When Jenessa Robertson learns the new Director of Nursing is Eric Bradshaw, she suspects this is a ploy by the hospital Board to sidetrack contract negotiations.
Though attracted to Eric, she believes they are on opposite sides. As the attraction grows, she holds the secret of the not too wonderful marriage that ended with her husband's death. More
With a flourish, Jenessa signed her name to the nurses’ notes on a fourth chart. She picked up a stack of papers and the brown bag containing the lunch she hadn’t had time to eat. All day, the pace in the Intensive Care unit had been hectic. Two Codes. Three admissions in five minutes, all of them critical. Instead of twenty-seven, she felt more like seventy.
She waved at the night nurse. "See you tomorrow."
"That’s two extras in a row," one of the women called. "Are you some kind of glutton?"
Am I? One more thing and I’m out of here. She straight-armed the door and headed for the stairs. After stopping on two other units to collect protest forms, she entered the stairwell.
Voices, eerie and distorted, drifted from below. The echo-effect made her wonder if the speakers were male or female. "Don’t worry, if we just push them a little harder, they’ll walk."
"You’re right. Who could resist --"
Who were they talking about? She leaned over the railing, but shadows hid the speakers. The voices faded. A door slammed. She frowned and headed to the fifth floor where she entered the Nursing Office.
Lorraine Rodgers, one of the evening supervisors, looked up. "Again? Don’t you get tired of making waves?"
"Is that what I do? I thought I was fulfilling my role as a good union member and a conscientious nurse. The contract gives us the right to protest unsafe working conditions. I just make sure they’re collected."
The middle-aged woman shook her head. "We all know this is your personal crusade. Can’t you put the past to rest?"
Jenessa’s hands clenched and she felt the muscles in her shoulders tighten. "Could you?" She fought a barrage of memories. "See that Ms. Wallace gets these. Not that she cares."
"You could give them to her. She’s in the house. The Board’s meeting to select the new Director and we all know who that will be."
"Maybe they’ll choose someone else."
Mrs. Rodgers laughed. "Do you really believe that? She’s been angling for the job since she arrived. We’ll have to learn to live with her."
"Another petition asking for Sandra’s removal?"
Jenessa shrugged. "See you tomorrow."
"You’re on again? Do you work all these extra shifts just to log complaints?"
"If I don’t, who’d be here for the patients?" Jenessa strode away.
Fifteen minutes later, in her apartment across the street, she stood in the shower. Hot water uncoiled her tight muscles, but not her thoughts. Would the hospital Board really name Sandra Wallace, a woman disliked by most of the nurses, as the new director? With Jim Bishop as Board president, the choice seemed likely.
After pulling on an over-sized blue tee shirt, she headed to the kitchen and zapped the spicy chicken dish she should have eaten for lunch. Though she considered working on her Master’s thesis, she felt too tired to read the stack of articles on the desk.
The apartment door slammed. She looked up and saw her roommate. Megan kicked off her shoes. "Are you ready for a bomb? Guess what the Board has done."