"Getting Good Care in the Hospital requires Vigilance" - page 3

From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Getting good care in the hospital requires vigilance Healthwise Tuesday, January 14, 2003 By Virginia Linn, Post-Gazette Staff Writer... Read More

  1. by   NurseKrissy
    In regards to your article - Getting good care in the hospital requires vigilance-, you have not told the whole story. You have only worsened the already poor view the public has of nurses. If I were super woman I could answer every call light, every question, complete all of my paperwork, have time for lunch,etc etc. It is simply impossible! Instead we have to prioritize, we make sure our patients get thier meds safely, treatments safely, emergencies are tended to in a fast efficient manner. Perhaps you should use your press pass to spend some time with nurses and get the real story as oppossed to adding fuel to the fire of the already ignorant public's perception of nurses. There is simply a lot more to it than meets the eye. Please tell the real story to the public and help the country's nursing shortage. More and more nurses will be retiring soon, this shortage will peak in 2006. We do NOT need to be treated like criminals by having our patients families ask us our name and write down everything we do every time we enter our patients room. Why do you think something as negative as that would help? I ask you again to redeem yourself by making it known to the public about the nursing shortage, and what it's really like to be a nurse.

    Regards
  2. by   K O'Malley
    In my experience the nursing staff avoids like the plague patients and/or families who write down everything . We figure that they are trying to find something to sue over and very often they are. I have no objections to patients who ask what meds they are receiving. Often it stops a mistake in its tracks. Its unfortunate, but rushing around in a frenzy because of short staffing and being interrupted 100 times while trying to pour meds is a perfect set up for many errors. When I first went into nursing it was an absolute rule that a nurse preparing meds was not to be interrupted. Of course that was in the days when we had a med nurse.
  3. by   RED_ALERT37
    THE SAD SIDE TO ALL THE FINGER POINTING IS THE POINTING IS DIRECTED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.... WE AS PROFESSIONAL NURSES KNOW THAT THE MEDICAL FIELD HAS GONE TO HELL IN A HAND BASKET... WE GO HOME EVERY NIGHT BEATING OURSELVES BECAUSE WE WERE NOT ABLE TO GIVE QUALITY CARE TO ALL OF OUR PATIENTS .... UNFORTUNATELY IN TODAYS SOCIETY IT BOILS DOWN TO THE SUITS IN ADMINISTRATION WHO CAN GIVE A DARN WHETHER QUALITY CARE IS GIVEN OR NOT... THEIR ONLY CARE IS THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY CAN MAKE , THE BONUSES THEY CAN ACHIEVE AND THE UPSTANDING QUALITY OF LIFE THEY CAN LIVE!!! ITS EASY FOR THEM...THEIR ESCAPE GOAT IS THE NURSES AND ANCILLARY STAFF... UNTIL WE ALL COME TOGETHER AND FIGHT THE SYSTEM, MAKE A VOICE IN THE COMMUNITY AND BRING ATTENTION TO THESE GREEDY #$)%(% WHO ACTUALLY CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT... IT WILL NEVER CHANGE AND ONLY GET WORSE....
  4. by   l.rae
    l just go a reply from Ms. Linn....here it is in all its glory:



    Hello --

    Thank you for your comment. Who placed the blame on nurses?. It was
    obvious the column talked about system problems that can only be addressed
    by administrators and reforms that need to go well beyond hospitals.

    Virginia Linn
    Post-Gazette Health Editor
    34 Blvd. of the Allies
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222
  5. by   Sleepyeyes
    INCREDIBLE!!
  6. by   RED_ALERT37
    HUMMMMMMMMMMMMM..... do I expect any different .... tune in folks for as the hosptial turns and churns.....
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    Gee, however did we get that idea???

    Getting good care in the hospital requires vigilance
    Healthwise

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003

    By Virginia Linn, Post-Gazette Staff Writer


    In recent weeks, I've received more complaints than I can remember from exasperated family members trying to ensure good medical care for their loved ones. Not while they were at home, but in the hospital.


