I had another kerfuffle at work last night and I'm beginning to think I'm a shit magnet. (Close your eyes Sister if you're reading this).
I've always been assured of who and what I am, but according to the man I met last night doing a home visit, I may be something entirely different. According to him, a learned man of the world to be sure and one with an impressive vocabulary to match, I'm a, what did he say? Oh yeah..."filthy tramp." He was not some demented patient who couldn't see past my clean cut image or someone in the throes of delerium. No, indeed, he was not the patient at all...just a relative who is royally pissed at the world. I'd buy the line that he's just grieving, and verbal abuse is nothing but an expression of his grief, but that's complete BS. I'm convinced, since I'm not the only one he gave unique names to this past week, this guy is nothing but a misogynist. In fact, I'd bet my lottery ticket with a jackpot of 121 million dollars that this guy would NEVER speak to a man like he spoke to me last night. Not in a 121 million years.
I've taken everyone's advice here and when I go into really bad neighborhoods these days, I've been taking armed security escorts. Lord, I wonder what kind of hits do you think my site will get using the words escorts and tramp in one post? I'll have to be extra vigilant in the comment section. The problem with last night is I wasn't in a "bad" neighborhood and I was blindsided by the abuse and people yelling at me. While we're on the subject of neighborhoods, when I'm in really bad ones, it's not the families and patients who are a problem. It's the areas that are dangerous. Indeed, most economically disadvantaged people are so thankful for help and very gracious while I'm there. I have, knock wood, never left a home in the city fleeing like I did last night because in addition to the name calling, three adults, all bigger than me, were yelling at me. And scaring me to death. It wasn't just their verbiage and loud tones of voice I found threatening, it was their body language that screamed to me, "get the hell out, NOW!"
When I got to my car, my hands were shaking so bad I had a hard time getting the key in the ignition. I drove around the corner and called my supervisor. It took six attempts to land the tracking ball device on the number I wanted to call on my Blackberry. I wanted to cry and puke at the same time.
Suffice it to say, I've had enough of this. This is incident number three in as many months, and I can tell you that though I feel this work is still where my heart is (when it isn't in my throat), I am losing the stomach, not to mention the nerve, to do it much longer. I'm on the hunt for a work situation that while it may not be better, at least it may be safer. I say may be safer because under-reported workplace violence is nursing's dirty little secret. Nurses get assaulted every single day and in every type of work situation you can imagine. They get hit, kicked, bit, spit on, threatened with "reporting to a supervisor"and sworn at routinely. Because the perpetrators are usually patients who may not be in their right minds, nothing usually ever comes of it. Ever.
For God's sake people, when we nurses are visitors in patient homes, those domiciles become our place of employment. Think about it...how would you feel if someone came into your workplace and starting screaming at you and calling you despicable names? How would you like to feel fear for your wellbeing in the place you earn your living?
I need to find something else before I lose it completely and start dishing back what these rude people are handing out.
What in the world has happened to common courtesy and manners?
And so you know and won't worry, we do have zero tolerance for abuse. Zero. I don't think my abuser thought about that before he opened his mouth. Too bad, so sad.