Share your "Gut feelings...."

  1. Ever had a gut feeling about a patient?

    For instance, you just "knew" something wasn't right (or something was), but you couldn't put it into specifics? and then.....turned out you were right?

    It's happened to me a lot over the years; how about you?
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  2. 56 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Many times...yes.... "gut feelings" are instinctual, I think in nurses/doctors w/ experience and a good understanding of our patients. From a spiritual standpoint, a "gut feeling" to me, can be thought of as an "angel on my shoulder" or "someone from the Other Side" helping me to see what I NEED to but am too stubborn or blind at the moment to take notice of.

    In OB, gut feelings are very helpful to me....I have had them about patients who I felt "were not right"...whether it would be in reference to post partum complications or "bad babies"-- so many occasions. you just "feel" it's all wrong and you stay on your toes, even though by all appearances, all is "ok" at the moment. Because my "gut feelings" have at times been right on target, I hope I never lose this sensitivity!

    Hey, you can look at it like this: Expect the Worst, Pray for the BEST! right?
  4. by   adrienurse
    I can smell undiagnosed metasticised cancer. That person doesn't usually live for very long. Freaky huh?

    I also usually have a good feel for what kind of antidepressant of antipsychotic my patients need to go on. My co-workers have called this uncanny.
  5. by   live4today
    One case in particular was a man on a vent that I knew...gut feeling...was already dead, but the docs were using him as a guinea pig for their oodles of med students to practice on...and kept telling the family the patient was doing well. Hmmmmm...only took a quick check of the pupils, and turning off the vent to see if he would breathe on his own...vent turned off...no breath taken...pupils fixed and dilated big time...of course I knew that from my assessment at the beginning of the shift...the docs were in denial... Or, maybe they just didn't think me...a ...was smart enough to figure it all out. :chuckle
  6. by   moonchild20002000
    I too have had a lot of "gut feelings" over the past 29 years. I have only been wrong a few times. I really do not have an explination for it though.
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by moonchild20002000
    I too have had a lot of "gut feelings" over the past 29 years. I have only been wrong a few times. I really do not have an explination for it though.
    I can't either....

    one time (disguising info to protect the persons involved, of course.... ) I had a pt who was normally unresponsive and nonverbal, came in hyperglycemic, fingersticks q4. One came back at 180. Order was to give 3 units Reg. "Something" held me back. No real s/s. Just something about the way I felt about the way he looked. I waited an hour, rechecked the BS, and bango! in the dumper--40's~

    Lab draw verified it. Pt. was OK in an hour.....after an amp of D50

    I spent about 20 minutes doing other stuff trying to figure out how to chart that.
    :chuckle
    weird, just soooo weird....
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jul 7, '02
  8. by   eltrip
    After completing my first semester of nursing classes, I was visiting my daughter's great-grandparents. Her great-grandfather had been "going down" for several months...he'd had shingles earlier in the year & he just hadn't returned to his normal self (He was a 90-something year-old guy who used to drive & garden & who now just laid on the sofa all day). Something about the way he was breathing had me thinking, "I've gotta get outta here before he dies." We left & went back home that day. The next morning we received a phone call telling us that great-grandad had just died...appeared to have had a stroke during the night. Still don't understand it, but I definitely listen to "my gut."
  9. by   Nurse Ratched
    When I was a brand new nurse, I was working nights (naturally! ) and second shift reported to me that the family of a patient (who was circling the drain) wanted the patient a DNR, but the doctor hadn't called for anything and the nurse hadn't wanted to call him "just for that." "Besides, he'd not going to die tonight." Famous last words...

    I called the doc at 11:30 pm for the DNR order (got squawked at) and the patient passed away at 2:30 am.
  10. by   hoolahan
    Definitely! I usually get a gut feeling like sleepeyes just described, can't explain it, but just know what to do.

    I also can usually tell when a pt is ready to cross over. For example, we had this sweet lol who had been paralyzed after a MVA, had her on service for years. I was not her CM, but I had, over the last three years made a few visits here and there, also admitted her husband to service after his surgery, but the last time I went, I greeted her, as I always do, and she made direct eye contact with me and say, "Fine, thank you." She had never spoken to me, or the other nurses before! She had that look of peace that I think people get when they have had a message from the other side, or have been called by a loved one who is already deceased.

    But, I can definitely say in my case, this wasn't a gift I had right out of nursing school, most definitely not! But, maybe after a few years of practice, I learned to listen to my gut feeling.
  11. by   JeannieM
    Although there is research about nursing "intuition" and how an "expert" nurse develops it, I truly feel that those of us drawn to this profession already have a strong gift of "intuition" in place. I can't count how many times I've stood at the doorway of a "stable" patient with "stable" vital signs, resting quietly and in no apparent distress and still had that "gut feeling" that things weren't right. I can't claim this as my special gift, though; other nurses, including students, have also displayed it. I'm not just talking about deterioration or death, either. Have you watched patients, families, even physicians interact and had that gut feeling that things just weren't right? Accept this gift, trust it, use it...and if your intuition turns out to be "wrong", it's probably because you headed off the disaster!
  12. by   fedupnurse
    "just doesn't look right". Happens all the time. When you've been around long enough you can strike fear into the heart of docs by saying "he just doesn't look right." One of our docs, may he rest in peace, said one day I hate it when I hear and he listed about 10 of us, on the phone in the middle of the night cause I know they do everything before calling me and when they say he looks like $hit you better come in, I know I'm in for a long night.
    Sometimes it's the color sometimes it's that they look so good after being so sick for so long. That is the absolute kiss of death when a family of a lifer comes out to tell you the patient looks so good. Call the funeral home, order the flowers and buy that suit cause he's gonna be dead within 48 hours!
  13. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by fedupnurse
    [BThat is the absolute kiss of death when a family of a lifer comes out to tell you the patient looks so good. Call the funeral home, order the flowers and buy that suit cause he's gonna be dead within 48 hours! [/B]
    Oh yeah, I know whatcha mean..... that Last Supper thing? I've seen that a lot.

    And "reaching" --ever seen it when they see stuff you don't and they're trying to touch it?
  14. by   dianah
    Yes, I and others have had those intuitive nudges that say, "all is not well." I have a small eg: I was passing by one of the Xray rooms and got a STRONG feeling to enter, a something-is-not-right-in-this-room feeling. As I opened the door I interrupted the Xray student just beginning to open the door of the IV pump in order to free the tubing so s/he could slip the soiled gown off and a clean gown on the pt. Trouble was, the pt was receiving heparin via the pump, and would've received a large bolus of it if the tubing had been removed from the pump. Student got a little education and a strong reminder to call one of the RNs for ANY question about the IVs (reminder went out to all the staff techs too).

    We have had a few pts in the last 20 years say to us, as they rolled thru the doors (all teary-eyed), "I just don't feel good about having this done today. I feel like I'm going to die." That does it for us, we cancel the case. It's usually been on an elective exam anyway, and we don't feel like tempting fate. If the pt is uncomfortable going thru the exam today, reschedule.

    Have appreciated the other posts on this thread. Thanks to all.

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