How do you keep your cool? Or do you

  1. Ok, in my small town 70 some resident LTCwith all psych, geriatric, and hospice patients), which is understaffed, things get crazy.

    Tonight while half of the staff was out to lunch, and the rest were occupied in residents rooms, I was asked to answer call lights. So I went into a room and a a/o resident was angry because his light bulb was blown out. I explained that it is night time and the lights need to be out anyways and maintance will fix it in the morning. He became angry with me and he doesnt speak, he just yells.

    I stepped out of the room and another call light was going off, and it was one of my a/c residents upset with me that I "never gave her a shower" which I had done so only a half hour ago.

    She was yelling, that man was yelling, and this was at 9 when all the residents are sapposed to be sleeping, so the ambulatory psych residents come wandering out of their rooms and put up a fight when I tried to get them to go back to bed. I went back to my yelling residents and explained that they need to keep it down which only made it worse, they yelled twice as loud making me more and more angry. I wanted to step outside to get a little peace of mind but as soon as I had that thought 2 residents on both ends of the building were trying to get out making alarms go off waking even more residents, and making the ones who were yelling yell even louder and making more residnets yell or get upset. I got the residents away from the doors and got the alarms shut off but I could not get the residents to stop yelling. I just couldnt take anymore and broke down and cried. I was almost wanting to go home for the rest of the shift!

    How do yall keep your cool? I wanna know the tricks of the trade.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Reabock
    You do know it was a full moon tonite, didn't you!! My night was not quite as bad as yours but I am now home and finally eating some supper at 2 AM because I never got time tonite at work (3-11) left at 1:45 AM. It's a good thing I don't have to work tomorrow, hope you don't have to either!
  4. by   Youda
    Good point about the full-moon.

    Personally, I would have called staff off their breaks to get back out on the floor. During that time, you were seriously under-staffed for what was happening, and for the immediately needs of the patients.

    Be sure you have a policy in place at your facility that staff must remain on the premises while on break, and that they can be called back to the floor and required to clock in if needed. The Department of Labor provides that if an employee does not get an "uninterrupted 30-minute break" then they should be paid for the full 30-minutes. I usually just wait until the floor is back under control, then allow staff to take another break as a thank you for rescuing me. You might also revise your break times where you work so that "half" the staff isn't gone at a time.

    As for you? I'd have been tempted to start screaming, too! Crying isn't bad. How do you handle it? You wait until you get home and pour a nice glass of wine and sip it in a nice tub full of bubbles. I'm so sorry you had a rotten night. One more suggestion: put in a permanent request to whoever does the schedule to NEVER schedule you on a full-moon again! I made that request. Although they often ignore it, I get it off most months!
  5. by   tattooednursie
    Full moons suck! I will put in that request! Yeah I always put "no lunch" on my time card when I dont get my whole half hour which is almsot always. I never get time for breaks.

    I have to go back to work tomorrow I love my job, but this is the 6th day this week. Maybe I'll get wednesday off, but it is very doubtful. If some one calls in I am the only 3-11 shift person
    who off . . . .and thursday starts another work week! sooooo we talkin 12 days strait. I wonder how an overstaffed LTC would be like, but it would happen only in my dreams.
  6. by   ShortFuse_LPN
    Mandi.....just a little hint....on your day off....don't answer the phone!! And don't feel guilty about it. You will provide better care if you get some time off. I used to feel like I had to say yes everytime I was called in, but got really burned out. Hope tonight is better for you.
  7. by   tattooednursie
    I kind of have to say yes right now because I am on my 90 day probation. Tomorrow is a potential day off and I will NOT answer the phone at any cost!!! thank you.
  8. by   happthearts
    Hi Mandy

    Having been a CNA for over 28 years most in mental health and Geri mental health and rehab. I have learned to be very organized. I used to have 22 pts 5 baths 2 feeders and all the trays to pass and put to bed each night I finally made a deal with my Pts talking to them at the beginning of shift. Finding out right at the beginning who needs What or who needs to go to the bathroom took them all at that time if I could. Then ran from one to the other. Back and forth till they were all potted

    Also found out who needs meds and made a note for the RN and left it on her cart. I would not except the hall at the beginning of shift if thing were a mess unless all rounds were made and every thing in proper order. I would also warn my PTs when I would be showering someone Like from 4 to 5 . I would be busy. So If they think they needed something to let me know before 4 or they would have to wait until I got out of the shower. Or I'd catch them in between showers. Then when they were down at dinner I would put out all the linen and wash cloth towel and gown on each bed and set up oral care stuff plus there lotion. A lot could do it for themselves if you set them up so it made it easy. Then from 8-9 pottied again and PM care gave short backrub to the complainers and the ones who wanted it they go right to sleep Then sat on my backside from 9 answering one or 2 lights doing last round at 10 20 potted the ones who were awake changed the ones who were incontinent.

