Should RNs do housekeeping job or is it our job? - page 6

:angryfire Wanted to ask if anyone experienced similar situation and how the issue was handled. 1st of all let me mention that I work for a huge hospital that is considered to be one of the top... Read More

  1. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    The 'housecreeping' comment is just as rude as refering to an RN as 'rude nurse' or an LPN as 'let's pretend nurse'. IMO
  2. by   JudyPRN
    Once upon a time, a nurse's job description included scrubbing the floor of her ward, and in her spare time she was to knit socks for her patients who may not have any. She was to wear black skirts, shirtwaists and a white apron. Her hair was covered by an acceptable cap, also black. Her shift ran from dawn to dusk or dusk to dawn. She got 1 day off and could be excused to attend church services.
    Does it sound like we've gotten very far? Our mode of dress has changed and we do get 2 days off a week. We don't have to knit socks, tho I like doing that personally. In my facility, a 300 bed state psychiatric hospital, the housekeeping staff do the bathrooms, halls and 'public' areas. They wax and buff the day rooms and the activity rooms as well as the halls. They do not touch a patient's room, nor do they clean walls or window sills. Nursing does all the rest. If there is something on the bathroom floor that resembles body fluids, nursing must clean it up before housekeepers go in and clean the room. Now I have complained to all and sundry for the entire 23 years I have worked here. I have been told that they don't touch body fluids. They are trained in universal precautions just like I was. They control the cleaning supplies, which means that while I may be responsible for cleaning the walls, I don't have the supplies to do that. I have also been told that the supervisor of housekeeping believes that since they don't get paid too well, they don't have to do a very good job. I will work to keep my patient's environment clean and safe but I also keep on asking, 'If you want to pay me $25.00 per hour, are you sure you want me to mop this patient's room?' The answer is always 'Yes".
    I am now in an office position, and have learned that I must empty my own trash, sweep my own office floor and keep my space tidy. I understand my doing this for my own personel space, but I still wonder just what housekeepers do. Maybe they need to change their name to floor polishers.
    I have been a nurse for 33 years and have always had to clean body fluids up. Excuses are excuses no matter where they originate. My time in a general hospital showed that housekeepers can actually clean a patient room from top to bottom. But in my present facility, that would take an act of congress.
    That may be more than $.02 worth, but I wanted to jump into this discussion.
  3. by   jaimemds
    It is the nurse's job to ensure the overall health and safety of the patient. If that means cleaning up puke, that's what it means. I have been in healthcare for ten years and it was the nurse's responsibility to clean up the bulk of the mess and then housekeeping would finish and disinfect.
  4. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Because someone asked, this was my typical day as a housekeeper in a nursing facility:

    -Gather the trash 3 times a day, in the resident's room and nurses' station, always jammed full, full pop cans, runny poopy diapers that weren't even supposed to BE in the regular can, but hey that's fine if you're not the one that has to take that bag out later, and hear the *****ing later from the DON because "this hall stinks". This meant picking up when the staff couldn't aim, or simply didn't care if they did. Actually overheard a few say "i don't give a ****. It's their job to clean up after me". Bull****, i worked for the residents, not for the staff.

    -Cleaning the nurses' breakroom (housekeeping weren't allowed in here, they had the choice of eating outside or in the car. We were good enough to clean it, not good enough to sit in it). This meant having to pick up the numerous dinner/lunch trays that, despite numerous lecture about how you are to take your tray to the kitchen when you're done, simply never found their way back to the kitchen, until "SOMEBODY" came along. There are emergency occaisions, but i can recall one in that 6 months.

    -Scraping (with a razor blade) the dried up Jevity that had a diameter of 15 inches. ALL the time, and all it would have taken to keep that (very dangerous) mess from happening would have been to actually PUT the bottle and tubing IN the EMPTY can that was right by the door.

    -Cleaning 36 rooms (on a GOOD day). Wiping the tables and furniture top to bottom, mop the floor, etc. And the bathrooms were a disaster, but go figure, they were WORSE in the rooms where NONE of the residents were able to get up to use the bathroom.




