Let's hear about your worst shift ever!

  1. I work nights on a MedSurg floor and recently had what I like to call the worse shift ever. We were short staffed for the night and had no manager on the floor. During this shift we had two patients code and pass away and they both had the same birthday as me. I've only been an LPN for 9 months so this was my first experience with a night like this. I'd like to hear from the nursing community. So, tell me about your worst shift ever!

    P.s. I'm sorry if there is already a thread like this. I wasn't sure how to look for that.
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    About mamax3

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 14; Likes: 24


  3. by   emtb2rn
    Any unsuccessful peds code makes for a worst shift.
  4. by   mamax3
    Bless you emtb2rn! I am so thankful people like you can work with peds. I know I am not cut out for it and I am grateful there are people that are.
  5. by   vintage_RN
    Short staffed and had 5 pts. All were complex and needed assists with ADLs and AM care which took a lot of time. One had CBI going that was clotting off a ton, one had a DVT in the arm and had a heparin drip going, one was a total care pt who kept having diarrhea and couldn't even roll without 2 people, and then a post op admission with an epidural and all the checks that go along with that.

    Then the CBI pt totally clotted off and I spent like an hour manually irrigting it with no success, had to re-insert the foley.

    Didn't even sit down to chart until 1900 (home time), didn't leave until 2200. Safe to say I wanted to cry pretty much every minute.
  6. by   Glycerine82
    I had been a CNA about 8 months, but had never had a patient pass away on my shift. I came into work one afternoon to find a hospice patient of mine actively dying. I was not given report (CNAs at this facility did not do report, we were to get it from the nurse), I panicked and got the nurse who knew about it but neglected to tell me. I remember I left for a few minutes because I couldn't stop my tears from coming, I liked this lady very much and she was talking to me the night before, my brand new CNA self was just so confused and taken aback by the whole thing.

    So, the nurse came in to check on her and she passed away a few minutes later.

    What made it a bad night was that after providing post-mortem care for the first time EVER, her family member came in the room for what I thought was to say goodbye, but he was there....TO VISIT!

    He walked in and started asking me questions about her day before he realized what had happened, while I stood there with my mouth open thinking "Oh my GOD, he doesn't know" Mind you....I had NEVER experienced a patient dying yet, never mind dealing with telling the family! (Not in my scope, anyway).

    Of course I went immediately to get the nurse after giving him a chair so he didn't fall over. At that point I left the room and hyper-ventilated...... I never, ever, ever want to experience that again and I feel so so bad that man had to find out his mother had passed away like that.

    Yeah, that was definitely my worst night ever.
  7. by   Balto
    Awhile back, a patient was pregnant & came in because of MVA. She began to code, so emergency C section was decided. The baby was born but the mother died later that shift after surgery due to injuries sustained from the accident.

    It was a very spooky situation & was talk of the hospital. Mind you, it is a big hospital. But so many units were involved (ED, L & D, NICU, OR, MICU) that almost every employee knew the situation & outcome.
  8. by   CantDecideUsername
    I am not a nurse but my friend cried to me a few weeks ago recalling her awful evening. Definitely the worst shift she's had so far.
    She has 6 pt's and was short staffed. One pt had tremendously awful diarreah and weighed just shy of 400 lbs. every half hour she had to help him roll over (singlehandedly since they were so understaffed) and clean him.

    Another patient had just had an appendectomy and was recuperating nicely but her father was a surgeon and insisted on breathing down her back critiquing her every move. Even when she helped the pt shower, the pt's father was tailing her and he also insisted on reading all her chart documents as she was writing them and micromanage her.

