Years ago I worked in the ER at one of the local hospitals. I was working admitting this day and doing triage.
Today I had an EMT student 'observing' for a couple hours. Nothing new. We have students of many varieties on a regular basis.
One of the areas I was responsible for today was the Ramp. Not only do the ambulances use it for unloading patients, so does the general public. When the bell rings, someone is driving up the ramp. If it's an ambulance I can ignore it unless we have them coming in with something critical, but we always know about that in advance. The camera monitor is directly in front of me and the bell sounds at my station/desk. This is a great place for students because it's always changing and you never know what is going to happen next. (I loved working triage!).
This student had a real problem with the definition of 'observing' and was trying my patience. She wanted to be involved (I get that) however, working with patients and families who are already stressed, confused, scared or injured, demands a certain skill set and the knowledge for managing and sorting them. This was my job.
After about an hour of having the student as my shadow, I had to quietly remind her that she needed to observe only and that I would be managing the patients and family members. She was free to ask questions after each situation and out of ear shot from others. She kept trying to give advice, her opinion, or comment about things within earshot of patients and family. Not cool.
The bell on the ramp rang and I glanced up at the monitor to see what was coming up. I knew we did not have any ambulances inbound and sure enough it was a car. It drove up pretty quickly so I stood up to head to the ramp. My student jumped up and ran out the door to the ramp ahead of me. SMH.
Usual protocol is to wait for the car to pull in and stop and observe before stepping out. Heaven knows what the situation is, but now my student is there and I need to take control and make sure she and whatever is waiting on the ramp are safe. sigh.
As I approach the door the male driver is now getting out of the car and running to the passenger side to open the door. My student has already reached the car and is opening it. The man is clearly wound up and yelling, "get me a wheel chair! My wife is in labor".
As I am watching this from about 10 yards away, I grab one of the wheelchairs that are parked just inside the doors especially for patient use.
My student has now made contact with the female and I can hear her asking questions and she tells the man to shut up. Ok. She is now WAY out of line. I approach and park the chair and say "excuse me" to my student. Using my firm,polite,professional and I'm In control voice.
My student ignores me. I reach and gently touch her shoulder and allow my eyes to tell her in no uncertain terms to "get the fuck out of my way." Smartly she obliges, but is still is trying to talk and give her opinion and assess the pregnant woman. A couple more looks and she gets the clue and shuts up and steps back.
I assist the soon to be mom into the chair, reassure the soon to be dad and assist them into the hospital and direct them to the labor and delivery floor. Normal pregnancy. No ER intervention required.
Returning to the desk, my student is now silent. I take a minute to pull her into a private area to go over the situation. She nods her head and for the remaining time is simply observing. Perfect.
Next day the department head calls me into her office. Great. This is never good. Apparently the student filed a complaint about me. My boss wants my story. We pull the tape (at my request) and I am cleared of any wrongdoing. Now here is where it gets interesting.
Boss: "You were right in stepping in and having the student step back, but according to her, your eyes expressed hatred and conveyed a threat which made her feel uncomfortable the rest of the shift."
Boss: "True. However your eyes speak very loudly. You will need to learn to control that moving forward."
Me: "What?! Really?!"
Boss: "Yes. Please tone them down."
Boss: "Thank you."
Me: Walks into work wearing a beautiful pair of mirrored sunglasses.
Look at my boss....smile on my face. Eyes completely unreadable.
Me: "Is this better ?"
Boss: shakes head. "What am I going to do with you?!? Walks away laughing.