Rudeness Abounds (3-23-2008)

We have a good sized hospital…and an old one; in fact it was founded in 1918. I am sure when they originally built they could not foresee the future need for the additional square footage now in place, let alone the parking needs of the over 70,000 patients that come through the ER annually. I would have thought however, that more recent CEO’s and board members would have been able to keep up with the issue. Harrison has terrible parking issues. They recently added on a couple one level parking structures for the patients, which I am sure was well intentioned. However, I was there not long ago with my mother to visit a relative and we had to circle the hospital for 20 minutes before finding a spot on the complete opposite side of the building from where we wanted to be. The availability of parking for staff is no better. There are about 3000 employees and even if you split them up into 3 shifts that makes 1000 employee cars per shift. There are 9 different parking lots surrounding the hospital designated for staff, (Of course one of those is Doctors only) but they are all relatively small.

When we went to Harrison’s mandatory orientation we were told to park in ANY designated employee parking areas. We were given a lovely color coded map and told to park in ANY of the 8 green areas. So, being good little students we did as we were told.  In reality there are only 15 of us working at the hospital right now and many of us carpool. So our impact is minimal. On week one a nurse came up to me waving her finger in my face and accusatorily asked me, “Where did you park today?” I told her I had parked in the H lot. She told me that was for employees only and I shouldn’t be there. I explained that is where we were told to park, and then listened while she ranted about not being able to find a spot that morning and nearly being late for shift report. I dismissed the issue to her having a bad day and continued to park in lot H. Then this last week, 3 of us (who carpool due to the parking issue by the way) got out of our car and were walking into the hospital when an elaborately adorned  woman in her frilly paisley scarf pulled up to us in her BMW. “Excuse me,” she drawled, “are you employees of this hospital?” We answered her question (which she clearly already knew the answer to) explaining we were students. “Well, this parking lot is for employees only.” We then politely explained we were instructed to park here by the hospital. “I see.” she replied.  “It is just that some of my staff is having difficulty finding parking and I just wouldn’t want them to take it out on you.” The artificial concern in her voice was sickening. We dismissed the rude encounter and went on about our day. A couple of hours later I heard the overhead PA system paging “OC nursing instructor”. That is odd to hear and I wondered if something had happened to one of the students. A few minutes after that, my nursing instructor came to tell me if I didn’t move my car immediately it would be towed. After explaining that we carpooled she went and gave the news to my friend whose car the BMW driver had seen us get out of. Apparently this woman has clout, because she not only authorized my friend’s car to be towed, but she had security issue a new student parking policy to our instructors by the end of the shift. We received the same lovely colored map as before only this time it had one small spot circled and highlighted and it is the only place OC students are now allowed to park. This small square of gravel, by the way is probably ½ a mile away from the hospital. It is across the street from a teriyaki joint and a bank. So this winter when I arrive for clinicals in the darkness that is 6 a.m., I will be trekking uphill ½ a mile in the snow and ice just to get to the building. Then I have to wind through the maze of corridors and take two flights of stairs in two different stairwells to get to my floor on the complete opposite side of the building.

Truthfully it is not the inconvenience of the parking location that really frustrates me. What I don’t understand is why now? The parking issue is not new, the presence of OC students is certainly not new. The hospital clearly didn’t think we lowly students needed to be banned to the outcast lot. So this woman decided she wanted the parking space we had and took time out of her day to be vindictive. She has power so she got her way and now all future OC students will feel her wrath. I just don’t appreciate the attitude with which we were treated. I understand there is a hierarchy in a place like this and seniority can play a role, however that was not the issue here. The issue here was just someone with an attitude of superiority inflicting her desires on other people.


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