Never understood nursing - page 5

I know this is my first post on your forum, and I am a guest here. But I hopefully can get some answers to a problem that has seemed to plague me since I started practicing in medicine. I am hoping... Read More

  1. by   Empress
    I understand where the OP is coming from, and I also understand why his approach is raising hackles. It doesn't mean what he is trying to convey is less important, just needs some polishing.

    I've worked in healthcare for 6 years off and on, multiple different settings and states. I admire the work nurses do, and I think I would love to be a nurse, but what is holding me back is the experiences I have had as well. Not "why is or isn't s/he doing this or that?" I understand that there is more to patient care then I would see as a tech And being low on the totem pole I haven't had too much trouble with nurses, I do my job and I am left alone. But I have seen a lot of unprofessional behavior, especially in group dynamics. Gossip, backbiting, rudeness, etc. Not just to other nurses, but to doctors, PAs, PTs, paramedics, RRTs, etc. It's shown here on this site, too. It's not professional, and it's a turn off to be a nurse.
  2. by   JazzyRN
    I seriously don't think this behavior is the norm at all. Too bad your bad experiences have caused you to form a stereotypes about nurses. Ive had good and bad experiences with PAs as well, but I wouldnt dare classify PAs as a whole, I just take it individual by individual. My suggestion to you is to choose the ERs you work in more carefully and not put up with crude, unprofessional behavior by reporting it to the correct authorities. I also feel there are 2 sides to every story. So being that this behavior isnt the norm and you have ONLY had negative experiences with nurses, there may be a problem with you and how interact with these nurses. If everyone is reacting badly to you, is it everyone being wrong and crazy is every nurse in the country mean,rude and unprofessional or could YOU possibly be creating part of the problem?
  3. by   Works2xs
    For the OP...

    Without asking you to recount 10 years of experiences, I would like to ask a couple of questions regarding your search for further understanding...

    It appears as though that the worst of your experiences occurred at 2 facilities. Having upper management give the sort of order to the nurse manager that they gave seems highly unusual, as well as understandably infuriating. Your post seems to imply that this level of hostility was the norm. Was that really the case in all 10 locations? Or did these 2 hospitals taint further the possible lower level irritations found at the other places?

    Some workplaces are just crappy for all concerned, regardless of position. Were any of the 10 places in that category? Was it possible that a generally bad work environment for all was seen in a more personal light, based on the bad personal experiences you may have had elsewhere?

    Did you speak to other PA's in these facilities? Were they treated in a similar manner across the board? How about on different shifts? Sometimes, when you see something occurring in your immediate environment, it's easy to project that across the whole. I'd imagine that when a new person comes on board, you generally get funneled to the least favorable shift. If you are changing jobs every few years, it may be that you just got the short straw at each location.

    Then there's the phenomenon of taking extra notice of something once you've experienced it. Sort of like when you purchase a new car. Suddenly, it seems they're all over the road when before, you hardly saw them. Were you just noticing those that acted poorly in an otherwise normal distribution of people with bad attitudes?

    Finally, there's the 10% phenomenon. Like the ol' saw says, it only takes 10% of a group to act badly to make the entire population look bad. Since these bad experiences tend to focus your attention in one direction, did you inadvertently miss those who were either normally courteous or even above average on the "nice" scale?

    I don't mean to imply that your experiences didn't occur or weren't understandably upsetting. Like any field of human experience, it gets a little dangerous to paint a group with such a broad brush. Yes, undoubtedly, there are crappy people in nursing, as there are in any profession. Similarly, there are great people. Perhaps, there's just a matter of focus involved here.
  4. by   oONurseSharkOo
    were most of the hospitals you worked at union? if so i think therin lies your answer
  5. by   begalli
    The above statement about unions is a statement that uses just as broad a stroke with that paintbrush as the OP has been accused of using in his statements about nurses.
  6. by   oONurseSharkOo
    all im saying is this may explain the contrast he's experiencing between him past experiences and las vegas. Here in arizona there are no unions and i have never seen a nurse act in such a way torward a PA. i think some nurses (and certainly not all) that work union may feel they have the leway to step out of bounds like that and from the op's stament he said the nurses threatened to take action with thier union if the doctors amde a fuss about it. I'm not making a generalization ther are horrible nurses everywhere and likewise their are acceptional nurses everywhere but again ive traveled and done strike relief assignments to union hospitals and have heard many similar stories from tecs and lpns that i have never heard in a non union hospital.
    Last edit by oONurseSharkOo on Aug 15, '06
  7. by   SkateBetty
    Quote from LuvMyGamecocks
    Has anyone noticed that the TITLE of the thread is "Never understood nursing?" I think if the intent was to gain a better understanding, there would have been a different/longer title.

