I’ve nicknamed my mental health clinical Whoville (land of the “small” people). One of the nurses on the unit, I’ll call her Cindy Lou Who, hasn’t been outright mean (like some of the Nurse Nastys of yonder clinicals), but she just makes these random, jabbing comments. First it was that we were only allowed to look at certain charts. “Well, you can’t look at all of the charts…just the one for the specific patient that you’re going to talk to…” Well um, since we’re not assigned specific patients, I kinda need to look at a few to decide which one I want to attempt to talk to since none of them really want to talk to us anyway. But fine, whatever, I brushed that one off. Then it was, “You do know what HIPAA is right? That you can’t talk about the patients when you leave here and all?…” Thanks for the heads up but um yeah, I didn’t start nursing school yesterday… Brushed that one off too.
Then today was the kicker. The patients have morning community meeting directly followed by another group. To make a long story short, for various reasons we decided (along with our clinical instructor) that we were not going to attend the second group meeting. Cindy Lou Who pops her head in the report room where we were working on our process recordings and says they were about to start group and that “if” we wanted to go we should go now as to not disturb the group being late. We nodded/acknowledged/said okay and continued to work on our assignment. When we emerged a little later Cindy Lou Who assumed that we had left in the middle of group and starts going off about how we can’t just walk out of group. In order to calm her frazzled mind, I jumped in “Oh no Cindy Lou Who, we didn’t walk out—we decided not to attend the group today. Our instructor thought it might be better if we gave the patients a little space and not attend both groups since they’re back-to-back.” Well the sky just opened up and the lightning struck. She goes off saying that she went out of her way (ten feet down the hall?) to ask the guy if he minded if we attended his group (he honestly did not care one way or another) and that we should have told HER we weren’t going to attend and that the fact that we didn’t was “disrespectful.” Now I admit that maybe there could have been an ounce more of communication, but disrespectful? I think that’s a bit much.
So for the remainder of the day, Cindy Lou Who’s whole demeanor towards me changed (you get very good at reading nonverbal/body language when you take psych) and at the end of the day when we made sure to tell her (because I for one sure didn’t want to be accused of being disrespectful again) that we were going to post-conference she gave me the grizzly!! WTF?!? How old are we again?
Then we have Betty Lou Who, the other nurse on the unit, who usually just flat-out ignores us. She even told our clinical instructor on our first day in not so many words that they “don’t really deal with the students.” Some teaching facility huh? Most days I am just splen-dant with just tuning her out. But today, she asked if we minded doing some vitals for her. Surprised that she even acknowledged our presence we said sure no problem, it’d provide an opportunity for some small talk with the patients…especially since they were still a little hesitant to open up to us. Then one of the other staff said to her that we weren’t “here for that,” but were “here to learn about mental health.” To which Betty Lou loudly replies (as if we weren’t standing right there) “SO!! It’s not like they have anything better to do!!” WOW. Just. Wow.
After lunch, we normally have a mini post conference with our instructor to discuss any morning issues before we head back to our units. Perhaps she thought we had snuck off to Starbucks or something so I guess she thought she was putting us on blast or getting us in trouble when she exclaimed quite grandiosely (in front of our instructor) “OMG!!! You missed it!! You missed the patient escalating! Where have you been all this time?!?” I was pretty much dumbfounded with her behavior at this point as for the past month or so she hasn’t given us a second glance so I am pretty sure my mouth just hung as I looked at her like she was crazy. She had this sort of self-serving smirk on her face as if she had really stuck it to us. Imagine the amount of salt she had to remove from her shoulder when she was informed that where we had been, was with our clinical instructor (imagine that…).
I really don’t get the whole nurses eating their young thing, but to me it just goes against the very grain of what I thought nursing is supposed to be…
“You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch…You have termites in your smile…You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile…Mr. Gri-inch…Given the choice between the two of you, I’d take the uh… seasick crocodile…”