family advise

  1. I know this topic has been discussed before, several times before.

    You have a family member call, on a weekend of course, saying so-and-so has a pain under her right rib cage. Should we worry?

    Based on that info, I'm some medical knowall guru that will guide you down the right path......

    Any other symptoms? I don't know. Is she having trouble breathing?I don't know.

    Call back: She's had the pain for 2-3 days. She's SOB. How SOB? well, it hurts when she takes a deep breath. Is she able to talk to you without having to catch her breath? Any other pain? sweating, anything? She does have a little nausea.

    Any thing else else? Well no...should we take her to ER? HMMMM

    Do we all get these calls? I mean, it could be alot of things. The only thing that does worry me is she is about 3 months post-op foot surgery and her activity level has been limited. So I said I personally wouldn't go to ER, but if you feel the need or her symptoms get worse, then go to ER.

    How do you stop these calls? I've tried in the past to say, You know, you should probably ask your doctor about that. but it doesn't seem to work for these people. The last time she called me she had shingles. It hurts. it does hurt yes, and can hurt for some time even after the lesions are gone. has the dr prescribed anything for it? Well, ya, but it made me sick so i stopped taking it. did you call the doctor and tell him this? well no. maybe you should. have the grandkids got the chicken pox vaccine? I don't know, well you should find out.

    It's not all the time but it's like I'm their medical clinic you know? Come over and tell me what this rash is. Go to your doc.

    I guess they just irritated me today. I know that ER's get alot of people that really are not having emergecys. we have no prompt care type clinics around here. It's your primary doc or the ER. If you don't have a primary, they usually end up in the ER. I remember one woman that brought her son in to the ER because he got sick and vomited yesterday. Nothing today, in fact had eaten well that day per his mom and was eating while waiting to be examined, but she thought he should be checked out. Or people that get tired of the wait and leave? If it was truly an emergency, you shouldn't be leaving. If you're well enough to leave, you shouldn't have been there in the first place.

    Ok, i've ranted long enough. I'm sure I'll get flamed for something, but I feel a little better getting that off my chest.

    thanks for listening
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Considering we've all been on the receiving end of such behavior, I really doubt this is the place you'll get flamed. You should flat out refuse to speak to these people when they call you for these things. You could be found liable if they don't have a good outcome as a result of what you've told them; whereas Joe Blow off the street would not. For example, the LOL that's c/o SOB could wait until tomorrow per your "instructions" and be dead of a thrown PE or MI. A simple "I can't speak to you about this, call your PCP." repeated verbatim as many times as it takes for them to get the message is warranted. Sooner or later word will spread and it may include that you're the mean healthcare person of the family or neighborhood, but that's how it may have to be.
    Last edit by NurseyBaby'05 on Jan 22, '07
  4. by   Jabramac
    Our hospital policy is that we do not give out medical advice over the phone and we recommend they call there PMD and I always tell them if they are concerned we are happy to see them in the ER and are open all the time. If they say they do not have a PMD I tell them then if they are concerned they need to go to the ER. Even with persistant people it is just not a good idea to give advice over the phone. I once read an article about a telephone triage company explaining hoe much training their staff had and the amount of questions they needed to go through for even the simplest complaint. It talked about how much thought and effort went into developing flow charts of questions to liomit liability. Reading it emphasised even more how much liability there is with giving phone advice.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    I have to laugh. Since everyone in my neighborhood knows I was an ER RN, they come to me! I've had the guy from across the street with a power sprayer injury, my neighbors little girl who bumped her nose and had epistaxis, the neighbor who's newborn wasn't breathing right (Yikes), and that is within the last 6 months.

    Now, as an APN, I never, ever give advice. It's always, call your doctor or go to the ER. I always preface this with a smile and "I want to provide you with the best advice. Since I don't have any way to fully examine you here on my front porch, it is best that you seek care with your provider who knows you the best."
  6. by   nj1grlcrus
    We were warned the first day of nursing school that we would be getting these types of calls. Even before school started, my mother-in-law said to me, "Well you have all the books, you could look it up!" Do you really want medical advice from a person who's qualifications are that they owe nursing books, and are registered for nursing classes? I know its only going to get worse!! :studyowl:<===books are knowledge
  7. by   MIA-RN1
    oh I get this stuff all the time--mostly from either my dad and his wife or my neighbors. I don't mind my dad but my neighbor---well, I have had to tell her more than once to call the pediatrician. She wanted to know if her son needed stitches (If you think he does, then he does. Take him in) what to do for a bee sting (that was easy lol. baking soda paste) and various other things. I helped her after she had appendectomy and needed assistance just standing to get to the bathroom. But also, because I had several years in an animal emergency clinic--she sometimes would call with questions about her dog. Which I was somehow more comfortable answering...
  8. by   AuntieRN
    Yup we all get these calls....I always say....call your doctor...I am a NEW nurse...I can not tell you what you need to know...

    Funny thing I just thought of...I used to get these calls as a CNA too before I even considered going to nursing school...it would go like...."you work at the hospital...what should I do......ummmm
    Last edit by AuntieRN on Jan 23, '07
  9. by   ICU_floater
    "if you're worried enough to mention it to me, I'm sure you want to contact your health care provider and run it by them, I suggest you call now"
  10. by   BeccaznRN
    Here's the best one of them all - my boyfriend's ex-wife called me recently asking me questions about her rectal bleeding. I know we are all on good terms because they have two children together, but what the ****?!

    I just want to tell all these people "Can I take NCLEX and start working as a RN first?" Sheesh!
  11. by   Roy Fokker
    LOL. Some of your responses/posts here have me cracking up.

    I sometimes joke and respond that "Listen, I can't tell you anything over the phone. Tell you what, come up as a patient onto my floor and I'll take care of everything else".

    Yeah - like all of you, I've gotten "those calls". Most commonly from my cousin (kid's 13 years old. Plays a lot of sports) - "My foot hurts, why?" [I don't know. Maybe because you play a lot of basketball?] or "Why does my elbow hurt so much?" [Maybe the fact that you fell on it has something to do with it??]

    I wanted to ask him once if he ever had these questions before he knew I was a nurse ... :chuckle

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