Professional Courtesy

  1. My beloved is having surgery tomorrow in a hospital I worked in before I was a nurse and has the nursing school I went to as well. During the anesthesia interview the RN seemed to doubt if I would be allowed into the pacu to see her. What do you think? Should they extend so professional courtesy to an amiable fellow RN? Why or why not? Thanks for your input.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    Most times I would tell you no. Depends on what is happening in the unit at that time, and it is also hard to see an immediate family member coming out from general anesthesia. Most do not want anyone there.

    Do you actually have PACU experience? Or OR? If the answer is no, then definitely not.

    After she is out of the initial phase and is coherent that is another story, but in the beginning? No way.

    Sorry if you do not agree with me, but after having worked OR and PACU for years, it is much better to see them after they are awake.
  4. by   nicolel1182
    I think because she is the patient, you should be treated like any family member and let the nurses watch her and when she is ready just like any other patient then you can go back and see her.
    She needs to recover and the nurses need to carefully watch her and I think it's only fair that you wait until she is ready.
    Sorry thats my 2 cents
  5. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from nursetim
    My beloved is having surgery tomorrow in a hospital I worked in before I was a nurse and has the nursing school I went to as well. During the anesthesia interview the RN seemed to doubt if I would be allowed into the pacu to see her. What do you think? Should they extend so professional courtesy to an amiable fellow RN? Why or why not? Thanks for your input.

    Yes, absolutely. You only want to be there for your loved one, why couldn't this bit of professional courtesy be extended to one of our fellow RNs? Unfortunately, few nurses believe in this concept and may even act defensively if they find out you are a nurse. That's unfortunate, but it has been my experience.
  6. by   HelenofOz
    Our Recovery unit (tries to) follow the ACORN guidelines- one family member only for children under 12, patients with dementia, needing a translator or in certain circumstances at the discretion of the unit staff (i.e critical patients needing to be transferred to a larger hospital)

    I am trying to express myself in a way so as not to upset you or other family members, but our focus is on the patient as they emerge from anaesthesia, and if you are there as a visitor you have the potential to distract the staff from the job in hand, either from your own family member, or from any of the other patients in the room. (How hard it is not to catch up on the news and who's doing what if you happen to know the staff)

    There are also the privacy issues for all the other patients, many of whom are not in full control as they waken and deal with issues of orientation, pain management etc etc.

    Another thought is that though you may feel comforted by being there as your family member wakens, the chances are that they will have no recall of you presence at all-I have had lucid conversations with patients who regarded themselves as awake and alert at the time, but on meeting them 2 days later they have absolutely no recall of the initial post-op period at all.

    One of my bug-bears is; why should one person be allowed visitors because they happen to be related to a staff member when the next patient does not?

    And no, I have never visited a relative in any recovery unit, including the one I work in, nor ever would. My family members are "just another patient" as far as I am concerned, and I expect the staff to treat them no better, and no worse, than they would any other patient, but rather with the compassion & professionalism they show to all patients. Because I work there does not give me any rights over the next person to come along.

    Professional courtesy also means NOT expecting better treatment because you do, or used to, work/study there.

    For all of that, I wish your partner the best of luck for their procedure and hope all goes well.
  7. by   Blee O'Myacin
    You need to be treated as any other family member in this case. Even if you want to be there, the nurse assigned to your SO needs to get in an do his or her job without having to take care of you too.

    Its tough being in the waiting room, but the staff will thank you for it! I hope all goes well in the morning!

    Quote from nursetim
    My beloved is having surgery tomorrow in a hospital I worked in before I was a nurse and has the nursing school I went to as well. During the anesthesia interview the RN seemed to doubt if I would be allowed into the pacu to see her. What do you think? Should they extend so professional courtesy to an amiable fellow RN? Why or why not? Thanks for your input.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from HelenofOz
    Professional courtesy also means NOT expecting better treatment because you do, or used to, work/study there.

