Morale in my workplace is just deteriorating

  1. 11 Ok another vent thread here. This might be long so for your convenience I'm going to use paragraphs.

    Yesterday was just completely mad. I scrubbed for an Ivor-Lewis oesophagectomy. This is a BIG case and involves two surgical incisions-a thoracotomy and a laparotomy at the same time. Because my workplace apparantly is stuck in the dark ages we only have one scrub nurse who has to somehow anticipate for two surgical teams and one scout nurse who has to run like mad to try and meet the needs of four demanding surgeons.

    So I voiced my concerns the morning of the case and even the day before that I needed two scout nurses because I have a novice with me who is still learning. She is very good but as said she is a novice and doesn't know where everything is and has never seen a bleeding or airway emergency.

    So I got my third person for a little while then they sent her away leaving me with the novice. We coped for a while but soon I could just see that things were getting out of hand. The retractor they were using was causing the blood pressure to plummet to about systolic 38, anaesthetists were getting worried, we had to do an emergency splenectomy, lots of blood loss etc. I was concerned that my scout was not coping very well, I was worried that the count was not going to be accurate and overall worried about patient safety.

    So I thought I did the right thing by getting my scout to call the team leader to ask for some help. The Team leader walks in and immediatley demands to know what she wanted me to do, what was the problem here and do you realise that your not the only one here who needs help!

    I'm just dumbfounded. I'd asked for help and was promised extra resources which were taken away from me. I'm trying to be the patient and staff advocate and I'm being treated with derision. I just told her that the allocation is inappropriate, you took away my promised resources and how many other patients in this unit have a BP of 38, with a deflated lung?

    So I got an extra pair of hands but I almost stabbed myself with a needle and I sort of went into shock. I started shaking and the tear just came out and I couldn't stop them. I felt angry and frustrated that I'd just been spoken to like crap. The surgeons god bless them realised that I was having a moment and told me that this is the only hospital they know of which relies on one scrub nurse for the procedure and that I did a great job. This is the first time I've ever felt more supported by the medical staff than the nurses.

    So I didn't sleep at all last night just couldn't stop thinking about what could have gone wrong and how appalling we were treated by our team leader. So I called in sick and found out that they had to cancel half the days cases because of the amount of people who have called in sick.

    I seriously hope that this will make management and the people who run my department wake up and realise that they cannot work us like this anymore.
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  3. Visit  Scrubby} profile page

    About Scrubby

    Scrubby has '6' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Operating Room Nursing'. From 'Australia'; Joined Oct '07; Posts: 1,392; Likes: 2,114.

    12 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  SaraO'Hara} profile page
    1
    *hugs*
    pagandeva2000 likes this.
  5. Visit  DeepFriedRN} profile page
    4
    So sorry to hear you're going through this. You were being completely reasonable from the sound of it, sounds like your team leader isn't much of one. An effective leader doesn't downplay the problems and concerns of her team. She also doesn't behave as though providing assistance is a pain and too much to ask. Leading a good team means getting right into the thick of things, and taking care of business--addressing problems and creating solutions. I hope they do get a wake up call!!
    leslie :-D, lindarn, Aneroo, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  Mecene} profile page
    2
    I always wonder why do nurses put up with these kind of treatments. as professionals, you have the skills and the knowledge to do what ever you want to do, why do we tolerate unbearable such work conditions? please think about, you spend most of your time in the workplace, do you deserve to work in a place where your skills are appreciated. you have the power to change this situation, if you do not, no one will. contact me
    Last edit by sirI on May 28, '09 : Reason: TOS
    Sisyphus and lindarn like this.
  7. Visit  morte} profile page
    10
    Quote from Scrubby
    Ok another vent thread here. This might be long so for your convenience I'm going to use paragraphs.

    Yesterday was just completely mad. I scrubbed for an Ivor-Lewis oesophagectomy. This is a BIG case and involves two surgical incisions-a thoracotomy and a laparotomy at the same time. Because my workplace apparantly is stuck in the dark ages we only have one scrub nurse who has to somehow anticipate for two surgical teams and one scout nurse who has to run like mad to try and meet the needs of four demanding surgeons.

    So I voiced my concerns the morning of the case and even the day before that I needed two scout nurses because I have a novice with me who is still learning. She is very good but as said she is a novice and doesn't know where everything is and has never seen a bleeding or airway emergency.

    So I got my third person for a little while then they sent her away leaving me with the novice. We coped for a while but soon I could just see that things were getting out of hand. The retractor they were using was causing the blood pressure to plummet to about systolic 38, anaesthetists were getting worried, we had to do an emergency splenectomy, lots of blood loss etc. I was concerned that my scout was not coping very well, I was worried that the count was not going to be accurate and overall worried about patient safety.

