nurses as patients

  1. Does anyone have their own personal story of being a patient? I was wondering what it is like to be a nurse and be a patient. What kind of things did you observe about nursing in general? Did you see things that made your experience wonderful? Did you see things that made your experience horrible? How did your experience change your own practice of nursing? I'm just curious because I was a patient last year and it was scary. I learned so much even through my drug fogged pain riddled body...I was just wondering if anyone else had experiences.
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   NYSNOWBUNNY007
    though the thread was up a couple a weeks ago..its kind of annoying to be a patient...but then again it is also pretty cool..I don't tell the nurses that i am a nurse......i let them do their job...lol...if anything looks to be a lil strange i question it...if i get the right answer then im good..if not...i hit em back with "nurse talk"...yet i STILL do not tell them im a nurse...at this point they will ask "are you a nurse??"..LOL!!...we smell each other miles and miles away!!...however once they know...I have found the nurses to take very good care of me...more attention actually...i found this to be good and at the same time bad...there has been times when as a patient i did not say i was a nurse and IMPORTANT things to my health was not reported to ME as the patient...I can;t help but ask for blood test result when they are drawn...of course you are concerned about your health while admitted...but for the most part...i have had cool nurses that didn't know i was a nurse till the end of the shift!..lol....i love they're facial expressions!...hope this helped...actually its totally up to you...now being on the opposite end i get soooo annoyed when i have a "know it all retired RN".."how is my mom, dad etc etc this and that, bye the way im a nurse"...as if i am suppose to be SCARED..WHATEVER!...thats why when im a pt i'll wait for them to ask...im the pt EVERY RN would LOVE to have, i don't ring bells, i wait for them to come and check on me!!...i just chillax...Y?, b/c i understand how bad it can be when you have demanding pain in the cahootZ pts who are told they are at the trump towers!...LOL!..oh well...its all up to you, but i warn you if you ever want to say you are indeed a nurse...tell them in a nice way...or wait for them to ask...XoXo
  4. by   EmmaG
    I was admitted to my own unit with a bowel perf, and the GI consult was not the guy I asked for, but the one on call. He was brand new, and didn't know me, and I really didn't know him either but had had patients complain about his rather abrupt and gruff bedside manner.

    Anywho, he was standing at my bedside, kinda hurried and sorta talking down to me in a rather condescending manner; I was frustrated but smiled and nodded and listened attentively when one of my co-workers popped her head in and asked where we kept the ammonia snaps. I told her 'top shelf in the med room, all the way to the right'. She thanked me and took off.

    The look on the doc's face was precious. He turned all shades of red and stammered "are you a nurse here?"

    I told him I was the night resource nurse. That's when he pulled up a seat and talked to me like I was a real person and actually listened to what I was saying...

    We had a long talk about my issues, then I very gently told him that I appreciated his consult and advice, but me being a nurse shouldn't have been the reason he treated me with respect; that perhaps any patient would deserve the same.

    He turned out to be one of my very favorite docs to work with---and he apparently took my advice to heart. His patients adored him.
  5. by   november17
    I don't mind having nurses as patients. I've been grilled by more than a few. Especially when you have a nurse's spouse as a patient. I've also recieved the third degree from the nursing student patients who think they know everything about everything. None of that really bothers me. I just explain things and it's never a big deal. However I've found that sometimes when you have a nurse that is a patient, especially from a different facility/area, they can be shocked to find that we don't do things like they do wherever they are from.

    This one nurse who was up on the floor postsurgery was complaining because she didn't get a PCA pump. I tried to explain to her that she didn't have one because we very very rarely give them to patients. Statistically PCAs increase the likelihood of codes, aren't very safe, and are a general pain in the rear end. I was just explaining why she woke up and didn't have one. Despite the fact that I was more than happy to get her one, she acted super shocked and haughty about the whole thing. Really, she could have said, "Oh, that's not like where I work, even though I work in outpatient dialysis and don't really deal with these sorts of things very often. Thank you for listening, taking care of my needs, and explaining this to me." Instead she just gave me dirty looks like it was my fault the surgeon she picked doesn't like PCAs and didn't order her one.

    On the flipside I had a nurse as a patient that was so apologetic about everything it was ridiculous. Everytime she'd hit the call light she'd say, "I'm so sorry, I know your busy, I'm SO sorry I need something,"
    Last edit by november17 on Oct 19, '07
  6. by   Conrad283
    My wife has been a patient in the ER twice for kidney stones and there's always something wrong with the IV, there's always something wrong with the time it takes for something, or this or that. I've seen nurses as patients and nurses that are patients family, and I must say, nurses do not make good patients, but I say that generally, not everyone is the same.
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from sue2006
    i get soooo annoyed when i have a "know it all retired rn".."how is my mom, dad etc etc this and that, bye the way im a nurse"...as if i am suppose to be scared..
    i've found that when my parents are patients i don't have to tell anyone i'm a nurse because they already have. but if they haven't, i will often tell the staff that i'm a nurse. not to scare anyone, but because the information i get is different. think about the report you'd give to a fellow nurse as opposed to the way you often simplify things when explaining them to family. i don't want to hear "her blood pressure is ok, and we're going to do some tests today" when what i want to know is whether you were able to wean off the dopamine and are you going to do the head ct you've been waffling on for three days.
  8. by   ElvishDNP
    I agree with you, Ruby.

    My GYN a while back told me there had been some 'atypical cells' on my last pap but the 'further testing' they did was ok. He knows I'm an OB/GYN nurse, so I just cocked my eyebrow at him, and he said, "Oh, I mean, your Pap came back as ASCUS and high-risk HPV DNA was negative." That's more like it, doc.

    I feel the same way about my family members. I want to know exactly what they are doing so I can ask appropriate questions if needs be.