    Yes Helen, that is exactly what it means. That is why it is a "courtesy". You're getting a little "perk" that others wouldn't get because you (theoretically) recognize this person as a peer and you want to extend a little special treatment to them because of it.



    Edited to add: When I worked in PACU briefly, we used to allow loved ones to come back all the time to see patients, for a brief period to be sure, but to reassure the patients and their loved ones, I'm not sure why this gentleman is getting such a hard time?
    Last edit by SharonH, RN on Aug 15, '06
  9. by   nursetim
    An addendum, My beloved is Thai and she is also Buddhist, the real reason is to put her Buddha back on her. Suz as a world traveler, you know how scary it can be to be in a foriegn land's hospital as a patient. I've been there a couple of times (and she was there for me). Sharon you put it very well, better than I could have.
  10. by   nursetim
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Yes Helen, that is exactly what it means. That is why it is a "courtesy". You're getting a little "perk" that others wouldn't get because you (theoretically) recognize this person as a peer and you want to extend a little special treatment to them because of it.



    Edited to add: When I worked in PACU briefly, we used to allow loved ones to come back all the time to see patients, for a brief period to be sure, but to reassure the patients and their loved ones, I'm not sure why this gentleman is getting such a hard time?
    Thanks but they are not giving me a hard time, just stating thier personal beliefs that I solicited I might add. I don't happen to agree with them. I've worked OR as an anesthesia tech. worked closely with pacu they allowed family back regularly, but that was 10+ years ago so things may have changed. Thanks for the responses
  11. by   suzanne4
    Quote from nursetim
    An addendum, My beloved is Thai and she is also Buddhist, the real reason is to put her Buddha back on her. Suz as a world traveler, you know how scary it can be to be in a foriegn land's hospital as a patient. I've been there a couple of times (and she was there for me). Sharon you put it very well, better than I could have.
    Exactly and that is even more reason for you not to be there. The Thais are quite modest and she really would not appreciate having you there as she was emerging. You can give the Buddha to the nurse that takes her into the OR and they can either leave it on her gown, or place it back as soon as her procedure is done. And she would see it as soon as she worke up. That is never an issue.
  12. by   steelydanfan
    It all depends upon the hospital rules, and many of them have been dictated by the HIPPAA regulations.
    That being said, I have not worked or been a pt./family member in any PACU that does not allow family members to visit once the pt. is stabilized.
    I was a pt, in my own outpt. center that let my best friend (also an RN) into the preop, surgery and postop areas, because I asked. Believe me, it may have been routine minor plastic surgery, but when I knew my BF was there, I KNEW I was alright. That comfort was priceless, and I would NEVER deny anyone that feeling.
    I was able to be with my hubby 10 minutes after his entrance into postop after a colonscopy.
    I was able to be with MY BF friend 15 minutes after her arthroscopy. She appreciated the same comfort she gave me.
    As long as the pt. is stable, the friend is useful and not distracting, they SHOULD be allowed.
  13. by   nursetim
    I know how to behave in a professional manner, if she should start to CTD I'd make myself scarce as I would not function well. As for her modesty, not an issue, she is an atypical Thai. Not western by any stretch of the imagination, more Chinese. It may be a moot point any way, I might be getting an MRI while she is in pacu.
  14. by   TazziRN
    Whether or not they let you in will depend on the policy and the crew working.

    Side note: when my mom was in pacu after a procedure at UCSF several years ago, they finally let my dad and me in. We were able to see she was okay, then we went to get something to eat. When we came back we were told that she had vomited blood. There were two nurses at her side when we got back. They knew I am a nurse and they deserted me. Literally. My mom was puking blood and my dad was completely useless, understandably. I was left alone to hold my mom up, hold her basin, and handle the suction at the same time. I was livid. When she was discharged home and things had settled down, I called and lodged a complaint. I don't know what the outcome was, but I made it clear that while I did not mind at all helping out, I highly resented being left alone and ignored in spite of asking for help repeatedly. That was professional courtesy taken too far.

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