Advice for Coping Strategies - HELP!!

  1. OK, I know I've alluded to this elsewhere, but I'm asking for some coping strategies to get through the next few months. Here's the situation:

    I am a CRNA, working for a pretty small (5 docs, 5 CRNA's) anesthesia group. We do mostly major cases (open heart, vascular, neuro, etc) with some general surgery thrown in. Our group is fairly popular with the surgeons, partly because we are generally a very competent group, and partly because we don't seem to be able to say no. The CRNA's pull call on a variable schedule, but it works out to first call one day in five, and second call one day in five. That's call two days in five. The way our call schedule works though manages to bunch the call up, so for example, I may not be first call at all this week, but will be first call M, W, F as well as Sat and Sun next week. We do not get the day post call off.

    As you might guess, this makes for a killer schedule. 60 hours a week is the norm, 70 hour weeks are becoming ever more frequent, and I see 80 hour work weeks on the horizon. The only bright side to all this is that I do get paid overtime, so the checks look pretty good, but that is honestly small compensation.

    Add to all this the fact that some of the people I work with, while highly competent, are, well, difficult. One still has not said more than two or three words to me at one time (I've been there a year and a half). Its not a matter of liking me or not, I'm told she treats everyone this way, until she "gets to know you." When we pass in the hall, she won't even acknowledge my existence if I don't say hello first. And there are other stories about others I could tell you, but, get the point.

    I know, most of you would tell me "QUIT and get the hell out of there." Unfortunately, I can't. Until September 1, 2003 I am under contract. If I leave before then, there will be a pretty substantial financial penalty for me (over $20,000). So, I have to stay until then. I am already looking at and for new positions, and am planning to move when my contract is up.

    So, my question is do any of you have any advice? How do I cope with this situation until my contract expires? Any little things you have done to help pass the time, keep your family happier? I'm pretty tough, and so is my wife, and one way or another we will get by, but any advice any of you all can offer would be appreciated.

    Kevin McHugh
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    About kmchugh

    Joined: Mar '02; Posts: 2,001; Likes: 65


  3. by   hapeewendy
    well i dont know that I have anything constructive or all that productive to tell you, I work with someone who reminds me of the person you posted about , shes one of the unit clerks (secretaries) on the unit I work on . She decides who she is going to talk to and conversely who she is going to ignore , I fell into the latter cateogry, so what I did was kept it simple right back at her. I dont ignore people , so I always said hello but I kept conversation to a minimum, so much so that she would initiate conversation with me. Then when I did have time off or what have you I would make sure to do something I enjoyed. Talk things through with your wife as it sounds like she's as strong as you are and a good support network. Realize that its a hard tough time and that youre in it til september at least. You can mark off a calendar when you get home every day with a big red X (it sounds corny but I did that when I was trapped at my last job for 6 months under contract) , focus your attention at work on those people that you do get on well with, I found that to be a great help. I hope that things get at least a little more tolerable for you with that person at work and that you stay as rested as you can !!!
    good luck!
  4. by   renerian
    My preceptor when I was at the hospital treated me and everyone like dirt. One day I had enough, but she was nasty and rude to your face, I gave her a piece of my mind about how she treated me and everyone else. Now it sounds in your case this person treats everyone the same. If she respects you as a professional by not dissing you or being rude by words, then maybe this person is one who feels they are there to do a job, not make friends. Maybe if you just focus on work, tasks and understand people we work with will not always be our friends you will feel better. I am the kind who likes friends at work but some people do not make that an issue or assign it any importance. Does that make sense?

    I don't know if I helped or not,

  5. by   Little One2
    My suggestion would be to be friendly but don't worry about how her treatment of you. I mean, be professional towards her. Try to get to know if its possible. If she doesn't make the effort in return, then leave her be. That's her choice.

    Or you can confront her - That might make things worst, but its a thought.
  6. by   Sleepyeyes
    ummm.... a hobby, perhaps?

    At one place I worked, when I got all strung out due to office politics, it helped me to join a Jazzercise class-- gave me something pleasant to think about....

    for something that might be more up your alley--- I defer and refer you to ...... Ted!
  7. by   Stargazer
    Kevin, do you have any vacation time coming to you soon? Because it sounds like your call schedule doesn't really allow you to plan your days off much in advance. And that's a really hard way to live when you're working what sounds frankly like a pretty brutal schedule for the next 9 months.

    Any chance of talking to your partners (the ones that WILL talk, anyway!) and working out a more reasonable call schedule? Do any others in your group feel the way you do? And would you reconsider staying in the group if your work hours were lessened? If so, I think that's certainly worth bringing up to them.

    Otherwise the standoffish chick is going to end up with NO ONE to talk to, since it seems there would be such a high turnover rate in your group that she wouldn't get the chance to "get to know" anyone! :chuckle
  8. by   semstr
    come here whenever you can!
    Sorry, can't really help you here, but am always looking forward to your posts. (and a good discussion with you LOL)
    Try to take care of yourself and enjoy your freetime, Renee
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Take up kickboxing? Just kidding ....Kev it sounds really rough where you are and you strike me as the affable guy who likes to get along w/everyone, as best as he can. As you know, you can't change difficult people. There are a lot of great books written on how to effectively deal with them..if you ever have time, maybe you should try to read one. Hang in there......and try to fight for a more humane schedule, if you can. I feel for ya, bud. I really do.
  10. by   kmchugh
    OK, thought I'd bring you up to date. Great advice from all, and Wendy, I have started a "short timer's calender." But, I'll be using it for a bit more than just that...

    I now have my call schedule (for weekends) through September 2003. Today, the wife and I are going to sit down and put dates together for interviews. I'm going to pick some weekends to turn into four day weekends, and use those for job interview travel (we want out of this place). I'll turn in the vacation request Monday. The great thing is that there is such a shortage of CRNA's, the places where I plan on interviewing will pay for me and my wife to travel there for the interview. Since she is also a critical care RN, her skills are pretty sought after as well.

    Man, it sucks spending part of your life just waiting for that part to be over, but at least with some direction to go, the time will be productive.

    I'll primarily be looking for jobs in South Carolina, Georgia, and other states that stay pretty warm (more golf time!), but for the right salary will consider almost anywhere. If anybody hears of anything, let me know.


    Edited to add: P.S. 59 hours this week, and next week looks worse.
  11. by   Mkue
    Kevin, waiting for the difficult part in your life to be over will make you a stronger person, even stronger than you are now, hope it goes fast for you !

  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    thoughts and prayers coming your way, kevin.... hope it all works out well for you.
  13. by   kaycee
    Kevin you've already had good advice here. Just wanted you to know if you're thinking about South Carolina, try Greenville. My brother and his family live there and absolutely love it. I don't know anything about the hospital's there but the weather is usually great and I know he plays a lot of golf when the rest of us are still wearing boots. Just having goals keep you going. Best wishes with your quest for a new job and location.
  14. by   Rustyhammer
    Kill her with kindness and an unshakable "up" attitude.
    She obviously has some issues (power issues?) that
    she is having a hard time overcoming.
    Setting the good example is the best way to teach.