Last year I transferred from the inpatient surgery department to work in the outpatient surgery center of our great hospital. From the first day, I was asked to fill the position of “relief charge” of the department. (Please review my earlier chapters of “why I don’t do charge” to fully understand why this may be a problem). About the second or third day, I noticed that the clocks were not accurate. There was a clock at the charge desk, in front of the charge desk, at the end of the hallway, in the service lead office, and in each and every surgical suite. None of the “functioning” clocks had accurate time. They were anywhere from ten minutes to several hours off from the actual time. I don’t want to obsess, but not having a single accurate clock in the department irritated me to no end. I know I should just let things alone, but my OCD just wouldn’t let me have peace. I called the maintenance department, my manager, and anyone else that I could think of to get the clocks working again. After a week of frustration, I decided to fix them myself. I counted up the clocks that were hopeless and bought (with my own money at Staples) black office clocks that looked exactly like the broken ones. I replaced the batteries to the clocks that had a dead battery, corrected the ones that were off by a few minutes and replaced the broken ones. About another month went by and life was good. All the clocks were reading the same time. Then out of the blue, somewhat nervous gentleman with an official looking clip board came into the department and asked for the “charge nurse” … me. He asked, “do you know who messed with these clocks?” I said, “well, yes I do… I did” With a pained look on his face, he said, “oh, you shouldn’t have done that. That was very bad. These clocks were expensive and very delicate.” I was predicting some sort of reaction from someone deep in the bureaucracy. “I saved all of the clocks that were non-functional… they’re in a pile in the storage room.” He went in and looked at the broken clocks, shook his head and stormed off. The very next day, I was called to my managers office for a meeting with a representative from the HR department.
I was a GMAC mechanic and a machinist prior to going to nursing school and my rebel clock repair rampage consisted of only replacing dead batteries… it didn’t matter. They said that I was subject to disciplinary action for “working out of my scope of practice”. The court adjourned and the ruling party said that I was “no clock expert” and “had no special training in clock service”. The official “Union Certified Clock Tender” had filed a complaint with the union and I was somehow, on the hot seat for my “rouge behavior”. Needless to say, I haven’t seen this guy again and all but three of the clocks in my department are still on time… and I don’t care. (I wear a watch now).