This weekend a man came to my unit and rang the doorbell a half an hour before visiting hours were to start. I opened the unit door and a large burly man wearing sunglass and a dark suit asked me if a certain patient was on my unit. Of course I told him that I couldn’t say who was on my unit because of HIPAA. Without smiling, the man reached into his pocket and pulled out his ID. He was from the CIA. Then he repeated himself and waited for my answer. I looked at the badge and the picture on his ID, and then I asked the man if he had official or personal business on my unit. His eyes dropped to the floor. He stammered and said that he came to the hospital because he wanted to visit his neighbor. I told him that was very nice, but that he was going to have to wait until it was time for visiting hours just like everyone else. I also let him know that due to hospital policy, he was going to have to secure his weapon with security before he could come onto the unit. He protested. “ But I’m with the CIA!” he said. I smiled. “I know you’re with the CIA, but I’m the charge nurse.” I won.
I don’t care who you are. Never get into a power struggle with a charge nurse.
*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched’s Place.*