I’m not always the best judge of character

When I was living less than a block from the hospital, my husband and I explored buying the townhouse duplex we lived in. Someone scooped it out from under us. No matter. I still lived less than a block from the hospital.

We lived in the bigger half of the duplex. A three bedroom, two bathroom open concept place. I loved it there. I was a new nurse, working evening shift on a Med-Surg floor.

The people in the other half had moved out and a woman and her daughter moved in. I soon saw her orienting on my floor. She was a fellow nurse!

She was fun.

Always laughing.

Always open to doing things out of work.

She had been a nurse for ten years, and she’d been working at several hospitals before she moved to our little town.

I was none of these things.

I have been called severe, too serious.

I laughed but usually at myself.

I had been a working nurse for three months and my only experience was a CNA in a nursing home and several different jobs at the hospital.

I thought she could teach me a lot of things, like time management, and how to address scary situations.

And then I noticed some things.

She was always behind on her evening med pass.

That some of her patients had fallen.

That she always worked later than me finishing her charting.

That she always was laughing, sometimes at the patients.

She was always flirting with the doctors.

I did learn from her.

I learned when to keep my mouth shut.

I learned  how to time my evening med pass so none of the medications were late.

I learned when to pay extra attention to symptoms the patient was having.

I learned to be succinct in my narrative charting.

I learned how to talk to doctors.

I learned how to be respectful to patients, because they were in our care.

She didn’t last long at our little hospital. She and her daughter moved away after six months.

 

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