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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: Patient Anger
By Angela Posey-Arnold


Patient Anger

As a Director of Nursing in a Long Term Care facility I spent many early mornings sneaking in when least expected to see what was happening on the late shift. I had supervisors but sometimes they needed supervising too.

As I drove to work one of these early mornings my mind was focused on some complaints I had gotten from family members. They were concerned that their loved ones were not being cared for on the 11-7 shift. Complaints like that make it really hard to sleep at night for a dedicated DON trying to make a difference.

I arrived at the facility and no one noticed me, I am good at sneaking up on my nurses. They hate it.

All was quiet and that was scary. Finally, I could hear the TV in the common room so that was my first stop. I glanced in the room and saw no one. I walked over to turn the TV off and there she was. One of my Nursing Assistants was lying on the couch, so cozy with a pillow and a blanket snoring away. I was so mad I wanted to jerk her off that couch and shake her. It is really a miracle that I didn’t.

I went over and woke her up. She looked at me with some fear in her eyes as I glared at her. She knew I was mad, very mad. I told her to get up and meet me in my office in 10 minutes. I am so thankful for that ten minutes because it changed everything.

I stomped to my office and shut the door. I was so mad I could have spit. I think maybe I did spit. I threw a little private tantrum that no one heard, well no one except Jesus. I got the termination papers ready. At that moment she was ‘so fired’.

How on earth could someone be paid to take care of people that cannot take care of themselves and spend that time sleeping? What in the world was wrong with her? All I could think of was the residents that were probably in need while she was in dream land. The more I thought about it the madder I got.

Firing her was the only thing I could do. And I wanted to fire her. Then I heard this still small voice, “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot tempered one commits many sins” (Proverbs 29:22 NIV)

I was still mad, angry, furious. I knew I had to pray and ask for help or things might get ugly and uglier as it went along. So, I did. I prayed. Lord Jesus, please help me. Show me what to do.

A slight knock on my office door shook me back to knowing that I had to face her and I could do it with anger or love. I had a choice. I was still angry but something in my heart had changed.

She walked in and I told her to close the door and have a seat. She sat there with her head down and she was crying before I ever said anything. All of a sudden I wasn’t angry I was concerned. We talked. She told me about the problems she was having at home, terrible things that no one should have to deal with. She apologized and felt remorseful. We worked out a new shift for her that would work better. I didn’t fire her. I did write her up for sleeping on the job but I didn’t fire her and I wasn’t sure why.

When she left my office she promised to work over and make sure all her residents were taken care of before she left. Then she hugged me. And I hugged back. When she turned to leave she said, “I don’t know what it is, but there is something about you” I said, “It isn’t me, it is Jesus”. She had actually seen the love of Jesus in me. What a blessing from Him.

Later I found out that she was one paycheck away from being homeless with 3 kids. On her new shift she worked better and actually became one of my best CNAs. I took great satisfaction when I was able to promote her to restorative nursing.

When she was baptized along with her three children she invited me. I was the only white person there. It was great.

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This article has been read 597 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/09/07
Love your title--a great oxymoron!

This might be even zippier with dialogue, written more as a story than as a first-person account. Something to consider if you re-visit it.

Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
Good moral here — it's always better to act in love than to react in anger — especially when you don't have all the facts.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/13/07
This story touched me. Given a second chance. Very well done.
Seema Bagai 08/16/07
Great message in this piece.
Dee Yoder 08/21/07
I can relate from the other side of the fence-my Dad's in a nursing home and I can tell you, my number one concern is that his needs are being met! Thanks for giving me some peace that the staff are looking out for that, too.