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Let’s Hope They’re A Better Nurse Than A Communicator

, , , , , | Healthy | June 28, 2020

I work at a hospital in the central supply department. We carry just about everything: patient care items such as deodorant or slippers, first aid supplies like bandages or gauze, large items like crutches or commodes, and everything in between. Basically, if the nurses carry it in the supply closet, it probably came from us.

One night, I get a call from a nurse on the fourth floor.

Me: “Central Supply, this is [My Name].”

Nurse: “Yeah… is this Central Supply?”

I can feel my eye twitch.

Me: “Yes. Can I help you?”

Nurse: “I’m looking for… a… thing.”

Me: “Okay. What kind of thing?”

Nurse: “It’s plastic. It comes in a package.”

Me: *Putting on my best customer service voice* “That’s about 75% of our inventory. Can you tell me what it’s used for?”

Nurse: “It’s plaaaastic. It comes in a paaaackage.”

Me: “IV tubing?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Catheter?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Oxygen tubing?”

Nurse: “No. It’s plastic. It comes in a package.”

This goes on for a few minutes with me trying to guess the item or trying to get her to describe it to me. The nurse keeps giving me the same answer; only the pronunciation of the words “plastic” and “package” changes.

Me: “Do you have an empty package I could look at?”

Nurse: “No.”

Me: “Is there more than one in the package?”

Nurse: “It’s plastiiiiic. It comes in a packaaaaaage.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re asking for. You’re welcome to come down and look around. Or maybe you could ask one of the other nurses.”

Nurse: “I—”

Me: “I’m getting a call on the other line from the ER. I have to get it. Let me know if you find out what it’s called. Okay. Bye.”

Fortunately, the call from the ER is an easy one. But as soon as I get off the phone with them, I receive another call from the fourth floor.

Me: “Central Supply, this is [My Name].”

Charge Nurse: “Hi, this is [Charge Nurse] from [department].”

Me: “Hi. How can I help you?”

Charge Nurse: “Do you carry water pitcher liners?”

A light bulb goes off and my customer service filter vanishes.

Me: “Oh! Is that what she wanted?!”

Charge Nurse: *Chuckling* “Yeah.”

Me: “Yes. We have those; I’ll bring some right up.”

Not the strangest call I had while I worked there, but definitely the most frustrating.

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