I have recently returned to working on the medical floor. I have been a nurse since 1985, so I am not new, and I try to stay current with new surgeries, tests, and procedures.
At the facility where I currently work, the doctor's and anesthesiologist's do not have their consents signed, but leave it to the nursing staff. The nurses have always accepted that responsibility because the "doctor's are so busy."
Sometimes the anesthesiologist does not even see the patient or their chart until they roll into surgery. They will call and ask the nurse assigned to that patient fifty-trillion questions as they order you to get the permit signed "before they come up."
Several times I have had patients tell me they were uncomfortable signing the consents or did not want to sign until they talked to their doctor.
I have refused to have the consents signed on numerous occasions and was taught that nurses are to witness "signature" only. I do not believe that "explaining" the procedure and the risks and marking any "additional" procedures is within my scope of care. Specially since the cardiac caths are done at a hospital across town.
My nurse manager is supportive and is also new to this facility. He says that I am right not to have anyone sign if they are unsure. I believe that I am doing the right thing, but it certainly is not popular the doctor's or the other nurses who think I just want to make waves.
Am I doing the right thing? Any comments would be very much appreciated.