DIXIE’S DISMISSAL                       


                                                                                                 Robin R. Neher



The words rang in Dixie McCall’s ears as she walked out of Rampart Hospital, her things in hand. The new nursing supervisor had just told Dixie that she was being let go for her letter to Nathan O’Brien, Rampart’s new administrator. While hurt by the dismissal, Dixie was not the least bit surprised.


I guess as Kel said, ‘You can’t fight city hall.’ Dix thought to herself as she walked the rest of the way to her station wagon.


As Dix got in her car, she realized for the first time in her adult life, she was unemployed. As she started the motor, Dix shed a single tear as she drove away toward home.


At station 51, Johnny Gage sat brooding on the hood of  his Land Rover. He just could not understand why Dixie McCall was out of work just two days after she was offered the promotion to Nursing Supervisor. Johnny was mad at the world just then and at life in general.


As Johnny sat there, Captain Hank Stanley came outside to join him.


“I heard about Dix, Pal.” Cap said as he took a seat on John’s bumper. “I know she was a friend to you and Roy.”


“It ain’t fair!” Johnny  yelled.


“Life isn’t fair, John.” Cap soothed. “It’s just the way it goes sometimes. Dix is a great nurse, but her over-opinionated attitude finally caught up with her. Dix’s tough stance cost her her job.”


“It was just a letter!” Johnny argued.


“It wasn’t the letter, Pal It was how it was worded that got Dix in trouble.” Cap explained. “If  Dix had a problem with O’Brien, she should’ve asked to talk to him privately. You don’t get heard by writing a nasty letter.”


“I suppose.” Johnny sighed. “It’s just that I feel so  bad for her.”


“We all do, Pal.” Hank said patting the Paramedic’s shoulder. “C’mon, we have that drill in five minutes. Don’t worry, Johnny, Dix will have another job before you know it.. She’ll be okay.”


As Cap got up to leave, Johnny silently wished Dix the best, then headed back inside the station.

Later that afternoon, Johnny and Roy arrived at Rampart for a mandatory meeting with acting head nurse, Carol Williams. As they made their way to the lounge, Carol met them.


“Roy, could you wait out here please? I’d like to talk to John alone for a minute.” The raven - haired woman requested.


“Sure.” The sandy-haired medic nodded as John followed Carol into the lounge.


Once the door was closed, Carol began.


“Have a seat, Johnny.” Carol instructed.


The young man sat down next to Carol on the couch.


“Johnny, I wanted to talk to you cause I know you don’t take change well.” Carol said gently. “Captain Stanley called me. He said you were upset about Dixie.”


“He’s right.” Johnny admitted. “Carol, Dix did not deserve to lose her job.”


“The Nursing Supervisor didn’t agree.” Carol told John, firmly. “Johnny, sometimes people make decisions we may not always agree with. I’ll bet Cap Stanley does, but you accept them for the most part, don’t you?”


“Yeah.” Johnny replied. “I trust Cap with my life.”


“Exactly.” Carol agreed. “I need you and Roy to put that same trust in me now. I know I’m not Dixie and I could never fill her shoes, but I think you’ll find that I’m just as competent as she was. All I need is a fair chance to prove it.”


“You’ll get it, Carol.” Johnny smiled. “It’s just gonna take us all time to adjust to this place without Dixie. She was something special.”


“She sure was.” Carol laughed.


As soon as she got home, Dixie came face to face with her sister, Maggie.


“You were fired, weren’t you?” Maggie McCall asked.


Dixie nodded.


“I told you so.” Maggie shook her head. “What did you think that letter would accomplish? What you did was not only childish, but stupid !


Dix just looked at her five two and blond older sister. Then she spoke.


“Maggie, O’Brien was cutting my staff in half!” Dix argued.

“So? Dixie, that’s business !” Maggie told her. “If he’d kept your staff as it was, the hospital  would’ve suffered as a whole! Hospitals are struggling to stay open as it is! A lot of them are fighting just to stay even!”


“I know, Maggie.” Dix sighed. “The question is, what am I gonna do now?”


“The way I see it, you have two choices.” Maggie replied. “Either you can star looking for another job or you can go to Rampart and apologize to O’Brien.”


“Maggie, he’s wrong !” Dix insisted.


“You may think so, but you were wrong to write that letter.” Maggie told her sibling. “Men like Nathan are willing to listen, unlike you! You never listened to his side of things! You jumped to conclusions, like you always do! You never give anyone a chance to tell their side of thing! All that matters is Dixie’s point of view, never anyone else’s!”


Dixie hung her head, realizing that Maggie was right. She knew right away what she had to do.


The next day, Dixie made her way to the office of Rampart’s nursing supervisor, Margie Hunnicutt.


“Miss McCall, what can I do for you?” The gray haired woman asked, staring at Dixie with piercing blue eyes and scowling. “Come to beg for your job back?”


“No, Ma’am. I just came to apologize.” Dix replied. “I know now that I was wrong to write that letter. I understand why you had to fire me. A head nurse is an example to the nurses under her and I certainly wasn’t one that day.”


“Why, Miss McCall, how mature of you.” Miss Hunnicutt nodded.


“I truly am sorry for my actions. I’ll be going now.” Dix said as she turned to leave.


“Miss McCall, Dixie, wait.” Margie said. “Come, sit down. I’ve been thinking too. I would hate to lose such a good nurse as you over something as ridiculous as a letter. I think we can make a deal.”


A week later, much to the delight of her friends, Dix was back on the job.


“Welcome back, Dix.” Johnny smiled as he handed her the supply requisition. “How does it feel to be back at work?”


“Johnny, I wasn’t gone that long!” Dix laughed.


“How’d you get your job back?” Carol asked, putting a chart back in the rack on the desk.


“By giving a little.” Dix answered. “First, I had to serve a one week suspension, without pay or benefits.”


“That was fair.” Roy agreed. “What else?”


“I had to write a letter of apology to Mr. O’Brien. Last but not least, I had to agree to anger management classes.” Dix finished.


“That all sounds reasonable.” Johnny replied. “Young lady, I hope you learned your lesson.”


Roy snickered at Johnny’s imitation of a father scolding his child.


“Boy, have I said that to my kids!” Roy laughed.


“Boy, this big kid sure has learned her lesson.” Dix smiled. “I learned that you don’t get heard by writing nasty letters. You have to complain through proper channels and in a proper manner.”


“Are you and O’Brien on speaking terms?” Carol asked.


“I have a meeting with him now.” Dix replied. “Me and all the other head nurses are meeting with him to discuss how to make things work better all around.”


With that, Dix left for her meeting.


“Well, Partner, we’d better get you back to the station if you wanna write that letter to the Chief.” Roy said as Johnny followed him out of the hospital.