May 30, 2014

Getting from offer to orientation

So I got the official job offer, all three of them.  But we know that it''s never as simple as, "you got the job, you start on Monday."  Especially not in nursing.  There's a whole lot of stuff to be done between accepting the offer and starting the job.

They wanted to start me into the next upcoming orientation, but I already had prior work commitments.  So we moved to the orientation following that...which I also already had prior work commitments for but decided to cancel them for this.  Because as luck would have it, I already had prior work commitments for the third orientation date as well.

I felt bad about canceling on those prior work commitments, but I didn't really have a choice.  Well, I did have a choice:  I could have not chosen to cancel and in doing that, likely lost this new opportunity. I guess it's more correct to say that I didn't like the choice I had to make.

Now, before we go any further in the hiring process, I am required to take a urine drug test.  It's the "drop everything because you have 48 hours to get the drug test done" type.  Well...I don't do any form of street drugs, I don't abuse prescription medications, I'm actually only on one regular prescription medication, I have one PRN for anxiety/sleep whose layer of dust on the cap indicates how often I use it (last opened 2012...I really should toss it), and the last time I took any controlled substance was prior to a minor outpatient procedure in summer 2013.  I fear nothing from this test!

Then she tells me to be careful about how much fluid I'm drinking on test day, because it's also the "dilute urine is considered a positive result" type.  And it doesn't sound like the "you'd get a second chance if it is dilute" type of test.  NOW I'm worried.  You know I get paranoid at times.  I like my caffeine in the morning:  I need at least two to three cups of coffee to be functional.  I need fluid throughout the day.  And I want to make sure that when the time comes to provide the sample, that I'm able to.

So irrational me that I am, I'm not worried at all about my prescription med popping a false positive as it's been known to do; I'm worried that specific gravity is going to be 1.000 because I had coffee that morning.

Side note:  try looking up "dilute urine" in Google.   Someone came into the room and I had to tell them, "this is not what it looks like!"

I have to find a testing center.  They gave me a list of locations, and I was to choose a location and make an appointment to get the test done within 48 hours...well, 96 hours because of the weekend:  I got the notification about the drug test on Thursday afternoon and 48 hours later would have been Saturday afternoon.  So I get until Monday afternoon to take the test.  Oh yes, failure to test in 48 (96) hours is considered the same as if I popped positive.

Now, problem A:  I'm working Friday...and Monday.  I'm also working Saturday as well.

Problem B:  almost all the test centers only conduct drug screens at specific times.  Almost all of these times are when I'm at work.

I found one center that could fit me in before I went to work on Friday.  It's 35 miles away.  It's not first thing in the AM, but less than an hour before my shift.  And that's the only appointment I could make unless I didn't go to work. 

OK.  The next morning, I don't take my prescribed medicine (may as well wait until lunch), limit the coffee in the morning, get a bottle of Dr. Pepper 10 to sip on, and decide I am not urinating until I take this test.  I head out two hours early, partially in the hopes that I can be seen early and partially because I know traffic on that highway at that hour is horrific.  Turns out that traffic is non-existent on that day, and I have no luck on the being seen early.  I end up burning about an hour in the waiting room of the lab, taking tiny sips of my soda and hoping my bladder doesn't blow out.

The sample definitely didn't look dilute.  Afterwards, I was able to snarf down some Subway and make it to work with three minutes to spare.

After I pass the drug screen, I begin completing a ton of forms and move forward in the process.  

I had to send in several W2s because they had a hard time verifying my employment in a couple of places, including at my current facility.  I wonder a bit about that.  Meanwhile, thank God I've saved all my tax forms and had W2s to spare, though I had to order one employment statement from the IRS.  Did you know you can do that?  I didn't.  It's very handy to know.

Background check comes back.  They asked for my addresses for the last 10 years.  The report--which I requested a copy of--goes back 20 years into my history.  I'm amazed at how in-depth this book is.  But the important thing is that it comes back clear, which is what I expected.  There's not even a mention of my speeding maybe it's not as in-depth as I thought.

I have to make a road trip to HR to prove my eligibility to work in the US.  I grab my little-used passport (unless you count outings to Canada) and go.  But there is no parking at the facility.  I go down the block and park in the lot of a business complex.  I walk to the side of the building as though I'm going to go to one of the businesses there, then sneak around the side, throw on my hat and dart to the facility.  I spend the next hour praying I don't get towed while two new graduate nurses are arguing with HR about when they get their pay raise.  They only started in working there in April.

When I'm done--and I spent an hour waiting to do something that would only take 3 minutes, I sneak back to my truck.  Fortunately, my prayers were answered. 

I have to set up the training schedule.  Or more accurately, I'm told when I will be training.  I learn that there's a lot more training than I thought I'd be getting.  A LOT.  I figured the whole shebang of orientation and training would take a week, tops.  Now it's a fortnight plus.  I have to cancel more work and personal commitments.  

I have to go to occupational health before the end of the month for a physical, immunization records review and PPD.  Unfortunately, the only appointment I can get is Friday before the holiday weekend.  And since they're not going to be open on weekends or on the holiday, I can't get the PPD done with them.  And there's no other appointment open before HR's deadline.  