    Another patient was a real jerk who insisted on making farting noises out of his armpit whenever she walked by and eventually woke his roommate from it.
  9. by   Biffbradford
    I don't remember any of the details (thankfully), but I DO remember getting to my car, driving off the property, rolling up all the windows and SCREAMING $&(@(*#!! BLOODY MURDER and slamming the steering wheel.
  10. by   calivianya
    I had two GI bleeds a couple of weeks back. One was having a colonoscopy in the morning, so there were frequent BMs there, and the other was actively bleeding with frequent dark maroon stools. I ran 8 units of blood products in him that night, so all of the blood checks plus two people having frequent BMs... I really don't think I sat down for more than 5 minutes at a time my whole shift. It was ridiculous.
  11. by   Twinmom06
    oh there have been a few....

    1. 7 patients, no aide and I was default charge because the actual charge nurse called off due to death in the family and it was me, 2 other nurses with less experience, a nurse with more experience but refused to do charge and a float. I was also riding the USS Incontinentia that night as 4 of my 7 patients shat the bed at least once an hour.

    2. My first code - as the adrenaline kicked in, so did my asthma. I coughed and coughed and coughed some more - the hospitalist thought I was the next to go down!

    3. The night a patient on bowel prep squatted to sit on the toilet and repainted the back wall of the (semi private mind you) bathroom with his excrement. What made it EVEN better was when housekeeping went into the room to clean it (at 2 am) and flew out yelling "I don't have a rag big enough for that!"

    Certainly does not top anything peds related but those were probably the 3 most hellish nights to date.
  12. by   Caffeine_IV
    I don't remember all the details but I know it started with 4 nurses (it actually may have been 3) and 1 CNA for 20 or 22 patients and by the AM shift we had a full floor of 32 patients. Back to back admissions and no extra help! It was insane and chaotic. I was in charge and ended up with 9 patients by the morning.

    Another night with 8 patients and 1 coded while my pancreatitis is ringing from freakin' Dilaudid. I apologized to the patient but seriously, they were 2 doors down from the code so they knew what was going on.
  13. by   T-Bird78
    Last week. One nurse was off and the other had an appt, so I was the only nurse until about lunchtime (the nurse's appt ran late). Our new system upgrade had crashed, the other system wouldn't let anybody log in, the provider had to leave early to catch a plane, and the IT guy took the entire system down (including phones) twice--all while trying to see pts. Late nurse finally made it in (3 hours late) and went to lunch, so she was late coming back from lunch and our provider was late leaving (she couldn't leave one nurse alone) and was cussing. An hour after provider left, a pt had a systemic reaction and the bulbs went out in one room. Oh, and I was sick, running a fever with URI sx, but I couldn't leave.
  14. by   Ayvah
    In my worst shift I had multiple patients doing poorly. One patient started having 10/10 chest pain on my shift while seeing dead relatives. Had another patient who was pregnant (she should have never been on our floor in the first place) who went into labor during my shift and L&D refused to accept her, instead opting to send one of their nurses every few hours to spot check her (my charge was trying to get her transferred but was unsuccessful until just prior to my shift ending). Had another patient with a faulty pacemaker who's HR would skyrocket or plummet over and over so I was calling the doc constantly on that. Had another patient with a drip and new colostomy (but no one had done teaching yet for several days) and every time I went in the room my phone would ring about one of the other patients and I had to leave (it was comical how often this happened). Throw in other nurses on the floor having emergencies with their patients, leaving me without a tech, isolation, and not having proper equipment I needed stocked on the unit and it was a hellish shift. I finally finished with things 4 hours after my shift ended, and decided to stay another hour to give the poor patient teaching on the colostomy/disease process/plan of care, since I felt bad about the terrible care they received on my shift (and apparently previous shifts) since my other patients had more urgent issues.

    Other bad shifts included the sudden downturn and painful death of a beloved patient, and a young mother having a debilitating stroke, among others. Another bad shift was when I had 6 heavy patients on day shift including one who was unconscious with terrible VS, and should have been in the ICU (doc was new and though he agreed the patient was very ill he wanted to get a bunch of tests first before authorizing a transfer, and charge just shrugged when I informed her... looking back I should have just called a rapid response to override the doc and charge as I couldn't give this patient the care they should have had with the amount of patients I had.)

    I hope one day that safe staffing ratios will be implemented in all states.