Dear nurse, I really don't want to bother you - page 3

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

  1. by   mauxtav8r
    Quote from purple_rose_3
    All I'm going to say about this is, when you become a nurse you will understand what the OP was trying to convey by that statement.
    As a nursing student, I'd like to know what I need to know to be a nurse BEFORE I'm a nurse. Learning about both sides of the issue is why I'm in school and why I work at a hospital now (while I'm in school).

    I read the ER thread and it's hilarious, educational, thoughtful, but this comment was condescending and offensive. :trout:
  2. by   piperknitsRN
    I am always pleased when a family member takes a genuine interest in helping their loved one in a hospital setting, and under normal circumstances, I most likely have the time to direct them to the supplies or people who can help them, and do so willingly.

    Unfortunately, staff does not always have the luxury of choosing our priorities in patient care, and I am not sure how the system could address the OPs concern regarding how nurses can better facilitate family members who wish to help their family members in the situations she describes. Like it or not, we carry a larger burden of responsibility in patient care because we are highly visible to patients and family members, and so these situations arise, and are difficult for everybody.

    While I think hospital's latest drive for "customer service" is bloated and wrong headed on several accounts, I don't think the OPs issue needs to be framed as such. Hospitals have a way of using buzz words that quickly become as elastic and devoid of real meaning as passing a law requiring the phrase "Have a nice day!" must be used after every business transaction.

    Forget "customer service" as espoused by hospital administration; we simply need to find ways to make the hospitalization process more "user-friendly," not "customer service" driven. I do think volunteers who could do simple things like bring blankets, guide lost people to the right floors, and such, would be wonderful. Many schools now require their students to do community service, and it would be a great way for hospitals and schools to forge important ties as well as decrease some of the burden on paid staff.

    I don't have an answer for the OP, ultimately, but I do sympathize with her concerns, and wish we had better solutions to offer.
  3. by   TazziRN
    Quote from critterlover

    no, they shouldn't be ignored, or feel that they shouldn't ask. however, they need to understand that i might not be able to get that blanket (or whatever) right then and there. even if we don't look busy. 'cause i don't look very busy when i'm on hold with the lab trying to get the result of that critical lab value, but i can't stop what i am doing.

    and that, my friend, is the problem. when you or your loved one is sick, the whole world begins to revolve around you and your loved one. it is difficult to think of that other patient. all you can think of is that your mom is cold, hungry, and in pain. and this is a reasonable perspective, it really is. but, that is not the average nurse's perspective. nurses in general (especially er nurses) are constantly trying to prioritize. and unfortunatly, unless the patient is hypoglycemic and hypothermic, food and warm blanket isn't my top priority. :spin:

    so, it is ok to ask for the meal tray/blanket/glass of water, as long as you promise to forgive us (and not write nasty comments on the press-gainey survey) if you have to ask again.

    as to having a supply of comfort-type stuff for family to have access to, there is a reason why we keep tight control of that stuff:

    1. food. not everyone can have it. we only want to feed the patients. family only gets food in very special circumstances. some patients can't have it, either.

    2. warm blankets. one tends to shiver/feel cold when one has a fever. depending on how high that fever is, you may not get even a sheet from me, much less a warm blanket. in fact, if the fever is high enough, be glad i'm not taking more drastic (and very uncomfortable) measures to cool you down!

    3. everything else. you would be surprised at how many people consider the er to be their own personal drug store/linen store/wound care supply store..... you would be amazed at the stuff that comes up missing. in fact, there is a fairly old thread on the very subject. i, personally, have seen gowns, pillows (at $90 a pop), blankets, sheets, ky jelly, the stirrups from the ob stretcher , dopplers, and countless bandage supplies disappear, to name just a few. people seem to have the notion that hospitals are rich, and they will take what they can walk out with. no, thank you, we will keep the stuff hidden!

    :yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat: we have a new blanket warmer in our trauma room. the door is glass so pts know what's in there. i have walked into a pt's cubicle to find several blankets piled on the pt, courtesy of the family member who decided to help herself because she'd had to ask several times for a blanket but no one had listened to her. unfortunately, even though the tech did pass on the request to me, i was too busy to go in there and explain why her mother couldn't have anything more than the sheet i had covered her with.

    chaya, i know you mean well, but this goes back to that old argument: don't assume that you know why we do what we do until you have worked there. could that poster have worded it differently so that you weren't offended? maybe. however, all the er nurses knew what was being said because we work there.
  4. by   TazziRN
    Quote from mauxtav8r
    As a nursing student, I'd like to know what I need to know to be a nurse BEFORE I'm a nurse. Learning about both sides of the issue is why I'm in school and why I work at a hospital now (while I'm in school).