    That how I deal just make a list and Negotiate

    Happyhearts
    Last edit by happthearts on Oct 23, '02
  9. by   hoolahan
    {{{{{Mandi}}}} Have never walked in your shoes. I went to ICU shortly after gradulation, so I never felt pulled in so many directions at once.

    But, I read your post, and had to laugh, thinking, and I thought being in a newborn nursery was bad w all the screaming babies. Sounded just like a nursery where one baby starts wailing, and all the other babies eem to wake up and wail in sympathy too!

    Look, everyone was alive and no one broke a hip, so you must have done something right.

    But how do I keep my cool? I have to get a break asap. Even 15 min being OFF the unit. Even after I stopped smoking, I'd go outside w the smokers, b/c if I didn't, I found I would never take a break, and everyone needs it and deserves it.
  10. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by FutureRN_Mandi
    I kind of have to say yes right now because I am on my 90 day probation. Tomorrow is a potential day off and I will NOT answer the phone at any cost!!! thank you.
    I do not understan this. Do you have to say yes because you agreed to manditory over time?
    Or do you have to say yes because you are afraid if you don't they will let you go as you are on your introductory 90 days. If it is the latter and not the first then I am afraid you are unnessairly afraid for your job.

    You do have a right to say no unless this is part of your hiring agreement that you will work overtime when ever they say. You legally have the right to your time off. Are you paid to be on call? If not you do not have to do this.
    You have a right to call in sick you also have a right to your time off. It is not in thier best interest for you to come to work tired stressed and not at your best. Everyone needs time off to recouperate. If you set a pattern of always saying yes then you will be the one they always ask. If you can't say no don't answer the phone. If you can't afford to miss calls get and answering machine.
    So work leaves a message on your machine. They have NO way of telling when you get the message. You do not have to account for your own time to them. Maybe you were not even home. Maybe the message got errased. (I had a nursing instructor who had a cat that errased her messages regualrly. This is for real) Sart learning to say no now.

    Always, remember staffing is not your responsibility. And it is not your fault that they have not hired enough staff to cover short days, and call ins. You do not have the power to hire. It is not your fault there is a nursing shortage. It is not your responsibility to fill in everytime someone calls in. Unless this is part of your job description.

    Saying no sends a clear messaage to management that the staff is not going to cover the responsibilities of management. They want staff that feels guilty about this and you have nothing to feel guilty about.
  11. by   renerian
    Sundowners on a full moon are not good. Wow to me you have the patience of a saint. Psyc would be so hard to work......Wow did you talk to your supervisor,,,,DON? What I have tried before is to get a third party involved as sometimes a different face can reach an angry person. They can let the person vent about being mad at you, vent so to speak but the third person can be more neutral, even though you were the first person there . You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Gosh I hope tonight goes better for you.

    renerian
  12. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Hi Mandi!

    I've had bad days at work before, but nothing compared to a night I had a few weeks ago. I don't really recall enough of it to recount it here, it's honestly a blur. But I remember leaving work, late, and feeling like my feet and legs weren't gonna hold out long enough for me to make it to my car. And once I stepped out into the garage and I could see my car, I began to cry. And I was just hobbling through the garage, vrying like a baby :chuckle

    How did I keep my cool? I dunno. I just kept going. That's all you really can do. The shift will end, you just gotta keep thinking that.

    We all have days like that, but if everyday is like that, you need to reconsider your place of employment.

    Heather
  13. by   tattooednursie
    Everyday is not like this, infact alot of days I have a good time over there.

    By the way, Angus, yes I am afraid for my job. Other gals that where from the same class as me got fired for turning down too many overtimes. This is the only place in the town that I live in that I can have a job as a CNA, and I love being a CNA and I love this little town.
  14. by   l.rae
    Mandi..l can relate to this...with the bad nights l have had in the ER..esp triage where pple LOVE to take things out on you esp if they have to wait or someone goes ahead of them..l have almost been punched out there!......my shift is 3p-3a....and l tell myself...three am always comes...l decide what NEEDS to be done next;;prioritize..and l do that....one foot on front of the other, eventually you get there....l say to myself, l will do what l know needs to be done and if it's not good enough for someone...tough......then, lo and behold....it's 3 am....and my works not finished...LOL.......sometimes you gotta say..it's just a job....LR

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