    So I thought I did the right thing by getting my scout to call the team leader to ask for some help. The Team leader walks in and immediatley demands to know what she wanted me to do, what was the problem here and do you realise that your not the only one here who needs help!

    I'm just dumbfounded. I'd asked for help and was promised extra resources which were taken away from me. I'm trying to be the patient and staff advocate and I'm being treated with derision. I just told her that the allocation is inappropriate, you took away my promised resources and how many other patients in this unit have a BP of 38, with a deflated lung?

    So I got an extra pair of hands but I almost stabbed myself with a needle and I sort of went into shock. I started shaking and the tear just came out and I couldn't stop them. I felt angry and frustrated that I'd just been spoken to like crap. The surgeons god bless them realised that I was having a moment and told me that this is the only hospital they know of which relies on one scrub nurse for the procedure and that I did a great job. This is the first time I've ever felt more supported by the medical staff than the nurses.

    So I didn't sleep at all last night just couldn't stop thinking about what could have gone wrong and how appalling we were treated by our team leader. So I called in sick and found out that they had to cancel half the days cases because of the amount of people who have called in sick.

    I seriously hope that this will make management and the people who run my department wake up and realise that they cannot work us like this anymore.
    get the docs to complain, they are the ones with power......i am surprised they havent already
    Magsulfate, KellyCCRN, leslie :-D, and 7 others like this.
  8. Visit  oramar} profile page
    7
    How far away are those hospitals that the docs say staff the OR properly? Sounds to me like you have a highly transferable skill set. Could you go to one of them and get a job. Typical management idiot that does not know that they are talking to a highly trained professional not some peon that is easy to replace. You do not need to put up with it unless you want to. If you do leave make sure you let them know that who spoke to you in unprofessional manner. As for the people that are attempting to blame you for the situation by asking why you put up with it.(honestly I hate when they do that) They don't realize what a shock it is when it happens and how you can be so dumbstruck you don't respond like you should. I have been in same situation and just because I did not immediately come back with some snappy answers and get in an argument in the middle of a dangerous medical proceedure does not mean that I am some push over. Sometimes you have to think it thru and make a plan of action and then do something.
  9. Visit  Aneroo} profile page
    1
    I'm sorry that was such a bad experience. As bad as it was for you, I feel even worse for the novice- I wonder if they have a retention problem?
    pagandeva2000 likes this.
  10. Visit  cardiacmadeline} profile page
    1
    I agree-tell the docs to complain, that always seems to get things done where I work. I certainly is nice to know the docs were understanding of your situation and that they told you you were doing a great job.
    pagandeva2000 likes this.
  11. Visit  pagandeva2000} profile page
    1
    I like the fact that they started losing money due to call ins. May not change anything immediately, but it just shows how much your skill is necessary to keep the wheels oiled. Sorry it happened.
    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  12. Visit  nerdtonurse?} profile page
    0
    :trout: -- that's what your team leader needs. Plus a good working definition of "team" and "leader" .... Wonder if she's kin to my NM?

    Why is it that we're always told to "ask for help" and then yelled at when we do?
    Why is it that we've never got enough staff, supplies, or support -- except for when JC shows up?
    Why is it that so many nurse managers forget the first word of their title is NURSE?
  13. Visit  beckylpn1} profile page
    0
    So sorry to hear that this happened to you. Keep your head up.
  14. Visit  leslie :-D} profile page
    0
    sounds like a wonderful team leader.

    when you have collected yourself, how about a 1:1 w/team leader's boss?
    or, a letter/incident report, detailing everything that happened during surgery, resulting in near catastrophic consequences?
    yes, i fully understand that we place ourselves in a precarious position when/if we dare to speak up.
    but if you feel you cannot share your concerns w/those who need to be involved, then clearly, it's time to look elsewhere.
    even compiling a few signatures from surgeons, coworkers, would be extremely helpful.
    anticipating a forthcoming surgery and ensuring it will be fully staffed, is another way to approach this.
    but your team leader's behavior was deplorable, and has no business in holding such a responsible position.

    let us know what happens.:icon_hug:

    leslie
  15. Visit  AOx1} profile page
    0
    Honestly, I think I would ask some of the surgeons what facilities do staff more appropriately. If they are operating at several facilities, they have something of an inside track on staffing. Since they have been supportive, this might be your out.

    I do worry about you returning to a place that makes you question pt safety, your own ability to provide safe care due to low staffing, with a verbally aggressive climate.


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