Dear nurse, I really don't want to bother you - page 2
I saw this on an ER thread and I feel it needs to be discussed. Before anyone flames me, this post is not intended to attack nurses, especially ER nurses. I feel that I do need some clarification... Read More
Jan 5, '07Quote from ChayaN[Sigh] I knew I was going to get slammed for even posting this with my lack of nursing experience. I thought I made it clear that it was not a vent against nurses. I KNOW YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO!! My question is what can I, as a family member, do to take care of my loved one when the nurses are too busy to do so? I would love to tend to their needs myself and not bother you. I don't want to ask for water when the person down the hall is in full cardiac arrest. But I do feel the need to do something more than tell them "just sit tight a little longer until the nurse has time to take care of you." Again, I am not expecting the nurse to drop everything to do it for me.
Why not ask the nurse's aid/tech instead of the nurse? He or she will usually not be tied up in some critical situation and would be able to get it for you.
Jan 5, '07I agree with telling them to sit tight. No one dies from being a little uncomfortable for a little while. These are adults and they are in the ER, not the Hilton. Kids are different b/c if they are uncomfortable then they are usually screaming or crying, so in those cases and if the parents are responsible, we will sometimes tell them where they can find drinks, blankets, etc. No pillows here sorry!
I also think the OP's quote was taken totally out of context and was completely appropriate for its original thread. I would hope that when you are finished with your studies you could work in an ER and maybe come up with some better solutions on how to run a more customer friendly environment. :uhoh21:
Jan 5, '07Quote from imagin916Our techs work every code with us. They are also responsible for 6 other beds and all that comes with it.Why not ask the nurse's aid/tech instead of the nurse? He or she will usually not be tied up in some critical situation and would be able to get it for you.
Jan 5, '07Quote from ItsyBitsySpiderI guess it depends on the ER. Our techs usually dont help in codes, maybe 1 or 2 are BLS certified and will do chest compressions, but that is not the usual case. Even if the techs are busy with other beds, the family member waiting for a blanket will get one a heck of a lot faster waiting for the tech to do things than the nurse tied up with a critical patient.Our techs work every code with us. They are also responsible for 6 other beds and all that comes with it.
Another idea is to ask any volunteer that you see. There is nothing wrong with them getting pillows and sheets, dont need nursing input for that.
Jan 5, '07Quote from imagin916Are volunteers even allowed to be in the ER? That's something I would gladly do.Another idea is to ask any volunteer that you see. There is nothing wrong with them getting pillows and sheets, dont need nursing input for that.
Jan 5, '07This is probably going to come off as way harsh but perhaps if you are really interested in helping to take care of your loved one then maybe you could become involved before they need to be in the ER? My point here is that our country's ERs are overwhelmed with pts who are sick, some who are not sick, and a lot that would have never needed to be seen in an ER if they or their families had taken responsibility for that person's health issues and dealt with them before it was an emergency. Until the general public takes responsibilty for their health our ers are going to continue to be used as clinics and PCPs. I am sure that if my ER wasn't so busy with a lot of noncritical pts, I could give out a lot more blankets and maybe find a way to better care for the critical pts that need to be in an ER. I know this maybe off topic but at the same time I can remember when going to the ER was not supposed to be a pleasant experience only a necessary one.
Jan 5, '07Traumagirl, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to an ER, either myself or with a family member. Those times were all necessary, sent to the ER directly from the doctor's office by ambulance. It had nothing to do with neglecting their health beforehand or using the ER as a babysitting service or primary care center. I know those situations do exist but that's not what I'm talking about here.
Jan 5, '07Quote from ChayaNI think this is the crux of the whole thread.My question is what can I, as a family member, do to take care of my loved one when the nurses are too busy to do so? I would love to tend to their needs myself and not bother you.
Jan 5, '07Chaya,
I do understand your original question. Let me take this from the original quote that you posted. My perception of the original quote ( or maybe my personal experience) is that the person prefacing a request with those statements.
1) doesn't really mean it when they say that they don't mean to bother me.
2) doesn't really care that I am pushing a code cart, or running after a pluerevac, grabbing teh intubation box.
3) is usually associated with the person who threw a fit in the waiting room because they did not immediately get roomed for their 3week/month old sore toe/ear/finger.......
Let me speak for myself, and my own coworkers....
It is an EMERGENCY room. EMERGENCIES come first.
It isn't that we do not care about the comfort of our patients but we must prioritize our actions. Think ABC's This is Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. After these are attended to then we can move on to nonurgent needs or requests.
The reason that the warm blankets/water and food are out of visitor reach is because these are only given out to patients that may have them. Just because you want something, it may not be in the patients best interest.
If you have a temp of 103 you cannot have a warm blanket.
If you are in the ER for belly pain, broken bones or anything that may be a possible surgical situation you may not have ANYTHING to eat or drink until we rule out that as a plan.
Visitors do abuse the warm blankets and food. I frequently walk into a room and see patient and all their visitors wrapped up in multilpe blanket, maybe leaving none for that little 90 year old granny who is freezing.
Linens are not an unending resource, when the cart is empty that is it for the day/weekend.
Now I consider these COMFORTS not essentials. I have never had a patient die of thirst or hunger or freeze to death in the ER.
I always quickly attend to personal needs like a wet bed or someone who needs a bedpan WHO IS NOT AMBULATORY, as quickly as I can, or I a grab someone who can assist with this.
THis is by no means meant as a flame and I hope you do not take it as such. I hope this gives you a picture from the other side of things.