    Virginia Linn


    For many, it required 24/7 vigilance and repeated visits to the nursing stations to seek basic assistance such as janitorial services, water cups or a change of dirty linens that had been soiled for hours.

    Here were some of the complaints:

    A 90-year-old Squirrel Hill woman with a swallowing problem was given a "Nothing by mouth" order from her doctor, meaning she was to receive no liquids or food by mouth. But several times, cafeteria aides left food trays at her bedside. The practice continued despite complaints from her daughter.

    One morning at 3, the daughter got a call at home from a hospital nurse with news her mother wasn't doing well. The nurse had been feeding her ice cream.

    An 84-year-old woman on a fluctuating dose of the blood thinner Coumadin was admitted to the hospital with other medical problems. Her son said the nurses failed to follow her strict drug regimen and after she was released, she experienced related complications that landed her back in the hospital. While there, she went hours without water, despite repeated requests to the nurses, and often was left without for a bedpan.

    The daughter of a 96-year-old Munhall patient was horrified at the condition of her mother's hospital room during a lengthy stay: On one day she found dirty latex gloves, toilet tissue and bloody bandage wrap on the floor and an overflowing garbage can. There were no paper towels in the room for more than two days and the bathroom often lacked hand soap (How was the medical staff washing their hands?). Staff administering drugs often failed to read medical charts, and had to be corrected by the daughter about the proper drugs and doses.

    When her mother was in a critical care step-down unit, her care was entrusted to unsupervised nursing students for extended periods.

    The daughter ultimately took her complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which conducted an unannounced investigation. In a letter to her, the health department said the investigators found no violations.

    These are just a handful of complaints I've recently heard involving respected hospitals throughout the city. These complaints would take weeks of investigation and interviews to confirm, but the pattern of these concerns shows that something is not right. Are families just becoming more proactive or critical in their assessments of hospital care? Or is care deteriorating before our eyes?

    Most hospitals have patient representatives who handle complaints, but families often find them ineffective.

    Charles Inlander, president of the People's Medical Society, a consumer advocate group based in Allentown, Lehigh County, is not surprised about these complaints.

    "When we started the organization in 1983, the No. 1 issue was hospital-related problems," he said. That hasn't changed. "The hospital is the most unsafe place you can be when you're sick. If you have to be there, you have to be assertive -- not obnoxious -- but assertive."

    There are many things families can do to ensure the best care, he said. First, enter with the right attitude.

    "You're not in custody, you are the patient. You are the customer. You have the right to have your questions answered, you have the right to prompt service, the right to information not easily made available, the right to complain and the right to ask for a different nurse or a different staff member. The law supports this in every case."

    There's more:

    If possible, have someone with your loved one 24 hours a day. Patients often are too sick or intimidated to push for what they need.

    As soon as you get to the hospital, make it clear that you'll be keeping a close watch on your loved one. Write down everything that happens -- the name of every person who comes in the room, what he or she does, the condition of the room, etc.

    If a nurse doesn't answer a page promptly, call the hospital switchboard and ask to be connected to that floor's nurses station. They'll be sure to pick up that phone.

    If your problems are not being addressed, call the hospital administrator. If a secretary tries to refer you to the patient representative, say "no", and insist on talking to the administrator.

    "That gets you very quick action," Inlander said. "The hospital does everything it can do so you won't complain. It doesn't want problems."

    But there's a flip side. The complaining relative becomes a pariah among hospital staff, said one daughter. "You're public enemy No. 1."

    After her experience tending to her mother in the hospital, she said "you feel like you've been through a war."

    You can find other strategies in the People's Medical Society book, "Take this Book to the Hospital With You: A Consumer Guide to Surviving Your Hospital Stay" by Inlander and Ed Weiner. It's available at local bookstores or Amazon.com for $5.99.

    As some Amazon reviewers learned, simply displaying the book on their hospital bedside table prompted staff to be more attentive.

    Upon a patient's discharge, many hospitals distribute surveys so the patient can evaluate the stay. Take full advantage of this.

    Bill Lieber, a travel agent who lives in Squirrel Hill, was admitted to a local hospital in late November for pneumonia.

