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East Versus West Early in my nursing career I had the opportunity to work under two extremely different charge nurses Dolly West and Betty East as they were jokingly called ruled the third floor for over twenty-five years Both ladies are retired now and I understand immensely happy to be relieved of their duties and responsibilities I would venture a guess that this is the first time they have ever agreed on anything Betty was a strict no-nonsense commander who ruled her department with an iron hand She went strictly by the book and heaven help you if you deviated Temperatures and blood pressures were done at 8 am and 2 pm baths were given between 9 am and 11 am What do you mean youre not done with your baths shed glower It happens to be 1130 am It didnt matter that the patient in room 300 began to hemorrhage or that the one in 306 tipped the chair in which he was tied over Laughter in Bettys department was infrequent the mood somber and the work done with an assembly-line precision Orders were initiated as fast as they were written and the desk was always clear and devoid of any unnecessary clutter or papers Betty Easts department was referred to as the Eastern Militarized Zone And then there was Dolly dear Dolly West I always perceived a Dolly to be someone who was air-headed scatter brained and disorganized and Dolly West was the personification of my perceptions Her department was chaotic confused and undisciplined It was a beehive of activity with nothing getting accomplished Her desk always looked like it had a miniature Leaning Tower of Pisa on it so high were charts stacked Her favorite reasons for leaving work undone were one I only have two hands and two Thats why there are two other shifts During a crisis we could always count on her to leave and go to
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