I feel your pain planeflyer...I would definitely bring your concern up in your next staff meeting. That is absolutely ridiculous and should not have be allowed. It is one thing if your patient was stable. Or, if the family had come to some agreement on code status or heroic measures...that was not the case, and as far as I am concerned, they prevented you from doing your job proficiently.
I am sorry...I am one of those nurses who do not sugar coat anything. I tell the family exactly how I see it. Giving a family false hopes is never a good thing. I do think it is necessary for the family to see how unstable their loved one is and how much care I am delivering to the patient. However, not if it is preventing me from doing my job.
I work in a CVICU and we have limited visiting hours.. 4x/day, 30 mins in length. If the patient is unstable or if we are in a middle of a procedure--during the visiting time--they family does not come back and can not make the visiting time up.
I remember when I was a new nurse and felt that my charge nurse made all the decisions, including the care of my patient. I soon developed a backbone and questioned anyone who wanted to tell me how to do my job.
There would have been nothing wrong if you decided to ask your family to leave or to limit the numbers.
You have the final say...it is your license.