Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Training day

In the current healthcare security field it is of the norm to lose security personnel. The problem is not finding personnel, but finding qualified applicants that actually want to do the job. The reason that most people apply for the vacant position is because they have no understanding of what a security officer actually does.

The other day my director interviewed a person from outside the hospital for a vacant security officer position. During the interview the director felt as if the person had a misunderstanding of what the requirements were for the position so he decided halfway through the interview to go straight to the physical training test (P.T test). Our basic test involves running up six flights of stairs. You start at the basement level a run up a level 5 then up to the penthouse elevator room. The reason for this is our level 5 area is also our psych department and it is possible for you to be in the basement and have to respond to a fire alarm on level 5. When the person being interviewed walk into the basement and looked up the spiraling staircase she shook her head and said, “never mind I thought all you did was sit around and sleep” and walked right out.

This is a typical response because most people think a security officer is the same as security guard. A security guard is someone who is hired to sit down and observe and report, also at times take several naps throughout the shift. A security guard is often untrained and needs to have no prior experience in the field. A security officer on the other hand is supposed to be a highly trained and educated individual. At times you are just sitting and watching closed-circuit television, but for the most part you are dealing with the public, assisting in arrests, asked to participate in court, and in the healthcare field aiding the sick and injured.

In our hospital we have hired two new employees. The first person is a young ex-Marine who lacks discipline, I know it should be an oxymoron, and a retiree who works one day a week and is as slow as a snail. The two seem to be able to handle the basics duties of a security officer one of the new hires, the ex-Marine, seems to actually like working in the hospital. The other day I got my chance that training the retiree and he seemed a bit skittish when it comes to dealing with the mentally insane and potentially dangerous people. Unfortunately in our hospital this is a norm and he will have to get used to it or go back to his day job. In a few days I will get my chance to train the ex-Marine and hospital safety and security. In my past I have had a chance to train ex-Marines, Navy Seals, and ex-police officers in healthcare security. I am sure I will have a story to report back to you since I will have him for two days for training and it takes place on a Friday and Saturday night.

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Corrections: I got to train the ex-marine and I assumed wrong. My assumptions were based on other security officer who trained him prior. They were wrong and I was wrong. He seemed lazy because the training officers told him to. They gave me another ex-marine/ ex-sheriff deputy. Both worked out great and we are building a great team.

Friday, January 26, 2007

If your Crazy and You Know It

We had another case of the crazies and this time no one pushed the patient there. We received a call at 1800 hours to come to the emergency department. As my partner and I arrived in the emergency room we hear a women in a room screaming profanity, we assumed this is why were called. We grabbed her doctor and he informed us that she had skipped her day treatment with the psych ward and instead mixed her medication with alcohol. The doctor informed us he had already placed an emergency petition on her and she was to go in 4 point restraints. Not hard at all we thought she maybe weighed 100-105 pounds soaking wet. As we glove up the doctor says, " Oh yea, she has hepatitis and she ripped her I.V out." So when my partner and I opened the curtain the whole left side of her bed was soaked in blood and she was pushing the nurse. The first thing we did was lift her up and put her in the bed. Then she started to use more profanity and call me a fat pig, which really doesn't bother me at all. The funny thing was after we had both legs and one arm restrained she yelled at my partner, "What you gonna do, go home and tell your fat wife you tied little old me to a bed?" The funny part was not only is my partner single, he goes home to his cat and no the cat is not fat. The cat's name will be kept hidden because I am sure somewhere it is against HIPPA regulations. While we are finishing the last hand my partner's hand slides a little because of the blood and she scratched my arm. We have now went from irritated to pissed off and my partner and I slam her hand to the bed and tie that arm down. Afterwards I get to get checked out by the doctor. The scratch did not break the skin and that part of the arm was the only part not to come in contact with blood. The rest of the day my partner and I got to respond to stupid calls and open doors. Got to love this job to show up the next day.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Credit is Due