    I've had great experiences with nurses as patients on my floor. If you get someone who's unpleasant, it may be because a) they're sick & don't FEEL pleasant; or b) they would be unpleasant were they not nurses, so don't take it personally.

    That said, when I've been a nurse who is a patient, I watch everybody to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be - washing hands, etc. I am a little anal that way.
  9. by   bethin
    Been a pt several times on the floor I work.

    Great things: private room (if they have one) and I know who is the good nurses and who I need to watch. Coworkers who stop in on their way out and ask if you want anything from the store to read - they know I'm a sucker for US, People, etc. Also offering to pick up any food I may be craving and can eat.

    One of my nurse's during a recent hospitalization was my best friend. So proud of her! She stood up to my dr who refused a picc line when no one could get a line started on me for 24 hours. She said she either gets one or you transfer her. Had one in 2 hours later. But, no special treatment: she treats all her pts like they were family which is the way it should be. Hard to remember sometimes though when you're dealing with that nasty drunk.

    Coworkers who know my facial expressions when I'm in pain or feeling really really crappy. Mom took (more like dragged) me to the ER after throwing up and diarrhea for 3 days. I didn't want to go - didn't think having crohn's and this was an emergency. Get to the er triage, nurse looks at me and runs for a wc stat. She said she knew by the look on my face I was going to pass out. And I did. Out cold for a while. Pumped me full of some good stuff and fluids.

    Bad things: ringing phones all night when everyone is busy and waking up thinking I'm supposed to answer the phone and I'm sleeping on the job. Also, getting put in with pts who are bed climbers and feeling incredibly guilty when that pt climbs out of bed or worse....turns blue. This happened to me on seperate occassions and I want to respond as if I were working, but I have to remember I don't. I did yank my IV out of the room and yelled down the hall. It's hard to be in between. Also, feeling really crappy and having 4 coworkers in your room debating who should win AI while your nurse is trying to start an IV (on a very hard stick) to start some prednisone stat.

    Sadly, I think I get treated better by dr's and nurses. They are more apt to respond to my pain and offer pain meds instead of me asking, ordering out and offering to pay for my meal, etc. Of course, if I didn't work there I wouldn't expect my nurse to offer to buy me a meal out. I get more attention.

    I have learned alot by being a pt: answer the phone asap. Pt's who like to read may think you're an angel if you find them magazines or books or offer to go to the gift shop for them. Anything to pass the time. When they go for a walk in the halls, and you're on the first floor, open a door so they can feel and smell the fresh air. Many pts have said that that one thing helped them immensely. Do the little things: trim nails on bedridden pts from the NH. Give them an extra long foot massage.
  10. by   NursesRmofun
    It's not fun. I have problems with nausea. But the IV meds help. Patients don't always need all the IV fluids. I was really puffy. I turned down my own IV rate.
  11. by   MAISY, RN-ER
    Went to school with a girl who had exploratory surgery-abdominal incision from pubic bone to sternum-call bell was taken away because she was using it during the night for pain medication. She did not tell them she was a nurse. Big mistake in my book!

    Patient NG tube not working, lying in urine and feces, fever and chills, sick sick sick! No pain relief for night. No checks. Phone rang in morning and she was able to knock it off the hook and tell her friend she thought she was dying.

    Friend, also an RN, called to patient's work floor to get her coworkers to check on her. Coworkers to bedside-huge fight ensued between floors. How it ended. Nurse and supervisor written up for allowing patient to be in that horrible condition. RN patient did not want them fired-Hospital initiated training classes for night nurses.

    What that young woman dealt with was unexcusable! If they knew she was an RN it would have never happened!
    IF IT WAS ME-THEY'D BE LONG GONE, AND THEY WOULD HAVE SEEN ME AND MY LAWYER IN COURT! There is no excuse to take a callbell away from a patient s/p surgery.

    I treat everyone with respect, the only difference it makes to me is how I disseminate information or provide the "where you can get things info" to the family. Nurses tend not to ask for things.

    As a nurse who has had a family member hospitalized, I do as much as I can....that being said, I expect information and physicians to call back in a timely manner. I know what is right in the ER and expect the same treatment for my family members. I only ask of others what I would do myself.

    Maisy
  12. by   stomper
    I have had 8 or 9 surgeries. This has made me a better nurse. I helped me see things from the patient's view. I was a really good patient except for the time I was stuck 9 times by various nurses, and I yelled at the person who would make the 10th stick to get out of my room. I finally had to get a central line. Since I already had an abcess as a complication from a previous surgery I got really paranoid and would not let anyone touch my central line unless they put on gloves. I got tired of having to tell just about every nurse and finally posted a sign that I would point at. I know they thought I was a nut case.
  13. by   elthia
    I don't have to tell the nurses I'm a nurse, my doctors know I'm a nurse, and they tell the nurses for me. I'm not a 30 y/o female in my H&P, I'm a 30y/o Nurse, I know, I've read a copy of my records.

    The only thing that really bothers my about being a nurse, is the ED treats me like I am a drug seeker, but I don't know if it's because I'm a nurse, or because I'm a migraineur. When I'm actually admitted to the floor, it's not so bad. But I will say, my last admission, even though it was for n/v and status migraine, not a single nurse listened to lung sounds or bowel sounds, even though I had n/v/d for 4 days at that point.

    I don't work at the hospital I get treated at though.
  14. by   maconnurse
    I was hospitalized recently in the ICU and the care scared me to death. Having been a former ICU nurse I could not believe the lack of concern and care. My family received permission to stay with me because I was actually afraid they were going to let me die! While on the floor my sister spent one night with me and said no one came in and checked on me from 11:30 pm until 06:45. She was shocked.

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