I trued calling my own doctor's office for a PPD, but they need to order the tuberculin.  I can't go to my current facility's occupational health and get one done since I'm not due until the end of the year.  So off I go to Minute Clinic for a PPD.  Another handy "did you know?' tidbit that I learned.  Fortunately, they are open 7 days a week.  Unfortunately, it's not free.  I didn't like having to pay $60 out-of-pocket ($30 to place it, $30 to have it read), but I didn't really have a choice.  I will write it off on next year's taxes.

PPD done, I go to occupational health for my physical.  More waiting.  BP is the best it's ever been.  But the LVN is very concerned that my temperature is 99.0.  I tell her I had some coffee an hour ago.  But she's still worried and wants to retake it.  While we wait, she gives me the color-blindness test...I'm failing until she realizes the plates are out of order.  Once she gets the plates resorted sorted, I pass.

Side note 2:  I'm not color-blind, but I am a carrier for color-blindness.  Little one #1 didn't get it.  Little one #2, it's too early to tell.

I'm told that my vaccination history appears to be incomplete.  I will need titers drawn for measles, mumps and rubella, and they'll be very happy to do that for me.  So I go down to the lab.  There's only one other person in the waiting area, yet when I check in I'm told it'll be at least a half-hour's wait.  And she wasn't kidding.

The phlebotomist was nice.  She welcomed me to the organization and told me she hopes to see me around.  I told her that would be great as long as I wasn't on this side of the needle again.

Blood drawn, I go home.  Fast-forward to yesterday:  the nurse calls to tell me that I'm immune and that she will clear me for work. Within the hour, I get an update message from HR with some last minute info for orientation, along with a note stating that they are waiting on my medical clearance.   I call HR and occupational health back to make sure all is well.  

Today, I get the official word from HR that--no surprise--I am immune to measles, mumps and rubella.  I am cleared to start...and oh yes, they want to schedule one additional day of training.  I look at my calendar and realize that my first free day will be June 21.

And so the new adventure begins.

My current facility (who AFAIK doesn't know about the new job) is wondering why I'm not available for most of the month.  I had booked some days in advance but after I got the job offer, I told them that I wasn't taking any more shifts in outpatient for the next two months, but have yet to give anyone a reason.  I did submit a schedule for a couple of weekend days in inpatient but haven't heard anything back from them, despite my request to let me know so I can let my agency know.

So they don't want me there on a Saturday...I'm wondering who's unhappy with me.

Meanwhile, my agency (who does know about the job) is getting worried that I haven't scheduled anything for May or June.  I tell them I will call once things are settled and I know what my schedule will be.  Given that my current facility is being difficult right now, my agency may get those Saturdays instead.

May 23, 2014

So, remember that thing that I didn't want to talk about just yet....

To refresh your memory:

Well, it has to do this with post:

Short version:  I got the job after all.

Long version:  I received a rejection e-mail a couple of days after the interview.  I was bummed but shrugged it off...after all, their loss, right?  Two days later I get a call from the department manager--she was originally going to be at the interview but was out sick.  After she introduces herself, I tell her, "I already got the rejection e-mail but thank you for considering me, I was just happy I got the chance to interview with Facility X in the first place."  All bummed-ness aside, I did mean it.

She's confused...and then immediately apologetic.  She was calling to offer me the job.

Apparently the requisition I applied under had already been filled by someone else, and she didn't realize that my application was in that pool.  So she told me that if I was still interested she would create a new requisition (read:  job!) for me but it would take some time for it to be created.  I told her I'd be delighted to work for Facility X and to keep me posted as to what happens next.

Now I know firsthand that what the interviewer says and what HR actually does are two different things, so I was cautiously optimistic.  That's great they're doing this for me, but let's see if I actually get the offer in writing.

Fast forward several weeks.  I never quit either of my other jobs, of course (nor do I plan to at this time), so I'd been busy working and not really thinking too much about this job offer.  Maybe a passing thought of "I wonder if anything is ever going to happen," immediately followed by "Quesadillas for lunch sounds good"  But I wasn't expecting anything.

So one Thursday afternoon, the manager calls to tell me that the job has been created and do I still want it.

"Why yes, yes I do." I reply.

She's thrilled and tells me that HR will be in touch shortly.  And sure enough, before the week is out, I receive first a call from HR, then an offer letter.  Several letters, actually, thanks to a glitch.  I formally accept.  A preliminary start date is set, pending...

Now the fun begins:  pre-employment qualifications.  But that's a story for the next post.

May 20, 2014

What a day

I was working on one of the inpatient units codes were called, so I guess that technically, it was a good day.  But I didn't feel like I was at my best.  No serious issues, no major screw-ups, all of my patients were pleased with me.  I just felt like the day was more of a struggle than anything else.

Not sure why I had a rough time:  it's not as though I've never worked there before.   I had a decent amount of sleep.  Good coworkers.  Had a solid breakfast to start the day...I even got to take a lunch.


May 5, 2014

From feast to famine

So I went from having too much work to being cancelled a lot more often than usual.   Censuses are down so I'm not needed.  Oh well.  Patient censuses perk up near the end of the month--they always do.  Except that I have family visiting during the end of the month so I'm trying not to pick up anything else.  Oh well again.