From the other side...nurses as patients.

  1. I'm a brand new nurse still on orientation. I am learning a LOT during my first 90 days.

    I had the unfortunate opportunity of being rushed to the ED during my shift last week. And then I was admitted overnight in my own hospital! As awkward as it was knowing almost all involved in my care on a professional/personal level, I learned a lot. Things that I plan to improve on/things I learned:


    1) communicate frequently with patients about procedures, what you are doing while you are in the room, and their overall treatment plan. Not knowing this caused me great anxiety. I understand having 5 people work on me at the same time without much conversation is okay in the ED. It was truly an emergency. But once on the floor...talk! It's so easy to forget that just because you know their case inside out, that they don't know hardly anything. Put them at ease with some information.


    2) understand that the food really does suck, and that it's harder than it sounds to eat. I have true appreciation for my patients who won't eat because they can't stand the taste.


    3) GET MY PATIENTS OUT OF BED. Unless they have an activity restriction or have not yet been evaluated by PT, they need to be up, at least sitting on the edge of the bed or in the chair. It was unbelievable how weak my legs got after a day of bed rest. I'm a strong 26 year old. And I still felt weak after being in bed.


    4) Bedpans are a lot more difficult than they seem. I had to use one because I was unable to stand, and could barely even sit up. When your whole body is weak, lifting yourself up onto one is really rough. My nurse wanted to give me privacy and said that I could just get myself off of it and call her when I'm done (she was really trying to be nice). As a coworker, she wanted to reduce my embarrassment. But actually it was a lot more embarrassing when I tipped it and she had to clean me up. REALLY embarrassing. Please, stay with your patients while toileting! Modesty doesn't exist in the ED.



    I go back to work tomorrow, and I'm ready to be a better nurse
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   FutureNurseInfo
    Quote from kataraang
    I'm a brand new nurse still on orientation. I am learning a LOT during my first 90 days.

    I had the unfortunate opportunity of being rushed to the ED during my shift last week. And then I was admitted overnight in my own hospital! As awkward as it was knowing almost all involved in my care on a professional/personal level, I learned a lot. Things that I plan to improve on/things I learned:


    1) communicate frequently with patients about procedures, what you are doing while you are in the room, and their overall treatment plan. Not knowing this caused me great anxiety. I understand having 5 people work on me at the same time without much conversation is okay in the ED. It was truly an emergency. But once on the floor...talk! It's so easy to forget that just because you know their case inside out, that they don't know hardly anything. Put them at ease with some information.


    2) understand that the food really does suck, and that it's harder than it sounds to eat. I have true appreciation for my patients who won't eat because they can't stand the taste.


    3) GET MY PATIENTS OUT OF BED. Unless they have an activity restriction or have not yet been evaluated by PT, they need to be up, at least sitting on the edge of the bed or in the chair. It was unbelievable how weak my legs got after a day of bed rest. I'm a strong 26 year old. And I still felt weak after being in bed.


    4) Bedpans are a lot more difficult than they seem. I had to use one because I was unable to stand, and could barely even sit up. When your whole body is weak, lifting yourself up onto one is really rough. My nurse wanted to give me privacy and said that I could just get myself off of it and call her when I'm done (she was really trying to be nice). As a coworker, she wanted to reduce my embarrassment. But actually it was a lot more embarrassing when I tipped it and she had to clean me up. REALLY embarrassing. Please, stay with your patients while toileting! Modesty doesn't exist in the ED.



    I go back to work tomorrow, and I'm ready to be a better nurse
    This is what I call, a teachable moment. As a teacher of 7 years I have been on both sides of the learning process. It is amazing how much you can learn when you happen to be on the other side of the "fence". Good for you!
  4. by   HouTx
    Actually, this is exactly why I have become a supporter of Bedside Shift Report - I experienced it as a patient and it was GREAT!!! So much better than my previous inpatient adventures. I was kept informed about everything that was happening & asked for my input. Prior to that, I was a complete skeptic. But now I know why it makes such a difference in pt sat results.
  5. by   pixierose
    Gosh, OP -- I hope you feel better!

    Great post -- as a new nurse entering the field, I definitely learned something new.
  6. by   kataraang
    Quote from pixierose
    Gosh, OP -- I hope you feel better!

    Great post -- as a new nurse entering the field, I definitely learned something new.
    Thanks! I definitely had quite a scare. Double vision and vertigo to the point I couldn't sit up in bed without losing balance. They called a code stroke on me!! Thank goodness it wasn't. Toxicity from a med too high prescribed dose. No wonder there were 5+ people crowded in that small ED room looking initially quite worried. I'm better now
  7. by   3ringnursing
    I hope you are feeling better now.

    It is a horrifying experience being on the receiving end of health care. And we all learn something from it.
  8. by   quazar
    Good for you for taking such a positive spin on it. It's always hard to be on the other side of the bed, so to speak. It's a fine balance when I have nurses/doctors/PAs/NPs as patients. You want to respect their knowledge base, but at the same time, give them good care as a patient because healthcare practitioner or not, they are still a patient.
  9. by   kataraang
    Quote from quazar
    Good for you for taking such a positive spin on it. It's always hard to be on the other side of the bed, so to speak. It's a fine balance when I have nurses/doctors/PAs/NPs as patients. You want to respect their knowledge base, but at the same time, give them good care as a patient because healthcare practitioner or not, they are still a patient.
    Yes yes yes, the assumption that because I'm a nurse, I know everything about my care. And the value of listening. Pain is 100% real! The nurse kept insisting on flushing a hand IV that HURT REALLY BAD. It wasn't red/swollen, and it was accepting IV fluids (slow rate) without complications, but my hand was throbbing so I refused flushes. She kept insisting. So I took it out myself and then an ICU nurse got one in my AC in less than 10 seconds with no pain. A week later, my hand down to the beginning of my wrist still hurts. I don't blame her though, we were almost on yellow status (not accepting into our ED -- too full, and no beds upstairs). She was overwhelmed. I'm glad that I got great care otherwise though and she really was so nice given her situation.

