Mar. 22, 2017

Chandra CNA (or Doctor)?

As a nurse, I can tell you there’s always a nursing assistant who thinks she’s in charge or knows more than anyone else. There are even nurses out there who think they know more than the doctor does. I guess that’s true for any profession though; to have someone who thinks they’re more than who they really are.

When I worked at Winyah Nursing Home we had a nursing assistant (C.N.A), Chandra, who clearly misunderstood her role as a nursing “assistant.” Chandra often tried to take charge of the floor making announcements, delegating work, and giving direction to the other C.N.A.s. For the most part, much to her dismay, everyone, including the nurses, would just shake our head at her and then promptly ignore her.

There were a few times we nurses had to calm down the other C.N.A.s and stop them from popping Chandra’s head like a pimple. There were many reassurances given to the others that no one would get into trouble if they didn’t do things Chandra’s way or do what she said. She was even brazen enough to threaten to write up her peers.

“She’s just blowing smoke,” is what we’d tell the others.

Chandra’s way of “writing someone up,” was to secretly leave a note for the boss, the Director of Nurses (DON), under the office door telling what infraction she felt was made. They often shook their heads and ignored her as well. Yup, we saved Chandra a few times.

We were taking a break together one evening when I asked, “Why do think you have to tell the other nursing assistants what to do?”

“Because the nurses don’t know what they’re doing. Someone has to supervise the staff and tell them what needs to be done,” she answered.

I wasn’t offended by her candor; if anything, I was quite amused by it. “Well let’s see,” I said. “You took one class for a whole whopping nine weeks whereas nurses go to college for two years or more. I don’t see how you think you know more about the patient‘s medical status or how that puts you in a supervisor‘s capacity.”

Our little chat did not slow her down any. Not that I thought it would. A couple of weeks later, I was pulling the medicine cart out to begin my med pass when all of a sudden Chandra comes barreling down the hallway. She skids around the desk and grabs one of the blood pressure cuffs and a pair of stethoscopes.

“Hurry! Come quick,” she says to me, clearly out of breath.

I started to wheel the cart back to the desk. Nothing is ever fast in a nursing home so I was mildly curious as why she was running anywhere. “What happened?”

“Mrs. X is dead!”

“So what’s your hurry?” I called after her as she took off down the hall into Mrs. X’s room. “She’s not going anywhere!”

I locked the medicine cart up and walked to the room. I stopped in the doorway as Chandra, having taken Mrs. X’s blood pressure, looks up at me and declares, “Yup, she’d dead. I knew it!”

“What gave her away?” I asked leaning against the doorway. I was amused as Chandra leans over Mrs. X and checks her eyes (I had no idea why she was checking the eyes but I’m sure it was all in the good name of nursing). “Was it the lovely shade of blue she has on her face or maybe it’s the fact her chest is not rising and falling with bated breath anymore?”

Chandra looks up at me and says, “You don’t have to be such an asshole.”

(Yes, I did. I was enjoying this)

“Well should I go back to the desk and call the doctor and let him know you have pronounced Mrs. X as deceased and he need not bother to come out and sign the death certificate as I’m sure you’re quite capable enough to do that for him too?”

She stormed past me. I think she was upset with me. I could be wrong but I do know she didn’t speak to me for about a week after that. The other nurses were so jealous.