    "Help me understand nursing" or "Never understood nursing...am I missing something?"

    Semantics, I know. But, it didn't start off productively.
    When I first read the title I thought it was going to be a question of the role and purpose of the nurse. "Never understood nurses" seems fitting!

    OP - I think I would take your post more seriously if the situations were less...unlikely. Ripping up prescriptions would get any nurse I know fired in a second. Rude verbal exchanges with any co-worker would get someone written up where I am. Are you sure these stories aren't salted and peppered a little to make them more interesting? Take your pregnant ER patient as an example. "One nurse refused to place an IV in a patient because she said the patient was a drug seeker and she was not going to take the "risk of a needlestick putting an IV in someone who she didn't feel deserved it". I don't know a single nurse ridiculously stupid enough to open her pie-hole and say a patient doesn't deserve drugs she is seeking, and refuse to even start the IV. Every ER nurse knows this gal will probably get fluids at the least. And what about the nurse who says 'aint? "He called for a transfer and asked the nurse for an LP kit. She said "you aint doin that to the baby"." Let me guess, her two front teeth were missing too, right? It's the way you describe the situation that puts me back a step, and the raw ridiculousness of the situations that seem hard to belive. A nurse refuses to get an LP kit for a doctor? She'd be escorted to her locker and her badge confiscated. Do you see where I'm coming from? Your situations seem too colorful for me to take seriously. Last post for me on this thread.
  8. by   PACPhD
    As far as the union issue goes, probably 50/50. I have actually had union nurses tell the physicians on numerous occasions "I'm union, what are you going to do, fire me?"

    Here is my take on the hospitals. I think 6 in NY - 3 were horrible for all of the non nursing staff. This is not something that I sat in my corner of the ED and thought they were just acting that way to me. All of the staff talked about how uncomfortable it was to work there, and the main reason was the nursing staff. Many left. The other 3 were just not a nice atmosphere to work in because of the nursing staff. I actually had a few of the nurses in one ED tell me they were going to "make my life as miserable as possible until I quit". I lasted 6 months and quit. Then I worked in Milwaukee. Better. No real complaints there, but still not what I thought a cohesive group. Way better than anything in NY.Then N. Virginia. Horrible place. Then Las Vegas. Ahhh paradise. You know it's funny, about the worst patient population I have had to deal with. Drugs, homeless, scammers, (county hospital), but I enjoy going to work. The atmosphere is just so different. And the nursing staff has made it that way.

    So why haven't I written up any of the nurses? Made formal complaints to the nursing boards? Not the way it's done in my world. I don't write up my co-workers.
  9. by   SkateBetty
    Quote from PACPhD
    So why haven't I written up any of the nurses? Made formal complaints to the nursing boards? Not the way it's done in my world. I don't write up my co-workers.
    OK, so it wasn't my last post.

    I don't mean written up by you, I mean by the charge nurse or nursing supervisor.
  10. by   PACPhD
    Quote from SkateBetty
    When I first read the title I thought it was going to be a question of the role and purpose of the nurse. "Never understood nurses" seems fitting!

    OP - I think I would take your post more seriously if the situations were less...unlikely. Ripping up prescriptions would get any nurse I know fired in a second. Rude verbal exchanges with any co-worker would get someone written up where I am. Are you sure these stories aren't salted and peppered a little to make them more interesting? Take your pregnant ER patient as an example. "One nurse refused to place an IV in a patient because she said the patient was a drug seeker and she was not going to take the "risk of a needlestick putting an IV in someone who she didn't feel deserved it". I don't know a single nurse ridiculously stupid enough to open her pie-hole and say a patient doesn't deserve drugs she is seeking, and refuse to even start the IV. Every ER nurse knows this gal will probably get fluids at the least. And what about the nurse who says 'aint? "He called for a transfer and asked the nurse for an LP kit. She said "you aint doin that to the baby"." Let me guess, her two front teeth were missing too, right? It's the way you describe the situation that puts me back a step, and the raw ridiculousness of the situations that seem hard to belive. A nurse refuses to get an LP kit for a doctor? She'd be escorted to her locker and her badge confiscated. Do you see where I'm coming from? Your situations seem too colorful for me to take seriously. Last post for me on this thread.
    You know, in Mississippi, in the 60's, when an Afro American had a problem with the way he was treated, it was always his own fault.

