More Hoops..........And She's Done

ORI.EN.TA.TION....loosely translates into 'cramming as much information as possible into a human head.' My head was spinning, but it was over. Our instructor said we would be overwhelmed and she didn't expect us to remember anything, for now anyway. But it's the law and they have to do it. I passed my food handlers test, and filled out more background check papers and had fingerprints done a few days later. TB test and a Hep B too.

But it was all for nothing. I am embarrassed because of all the well wishers. I am embarrassed because I couldn't do it. And I feel like I let everyone down that gave me excellent references. Let me tell you why.

I arrived on time at 6:00 am and clocked in. The cute little girl that was to train me must have been 30 years younger; I'm sure that played a big part in it. There were instruction on making tons of coffee and how to set up the sides. Sides? The facility consists of a main dining room with 2 wings (or sides) where the residents eat that need help. You have to make sure both wings have coffee, juice, water, and milk. Oh, also plates and bowls and bread and salad for lunch. With a total of 60 residents, about half can come out to the main dining room. There's a lot to do before they come out at 7:30. Out one door and into another, back into the kitchen and out the other door. I was so confused and lost as no doors are marked except the kitchen. Codes have to be used to get out of the two wings.

Each dining room has their own rolling cart full of dishes. They must be kept separate, and washed separate. Oh yes, we must wash dishes too, for all 3 dining rooms. Sixty people does not sound like they would use a lot of dishes, but when each person has a coffee cup, water and juice glass, plate and bowl, and silverware, it adds up. This has to be done for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then the dishes go back on their respective cart.

Then breakfast starts, pour coffee, juice, and water. She knows exactly who gets the hot cereal, cheerios either with or w/out bananas and one person likes raisin bran. The aids bring them in fast and load them out fast. There is no time to get to know them like I was told to do. Then we put table cloths on and get ready for lunch. Do dishes and a million other things including making salads. The aides bring them in for lunch and she hands me the order pad and says to go take their orders, that's how to learn their names. I don't even know which tables are which in number. She randomly points and says 1234567. I felt myself starting to crack a bit. I asked each person their name and asked if they wanted chicken or some beef thing, they both look gross. The cook says they have only 5 beef things left and the girl started switching some to chicken. It made me sad that they don't even care what they feed them.

So you throw this card with their name on it on top of a large serving tray, then put their plate on it. She said I could start serving. I lifted up a plate to read the card and said I didn't even know who this is!!!! I seriously wanted to cry. Soon after I got there, the girl told me that day 1 of training is mostly me watching, day 2 is me doing everything with her coaching and help, and day 3 I was on my own. This was knowing everyone's name, what they like and don't like, etc. Also setting up all the dining rooms and dishes. When the cook repeated this little bit of screwed up information during lunch, all I could say is "I'll tell you right now, that is NOT going to happen."

The aides do help a bit during meals but not with the serving. I could see a supervisor looking very pissed. I didn't give a crap. I left at 1:00 and knew this girl still had probably a couple more hours on her shift. When I got home I could not speak for hours and then just cried. I cried the rest of the night. My legs hurt, my hip hurt and my old pride hurt the most. I had failed, again.

Early Monday morning I called the woman who did the orientation to tell her that I would not be finishing my training. Of course she wanted to know why so I told her and said I should have been told about the little 3 day rule and that the job entailed a lot more than described. She acted like she had never heard before. Bullshit! That afternoon I took the walk of shame and took my shirt back with a letter explaining why I was leaving.

I felt bad; but also pissed. When someone applies for a position called 'server', that's what I thought it was. During orientation the position turned into 'kitchen aide', which means total kitchen slave for a day. The position is clearly a 2 person job but they force one to do it. I would have enjoyed spending more time with the residents, they were real sweet. One woman was from my home town and she knew my family. There is no time for that though, it's sad to see them get rushed in and out and then repeated three times a day.

Another thing I noticed is that no one that works there smiles. One aide was talking about a resident who "shit on the floor." She actually said that!! Others bitch about their hours and they better get off the day they wanted. Dear God, I did not want these kind of co-workers.

When I relayed the whole horrible day to my Mom she cried. When your 83 year old Mama cries, you know it was bad. So now I'm back to where I was, which is not in a very happy place.


John Bain said…
Well I for one am very pleased you quit.It sounds like an horrendous amount of work for one person. Probably a huge staff turnover too. Don't feel bad for doing the right thing.
fernvalley01 said…
If you had stayed they would have broken you! I have worked in facility in the past as a Health care aid,and THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE LIKE! It is however what things are coming to,I am so glad (oddly ) that my arthritis and Lupus forced me out of that field before it morphed into assembly line care. There are still good folks and facilities out there , but the push for numbers and low dollars has ruined a lot. No harm in getting out before they turned you into a broken down automaton! Its hard work, and if you are forced to suspend your compassion and respect for people well you just shouldn't
kden said…
Thank you so much Fern for your insight. I sold myself as a compassionate person but that's not what they really want. I would have turned into 'them' very quickly just to avoid swimming against the current. You have made me feel a lot better today :)
Mr. Shife said…
I think you did the right thing kden so don't feel bad. Sounds like a horrible working environment and you are better off moving on before you really hated it. Hope the book is giving you a few chuckles at least. Take care.
Grumpy said…
Well, at least you got an insight into how we treat our elderly in this country. It's shameful.

When my mother was in a nursing home I don't think I ever saw a staff member smile; they think of the residents as a nuisance.

You don't need to come home sad and depressed every day. Good riddance.
Claire M. King said…
Breathe easy. Don't beat yourself up. Facility work can be terrible. I have heard many a story about the staff to patient ratio and the care expected. Some facilities have a ratio of twelve residents per one aid. It dos not allow for compassionate care as deserved.
Keep your chin up and the right thing will come your way.

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