Protecting against a vindictive nurse

  1. I'm a new poster here - but have been lurking for quite a while. I'm a nursing student and read all your posts here in order to get a better understanding of what the job is really like.

    This question is actually about myself as a patient - but I'm not asking for medical advice, so no worries there. I hope this is all right.

    I have a condition where, if certain symptoms crop up, I HAVE to go get checked out in an ER. I try very hard to be judicious with this, and my local ER has been nothing but understanding about it. They're a fantastic, kind group of people.

    There's got to be one rotten apple in every barrel, though, and I seem to have found it. One particular nurse, who I'd never met before a few weeks ago, basically treated me like something on his shoe. He had a nursing student with him, but hung out in the corner of the room texting while she had to question him repeatedly on what to do. He later took her out into the hallway right in front of my room and told her that he had me pegged, that I wasn't worth wasting care on because I was after narcotics.

    I can say that I'm not until I'm blue in the face, but the other ER nurses would have told him that as well. He ended up ignoring me any time I tried to ask a question, and refusing to speak to anyone other than his student.

    I ended up writing letters to his bosses. I haven't heard back yet, but I know they got the letter - because I had to go back in to the ER a few days ago for severe abdominal pain. Guess who I got for a nurse? I got greeted with a snide "Oh look, the letter writer is back."

    Basically, this nurse (whose attitude is just as much a mystery to me as it is to you, I promise) ended up telling the PA who treated me (also someone I'd never met) his theories on me... and I got extremely shoddy care. My pain was dismissed. Tests were barely done. I got a dose of Toradol for pain; when that didn't even halfway kill it, this PA decided that I was just "anxious" and gave me Ativan instead. By the end of that visit, I was a wreck.

    Long story short, I called my doctor, who told me to go to another ER further away. I went in... Turns out I've got gastroenteritis as well as several ovarian cysts that decided to rupture on me at the same time. I was legitimately sick and legimately in pain.

    What should I do about this jerk of a nurse? I still will have to go to this ER in the future. And honestly, other than these last two times, there's not another hospital I'd rather go to. They're wonderful.

    I feel caught... I want this guy to get metaphorically smacked for what he did. It was inexcusable, and I don't want to think of some other poor patient getting treated that way. I just don't know what to do. Am I screwed at that ER now? How can I alert them to their bad apple - but not get myself back in this situation again, where his (apparently) vindictive nature is affecting the care I get?

    Thanks for reading...
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    Your doctor is wise. Take his advice and go to another ER.
  4. by   ohmeowzer RN
    I agree with above.. go to another ER.
  5. by   Meredith09
    I feel your pain! Last year I was in the ER for sudden, intense unexplained pain in my lower abdomen, and I was immediately treated with the same kind of suspicion that you were. They were pretty much convinced that because I was a college-age female, that I must be pregnant! Pardon moi?? Even after a neg. pregnancy test and full blood work-up, (and pt Hx) that strongly suggested that this was simply not a likely cause of my symptoms, they still interrogated me as if I were going to confess that I was either lying about my Hx, or my pain was made up. After much hassle with the incredibly rude NP assigned to me, the attending MD admitted me. Two days later, I was sent home still in pain (and in withdrawal from the Dilaudid they had kept me on) without a diagnosis. A full month later, after a consult with a GI specialist (of all people) I finally had a Dx of a ruptured ovarian cyst just like yourself. There seems to be a problem in the field with getting a timely and accurate diagnosis of these painful growths--and some of the time, I am quite convinced that it is because some HCW label patients complaining of severe pain with a milieu of inexplicable symptoms as drug-seekers, or some other thing that prevents them from receiving quality, compassionate care. Whatever happened to giving the patient the benefit of the doubt?? The experiences we have as patients--good and bad--should hopefully make us better nurses, and I'm sure it will. Best of luck in finding AND giving better care! :icon_hug:
  6. by   lindarn
    Did anyone bother to report these very unprofessional health care professionals to the Board of Nursing? Did you go to the CEO of the hospital? JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
  7. by   mcleanl
    Why not just ask for a different nurse?
  8. by   LamoreVincera
    Quote from mcleanl
    Why not just ask for a different nurse?
    The first time, I was still getting good care from the doctor, and the ER had just gotten a bunch of traumas in. I didn't want to bog another nurse down.

    The second time, I tried (albeit weakly, I was pretty out of it) to get a new doc and nurse. Got denied pretty bluntly. I should have tried harder... but I was trying really hard to deal with the pain, and I didn't feel like I had it in me to argue too much further.
  9. by   leslie :-D
    i'm thinking your pcp is aware of your situation, and understands why you need to go to the er?
    if so, why not have him/her write a gen'l note, stating your condition and the necessity of occasional er visits.
    have it on your person when you go.
    maybe they'll be a bit more tolerant.
    (is there any reason why your pcp can't help you?)

  10. by   Batman24
    Quote from lindarn
    Did anyone bother to report these very unprofessional health care professionals to the Board of Nursing? Did you go to the CEO of the hospital? JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    That's what I would do too. I'd make the CEO aware that you were treated elsewhere and let them know your disgnosis and how HIS HOSPITAL with their DISMISSIVE CARE caused you further unnecessary pain. I'd also let them know this nurse made comment on your letter and forwarded inaccurate info to the PA who also provided SHODDY CARE. I'd cc in their HR Dept, Risk Management Dept, Legal Dept, Public Relations Dept, Head of ER, their bosses, etc. Someone will listen.

    I would then put a call into the BON and report him there too. I fear that next time he passes judgment he could hurt someone even more and have the end results be much more severe than this one.

    I'd go to another ER. I wouldn't give this one my money.
  11. by   creativemom
    I would first contact the Ombudsman of the Hospital and see where that goes. I would cc the letter to the Nurse Manager of that nurse whom you've had bad service.

    If that doesn't work then write a letter to the CEO.

    I know going to another ER is horrible but I'd do it until this bad nurse is gone from the current hospital.

    When you go in you can ask for the "Charge Nurse" and ask that you be attended by any one other than the nurse who is doing a bad job. You have patient rights and can make these requests.

    Good luck!
  12. by   meluhn
    You can demand to see the pt representative. I dont know where you live but most hospitals I know have them and that is where we direct pt complaints sometimes if we cant resolve them.