Mar. 22, 2017


Chandra, a CNA that worked with us, was frequently in the habit of running by the desk and informing us that so-and-so needed something for a headache, stomachache, or for pain and so on.

“Give her a Vicodin,” she’d instruct.

Often, she’d insist we leave it on the desk and she’d pick it up on her way back and administer the medication herself. There are several things wrong with this theory. First, it’s illegal for CNA's to pass any medicine, even Tylenol, without first taking a pharmacology class and being certified as a Med-Tech with the state, which she clearly was not.

Second, half the time the medicine she requested we administer was not even ordered for the patient and if it was, how would she know? According to HIPPA laws, CNA’s are not supposed to be in the charts because it violates the patient’s right to privacy.

Third, if it were a narcotic, like Vicodin, it has to be counted before and at the end of each shift change. I damn sure was not going to give that to her to give to a patient. Again, we nurses just ignored her and went to check on the patient ourselves to see what, if anything, was needed.

One afternoon Chandra charged by the desk and called out, “Mrs. Y needs something for her stomach. If she doesn’t have an order for Tagamet, call the doctor and get one.”

Really? Did she just give me an order as if she’s my supervisor? I decided to have some more fun with her and continued to stand there sipping my drink. When she came back by the desk she noticed I hadn’t moved.

Chandra was observant like that. She stopped and asked, “Did you hear me?”

“Yes, I did but first and foremost, you do not come up here and give me orders. That’s insubordination. I will write you up should you do it again. You may come up here and ask me to do something, but do not ever order me around. Second, why would I give her an antihistamine instead of something like, say, Zantac?”

“Tagamet is not an antihistamine, it’s for the stomach,” she insisted.

“No,” I said shaking my head, “The drug classification is an antihistamine.”

Chandra rolled her eyes and sighed heavily as if to say she was weary of the ignorance of the nurse’s, especially mine. The things she held in her hands she set down on the desk with a thud and then went around to grab the PDR which lists most drugs and their history. That also hit the desk with a thud (I think she was trying to let me know she was not intimidated by me. Lucky for her I was in a good mood).

I continued to sip my drink as she looked up Tagamet. I knew when she found it because a look of surprise came over her face while her jaw, much like the PDR, hit the desk with a thud.

Tagamet, indeed, is classified as an antihistamine and not for indigestion. The doctors used to prescribe it for acid reflux disease because the common side effect of the drug causes a reduction of the hydrochloric acid that the stomach produces which causes acid reflux.

“What’s it say?” I asked with mocked curiosity. 

She snapped the book shut. “Well, I didn’t know that it was an antihistamine!”

“No, you sure didn’t; but I did. I knew it because I didn’t take just one class for nine weeks. I went to college for two years.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” she questioned.

“Everything. It explains why I am your supervisor and not the other way around. It also explains why if you ever come up here and give me orders again I will hang your ass out to dry and leave my own notes under the office door for the DON.”

Sadly, Chandra didn’t stay with us for very long after that. We were all so sad to see her go except for the DON. I swear I caught her doing the Snoopy dance in the hallway.