What To Do What To Do

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    Heres my dilemma.....I am a correctional nurse in a supermax. On NSC an inmate had a covered medicine cup with him. Inside was a cream. ( God only truly knows what was in it). He asked me to rub it on his shoulder blade since he cannot reach this area. Or so he said. I replied " No". He said I am the nurse and how can I refuse to do this for him!! replied first of all, I do not even know what is in that cup, and second of all I am not rubbing that on your shoulder blade. I explained two other ways to apply it. Actually I jus thought quickly off the top of my head. I said put a dab on your cell wall and back into it. LOL Or use a towel blah blah blah, finally I asked C.O. if this inmate can have a q-TIP. I WAS TOLD YES, SO I GAVE HIM ALONG HANDLED q-TIP. ( forgive my caps) Well, inmate wrote me up. This is insane!! What should I have said or done otherwise. My HCA not real supportive. I replied this is not a massage parlor! Any advice will be appreciated!! Thank you all for any input. I have been correctional RN for 6 months, but RN in hospital 33 yrs.
    Nurse B.

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  2. 1
    Quote from NettieNurse
    Heres my dilemma.....I am a correctional nurse in a supermax. On NSC an inmate had a covered medicine cup with him. Inside was a cream. ( God only truly knows what was in it). He asked me to rub it on his shoulder blade since he cannot reach this area. Or so he said. I replied " No". He said I am the nurse and how can I refuse to do this for him!! replied first of all, I do not even know what is in that cup, and second of all I am not rubbing that on your shoulder blade. I explained two other ways to apply it. Actually I jus thought quickly off the top of my head. I said put a dab on your cell wall and back into it. LOL Or use a towel blah blah blah, finally I asked C.O. if this inmate can have a q-TIP. I WAS TOLD YES, SO I GAVE HIM ALONG HANDLED q-TIP. ( forgive my caps) Well, inmate wrote me up. This is insane!! What should I have said or done otherwise. My HCA not real supportive. I replied this is not a massage parlor! Any advice will be appreciated!! Thank you all for any input. I have been correctional RN for 6 months, but RN in hospital 33 yrs.
    Nurse B.
    What would have been the harm in rubbing some cream on his shoulder?
    JuliaRNMSN likes this.
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    I don't know very much about corrections nursing but I agree with your rationale about the cream. Yes, how did you know what the cream was? Employer policy must have a statement about substances being administered to patients.
    invisiblewounds likes this.
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    For what it's worth, I agree with you, OP. I'm sure there was NO MD order for it.

    That was an Unidentified Cream Object. Personally, I don't think I would have even provided a qtip. (I think I watch too much of those Hard Times Correctional TV shows.)
  5. 6
    Quote from Laurie52
    What would have been the harm in rubbing some cream on his shoulder?
    The fact that it may not have been cream at all, or the fact that he may have been using it as an excuse to have her touch him.

    I totally agree with the OP, no way would I have done it either.
    SinMiedo, not.done.yet, 2bAngilRN, and 3 others like this.
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    OP, I think you responded reasonably and probably not much differently than I would have in that situation. One of the "rules" of corrections nursing is "NO touching (without a darn good clinically indicated reason)!," at least it has been in my experience. Dressing a wound with medication? Absolutely. Rubbing God-knows-what onto an IM's shoulder for reasons known only to him? All the nopes.
    If you get a chance to respond to the complaint, I would simply write that you were approached by an IM with this request, which you denied for reasons stated, e.g. unknown substance, not medically necessary, inappropriateness of request, etc; list alternatives offered to IM, and the fact that you consulted custody to approve what sounds to me like a satisfactory resolution.
    IMs write people up all the time, often out of frustration that they haven't gotten their way. This sounds like one of those cases, so try not to worry too much until you have a reason to.
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    I would not do it either.
    SinMiedo likes this.
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    Great answers. I wouldn't have done it either. Last I heard, we're nurses, not personal massage therapists. Forget the q tip though, could be used as a weapon against you or an officer. I've seen inmates stabbed with some very strange objects. Getting a grievance from an inmate usually means you're doing your job.
    SinMiedo likes this.
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    Sticking to the basics of no medication given without an order, that would have been my response. The fact that you don't know what the cream was is also basis that a nurse may not apply/administer an unknown substance. If a nurse finds themselves making saged remarks or comments that could be the basis for being written up, that is a late flag to check their attitude and perhaps reconsider where they are working. Inmates are deserving of professional nursing care and non-judgmental interaction.


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