    And this epiphany is because this is the first time I've been admitted to a hospital before. I'm not experienced in this :P
  10. by   Idaho_nurse
    The reason I became a nurse 20 years ago was because I was a patient first and really had some BAD nursing care. Since then, I have been a patient many times in some truly bad situations. I've had pretty much everything from basic procedures to massive surgeries. I have also gone AWOL out of hospital because of shotty nursing staff and my mom had to make me come back in. They made me cry when they treated me like **** and made me feel worse mentally than I was physically. I would say I was bullied by some of the staff. The main thing I have to say is.... COMMUNICATE with your patients and listen to them.

    The staff that made me walk out of the hospital had an attitude of "I know everything, dont tell me how to do my job". While I wasnt telling them how to do their job, they downplayed my pain levels and even went so far to say "You cannot be in that MUCH pain" and then ignored me when I told them that my only good blood draw vein is in my right AC. I told them this because I was a very hard stick and just to get a single line on me, they had to try 8 times before they finally got someone from life flight in to get it done. I saw them rolling their eyes when I would tell them things or ask questions. I saw them "huff" when I would ask them to explain what what going on with my case (we were waiting for the doctor but I didnt know that and they refused to say). It really is basic courtesy and common sense to communicate with your patients. I suspect alot of the issues with patients would go away if nurses would communicate more. I've worked the floor and had some really difficult patients, many of which other co-workers gave me because I didnt mind dealing with the "problem" patients. I have been there and it can be a very difficult and scary time in a person's life when they are in the hospital. Oh, dont get me wrong, there are THOSE patients whom you cannot please no matter what, but 90% of mine? they just wanted to know they were in good and competent hands. If a doctor has not put in an order for the pain medication the patient is wanting? be honest about that. I always keep a patient in the loop regarding everything.

    In each of my hospital stays, pre nurse and post nurse, I was never a difficult patient (I guess that may be subjective because I am the one judging this, but I never ran the bell unnecessarily, I asked for multiple things while the nurse was in the room to avoid being a pest, and would wait on the nurse, even if she didnt come back like she promised to see if I needed anything, instead of calling the nursing station). I could usually hear the nurses at the nursing station laughing and carrying on, being inappropriate on their cell phones, and talking about their weekend plans rather than doing what they said they would do. so that is my other complaint.. if you say you are going to do something, then do it and remember, patients CAN hear you. you get a patient that is sensitive to things such as this and the animosity is going to start right from the beginning.

    Also, it is not hard to poke your head in the door of a patients room and let them know that you are just checking on them. Trust me, it will make the patient feel good and have less stress because it makes a statement that you care about them and are thinking of them. I literally went through an entire shift when I was a patient for one of my surgeries and only saw the nurse ONE time... this is not exaggerated. ONE TIME. I didnt use the call bell and literally wanted to see how long it would take them to come into the room. Well... She actually came into the room only because I had an IV antibiotic to be hung and it was at the end of her shift. No assessment, no "I'm so and so and I will be your nurse today" this was the time she changed the white board as well and put her name on it. I actually asked her.. "why bother? your off shift within a half hour" and she ignored me.

    So while we are NOT cruise directors or maids or waitress's, please make your patients feel like they can trust you. Just being compassionate goes a long way.
  11. by   mmc51264
    It is very different being on the other side. I have experiences WAY too much this year. I was in a car accident, my son had 2 buts of dka, one very serious and then I was just recently in the ED for a reaction to Flagyl.
    Just as I wish every nurse had to do a fingerstick 5 times a day for ONE day to learn about what that is like (I have 2 Type 1 kids). Or be a patient, not that I wish anyone ill health. It is a very different experience. My most recent experience was great, other than the 5 hour wait in the ED waiting room. Once I got to the back, they were wonderful, but I wish there was something we could do about the ED wait times. I have to admit that the ED staff at the hospital staff I went to was much better than what I have experienced in the past.

    Glad you are all right <3
  12. by   cjmlpn1992
    I have been nursing for 25 years. 24 of them in mental health. I just started in the nursing home setting. I have always looked at things from the "what if it were me" perspective. How would I feel if the role was reversed? I have never stopped doing that. I may have made a few coworkers angry over the years, but I have had many happy patients.
  13. by   RNikkiF
    Very true. I always take into consideration what their specialty is. If a nurse is an ICU nurse, he or she doesn't know what to expect if they're a patient in rehab and vice versa. The same is true for doctors. Don't assume your patient knows things.

    As a patient in the ED and then on a Neuro floor for a week, I had some idea what to expect because I work neurorehab, but I didn't know everything and the ED was foreign to me. Most people were pretty good about explaining things but some could've done better.
  14. by   Erocknurse
    I have always held the belief that no matter who are or your credentials, we should ALWAYS explain things to our patients! I have been on the other side too! One time was from an anaphylactic reaction to a medication. I was the one in the trauma/code room and it was so scary! I think another point that you briefly touched upon is privacy. I was a patient in a different hospital one time and before I knew it, everyone in the hospital was checking on me! I was thinking, how did they even know I was here? Just because it may be a co worker, we still need to protect privacy. I didn't want everyone knowing I was there. Just something else to consider. I'm glad you are better!

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