I have lived through, quite literally, the worst week I have ever lived through in my life this week. I’m at my wits and would really appreciate any input y’all may have.
I went to work Tuesday and discovered the other nurse has put in her two week notice, we have picked up a new provider and they want me to avoid any OT. I took that in stride. Or as much into stride as you can when you get a boatload of bad news as soon as you step foot in the door.
When the primary provider for office came in (he is leaving in June for a better position…I am telling you this because it has significant bearing on the rest of the week.), I noted that he did not seem to want me to assist him with any patients or surgeries. Oh no, see, he wanted only the other nurse to go in with him. He would tell me he didn’t need any help but grab the other nurse as soon as she walked by. This bothered me a bit but I let it go because he had worked with the other nurse almost exclusively for 9 months prior to my getting hired.
As Tuesday progressed, the receptionist began exceedingly snarky remarks to the other nurse and the doc. Comments like ‘fucking traitor’, ‘what the fuck do they think they are doing?’, ‘they must think I am stupid because I am black’. I had initially thought the receptionist was a decent enough sort when I started working here but she has a very bad habit of throwing the race card at us whenever things go wrong at the office and using foul language while at the front desk and patients are in the waiting room.
Finally, at the end of the day, the receptionist came to me and told me that she was mad at the doc and other nurse because the doc ‘is taking N (as the other nurse will be called henceforth) with him when he goes to his new job.’ This didn’t bother me in the least because I knew it couldn’t be possible as the doc is going to work at the air force base here and the docs have no say as to what nurses get hired for their clinics. To be honest, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all even if it were true. N is a damned good nurse and she had more than proven her reliability and skills to doc in the time she had been there.
Right after this big of ‘news’ was given to me, the receptionist jumped my ass in front of a waiting room full of patients because I was not taking a walk in patient ahead of patients that were there on time for previously scheduled appointments. When I say she jumped my ass I am putting it mildly. She was yelling and screeching at me all the while using foul language. The office manager finally decided to step in and told the receptionist that I was correct in not taking the walk in ahead of patients that have appointments. For the next 10 minutes or so we didn’t have a receptionist, we had this huge ball of attitude sitting at the front desk that was glaring daggers at me. Receptionist decided that she would have to be nice to me because she left her lighter at home and she ‘desperately needs a cigarette’. Seeing as how I was still angry with her for total lack of professionalism my response to her request was to tell her to go outside and rub two sticks together to get her cigarette lit. Let’s just say that that didn’t make her happy, m’kay?
As we were walking out the door, I asked N if she was leaving to work with doc. She said no, but she had gotten a job at his fiance’s office -his fiance is a neurologist. It’s a great opportunity for her and I congratulated her. I thought we were done with stupid shit for the week when we left…Oh, how very wrong was I???
On Wednesday, I came in only to see that N wasn’t there yet. I got a bit nervous as we had a full schedule and we still had to call and schedule patients for surgeries to get cancers removed. The Nurse Practitioner came in and was somewhat cold towards me when she asked where N was. I told her that N had turned in her resignation on Monday and after the way N had been treated on Tues, I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t come back in at all.
N finally came in -she had overslept and the Nurse Practitioner started pulling the same favoritism bullshit that doc had pulled the day prior. Now I am stumped. WTF have I done to deserve this treatment? Just two weeks ago I had been told by everyone practioner in that office about what a wonderful job I was doing, how glad they were that I had accepted their job and how they all hoped that I would stay with this practice for a long time to come.
Poor N, in the meantime, is getting dragged to the side by the Nurse Practitioner and office manager at every turn for a ‘talking to’. They were all telling her that she shouldn’t leave the practice, that she was making a bad choice in leaving and going to work with doc’s fiance -as she didn’t want to get ‘boxed into any one specific specialty’ now did she? Oy. What is dermatology if it isn’t a specialty??
For the entire day the receptionist aka: gelatinous mound of attitude is firing off nasty comments and glaring at N while trying to be sugar sweet to me. <retching> The office manager is also looking at me strangely and being quite odd towards me all day.