    After a five-hour wait in the emergency room, he was taken to his hospital room where there were two uncovered wastebaskets filled with Kleenex and dirty paper towels. They were never emptied during his three-day stay.

    He needs a special breathing machine to sleep because of apnea, but staff didn't install it until after midnight -- hours after he normally would have been asleep.

    And two requested urine samples went uncollected, each sitting by his bedside until the next day, and became too old to be tested.

    "I sent it to everybody," he said about the hospital survey. "This was the worst experience I've ever had."
  8. by   Sleepyeyes
    I got the same email, so i just copied and sent the above post.
  9. by   l.rae
    Obvious you are not blaming nurses? Either you are lying or you are such a poor journalist that you cannot make your points clear. I happen to know that you have gotten responses from several disgruntled nurses who interpreted your intentions the same as I do. Perhaps we should have sent them to the editor instead since you are "obviously" not a classy enough journalist to retract when you are wrong....here are some direct quotes from your article, in case you forgot:



    Her son said the nurses failed to follow her strict drug regimen and after she was released, she experienced related complications that landed her back in the hospital. While there, she went hours without water, despite repeated requests to the nurses, and often was left without for a bedpan.



    One morning at 3, the daughter got a call at home from a hospital nurse with news her mother wasn't doing well. The nurse had been feeding her ice cream.



    If a nurse doesn't answer a page promptly, call the hospital switchboard and ask to be connected to that floor's nurses station. They'll be sure to pick up that phone.



    sound familiar?............LR RN

    this was my reply to ms moron.
  10. by   fab4fan
    Wow...how do you guys rate?? She didn't even respond to my e-mail!
  11. by   l.rae
    l am sooooooooo MAD....grrrrrrr...l just sent an addendum to my privious e-mail...



    also wanted to say, l am glad your picture was posted with your article for millions of nurses to see.......l hope your mug is posted in every nurses station in every hospital within a hundred mile radius..........what goes around....blah blah blah
  12. by   JNJ
    I am so grateful to you all of you who wrote to Ms. Linn and posted your letters here. So many well-expressed lines. At the moment, I'm a little too angry with her to be so classy, but this is what I sent to Ms. Linn:

    "I read your article very carefully and, through allnurses.com I am aware of many of the detailed, careful replies you have received. You are responsible for a piece of very sloppy journalism and if I had the time in my caregiving day to criticize your work in similar detail I would be tempted to reply in kind.

    Your paltry response to one email, claiming you were criticizing system problems is a cover up. Please count how many times you wrote "nurse" or skilled work performed almost exclusively by nurses, such as giving medications.

    A more appropriate response from you would be to offer an apology to the thousands of caring, worked-off-our-feet-and-can't-bring-ourselves-to-leave-the-patients-in-an-even-worse-situation professional nurses, and to make amends by performing some responsible nursing support service within a hard-pressed health care environment. I do not mean the current journalism phase for 'under cover' reporting either. I mean work. You are not able to perform skilled work in a health care environment, but honest work would be a start and would assist you with a reality check.

    My credentials: Registered Nurse in the USA and UK. Additional qualifications in pediatric and community nursing. Thirty-one years of experience, some spent teaching and mentoring students or new graduates. Experience in a developing country, unpaid. Oh, and a Master's degree studied for while working full time, funded by myself. My patients are my references. I am a fulfilled, professional woman who would like to see improved conditions for my patient's sake.

    This profile is similar to many nurses who have written to you. I am nothing special in professional nursing. Please stop and think before you write again."
  13. by   Sally_ICURN
    Here's the reply I got:

    Hello --

    The opinion column addressed "system" problems that can only be resolved by administrators or reforms that go far beyond hospitals. Nobody expects nurses to empty trash. Why would anybody blame nurses, but often families go to the nurses stations with those concerns because they don't know where else to turn.

    Virginia Linn


    She is correct. It's good that she (or her posse) replied and I kinda like what this response says, BUT it doesn't quite reflect what we have written to her about and that is...what is HER role as a journalist to report fair and accurately.

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