together....the same amount of breaks!! The hostility that is being felt is unbearable. I am so very ready for this assignment to be over. I am counting the number of shifts left (9 more in case you are interested in knowing). Tonite, I was having chest pain due to the stress level. I dont feel that I have done anything wrong. The rest of the staff could probably attest to the un-professional attitude that this man exhibits as most of them have observed it at some point or another. The entire situation makes for a horrible working environment. It is becoming difficult to focus on the tasks at hand when I am wondering when and why this nurse is going to jump down my throat or change the rules again. It's really a shame because prior to this nurse becoming charge, we got along fine and there was no hostility between us. I really enjoy the job and the others that I work with are great!! I was hoping to extend this assignment but in light of the current situation, I cant get out fast enough!
I am sorry that this is so long and boring but I had to get it off my chest...thanks! I feel better now (well just a little...I have to work again tonight).