When we were almost finished with the patients for the day, I told the office manager I’d like a few minutes of her time. I wanted to find out what was up with the practitioners and her attitude towards me as well as ask her to have a chat with the receptionist about her utterly unprofessional behavior at the front desk. Her response? ‘If I have time, I will.’ NOW, I’m really angry, but I don’t say anything because I wasn’t about to be as unprofessional as everyone else has been thus far. Two more times the office manager told me that if she had time she would talk to me and then stormed out of the office at precisely five o’clock while pointing at me and said ‘I’ll have to talk to you tomorrow when I have time.’
Thursday arrives. When I got to work N was there and she told me that she had cleaned out her desk and would be leaving as soon as the office manager showed up with her paycheck because she just couldn’t take another day like the previous two. To be honest? I’m surprised she even came in. I gave her a big hug, wished her luck and told her to keep in touch with me -she’s actually become a pretty good friend. I’ll miss her.
The receptionist came in. As soon as she came in she launches herself at me and says ‘Cathy? DO YOU HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM WITH ME??’ I told her that yes, actually, I do. That I don’t appreciate her negativity and foul comments toward me -only because I didn’t do precisely what she wanted when she wanted, the way she wanted. I told her that she is not, nor will she EVER be, my supervisor and she needs to back the fuck off of me. All of this happened in front of the Physician’s Assistant and he didn’t say a word. I swear to Bast I thought she was going to try to hit me (she tried to choke her last office manager -somehow the unemployment office faxed the police report of it to our office when she first started working at our office. Why the hell they didn’t fire her on the spot then, I will never know). She calmed down though -presumably because she realized that I am not afraid of her- and apologized.
Office manager came in, N left and PA (physician’s assistant) is acting funky toward me also. We made it through the morning though and lunch rolled in. I ate my lunch and took the office manager outside to have a word with her about this new attitude I am getting from everyone. We begin by discussing my new responsibilities and stuff like that. Out of nowhere, the office manager looks at me and says, ‘Cathy? Do you have a drug or alcohol abuse problem?’ You could have knocked me over with a freaking feather, y’all. Me? Have a substance abuse problem? Me? The girl that has dumped boyfriends because she felt uncomfortable with their drinking and who convinced her brother to stop drinking altogether (75 days today! Woooooooohooooooooo, Paul!!) I am also the girl that has only ever had one hit of a joint and that was because I had a sore tooth one day -it’s all my brother had in his apartment that could conceivably have helped with a toothache. It didn’t work.
I told her that I would be more than happy to go to the local lab or ER right that very second and give blood/urine/hair samples to prove my innocence -she just smiled at my offer. I asked her if that was the cause of the practitioner’s new attitude toward me and who/what the hell made them suspect such a thing.
Y’all sitting down? Buckled and strapped in?
Because, you see, I had missed two days last week. I had either a stomach virus or ate something bad. I was literally puking my guts up. R can testify to that. It was not at all pretty. Add that to the fact that I have had a tremor in my hands for the past two weeks. When the tremor started, I showed my office manager and the PA and asked them what they thought would cause it and if they thought I should be concerned. I have a history of my thyroid shutting down on me and that’s how it presented last time. Luckily it just started working again on it’s own. I also have a family history of Parkinson’s Disease. They were both concerned and told me that I should get it checked out. Problem with that is that I don’t have health insurance and I won’t have any for another 4 months. I simply can’t afford the work up that I need to have. I digress, however.
What they did was add up the two missed days of work and my tremor and et voila!! I MUST be abusing drugs/alcohol. I looked the office manager in the eye and swore on my father’s grave that I don’t have such a problem. I asked her who had asked this and come up with the conclusion. She named the Nurse Practitioner and said ‘a few others.’
Now, I don’t think I need to spell out how very devastating this type of accusation can be for my career. This could effectively destroy me ever practicing as a nurse again. I don’t think it was very fair of them to make these unjustified accusations behind my back and whisper about it amongst one another as well as the other six offices for ten fucking days before talking to me about it. I wasn’t totally pissed off right away because I didn’t know how pervasive this rumor had become, nor did I have time to really think about it until I got home on Thursday night. For the rest of the day, the receptionist is filling the office manager’s ears with utter lies about N and the doctor that is leaving the practice. It was surreal, I tell you and I couldn’t wait for the day to end.