Jan 5, '07I took the original quote to mean families with Q15min requests, or those that come in and want a glass of water and several warm blankets before their loved one is even off the EMS stretcher. Gotta do an initial assessment, and then you've got all the uncomfortable treatments, and many families are horrified that we've given that blanket they've asked for five times in ten minutes, only to whip it off to get an EKG. If they want hospital level care it does involve some discomfort, although I'll tuck them in nicely when I'm done.
I also agree with those that say "sit tight" although I recognize it may sound callous. I'm assuming you've got someone checking on you at least once an hour to make sure the patient is still alive, or to update you on progress. Ask them for what you need then.
Anyone who asks the question Chaya did is not the problem anyway. I'll bet she's a peach. The ones that get talked about on allnurses threads whip the curtains open during a code and demand someone pay attention, their loved one had labs drawn an hour ago, they've been waiting all that time, they've got a babysitter to go home to, and what the heck is being done?? NOTHING!
Jan 5, '07Quote from ChayaNI do understand someone wanting their family member to be comfortable, and asking the nurse for things to help their family member. That's reasonable, especially if they understand it may take time and they are patient. I wouldn't mind getting them things and helping them when I have time. To me, unreasonable would be someone demanding that a nurse drop everything (like taking care of chest pain/SOB/bleeding) just to do something that can wait until the dying person is taken care of. And still demanding after it's explained to them that someone sicker needs to be taken care of. There are selfish narcissistic people in the world, and it's a BIG mistake to have a Press-Gainey survey around anywhere within a mile of them, because they will take advantage of customer satisfaction to get their own way, to the detriment of people around them.I saw this on an ER thread and I feel it needs to be discussed. Before anyone flames me, this post is not intended to attack nurses, especially ER nurses. I feel that I do need some clarification about what nurses consider to be a "bother."
OK, not to be another scolding student, but this one did bother me. It is natural to want to make your family member comfortable during their stay in the ER, even if their need perhaps isn't as urgent as the dying patient down the hall. The family member is at least showing some politeness and sensitivity for the nurse. They are not trying to be a bother. It's just that their family member is sick (even if there are other people there who are sicker) and they are trying to get their needs met.
Trust me, if I knew where the blanket/clean sheet/washcloth/emesis basin was, and I was allowed access to the supply closet, I'd get it myself and not bother you. But I'm a "guest" in the ER, so I have no choice but to bother the nurse or leave my family member cold/wet/dirty/thirsty etc. So to all you hardworking ER nurses, I'm sorry to bother you, I know you're busy, but I will advocate for my family member when I accompany them to the ER.
Point is, from a patient's perspective it's hard to know what will be considered unreasonable. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to be comfortable if you're really not feeling well. I'm not talking about patients who have no reason to be in the ER. I'm talking about patients who truly are sick, but are stable and not about to die. Should their need for comfort be ignored because there are patients who are so much sicker? As a family member, I hate to bother the nurse because I know how much she has to do--but as I said, I'm a guest in their facility and I really don't know where things are. If I could take care of it myself, I would...................
...........................I don't really know what the resolution to the problem is. I know nurses are overworked as it is and can't be all things to all people at all times. I also know that there are whiners and unreasonable people out there who demand all sorts of things that are not their right at all. But should a patient with a legitimate (although not desperate) need be ignored simply because other people have bigger needs? Maybe hospitals can have the most necessary supplies readily available so family members can provide the comfort care when nurses are too busy to do so? I really don't want to bother the nurse, but it's frustrating to be so dependent on people who have much more important things to do than tend to you.
Jan 5, '07Quote from imagin916This is what I was going to say-- volunteers are great for this stuff! And yes, you can volunteer in the ER- we always have them. It won't be anything medical (obviously) but they are VERY useful. Unfortunately I've seen it from the patient side, but at my ER there is always a volunteer down there literally coming TO me to ask if I want a warm blanket, not the other way around. I think volunteers are the perfect answer to this predicament, and every ER should have (at least) one to take care of these requests that, while are important to the patient, certainly don't rank high on the acuity scale. Best wishes and thanks to all the ER nurses for everything you do!Another idea is to ask any volunteer that you see. There is nothing wrong with them getting pillows and sheets, dont need nursing input for that.
Jan 5, '07Quote from Roy FokkerRoy - there really isn't a role for family members to go get a blanket or water or food or a box of tissues. For one thing, as others have mentioned, the family may not have (usually does not have) any idea regarding the care of the patient and so if grandma is shivering on the gurney they think she needs a blanket but I know she has a temp of 104.5 and has pneumonia and a blanket is not a good idea. Plus, the family member would have to walk across the ER to the blanket warmer (first they would have to know where it is) and they might just get in the way of a code or a trauma. I don't think it is a good idea to have people roaming around the ER.I think this is the crux of the whole thread.
The family member's role is to sit by the patient and comfort them and hold their hand. You can certainly advocate for them with the physician and nurses - but you have to understand, as others have mentioned, this is an emergency room and there is a triaged order to things.
Having said that, I have been on the other side when my #2 son was laying on a gurney in pain with a bad ear infection (that I'd ignored for days) and the eardrum burst and he had 10/10 pain and was actually crying (at 17 he never ever cried). The nurses and doc were standing at the nurse's station talking and it bugged me to no end . . . just get some pain meds for my son. I understand the reaction when you are on the other side . . really.
p.s. We don't have volunteers in the ER. And our "techs" are EMT II's or Paramedics and are usually doing the EKG's and starting IV's - when we are busy we are all busy.