Okay, I need to vent a bit. During med pass I got a call to the POD I was in that I was wanted to come check on a maintenance worker who "isn't feeling well." This is in county jail with EMS < 6 minutes out. I was surprised I would be called out of med pass and told the deputy that took the call, "If it is an emergecny they should call 9-1-1! The deputy asked if it was okay for me to finish up the POD and then respond, and I gathered he got a positive response. A few minutes later I had finished and asked where to go and was told the other nurse had gone. I saw the Lt. later during the pass and asked him what the story on that call was. He said, "Oh, you mean about the janitor?" (Okay, I thought that was a bit crass - who uses the word janitor anymore?). I said I was told it was a maintenance worker that wasn't feeling well. The Lt. said- oh it was a janitor upstairs who was having chest pain. I said, Chest pain? Did you call 9-1-1? He said, "No, why would we call 9-1-1 when we can USE you." He then went on to say that Nurse so and so had responded and the woman was taken to the ER in a car. I was frankly horrified by several aspects of this occurance and later confirmed my worst fears. 9-1-1 was never called, no one every told nurses it was chest pain when asked to respond and the woman had been walked to the medical department from upstairs to wait for the nurse. Then the nurse that responded took vital signs and let her be taken to the hospital in a car, which she was walked to and "laid down in." That with the remark of "USE you" on a shift that between two nurses we had 14 intakes (includng one on 10 LPM Oxygen), over 300 medications to dispense to about 120 inmates, etc etc etc. And of course, that is chicken scratch compared to the callous, thoughtless, incompetent stupidity of the way this poor woman was treated by her boss and the Lt. I was told she was very frightened ... rightly so; not only did she fear she was having a heart attack, sheriff deputies, who you would think would have a modicum of common sense and training enought to respond appropriately to a coworker having chest pain..... well, I could rant on and on.... thank you for this forum so my poor hubby won't have to listen to me.
I called the HSA to express my horror, and was then informed medical staff in this county jail (we are contractors) are tasked with responding to all emergencies for the entire three story building, 300-350(max 475) inmates, court house, coroners, administrative offices of the sheriff and other county officials. This would be fine if 9-1-1 was called appropriately, but that little phrase "USE you" just keeps popping up for me!! We almost never have more than two nurses on duty and at night there is only one nurse. Am I over reacting? Our HSA is a doll, and talked me down from the ledge, agreeing with me it is definately a training issue which she would address with custody. However, isn't this a huge liability issue for the company I work for and for me and my license? I just don't know what to think when you could be working with people you should be able to trust with your life (sheriff deputies!)... and they would not even know when to call 9-1-1!! As you all probably know - you really don't get anywhere in a jail very quickly, what with going through all the locked doors and waiting for control to open them. Even in emergencies they seem to take their time with letting the nurses in. They actually do much better with EMS. Well thank you all. I appreciate being able to talk to some people who might understand why I am upset. An I overreacting? We've been short handed and I've been working a lot.