Before I left the office on Thursday, I asked the office manager if someone would be coming in early to let me in the office so I could get rooms and surgical trays ready before patients start coming in. She said that she thought she ‘might have a key’ that I could use rather than have another person come in 1/2 an hour early unnecessarily. -She even made a show of trying various keys on her key ring. None fit. Now, bear in mind I was not -nor am I- asking for a key. I am only asking if someone will be coming in early to let me in…because if they aren’t then I need to re-evaluate how I set up and what time I get to work in the mornings. Reasonable request, right?
Guess what? She lied to me. When I got home on Thursdsay, I started thinking about the accusation leveled at me and the fact that the office manager claimed not to have a spare office key. So, I called N at home and asked her if she had turned her office key in. She had. I told her what had happened with the office manager (accusation and key issues) and she told me that it was because I am not trusted there. SAY WHAT?? Ah, yes. I am not trusted because I am a substance abuser. In spite of the fact that I offered to prove my innocence and they didn’t take me up on the offer.
I didn’t sleep much Thursday night. I have never, ever had such accusations flung my way. Nor have I ever worked in such a vile atmosphere as I have this entire week.
Friday morning, I decided that I was going to take the bull by the horns and take a stand. We didn’t have any providers that day, the office manager had to go to Port Richey to meet with the practice manager and it was just going to be us worker bees there (less the check out clerk).
I walked in and called everyone to the front desk. I told them that I had been advised of the accusations leveled at me and that I had offered blood/urine/hair as a way to prove my innocence. I also told them that I am utterly disappointed in the way that this was handled and disgusted by the fact that they all -every last one of them- would look at me for the past ten days and have that suspicion lurking in the back of their minds. The receptionist looked at me and said, ‘You are just going to have to come to grips with the fact that people will always talk shit about you.’ I looked her dead in the eye and said the following -‘Talk shit about me as a person all day long. I don’t care. Call me a syphillitic monkey whore. I don’t care. BUT DON’T MAKE ACCUSATIONS THAT COULD FUCK WITH MY CAREER!!’ Turns out I was right. Every one of them had heard the accusation. As had all six of our other offices -to include the owners.
Some other crap was discussed and it ended with everyone giving apologies. Some were heartfelt. The receptionist from Hell was fake as all get out. Her primary concern? Did the office manager tell me who had perpetuated the rumor? If she had, then the receptionist was angry as that was a violation of confidentiality -receptionist thought it would be wrong if she had, because then how could I possibly work with whomever had perpetuated said rumor with out being disgusted and angry at that person? rolls eyes Gee, wonder who started the rumor, huh? I told her that the NP’s name had been mentioned and you could see the relief wash over her face.
I go back to my office/lab area and begin working. Phone rings and apparently the receptionist is too busy making her personal phone calls to answer so I picked it up. It was the check out clerk. I told her what I had told the others about the accusation and my offer to clear my name. She said ‘I know. The office manager called me at home last night and told me that she had spoken to you about your problem.’ She said wot?? The office manager had called her at home? THE OFFICE MANAGER CALLED THE CHECK OUT CLERK AT HOME TO DISCUSS ME?? AND THE CHECK OUT CLERK CALLED THE RECEPTIONIST AND SO ON AND SO ON?? I advised her how very quaint I thought it was for them to discuss my alleged problem over the phone, amongst themselves without my presence. There are no words as to how very angry I was/am about that little snippet, I have to tell y’all. She, too, advised me to ‘let it go’. Let it go? I ask y’all. How many of y’all would be able to just ‘let it go’? Add the accusation, the lie about the key, and the fact that I also have to ask for a script pad because they are now under lock and key (I write the prescriptions for the doctor and he signs them) and you have the horrible environment I work in now.
I am devastated. I feel violated. I can’t even begin to think straight and I have no clue what to do. If I leave, it’s not fair to the patients as that would leave no nurse at the office to call them with results or to assist with their surgeries, etc. I also feel that if I were to leave, those that started this bullshit rumor will win.