You can't handle the truth!

Dr. Ali and I were talking about our recent (constant) staffing problems last night. I said I couldn't figure out why a unit with patients with things like GBS and big MCA strokes (one makes you not breathe, the other can make you have fatal heart arrhythmias without warning) wasn't considered a priority in staffing. I mean, we had a code a couple of weeks ago when some poor sod went into ventricular fibrillation (non-medical definition: your heart quits beating and just shivers: very bad), and only one nurse on the floor. It was touch-and-go, but we got said poor sod coded, stabilized, and later discharged.

Dr. A. told me something he'd heard earlier this week from a VP of development: that the neurocritical care unit is only important in that we bring in money for the neurosurgical service.

(Imagine me standing there, open-mouthed, silent.)


Sunnydale General is supposedly going for a comprehensive stroke certification, but the department that handles everything from strokes requiring TPA to non-surgical neurological emergencies is considered worthwhile only because we send the occasional patient to the surgery guys for a cartotid endarterectomy or aneurysm clipping.

I asked Dr. Ali how he'd responded. He told me he'd told the VP of development that our unit was making plenty of money on its own, thanks, and that he didn't like to refer patients for surgeries that weren't proven to work. (That last is some obscure insult referencing some sort of study on CEAs, I guess; I don't know the details.) It was a calm, intellectual burn from one doc to another.

Still, to be told flat out that the unit that you're working on, that you've been helping to develop for umpteen years, isn't considered important by the big uppity-ups. . . .is disheartening. Although it does explain why we're having such a hard time getting funding for equipment and staff.

In other news, I worked with a patient care aide this weekend who was concerned about her ability to get a job after she graduates nursing school in December. She's been doing externships and internships and has great grades, but hasn't even had a nibble on the job front.

We went over all the things she was doing right, and all the things she might be doing wrong, and then I took a look at her resume.

She's graduating from a for-profit school that is not accredited.

Again, imagine me standing there, open-mouthed and silent.

This woman will owe more than $50,000 for two years' worth of classes from a school that lacks even the most basic accreditation from any authority. She therefore will not be able to get a job anywhere but the LTAC that employs her part-time now, and maybe not even them, as an RN. Add to that that her chances of getting into a decent nursing school for a BSN are practically nil, except if she goes back to Consolidated Larnin' Collidge, and she's screwed.

I can't. . .I can't even. Talk about predatory marketing: they promised her that in just under two years, she'd have earning potential that nobody in her family has ever had. They told her that the job market for nurses is hot, which it is--provided you've got a degree from a recognized school and are willing to slog for a few years. They then helped her get loans that are about four times what I paid for a degree from an accredited program, but didn't happen to mention that a) the interest rates are huge, and b) her education would be worth practically nothing.

She's not stupid, but she's not well-educated. She's poor, she's got a GED, and she took the only offer she got. She's a hard worker and driven as hell, but she's hobbled herself with a bullshit "degree" from a place that has classes in a storefront.

It was a demoralizing week at work.