Help with solving a Patient Sitter Staffing problem - page 3

by DogWmn 5,086 Views | 22 Comments

Right now I'm working as a patient sitter and we have 4 or 8 hour shifts, I work the 3-11 shift and all other staff works 12's. The problem being that the middle of my shift is 7p. I understand that is a problem, so when the... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from DogWmn
    It continues to be a problem, staffing is VERY low, often NO techs. By the time the RN comes around the first time it can be as late as 9:30 or 10. So that's 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours before the patient is even seen by a nurse after shift change. I do my best to work with the staff on scheduling a break but when I'm not seeing them until this late it is a problem. Often times I can't ring the bell as the patient is asleep and I would get chastized for waking them up as it is answered by the front desk via intercom.

    Hourly assessments...LOLOLOL. When I first started a year and 1/2 ago staffing levels were good, we now have new management and they have cut to the bone. Patient sitters in our hospital are considered "non-medical", so we are often ignored when staff comes into the room.

    I am continuing to put down no dinner break and it continues to **** off staffing management.

    Even getting a potty break is difficult and at 62 I just don't have the great bladder I used to.

    I really am trying to rack my brain for a solution that I can put forth and it all seems to boil down to low staffing and high census issues that are chronic.
    Here are some concrete suggestions you can use:

    1. Wear a diaper.
    2. Put crackers in your pocket.
    3. Whine louder.
    4. Get another job.

    *could not hold it in any longer.
    casi likes this.
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    I think we need to be respectful and supportive of each others opinion. I think that we need to understand how frustrating it is when staffing restraints cause frustrations and poor patient care. Here at Allnurses
    you are free to disagree with anyone on any type of subject matter as long as your criticism is constructive and polite. Additionally, please refrain from name-calling. This is divisive, rude, and derails the thread. Our first priority is to the members that have come here because of the flame-free atmosphere we provide. There is a zero-tolerance policy here against personal attacks. We will not tolerate anyone insulting other's opinion nor name calling.
    Our call is to be supportive, not divisive.
    It isn't fair to not be given breaks or relieved even when the sitters are "just sitting" while nurses "run around" they need food and water like everyone else.

    Sitting there watching these patients is a valuable service that is needed to keep these patients safe and need to be considered a valuable part if the team. As a supervisor I remind the nurses how miserable their day would be without them.

    OP I wish I has a solution. I'll bet they are comfortable with you and that the patient is cared for so that they see the other patients first. I would try to negotiate a break time at the beginning of the shift with the staff member that has your patient. I would also let staffing know that you aren't being relieved by the other staff......and that you would much rather have the break, discuss how this can be accomplished with them.

    OP....I wish you the best.
    Silverdragon102, NRSKarenRN, and Tait like this.
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    I am going to support Esme's statement. I don't care what your position on the floor is, we are all people as well who need nutrition and a bathroom break. Also it is just as important for you to have a mental break from your patient as it is for nurses to get one. There are some nurses who are pros at getting their 30 minute break, nearly every day, why? Because they just do it. They set up an expectation, they cover their patients, and they do it. I admire them because often I was content to take the "pseudo-martyr" role and not give up my team to take a break. Anyway, this isn't about nurses, nor should anyone be drawing a parallel. This isn't about who works harder, it is about teamwork and communication.

    Staffing cuts are hard to deal with. Where I worked almost all of the sitters were contracts from outside the hospital, so if we had a hospital staff member in there, it was generally a 1013 who had to have someone immediately. They were then pulled when contract sitters got there. I have to admit contract sitters (12 hour) almost never seemed to take breaks. I think that was perhaps because our CNA's were pretty good at working something out with the sitter to cover them. However on nights when that wasn't possible, I would usually ask them when would be a good time and we would work something out. One thing I am thinking, even though not ideal, was similar to something someone else said. Perhaps work out a system before shift change. If you took a break at say 530-600 maybe that would be easier to cover than at 8/830. Taking that mental break from a patient is important, there may just need to be a bit of a concession for now.

    As far as pee breaks I would just figure out times ahead. Say you got there at 3 and it is now 445 I would tell the nurse you would like to run to the restroom in the next 15 minutes. You might not have to go, but we all know most of us can pee at any point and this would at least give the nurse time to get there and watch, as well as making sure you don't get into an uncomfortable state.

    Best of luck and thank you for sitting in rooms with patients I often cringe to have to see once or twice an hour!

    Tait
    NRSKarenRN and Esme12 like this.


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