Listen, Nurse - page 3
I am going into 4th year nursing, and this was in one of our labs in first year. I love this thing, it really makes you think about how you are caring for your patients. In the rush of everything,... Read More
Sep 5, '01The poem reminded me of how lonely and sad our patients can be.
I worked for a number of years at one of our local hospitals in their float pool. This position allowed me the luxury of seeing quite a lot on the various floors.
While working on the oncology ward one day, I was helping another nurse with a patient who needed assistance off the bedside commode.
The nurse had forgotten something, so she ran off to get what ever it was. The lady that we were helping was light as a feather (literally), and as I stood there holding her, she told me, "It has been years since anyone has held me!" I just about cried. This sweet little lady--was so lonely. So ill. So vulnerable. I told the other nurse later when we were out at the desk. I know that moment will stay with me for a ever.
It is so hard to fit all of the expectations into the shift that we know is the correct thing for our patients and yet to still be able to satisfy the hospital's requirements. We do realize that the documentation is necessary. However, I dislike going home feeling like I haven't been able to do it all. It really makes me angry.
My hope is that we have a way of being able to bring the quality back into nursing while still satisfying the other things required of us. I feel that this is a solution that we as nurses must find the answer to--as we know that the hospital's goal is the bottom line. So...how do we correct the problem? I know we can do it!
Sep 5, '01O.K., we all know what the problem(s) is/are: so what is the solution? What do we need to do to change the system? How do we deliver quality patient care and still have the time to document that we have given it? I, like so many others, have so many questions, but don't have any answers. Oh, sure I could suggest some, but would probably get laughed at because it would involve spending more money for more nurses, or cutting down on the census so nurses could adequately care for their current patient load. But do you think anyone in the heirarchy will even consider it? Of course not! You will hear things like "we have stock members to consider and so we must get the biggest bang for our buck or the stock members will screech." We seem to sacrifice everything worthwhile for the almighty dollar. Well, we won't be around to appreciate that almighty dollar if we don't take care of ourselves, and as nurses, our patients. Let just one of those "heirarchy" people or some one of their family members have to be hospitalized and go through what most of our patients do in terms of today's "quality" patient care and they might rethink a few things. Oh, nevermind, that won't happen...because if and when they do need hospital care, they get the VIP treatment.....afterall, they are the "heirarchy" and so they will never experience what most patients do. I don't have any answers. I wish I did. But if someone out there does.....we sure would like to hear them....at least I would....as a nurse and as a patient.
Sep 5, '01i find myself being embarrassed by the comments i have just read. what is the reason that we became nurses? i think many of you have lost your perspective. may be it is time for a change. i have been a nurse for a very long time(24 years). i know how hard it can be. i did make a change and i am very happy and i can spend the extra time with my patients. my job as school nurse gives me many rewards daily. i know, i know. you are all saying, oh, she's just putting on bandaids. not true. my job is very challenging. have you ever been reponsible for 500 children and over 50 staff? but, i love my job.
as for having time in the hospital for your patients. much work will need to be done to change many things that have gone wrong. health care today is certainly not what it was 20 years ago. we, as a body of nurses, need to unite and make our voice be heard. that is the problem with nurses, we gripe, but nothing gets done. i have no answers, but i do know if we are to continue being a profession, we need to become more vocal and be more organized.
good luck to you.
sherry walker, rn
Sep 5, '01Steph,
I understand your question about the importance of the patient. The post that followed about refusing workloads made me think...we, as nurses, are in a vicious cycle. We are in a caring profession, we want to do the best for our patient; we are given unsafe workloads, we can't refuse to care for the patients because we are in a caring profession and want to do the best for our patients, if we don't do it there is no one else there who will, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
Is there a solution? I don't know. I do know my feet hurt, I am working at least 12 hours mandatory overtime a week, my kids are suffering because of it and I still don't make as much as a manager at McDonald's. But I need to take care of my patients because I'm in a caring profession and want to do the best for my patient.....feels like a merry-go-round, and it's going too fast to get off.
Sep 5, '01I agree that it is very hard to find time to listen. But it should never be too hard to be considerate of patients feelings. Avoid talking about your personal lives when giving patient care, avoid "honey" and "sweetheart"--how condescending! How many of us talk and laugh too loudly at the nurses station,thinking that patients can't hear us? We may not be able to spend extra time with patients, but we can make the most of the time we have.
Sep 6, '01Feistynurse, I love your "alternate" poem. I'm really happy for those nurses who feel they still have time to do the little extras (which used to be basics, but when you're forced to prioritize, some things just get cut---hmmm, backrub, suctioning, backrub, suctioning, let me choose), but do they really have the right to sit in judgment on those nurses who are overwhelmed? Organizational skills will only get you so far when the feces hit the oscillator on a daily basis.
Sep 7, '01I was angered by schoolnu's respons to the posters(myself included) who don't have the time for the little extra's.
Tonight for example, I started 3-1130 shift with 7 patients, one of which was a brand new admission that came at 3:25pm so day shift didn't get a thing done as far as her admission was concerned, I had 0ne patient who was to be picked up at 4pm to go to a nurisng home. Ambulance drivers didn't arrive till almost 5pm. THEN I had to give the ambulance drivers a full report about the pt's condition! Then I had two other patients discharged so by 7pm I was down to 4 patients. Then the phone rings--"we have a direct admission from Dr. so and so's office--Kelly it's yours--so I have my SECOND admission of the shift! Neither new pt had any IV access so i had two IV starts to do. Had a hard time keeping up with all the paper work . Did I mention that I never got a lunch break?
