Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH (08/31/17)
TITLE: The Right Ramona
By Donna Powers
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On top of the orders was a note from the Nursing supervisor. It said we had a new nurse starting today. The note read, “Ramona has been a nurse for 30+ years but was away from it while she raised her kids. She has no recent experience but I think she’ll do well on your unit.”
I chuckled. Most people in the hospital knew that was my story: I’d returned to work after raising my kids and went on to become Unit Manager. I’d been lucky. I’d had a great mentor who’d been patient with my “learning curve”. So, I had a soft spot in my heart for nurses returning to the work force.
I listened to report and got ready for Ramona. But when I saw a new face coming around the corner, I inwardly groaned. She wasn’t just green… she was completely clueless.
I greeted her, “Good morning, Ramona. Welcome to the Geriatric Unit. I’m Gloria King and I’m the supervisor. We’re glad you’re here, but please lose those hoop earrings and take off that nail polish. Those earrings will get yanked off and the nail polish is against dress code.”
She seemed like she wanted to protest, but didn’t say anything except “OK. Thanks.”
I showed her the polish remover, where to stash her purse and earrings, and winced at her inappropriate shoes and fancy blouse. We don’t wear scrubs on “Geri”, but it’s not exactly the Easter Parade either. But I could live with her outfit for today. By the end of the day, her feet would be begging for more sensible footwear, and one puking patient would take care of that white blouse.
I gave her a tour of the unit and introduced her to the residents. Then we began our assessments for the day. I grabbed a blood pressure cuff and we were off.
We began with Mrs. Karlson. I showed Ramona how we do an assessment, and how we filled out the documentation. I explained each task and asked if she had any questions. She said no.
Hmmmmm… a quick learner? Or overconfident? We’d soon see.
I asked Ramona to do the next assessment. I was thrilled to see she’d brought her own pen. I stood back to give her some space.
Right away, I saw she knew what she was doing. Not only that: Ramona was actually taking to Mrs. Wong. She explained what she was doing, and talked about the weather. Her eyes swept Mrs. Wong from head to toe. She even removed Mrs. Wong’s socks to check her feet.
I was impressed. Now to see how she put the information into use.
I reviewed our visit note and watched while she filled in her documentation. I breathed more easily. She was going to be OK.
When she finished that note, I said, “That was great, Ramona. I loved the way you interacted with Mrs. Wong. You’re going to be a real asset to this unit. Now, why don’t I take the right half of this hall while you do the left. I think you’ll be fine, but if you need me, just let me know.”
She smiled. “Gloria, there’s something you need to know.”
Oh, great. Just when I thought I’d found the best new nurse ever…
“OK, what is it?”
“I’m not the Ramona you think I am”
What...? “Well, then which Ramona are you?”
She smiled again. “I’m Ramona Sharp. I’m with the consulting firm the hospital hired to evaluate their unit managers. I’m here for your performance evaluation.”
Oh, great. “Why didn’t you say something?
“Well, I figured: I’m here to evaluate you as a manager. What I just saw showed me your management style better than just watching you work.”
“Well, umm... thank you, Ms. Sharp.”
“You’re welcome. Now, why don’t you reassign these patients so we can talk?”
I groaned inwardly as I called Randy over to assess the patients, and began leading this Ramona to my office. But not before I spied someone who I really hoped was “the right Ramona” coming tentatively down the hall, toward the nurses’ station.
Well, at least this one was wearing sensible shoes.
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