    I am trying to be polite here. I am a guest in your neighborhood. Basically you are telling me I am lying. You have no idea what I have gone through for years because of the abuse I had to take from some of those nurses. I spent 11 years in school learning my profession. My main concern at all times was my patient. What an eye opener it was to see what was more important to some of the staff I worked with. I was amazed. I litterally went to work with a knot in my stomach and dreading the next 12 hours. Stress? You have no idea. The medicine part (and I worked in acute areas of the ED) was easy compared to the everyday BS.

    Everything I have told you was dead on, with no artistic license taken. I used to come home and tell my wife the stories, day after day. And I could go on for probably 10 pages of incidents, and the ones listed here are not the worst, they are just random incidents that poped into my head. And no, the nurse had two front teeth, it was not uncommon on eastern Long Island NY for the locals to say "aint". Certain statements have stuck in my mind for years, and I was so taken back by that one, that I haven't forgotten how she said it.

    Balls in your court.
  11. by   begalli
    Quote from PACPhD

    The supervisor took her aside and told her in no uncertain terms how inappropriate her behavior was and that she follows a written order or leaves. She spoke to two more nurses in the next week on my behalf for similar unprofessional behavior. The following week, I went to her with again something one of the nurses refused to do and she said "I am sorry, but apparently the nurses went over my head and told the management I was diciplining them and management told me if I attempt to correct their behavior that my position will be terminated. She left a month later. By the way, the COO of the hospital, the director of the emergency department and every supervisor in between was an RN. There were no positions of supervision in the hospaital that I knew of that didn't have an RN in place.
    Digging under the surface here, it sounds like you are a bit surprised that nurses actually have so much decision making power in the running of hospitals? Unlike the television shows ER and Grey's Anatomy where it is portrayed over and over that the doctors or some medical management are in direct charge of nursing, nursing is it's own self-governing professional body with just as much input as to how things run as the medical side is. Yea, nurses are COO's. Nursing is autonomous and collaborates with other disciplines for a common outcome - which should be, but is not always - delivering safe, cost-effective patient care (this is quite simplified).

    Although you are stating that some nurses flat out refused to carry out orders, it is not at all unusual for an RN to vociferously question orders from anyone. We do have the knowledge and experience to know what might be better for a particular situation. It is against our professional code of ethics to not speak up when we feel a situation warrants.

    Like the title of your thread, I think you really don't understand nursing. The behaviors of some who you've encountered are absolutely unacceptable, but I think you also need to accept that nurses are part of your team. Just because they may question orders does not mean they are steeping out of line or out of their scope.

    Gotta cut this short - gotta go.

    This is about recognition and respect. Have you talked about this with your RN wife? I'd be curious to know what she thinks.
  12. by   LeahJet
    You know, maybe it's a regional thing. Add that with the 'protection' of the union.......and maybe that is why it is hard for some of the rest of us to understand.
    I am not trying to insult you or call you untruthful.... but as someone else said.... the scenarios you describe are almost inconceivable. I could not imagine a nurse ripping up an RX or refusing to do routine procedures. At the most, I have seen a doctor questioned but diplomatically.
    Maybe we could hear from some nurses in NYC or (was it virginia?). They may be able to shed some light and put the rest of us in the know.
    For the record, of all the ER's I have worked, Albuquerque was the BEST. I loved my co-workers and it was fun to go to work. Maybe it's the west!
  13. by   JazzyRN
    I must admit I tend to agree with SkateBetty, these stories do seem quite unbelievable.

    Like I stated earlier there are two sides to every story. For a FEW nurses to tell you that "they were gonna make your life as miserable as possible until you quit." This leads me to believe you were doing something to make these nurses dislike you. Or are we to believe that this what all these nasty nurses in this hospital tell all PAs and MDs? Im not saying that if that was the statement made, that it was appropriate and professional, but Im very certain that a statement that strong wasnt unprovoked. Please do tell the WHOLE story of what led up to that statement being made to you by a FEW nurses.

    Now this statement by the OP:

    "I have actually had union nurses tell the physicians on numerous occasions "I'm union, what are you going to do, fire me?"

    It just doesnt make sense or ring true to me as something a nurse would say, let alone MANY nurses on NUMEROUS occasions. Nursing is a distinct and different profession from medicine. I dont know of any doctor that can fire a nurse in the hospital setting. They dont have control over hiring and firing of nurses. Thats were nursing administration comes in. All nurses realize that, so I have a hard time believing that a number of nurses would make a statement such as this over and over again implying that the doctor had some authority over them keeping their job, union or not. Please respond.

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