Does everyone have that one coworker that just always seems to be wrong? Not even with their political views, opinions or style of work. They’re just objectively incorrect. I think I have one of those on my unit. I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person (that wasn’t a child and literally didn’t know right from wrong) who has been wrong more times than Jean has.
Let me paint an interesting picture of Jean. Visualize with me an older nurse, ready to retire in a couple years. Also she’s extremely ready to pick a fight with patients and will aggressively defend herself even when she’s blatantly wrong. She’s manipulative to our boss and gets a new employee to quit from sheer lies and twisting details of the truth. Right from the patients themselves, I’ve heard far too many times, “I’m so glad you’re my nurse today and not Jean” or “I’ve really liked my care here at the hospital except for one nurse.”
When I was a brand new nurse, I used to ask her for advice. One time, I had a patient whose temperature started to rise during a blood transfusion – which could mean a transfusion reaction, and that is dangerous. So I ran to Jean asking for help. She starts frantically telling me that the patient is having a reaction. Stop the blood. Take it down. Tell the doctor the patient reacted. Do all this paperwork. Hand deliver the blood bag to the blood bank. Yadda yadda. I start to do everything she says and nervously call up the doctor. He says “Leave it up, the patient is fine. Everything is okay.” She takes the phone, angrily calls him back “NO, the blood has to come down, the protocol says we take it down (spoiler alert, the protocol threshold was absolutely not reached).” Finally back and forth a few times between them, and I hand deliver the fucking leftover blood upstairs. The blood back attendant looks down at the blood and then at my stack of paperwork and then straight into my eyes and says “(spoiler alert) the protocol threshold wasn’t even reached.”
WHAT THE FUCK, JEAN. WOMAN, I TRUSTED YOU.
There was another story where she had me CONVINCED that I was going to lose my job and license when she hyped up a problem my patient was having, and had me convinced it was all my fault. I cried through the end of my shift. I cried through report (ugly, awful, red-faced cry in front of both shifts, mind you). I cried on the drive home. I even cried as I drank the last half of the bottle of Boone’s Farm wine I had sitting in my pantry before I fell asleep. Yeah, it was a really bad day. I sure as hell called in sick to work that night.
The funniest fucking part was, she called the emergency team on that patient, and the emergency team came down and asked me why they even needed to be there, “yeah this patient’s temperature is lower than normal, I don’t think there’s really an emergency here though.” But my anxiety was through the fucking roof. And I went home, emailed my boss about every last detail (it was an extremely long page), fully expecting to not have a job later that day. Her response was basically “Calm the fuck down. Jesus, it’s fucking fine.”
Needless to say, I don’t ask Jean for advice anymore. But goddamnit, when I opened my big mouth and spilled the beans about my career change…her response caught me off guard. “Wow, that’s really great, Ann! This is going to be really a great year for you!”
When talking to the Queen of Erroneous Judgement, I couldn’t help but immediately feel a knot forming deep in my stomach.