    I read the ER thread and it's hilarious, educational, thoughtful, but this comment was condescending and offensive. :trout:

    No, it wasn't. There are things that just can't be taught, they have to be experienced. And having a relative prefacing a statement with "I don't want to bother you but..." when you're running to get the RSI kit is one of them.
  5. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from stevielynn
    Roy - 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.
    Hi Steph,

    Yes, I know that. I know family has no business wandering the ER and doing stuff. I've "done my time" in the ER too (admitedly, not for long. Hence why I refrain from comment in most ER threads).

    THAT being said, I really think she wanted to know what "else" could be done given that nurses are super busy in the ER and that family might be around to help.

    Therefore your post - especially:

    Quote from stevielynn
    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.
    was useful because I think it really answered her question (or atleast the part I highlighted with my initial post in this thread). See because I think OP (Chaya) knows/recognizes that ER nurses are super busy and was just wondering if there was anything she/anyone-else could do to help in the meantime....

    Could she have worded her OP (start of this thread) differently - yes. But I don't think her initial post/question was more of a "complaint" about how ER staff handle affairs as opposed to a "question" about if other/alternate methods are practical/applicable.

    cheers,
    Last edit by Roy Fokker on Jan 5, '07
  6. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    Hi Steph,

    Yes, I know that. I know family has no business wandering the ER and doing stuff. I've "done my time" in the ER too (admitedly, not for long. Hence why I refrain from comment in most ER threads).

    THAT being said, I really think she wanted to know what "else" could be done given that nurses are super busy in the ER and that family might be around to help.

    Therefore your post - especially:

    was useful because I think it really answered her question (or atleast the part I highlighted with my initial post in this thread). See because I think OP (Chaya) knows/recognizes that ER nurses are super busy and was just wondering if there was anything she/anyone-else could do to help in the meantime....

    Could she have worded her OP (start of this thread) differently - yes. But I don't think her initial post/question was more of a "complaint" about how ER staff handle affairs as opposed to a "question" about if other/alternate methods are practical/applicable.

    cheers,
    Because of the nature of a busy ER, I just don't know if there is a consistent role for the family to help out a busy nurse.

    On the acute floor, I have had family members ask to bath their family member or brush their teeth or help them to the bathroom. And this is do-able . . .but in the ER? I just don't see how.

    steph
  7. by   JeanettePNP
    Problem is that in some places, you might be spending up to 36 hours in an ER waiting to be admitted.
  8. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from stevielynn
    Because of the nature of a busy ER, I just don't know if there is a consistent role for the family to help out a busy nurse.
    Hi Steph,

    I understand and agree with this as well.


    cheers,
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Hi back at ya Roy!

    We have a three bed ER - with one gyne room. The triage room is about 5 steps from the ER door. We have curtains around each of the 3 beds - not much privacy.

    We have begun to limit family to ONE member at bedside - it is just too small for more.

    steph
  10. by   Roy Fokker
    I think you are right when you talk about a "consistent" role for family members.

    The ER I was at - it was NOT ok for family to be very participative in patient care.

    The hospital I work at NOW - very involved. Heck, you can be in the room when a code is going on etc.


    As such - given the wide ranges and disparities, it is difficult to come up with a consistent, single minded policy as regards patient family intervention.

    cheers,
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    I think you are right when you talk about a "consistent" role for family members.

    The ER I was at - it was NOT ok for family to be very participative in patient care.

    The hospital I work at NOW - very involved. Heck, you can be in the room when a code is going on etc.

    cheers,
    We allow that as well . . . although we do empty the other two beds if we need to do a code. Our center bed is reserved for cardiac and/or stroke, trauma.

    I think for the most part it is a good idea to have families there during a code. There are always exceptions though. . .


    steph
  12. by   LeahJet
    Quote from ItsyBitsySpider
    I 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!

    Completely agree.

    Again, not trying to sound harsh..... but people think that the ER is some magic place that has the perfect pill that will take away your pain and a staff to make you completely comfortable. Life is not perfect and sometimes we ache,hurt, or generally feel like crap. Many times, I have worked taking care of people that probably felt better than I did.
    I'm probably going to get flamed big time, but I think that people are getting too whimpy. Sometimes you have to suck it up and be tough.
    Sheesh.
  13. by   Roy Fokker
    Personally, I'd leave the choice to the family concerned.

    Some folks don't like/want to see the measures being done to their loved ones in the aim of preserving/stabilizing life. But on the whole, I think we agree here



    I better get to bed! I'm supposed to work tonight!

    cheers,

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