The nurse and patient's family yelled at me. I feel horrible.

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    I'm a nursing assistant in the float pool. I get floated to pretty much everywhere. However, I enjoy it. I do my job and leave. I always get compliments each floor I go to because I work hard. I don't take the morning breaks like others do and I take my lunch break always later after everything is done. I barely sit down to take a break. That's just how I am. Today I got floated to work on the pediatric floor, general peds that is. I finished the morning and noon vitals and put them in. None of the patients had fevers. One patient who was a baby girl had a temperature of 99.0. During my lunch break, the nurse for that baby (1 year old) who had that 99.0 temperature asked the other nursing assistant to take her temperature. I saw that the nursing assistant got a temperature of 99.4 and put it into the computer. Then a hour later, that baby is crying so hard. The mom asks if we can take a temperature. I go in and the baby is hysterical. The mom is holding the baby tight. I got a temperature of 99.4. The parents give me an attitude saying how can the temperature be 99.5 when the mother feels the baby is hot. I take it again and the temperature is 99.6. The baby is crying hysterically. I leave and tell the nurse the temperature and put it into the computer. The dad of the baby comes out of the room asking if they can get the individual thermometer, not the one we use to get temperatures for everyone, you know the ones you throw away after using it on each patient. The mom takes the temperature with that and the temperature is 103. The parents ask the nurse to go into the room and tells her it's 103. Then they take it again and it's 104.3. Within like 10 minutes, the temperature spiked up so high.

    The parents give the nurse an attitude asking if the baby had a fever all this time and we didn't know about it. They said when each of us went in, it would read something lower than 100 degrees. I hear the nurse tell her our thermometer is fairly accurate and it's probably my fault and I did a terrible job. The nurse asks me to go to the patient's room and they all said I did a horrible job. The nurse and the parents both gave me the biggest attitude. I've never had a problem with this. Can this really be my fault????
  2. 25 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Who knows? It could be placement of the thermometer. It could be a malfunctioning thermometer. Or it could be the nurse trying to throw you under the bus because she doesn't want to get yelled at. That's why I prefer to take my own vitals. No offense at all to you or other CNAs. My reasoning is that if anyone is going to get yelled at, it will be me, for something *I* did or *I* missed.
    OCNRN63 likes this.
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    No, it's not your fault. Assessing and interventions are the nurse's job. Your job is to get and enter info and let the nurse know the family is concerned. When the family asked for a different thermometer, you did it. Nothing more needed to be done by you. The nurse should have assessed them for an infant with fever and concerned parents to see if something new needed to be done, not you. On infants temps need to be done rectally for an accurate core temp, but because of the risk for perforation, the RN should be doing those. Of course, that's dependent on your hospital policy.

    Sounds like it was very stressful. I'll say it again. It wasn't your fault.
  5. 2
    Well being at fault or not the nurse should not have handled this the way she did. If there was ANY doubt she should have taken it herself.
    JDZ344 and 1feistymama like this.
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    I had an adult patient go from 97.0 to 104.5 within minutes of arriving to the floor. All it took were chills and an extra blanket before I realized it was spiking. If the baby was upset that can attribute as well. This was not your fault and no one should have yelled at you, especially the nurse. The family I could see being freaked out, but the nurse should have kept her cool and understood the situation much better than them.
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    Not your fault. Very not cool behavior on behalf of the nurse. I would have had words with her. It's not your job to assess the baby or treat a fever. Can't blame the parents for being upset, but the situation could have been handled A LOT better.
    JDZ344 likes this.
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    No, its not your fault. The nurse was throwing you under the bus. It could have been a couple things, maybe there was something wrong with that themometer? How would you have known it wasn't working?? Maybe the temperature did spike that quickly (and it can). You don't know...don't lose sleep over this. It is NOT your fault. you didnt cause the temperature, you didn't miss the temperature. You were doing your job in what you were taught do to. It is an unfortunate event that DOES happen.

    Trust me, as a nurse i feel TERRIBLE when i miss things. I one time chewed out an aide for not telling me a patient's blood pressure was 70/40. I found it two hours later! I was furious...and trust me, im not the type of person to chew someone out. To this day im still embaressed i did it. It was uncalled for. It is MY job to look at the vitals that the CNA gets. Yes, you as a CNA get the vitals but it is our job as a nurse to look at them just as often as you take them. It was MY fault that i missed it, not the CNA. Yes it would have been nice if she had notified me, but its my job to determine what is low BP, what is normal and what is high. It is the same situation here. It was the nurses job to follow up with the temperature. And what really annoys me is that she asked another CNA to get it. he/she should have gotten themselves. LIke if i ever question a CNA's blood pressure, then i get them myself. i don't tell another CNA to get it....no!
    The nurse was in the wrong, you were right...you did nothing wrong. trust me.
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    Not your fault at all. You did your job. It was the nurse's responsibility to double check the temperature.It was extremely unprofessional to blame you, especially in front of the patient's parents. That nurse should be reprimanded. If that nurse has a problem with the way you took the temperature, it is also her responsibility to show you how to properly take a temperature.
    JDZ344 likes this.
  10. 0
    Hello, I am so sorry that you got yelled at!!!!! That is such an awful feeling. As for your question regarding temps spiking in children, as a mother of 4 I can tell you that it can happen fast. My husband jokes that I have a thermometer in my wrist and on my lips :-) That being said, if Mom says the baby is too hot, check again!!!!!!! With a real themometer! The disposable ones are not as accurate IMO. Any time a patient (young or especially old) is crying or extremely agitated, something is wrong, and they may not be able to tell us....that is why vital signs, examination of ears, throat and urine is so important!!!! I would never record someone else's vitals, it is not good practice. Good luck and learn from this! It is not ever helpful to be yelled at, and your nurse was probably stressed, just don't let it happen again! Trust the baby's Mom, we know when something isn't right!
  11. 0
    No, the nurse was completely unprofessional and threw a CNA under the bus. She probably felt safe knowing the CNA is a float and she won't have to see that person regularly. Chump move, if you ask me.


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