I graduated from Radiology school in December of 2016 with a 4.0 gpa. I took my national boards a week later and passed with an 88. From there I started applying for jobs at various places while still working part-time at the VA as my boss at the time (I affectionately refer to her as Hitlerette) refused to put me back on full time hours even though I was done with school. After 6 months of not finding a Radiology job, my low weekly hours sucking into our savings, I ended up applying for and landing a full time job as a phlebotomy/EKG tech at the VA hospital where I work, as I patiently wait for two Radiology techs, who are in their 60’s, to retire so I can transfer to the Radiology department.
Things had been going great with my job until the last couple of months. At our hospital there is a severe shortage of nursing assistants so my co-workers and I have been regularly pulled off our phlebotomy duties to fill in for wherever there is a shortage on the floors. Meanwhile, any labs that may pop-up pile up because the nurses refuse to draw blood while we reassigned. So when we are released from our nursing assistant duties we go back to a mess of requisitions that we are expected to to catch up on.
Which brings me to yesterday. We get to work at 4am every morning and head down to the lab where we pick up our list for the morning in-patient labs. We have 6 wards that we usually go to every morning. We divide the lists up, take our carts with supplies, and go patient to patient drawing whatever morning labs the doctors have ordered overnight. Usually we have two, sometimes three on the schedule to get the labs done.
Yesterday I was by myself as my normal Friday co-worker was on leave. I went to the lab and was told there was glitch in the system and no list/labels had printed. So I called the nursing supervisor and asked her to call the floors to have them print their morning requisitions/labels so that I knew who I was supposed to draw for on each of the six floors. I was met with a lot of groaning and bitching from the floor nurses who had to stop their Facebook games and help me out. By the time I got all the paperwork/labels straight, I started drawing blood at 515am, a full hour and 15 minutes behind schedule. I was by myself to draw 6 floors of patients by myself. What pisses me off is, while the people in charge are so quick to pull us off our phlebotomy duties when there is a nursing assistant shortage, they refuse to give us any help when there is just one of us to draw blood for the entire hospital. It took me until almost 1030am to finish the morning labs. The people in charge knew the situation, and knew I was drowning but sent no one to help me get the labs done faster. Let’s just say I was silent smoldering because I was so angry.
Once I was finally done I wheeled my cart back to the Surgical ICU where we keep them stored and ran into my boss. I calmly told her that it’s completely unfair for us to be constantly used for staffing shortages when we don’t get the same help in the mornings when there is only one of us for 6 floors of patients. She listened and then basically told me we would have to suck it up and there was nothing she could do blah blah blah.
So I left the surgical ICU and decided to go get some coffee. When I came around the corner I saw Ian, one of the Radiology techs pushing one of the portable machines. I told him, Hi, and he stopped me. He said, “You know Al’s last day is today. He’s finally retiring and his position will be opening up internally on the USA jobs website”. I was like, “Really” and my jaw dropped. He laughed and said “yeah keep an eye for it next week so you can get your paperwork in, we want you down there to work with us”. I thanked him profusely for the heads up and on my way to get coffee kept thinking, OMG over and over.
There might be one glitch. There is a girl from my class that works there every other weekend may want that job too. While she is also a veteran, I don’t think she is a disabled veteran like I am. So if we both apply, she will only have a 5 point claim advantage, while I will be able to have a 10 point advantage. So we shall see I guess. I really hope I can move on and do what I worked so hard for during my two years of school. At least it put me in a better mood for the rest of my work day, lol.