I do want to provide compassion and caring to all of my patients but in todays society with all of the budget cuts and staff cuts, the COO's and CEO's make this impossible! Patients deserve better! I complain about better staffing ALL THE TIME!!!!! Where does it get me--no where. I am seen as a whiner by management. It is not nurses' fault that the health care profession is the way it is now. I lay blame on greedy doctors and HMO's! I am one person. I dont have time to fight. Patients meed to start speaking up too! And not just complaining.
Sep 7, '01im glad im not the only one that found that poem offensive.
i DO take the time to fill the water pitchers and provide the extras. i DO listen to my patients and try to give them a little special attention while attending to their NEEDS.
and the result is that i stay three or four hours after my shift completing the mandated paperwork. i dont have time for myself or my family if i want to provide the standard of care i have set for myself.
and what do you think the administration will think of this?
they will think i am screwing around and slow...unable to do my job in a timely manner. meanwhile those nurses who never listen to their patients and really could care less whether they have water or not are getting their charting done and are praised for being oh so organized....
as for some of these patients. one of my coworkers cracks me up when she says...."well that patient is never going to stay at this hotel again"
Sep 7, '01I don't believe this poem was written to be offensive and I don't take it that way. I believe these to be true sentiments expressed by many of our patients. No it is not all the nurses fault but yes these patients are our responsibility, and with all the new rules, regulations and staffing pattern problems many times the patient suffers in ways that we as nurses are not aware of.
From the view point of a patient I have felt what was written. Sure as a nurse I understood the pressures that the nurses were under but as a patient I was scared and unable to do the simplest things for myself.
As a nurse I didn't use the call bell because I didn't want to be a bother, a pest; as a patient I laid in bed in pain waiting for someone to look in my door.
As a nurse I didn't want to bother anyone because I could not cut my meat; as a patient I went hungry and my chart said I wasn't eating well.
As a nurse I didn't want to ask for a warm cloth to wipe my hands; as a patient I felt dirty.
As a nurse I didn't want to bother anyone for a bedpan because I knew there were sicker patients than me; as a patient I was embarrised to use the bedpan but I couldn't get out of bed by myself to go to the bathroom.
As a nurse I knew and understood just what my nurse had to do that day, As a patient I frequently felt I had no nurse.
Do I have an answer, No. What I hope this thread has done is to open the eyes of nurses who have never been patients. There is an old saying that to understand someone you must walk a mile in their shoes. When you spent a day or two as a patient, than you can understand what the poem meant.
Sep 7, '01a near fatal car accident put me in the hospital, in traction, for two months. i was pregnant at the time. i went home in a body cast and two months later delivered by c section.
so yes i have been a patient. and yes i do see things from the patients eyes AND thru the nurses.
i dont think there is a one of us who wouldnt agree that the we strive for quality care.
i found the most annoying part was about the food tray...first off WE didnt leave it out of reach. we dont deliver food trays (yet)
and the part about discussing nutritional needs in conference.
maybe if we didnt have to attend those conferences wed be able to sit with the patient and help with their food.
its just another example of the nurses getting blamed.
i do agree with your sentiments and at times we get hardened. sometimes we need to stop and remember that mr jones is not a case...he is a person.
Sep 7, '01I was initially offended by the "Listen Nurse" poem, but then I realized that it was posted by a student nurse and I have no idea who the author, Roth Johnston, is? The poem does not seem based on reality and could not have been written by a nurse who has been at the bedside within the last ten years.
Sep 8, '01Hi. It was not my intention to be condenscending toward panda for posting that very pertinent poem. If the poem is written by a family member or patient, it's not my intention to belittle their point either. However, we nurses are not only responsible for providing the best care we can to our patients and families, but we also are responsible for providing them with a greater understanding of how changes in our economy and the health care industry impact what we do for them. They must understand what hurdles that nurses who work toward excellence in providing patient care go through. As the previous poster wrote, I have been a patient too, and I have expressed concerns on occasion about care that I've gotten or didn't get. For me, that poem was, in some respects, like preaching to the choir. Yes, I will acknowledge that some of us need to read it, because we may have become mechanical in how we care for our patients. But, this is what nurse activism is about. Doing what we can to become experts at providing quality patient care, directly or indirectly and actively promoting our profession outside of our work.
Panda, thanks for bringing this issue to our attention.
Sep 8, '01I've read all of the postings in this thread...& I'm truly saddened by what I've read. I've been a nurse for 15 years, & I still feel the same way about patients that I did as a new grad. Idealistic? Perhaps, but this poem illustrates why I became a nurse-to care for patients. Do I work hard? Yes, I do. Am I overwhelmed at times? Yes, I am. Are there not enough hours in the day? Occasionally. But the intrinsic reward of nursing remains the feeling of peace and well-being we can offer our patients & their families. I worked ICU for 9 years, home health care during that time, while I was earning my BSN, then my MSN. As a nurse practitioner and supervisor of a neurology clinic now, I never hesitate to help the clinical assistants in my department so they can get their breaks and offer their best to our patients. My 17 year old son is a nursing assistant on a busy orthopedic floor, and he cannot understand why everyone is always grousing about "how busy" they are, he never hesitates to help a patient, even if it is not"his." BTW, he cannot wait to go to nursing school. Bottom line all of you-caring is our business, if this is not making you happy, then really, you should find a new career, or a different path in nursing that does not involve patient care.