Do our patients really want to hear this...

  1. Worked on the floor I do perdiem work on this w/e. We were very short staffed (down 1 nurse and no techs). The second corner was very heavy so I volunteered to pick up two extra patients to help this nurse out.

    Now I am not disputing that we were busy, but I don';t like to see nurses or any staff telling patients"we don't have any staff tonight--so don't expect much from me. " Ulg!!! If I was that patient(s) in bed, I would want to run to the nearest exit and find someone who gives a cr@@.

    I had several of my patients tell me they knew how busy I was and that they did not want to bother me with anything!!! I was busy--but I still managed to take care of my patients to the best of my abilities. I get so sick of the whining and complaining. This nurse and our secretary actually told one sister of a confused elderly gentlemen that she should stay overnight so he doesn't fall again. What are we coming to???

    I hate the shortage--but so far our patients are getting good care--this person was bitc#$% all night and spent so much time complaining that she did not finish her work. Am I being unreasonable here??? I try very hard to do what is needed for my patients--but at no time am I going to dump on them or their family members because I am "short staffed". I think they can see that for themselves without making them feel guilty for asking for pain med.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   maizey
    At the facility that I work at and the one I just left we routinely encouraged family members to stay with their loved ones if at all possible. I think it is prudent to do so if you have a confused patient. Sometimes just having the family member in the room helps the patient and also helps the nursing staff to be alert to patient trying to get out of bed etc. I don't think the family should be made to feel as though they are responsible to stay but many family members would like to stay with their loved ones. I don't think we should ever tell a patient or family that we are too short staffed. I think, like you stated, that if I was that patient or family I would want to take myself or my loved one out of that hospital. The last two times my grandmother was in the hospital I made arrangements to stay with her. I think it helped her and the nursing staff for me to be there. She was confused because she was out of her routine so I was there to help her if she tried to get out of bed etc. We all know that even with bed alarms patients can fall before we can get to the room, depending on the logistics of the rooms.
  4. by   RNIAM
    In a small rural Maine hospital we have only 5 RN's in the whole hospital (this includes ER, ICU, & Med-Surg) with as many as 26 pts to care for. If a pt requires constant monitoring we question the family if they can stay at bedside.
    Recently the local paper has letters to the Editor and one of my previous pt (who was very confused) family members complained because family members stayed at bedside 24hrs day due to pt dementia. The facility that I work for is a restraint free so its either family or frequent falls..
  5. by   hoolahan
    RNIAM, you make a good point. The whole restraint-free concept was developed by Rip Van Winkle, or someone in a dream-like state.

    I agree pt shouldn't be made to feel gulity, but if a family member is rude b/c I haven't gotten around to getting them coffee, well, I may just explain I have other priorities.

    I don't know, what is better to say when pt or family members DO c/o because it took you so long to get them off the bedpan or whatever??
  6. by   bagladyrn
    I'm of two minds on this. I agree that "short staffing" shouldn't be an excuse for poor care, but on the other hand, by never mentioning the staffing ratios, and covering up the fact that we are working short, aren't we just feeding into, and supporting hospital administration in dumping more and more patients on less nurses. Maybe the public needs to be made aware.
  7. by   Lela RN
    Originally posted by bagladyrn
    I'm of two minds on this. I agree that "short staffing" shouldn't be an excuse for poor care, but on the other hand, by never mentioning the staffing ratios, and covering up the fact that we are working short, aren't we just feeding into, and supporting hospital administration in dumping more and more patients on less nurses. Maybe the public needs to be made aware.
    I agree with you, I think the public should be made aware of staffing shortages. If you notice a lot more gets done when a family member runs down to the administration office or even further to the health department to complain about poor care. If a nurse complains he/she is just whining about his/her job.

    It does give you a lot more work to try to get under control when you only have say 4 nurses when there's suppose to 6. This can be dangerous for the patients if their condition starts to get worst. So YES the public should be made aware.
  8. by   terrina
    I run my butt off every day at work, take short lunch breaks in order to get out on time, try to set priorities appropriately, do not sit down ONCE in an 8 (mostly 9)hour day and still get patients who moan and complain because I can't fulfill their request as soon as the light goes on. Many family members sit in the chairs and watch as I hurry in to move the tissue box closer. It seems that the more widespread the nursing shortage becomes the more demanding the patients are...or is it my imagination?
  9. by   WashYaHands
    I haven't worked as a staff nurse in over 6 months, but when this happened to me, I'd simply say, "I'm sorry that I couldn't answer you sooner, but I was with another patient." That was usually all it took.

    Linda
  10. by   fab4fan
    Originally posted by terrina
    I run my butt off every day at work, take short lunch breaks in order to get out on time, try to set priorities appropriately, do not sit down ONCE in an 8 (mostly 9)hour day and still get patients who moan and complain because I can't fulfill their request as soon as the light goes on. Many family members sit in the chairs and watch as I hurry in to move the tissue box closer. It seems that the more widespread the nursing shortage becomes the more demanding the patients are...or is it my imagination?
    People today are ruder, more demanding, and have a sense of entitlement that knows no limits. "Thank you" must have been officially stricken from our spoken language, because I can't tell you the last time someone said it to me.

    One of the reasons I like the ED...the annoying people go home or are admitted to another floor. We don't have to deal with them day in/day out. And it's amazing how long it can take to type up D/C instructions on a miserable person...you know, the unit is just "so busy...I'll get to them as soon as I can, so if you'd please go back to your bed, I'll be with you ASAP (voice that is slopping sugar while saying this."
  11. by   maizey
    At the small rural hospital that I just left, after 15 years, the patients all know everyone in the community, administration included and some act as though they are checking into a motel when they get to the hospital. My coworkers always knew when I was having a demanding patient day because I would walk down the halls singing the Burger King logo "Have it your way, have it your way". Honestly, a patient asks for a cup of coffee and I ask, "do you want cream and sugar in that" answer "no". Get back with the hot coffee and she says "could I have some crackers with that" bring in the crackers and she says "I need a pain shot" Sure, all I have to do is cator to you for the rest of the day. I walk out of the room singing have it your way and thinking "witch". I rarely leave a roomwithout asking "is there anything you need or that I can do for you." Three or four trips down the hall to the same patients room in 10 minutes is ridiculous when you have 8 or 9 others to cope with. Thank heaven they are not all like that. Many are appreciative and say thank you for the smallest little task and this makes dealing with the others more bearable. Just a rant.
  12. by   dawngloves
    It is very unprofessional to complain to a patient or their family about staffing or any issue for that manner!
    And yes, it is wise in any circumstance to encourage family members to stay with a confused pt.
  13. by   RyanRN
    I'd really love to be able to treat everyone with kid gloves and deny the reality of just exactly what is going on in heath care, especially hospitals, today. But I can't think of even ONE good reason for doing so. That would prolong the misery.

    We didn't get ourselves into this mess so just maybe we need to point out the people who DID.

    Yep, encourage people to stay and HELP with their families care, let them know in as humane a way as possible what the situation is, do the best you can with what you have and don't feel the slightest bit guilty. OTHERs should, just not me.

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