Should RNs do housekeeping job or is it our job?

  1. :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
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  2. 73 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    http://allnurses.com/forums/showthre...t=taking+trash


    A link to a housekeeping-related discussion.


    Most places i've worked at, the nurse got rid of the bulk, and housekeeping did the disinfecting. The rationale was that housekeeing didn't know what all germs the pt. had.
  4. by   Tweety
    It took you an hour???? Yikes.

    I'm afraid it's our policy here too that nursing cleans up the mess, housekeeping comes in to sanitize. Sucks doesn't it? I've never had an hour's worth of mess to clean up, but my friend I've cleaned up lots and lots of messes. The first time I had to clean up a mess my reaction was much like yours..........you mean housekeeping doesn't clean????

    Can't believe no coworkers were there for you, but that's another issue.

    I had a patient pull out her IV the other day and I missed a few drops of blood the other day. Literally only a few drops of blood. The housekeeper refused to clean it up until someone came and wiped of those couple of drops of blood.
  5. by   fergus51
    Housekeeping generally did it all where I came from. They are trained to be able to clean up the gross stuff, and infection control just doesn't like nurses crawling around on the ground.
  6. by   RN4NICU
    In a word...


    NO

    It's housekeeping's job. I would not under any circumstances do this for them. If it meant not working in that facility again, so be it. If it is an "exposure" thing, why is it OK for us to be exposed and not them? We all go through the same OSHA required training. The gloves fit everyone...they come in different sizes...HELLLOOO. Did they not expect to come into contact with infectious materials when they decided to work IN A HOSPITAL?????

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!


    When I hear things like this, I just thank God that I do not care for adults. If one of my patients loses more than a 5-10 cc of any body fluid, I'm worried about their circulating volume...
  7. by   ceecel.dee
    Should we have to...no.

    Do we have to...usually.
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from fergus51
    Housekeeping generally did it all where I came from. They are trained to be able to clean up the gross stuff, and infection control just doesn't like nurses crawling around on the ground.
    Fergus, that is my experience as well. I have never heard of such nonsense as housekeeping not cleaning. Infection control and quality management would stroke out if they saw nurses cleaning up this stuff
    IC - RNs should not be crawling around in body fluids and then going to care for other patients. Nosocomial infection anyone?
    QM - RN's are expensive, darn it, it's a waste of hospital money for RNs to do the housekeeper's job...not to mention the patients who are having to wait to be cared for - there goes the Press Gainey satisfaction score. I knew those things had to be good for something. LOL
  9. by   memphispanda
    Our housekeeping does a pretty poor job of cleaning when there isn't anything particularly nasty on the floor. Can't imagine what would happen if we left it to them to clean up the really big messes. We also have the "one drop of blood and housekeeping takes off" problem at our facility. But we usually all pull together and get it taken care of quickly.
  10. by   All_Smiles_RN
    I certainly am not putting my effort into becoming a nurse so that I can play the role of housekeeper. Sure, I'll help out in a bind, but that's not what I'm going to school for. Just my 2 cents worth.
    ...Jennifer...
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from RN4NICU
    In a word...


    NO

    It's housekeeping's job. I would not under any circumstances do this for them. If it meant not working in that facility again, so be it. If it is an "exposure" thing, why is it OK for us to be exposed and not them? We all go through the same OSHA required training. The gloves fit everyone...they come in different sizes...HELLLOOO. Did they not expect to come into contact with infectious materials when they decided to work IN A HOSPITAL?????

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!


    When I hear things like this, I just thank God that I do not care for adults. If one of my patients loses more than a 5-10 cc of any body fluid, I'm worried about their circulating volume...
    It's not the housekeepers themselves who choose not to clean it sometimes, a lot of times its facility policy for them not to touch it first.
  12. by   Lenap
    Thank you all for your replies. I really don't mind cleaning up messes. There must have been million of times when patients vomited on my scrubs or became incontinant and pooped or peed on my shoes! And we almost all the time have like 2 trach patients, so i get to clean up their secretions all shift long. I guess if our nurses were more of a team players-life at work would have been more tolerable. But it made me mad when I came out of that pt's room after cleaning him and his room up and my other 7 patients all had their call lights on. No one came to help w/ lights either. I'll stop complaining now! Thanks for your input!
  13. by   RN Rotten Nurse
    I once told a housekeeper that I would be glad to do her job for her(take out the trash) if she would do my job for me(go clean up a pt. that just sh** the bed). She never again asked me to take out the trash.
  14. by   Rnn2003
    this sound so very familiar...i had the same problems at my hospital as well. i truely feel the enviromental services needs to re-educate house-keeping on how to clean up waste....yesterday my patient was vomiting post-op and house keeping threw a major beep and refused to assist bed side (keeping a 350lb
    17 year old on the table) if any one works in the o.r they know that teenagers are fighters on waking up. it just burns me

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