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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Staff (01/31/13)

TITLE: The Story~
By C D Swanson


We have to let her go, she's not doing her job."

"I disagree." Lisa's voice cracked as she glared at the Katie, the director of nursing.

"What?" Katie's eyes shot daggers through Lisa's heart before she continued, "you're out of your area of expertise with all due respect."

"Did you speak to her about her job performance? Did you ever take the time to think that perhaps there is a crisis afoot in her personal life?" Lisa jumped up from her seat and leaned forward on the conference table.

"Do I look like a social worker? I'm the director of nursing, and pretty darned busy. This CNA, whom you insist on defending, has been found three times asleep on the west wing, during working hours. What more do I need to say? You're the Administrator, how come you're not in this with me? This person is taking advantage of..."

"Because I know Joanna, she’s kind and dedicated...hardly the monster you're making her out to be."

"All due respect..."

"Never mind the all due respect routine, how about respecting Joanna and giving her a chance to explain. Since when do we dismiss without investigating? I can understand if it were a case of negligence, or abuse. Now that's ground for immediate dismissal. But, this young lady is loved by both residents and employees alike."

"What do you suggest? I sit her down like a little child and say, 'bad girl' and, how can we make you a better employee? Honestly, I feel offended that you're not respecting my position as a director of nursing..."

"Don't go there Katie. I tell you what I will do. I'm going to call for an impromptu staff meeting within the hour. And, afterwards I’ll speak to Joanna directly. We'll get to the bottom of this." Lisa stood by the door motioning, "I'll see you in an hour."


The key personnel were seated and wondering what the meeting would entail as Lisa and Katie entered the room.

"Thank you all for coming to this impromptu staff meeting. I would like for all of you to be honest and forthcoming in your responses. There are no wrong or right answers, just the truth. The truth is all that's required." Lisa smiled at her employees.

"And, make sure you tell the truth," Katie threatened.

"Describe your interactions with Joanna. As an employee and person. We're going to go around the table starting to my left."

"She's an amazing worker. She's always helping me out, one time I was late and she stayed over for me to cover my shift. And, the residents love her. They always ask for her. I just love her, she's sweet kind and never mean. I honestly can't say that for all the people in here." Kara, the head CNA looked at Katie for the last comment.

"Thank you Kara."

And, so it went, just praise and good will. Each glaring at Katie while they spoke. The meeting was adjourned within forty minutes. Katie walked out without one word.


"Uh-um, did I do something wrong Dr. Lisa?"

"I'm just wondering if there's anything you'd like to say. Or, perhaps something that’s interfering with your job performance..."

Joanna's mouth quivered as her eyes widened, "I'm sorry, I didn't tell. I promised I wouldn't tell...please don't fire me," her voice trailed off before she began to sob.

"Joanna," Lisa said in a compassionate tone. "I'm not going to fire you. What made you think that? Why..."

"Katie said she'd fire me if I snitched. I see her sleeping in her office all the time. No one has seen her but me... I'm usually giving baths at that time."

Lisa was incredulous at Joanna's words. "You mean to say she's been sleeping on the job, and threatened your position if you said something?" Her hands trembled as she picked up the phone, "Katie Johnson report to my office now."

"Oh my! I'm going to get fired..."

"No, you’re not getting fired. Please, go and begin your shift. I'm sure the residents are looking forward to your smile and care. Thank you for your devotion to our residents, and the truth. It does set your free doesn't it?" Lisa winked.

"Yes it really does. I do feel better...thank you so much for not firing me."

"Oh, no...thank you." Lisa smiled, and opened the door for Joanna as Katie walked in. She motioned for her to take a seat.

"Now Katie, about that pink slip..."

Please Note - The story was based on an actual event that took place at the Skilled Nursing Facility where I was the Administrator.

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This article has been read 396 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen02/08/13
Sad enough reading such hateful behavior in a fictional character , but to know this “Katie” person was real...well...all I can say is thank God she was exposed, before she cost someone innocent their job! Your story shows how important character is, and in this case contributed greatly to who was believed. I’d say it fit the topic fine, as the story was based on a conversation by the staff, at a staff meeting. It is always a good ending to a story when justice prevails. And one can only leave the story hoping and praying that Katie learned her lesson and changed for the better. Enjoyed the read.
Dannie Hawley 02/08/13
Wow, this reads like a daytime soap opera! How sad that Katie couldn't see the value in the other woman's friendship/loyalty. It's wonderful that the Lord saw to it that the right person lost their job...or, at least, had the opportunity to account for the bad behavior. Thanks for sharing this real-life story with us!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/08/13
I think you did a splendid job on this intriguing tale. The beginning was a great hook and I could feel the conflict immediately. You did a great jobof showing the characters' personalities.

I did notice a tiny POV shift when you mentioned that the staff were wondering about the meeting. Since this is told through Lisa's POV, the reader can't know what other characters are thinking. You could show that one person furrowed her brow and another nibbled on her fingernails which would show they were worried.

I really enjoyed the twist at the end. Seldom do I get surprised by an ending, so it was a delight to read it. Having work as a registered nurse, I felt the pain of the staff. It's hard when someone above us is doing something wrong. I think this is a great message and a wonderful take on the topic.
John Huckstep02/10/13
How many times do we jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts? Great story, great moral lesson. I loved it.
Jan Ackerson 02/12/13
How unfortunate that this reflects the reality of an actual staff--it's heartbreaking.

I was left confused--had Joanna actually been sleeping, or was Katie lying about that because Joanna knew her own secret? And several mechanics errors distracted me as I read.

Your characters are drawn realistically and they each evoke the appropriate emotional reaction from your readers--this was the strength of this story, which left me both indignant and satisfied.
Beth LaBuff 02/19/13
I love the pun in your title. The urgency of getting to the truth came through loud and clear. I was fascinated.