Security received a call at the end of our shift at 2245 hours to rush up to the geriatric department stat. The report was that an elderly man was trying to leave. When I arrived with my partner we found a 79 year old man cussing and yelling that he is leaving this hell hold. Now patients have all rights to refuse treatment and leave at any time, but the problem was he was hooked up to an oxygen machine and when he stood up every bone cracked. He was diagnosed with leukemia and was dying. If this man went down it was going to take the strength of both of us officers to get him up. He began to tell us that he was ready to die now and I was to carry him down stairs, get him in my vehicle and drive him 40 miles north. I explained to him that I could not do that and he told me that he was going to sue me for everything I have. Jokes on him I work security, I am poor.

These situations are normal for us to get called to. Typically the nurses are tired of the patients who have been acting out all day and at the end of the day let security deal with it. I was going to start my speech on why life is worth living when a nurse came out of a room and started to speak. This was not her patient at all and she looked absolutely exhausted, but gave an outstanding speech. Not only did it move myself and my other officer it made everyone listening think twice about their lives.

Security officers sometimes have to learn how to help people cope with terminal illnesses or death. By the end of the day nobody seems to want to help these people and security officers naturally want to help even if they don't want to admit it. Nurses sometimes forget that they got into this profession to help, but by the end of the day with all the stress in a hospital they just seem to give up. Then there are those nurses who are special almost a gift. She did not do what she did to help us out, she did it because she was worried about this man. After her heart felt speech the man laid down, put his oxygen mask back on and said, I guess I will stay a little but longer if you will have me". That nurse did a great job and sometimes we over look these hard working people and I would like to give credit where credit is due. Thanks to everyone that makes the darkest times seem brighter.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Psych Patients

The last several weeks we have had some interesting psychiatric patients who have tried to commit suicide. Sometimes when a psychiatric patient stops taking their medication that people of all ages try to end all their troubles. Security is often called to stand by in case a patient tries to injure themselves or sometimes commit suicide. This week I received a call on my radio to come to the emergency department's registration area stat. It seems in our hospital that it is very important to give security as little information as possible. So when we arrive in scene we never know what we are walking into. When I arrive on this call I find a large women in her middle 30's trying to pull her skin off and eating paint chips off the wall. Standing around her were her social workers who take care of her at her half way house. The social workers are standing there allowing this women to hurt herself. I ran into the room and grabbed both her hands and said, "What are you trying to do to yourself"? She said, "I want to die and God has asked me to kill myself to be with him". The whole time she is talking the social workers are recording the incident and are almost encouraging the behavior by saying, " they are going to strap you to a bed and lock you up for forever". The first thing I did was get those damn people out of there.

My partners went into the ER to secure a room for the women while I pinned down the women's arms. The women's arms long lacerations and were very bloody. Once into one of the psychiatric rooms the women seemed to calm down until the social workers re-appeared. The women had smacked and pushed both officers while they escorted her into the room. She started to urinate and then splashed the urine on me as I walked back into the room. I am now covered in urine and blood and extremely pissed off at the social workers. Finally we are able to get rid of the social workers and give the patient medication, and yes we did have to put the patient into four point restraints (both legs and arms tied to the bed using hard restraints).

The patient had tried several times to kill herself and that's why she had been sent to a half way house where she could be monitored around the clock. She had spent several days in our psychiatric ward and had a couple escape attempts and a few suicide attempts. All times security was able to diffuse or stop the attempts and the psychiatric staff had her medication finally balanced. The women left after a few days back to the half way house. I give it a few more weeks before she is back again.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Introduction Day

The forgotten blue line will bring insight of the life of health care security officers on a weekly basis. We will bring you the stories about our daily duties, our crisis situations, and the lighter humorous side of a hospital environment otherwise considered a sad and depressing place to be. All stories will be though the eyes of all the security officers. The security officers names will be withheld as well as the hospital we are currently employed. This is to protect patient privacy as well hide who we are from our bosses (they would be slightly upset with some of our methods). Instead their names will be represented by flashlight 1 flashlight 2 and so on. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave comments and ask questions.

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