    Yet they were called lazy when they sat down for 2 seconds to wipe off the lobby coffee table. Sometimes you can't win for losing. There's lazy people on both sides of the fence of life.:stone
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Jul 6, '04
  5. by   fergus51
    I don't think any of these comments should be taken as an insult to all housekeeping staff. There are lazy and great workers in that line of work, same as in nursing. I have worked in facilities that had great housekeeping/aide departments (the Canadian ones in particular, I assume because they paid well and the staff were not treated like they were low class workers though that is likely to change in the future). But, I have been in 2 hospitals where the term "housecreeping" would be flattery considering that department's work ethic. People don't realize how important housekeeping's role is until they are left without them. The hospital is REALLY thrown for a loop when one department isn't up to snuff.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    sorry fergie, but often times i feel i have been left without them, even when they were present.
  7. by   Destinystar
    your question cannot be answered correctly by peoples opinions. what does your hospital policy say about housekeeping?? what is the job descripiton for house keepers? is housekeeping in your job description or in the nursing policy hand book. that will give you the correct answer. based on your hospital policy you should be able to decide what your responsibilities are in those situations. do you have a union???? unions are very effective avenues for overiding hospital policies that have nurses performing non nursing jobs. from a nursing practice act point of view the nurses are accountable for providing a safe comfortable environment for the patients. if it were me personally i would clean up the poor patient, then wipe up the vomit with a mop to prevent microbes from becoming air borne and to make the patient and their roomate more comfortable.
    Quote from lenap
    :angryfire wanted to ask if anyone experienced similar situation and how the issue was handled. 1st of all let me mention that i work for a huge hospital that is considered to be one of the top hospitals in the nation, but it seems like there are some holes in the system that no one seem to notice. the issue i have is with the hospital’s housekeeping. it appears to me that they make up their own policies. last weekend i had a really sick patient who had vomited approximately 2.5-3 liters of green bile emesis all over floor and his bed. i had never seen anything like that! he was the 1st patient i saw coming on my shift. i helped pt get washed and called housekeeping. well when housekeeping came they refused to clean the room. making it very clear that they don’t clean up messes like that-it’s nurses job to clean. what they can do is wipe the floor when it’s clean, so it will be disinfected. i spend at least an hour on my knees and used up almost half of our supply of pink pads and towels to dry everything up. it was only after pt had 2 more of episodes of projectile vomiting each approximately 1-2 liters of emesis that the md gave me an ok to put in ngt. my point is having 8 very sick patients that night and spending all shift cleaning up messes and with no help from anyone else, should it be our job to clean up? i am not talking a little mess here-that takes few seconds to clean up, but a time consuming accidents. i had a similar episode maybe a year ago, when a pt had diarrhea and missed the toilet. the diarrhea explosion was all over the floor and bathtub. i was 9 mo pregnant at that time and was told i have to clean it up myself. i brought that up with management last time and was told its not housekeeping job, but ours. also we don’t have any cleaning supply on the floor and must use pt’s bed linen like pink pads and towels to clean up. anyone had similar situations? i don’t think it’s fair that other pts have to miss out on hours of care and get their meds hours late because their nurse is cleaning someone’s room. any input is welcome! thank you.:imbar
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from destinystar
    your question cannot be answered correctly by peoples opinions. what does your hospital policy say about housekeeping?? what is the job descripiton for house keepers? is housekeeping in your job description or in the nursing policy hand book. that will give you the correct answer. based on your hospital policy you should be able to decide what your responsibilities are in those situations. do you have a union???? unions are very effective avenues for overiding hospital policies that have nurses performing non nursing jobs. from a nursing practice act point of view the nurses are accountable for providing a safe comfortable environment for the patients. if it were me personally i would clean up the poor patient, then wipe up the vomit with a mop to prevent microbes from becoming air borne and to make the patient and their roomate more comfortable.
    the poster was asking for people's opinions!

    your patients have roommates??!!
  9. by   fergus51
    Quote from earle58
    sorry fergie, but often times i feel i have been left without them, even when they were present.
    That was actually exactly what I meant. When you go from a hospital with good support staff to one with a terrible department like I did, you really feel the pain and realize how important it is to have GOOD staff That's why I said the term housecreeping would be flatteryLOL!

close