Ask Alma: Advice Column

Ask Alma: Advice Column

Alma says that the nursing profession is filled with unsung heroes.
Alma says that the nursing profession is filled with unsung heroes.

By Alma Gill
NNPA News Wire Columnist

Dear Alma,

I interviewed for a nursing position at a large hospital in my hometown. The job involves working long hours and I have more than ten years of experience. After I was chosen I received a phone call to come in and sign the offer letter. The Director of Human Relations explained that the vacation time was negotiable. The offer gave me two weeks’ vacation after 90 days, but I asked for three weeks because of my experience.

I recently started and when introduced to others, one of the nurses said, oh you’re the one who wants extra vacation. Everyone sorta laughed it off, so I guess she was making a joke. Initially I didn’t understand, but later realized, the director must have been talking about me. I find that to be totally unprofessional. Do you think I should leave the subject alone or bring it to her attention?
— Pissed in ER

Dear P in ER,

You have good reason to be pissed. Yes, it appears the director discussed certain tidbits about your recent hire out of place. And yes, that is totally unprofessional. Can you prove it? I think not. Will the outspoken nurse speak on your behalf to the appropriate supervisor? I think not again. So, no, you shouldn’t bring it to her attention, at this point just leave it alone. You have however read Miss HRD’s hold card, so place that in your back pocket.

You have ten years’ experience and whoo-hooo that’s a wonderful thing. It still doesn’t erase the fact you’re the new kid on the block. You haven’t had time to see who’s large and in charge, who’s lame and insane and who’s just offering a hot cup of common sense. Remind yourself, you’re there to do a miraculous job, not to become best friends with the HR director. I doubt if you’ll run into her often. When you think about it, really, she’s a very small lily pad in a very large pond.

Take in your first 90 days learning all that you can about this new facility and being thankful for your amazing opportunity. The nursing profession is filled with unsung heroes. We couldn’t thank you enough for the contributions that nurses and nursing have made to our community. So hats off to you my sistah, and thanks from all of the readers and supporters of “Ask Alma” from the bottom of our hearts.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.