Taking out the trash - page 2

Are any of you expected to take out the trash at work? I'm not talking about picking up after yourself in general, but taking the bag of trash to the soiled utility room. I got offended when a... Read More

  1. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from RNPATL
    Ok - I can agree that a tidy room is within the nurses realm of reasonable responsibility. I can also agree that if the trash is overflowing that is should be taken out of the room. I am totally committed to the patient's comfort, but there are limits to what nurses should have to do . I have all I can do to manage my patient assignment most days let alone take out garbage. By the time my shift is getting ready to end, I generally still have 3 hours of work to do in about 30 minutes :angryfire . Trust me, taking out the garbage is the last thing on my priority list. I have to agree with VAC in that nurses have a lot of stuff thrust upon them to do. I think that meeting my patient's clinical needs takes priority over taking out garbage. Am I wrong here :uhoh21: ?
    I agree, taking out the trash is not a priority. Maybe I'm one of the lone voices of dissent, but taking out trash is not part of a nurse's job. And it's not a matter of it "Being beneath you," it's a matter of how one defines their job. I can see if it's really overflowing in a patient's room, but it should not be a routine thing, and housekeeping should be called. And if housekeeping is spread thin, ie, like the hospital trying to save money, then complain about it. If nurses keep doing everyone else's jobs, the work just gets piled on.

    Do the unit secretaries pull the trash? Do the doctors? Do the respiratory therapists? Do the pharmacists? So why does everything automatically fall to the nurse. What next? Will it become part of the job description--pull linens and trash? Don't laugh, when I was working in the mid-1990s, it was part of it. I refused, but other nurses did it.

    Will mopping the floor come next? Preparing meals? Laundry? How many of you work in units without full time clerks? Do you have to answer phones, do charts, etc?

    Nurses fought hard to get rid of these chores, so they could spend time doing clinical work. And now it seems it's coming back around.

    Sorry, but I don't see it as a nurse's job. Let the CEO come down and pull the trash, or the nurse manager, or the department head. The more you do, the more management will just heap upon you.
  2. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from VAC
    What would you think if you went to a dentist, lawyer or gynecologist and you saw them taking out the garbage at their place of business. Aren't we also professionals? Let me know if my thinking is off the wall before I fire off an E-mail to my manager. And thanks for letting me rant :angryfire
    Wouldn't fire off anything to the manager. That might come across as thinking that you're too good to take out the trash. And that wouldn't look good.
  3. by   CCU NRS
    Quote from RNPATL
    Ok - I can agree that a tidy room is within the nurses realm of reasonable responsibility. I can also agree that if the trash is overflowing that is should be taken out of the room. I am totally committed to the patient's comfort, but there are limits to what nurses should have to do . I have all I can do to manage my patient assignment most days let alone take out garbage. By the time my shift is getting ready to end, I generally still have 3 hours of work to do in about 30 minutes :angryfire . Trust me, taking out the garbage is the last thing on my priority list. I have to agree with VAC in that nurses have a lot of stuff thrust upon them to do. I think that meeting my patient's clinical needs takes priority over taking out garbage. Am I wrong here :uhoh21: ?
    I did not see this as a question of prioritites personally. I thought the question was should you empty trash, If you have urgent medical needs then of course you are not going to stop performing important medical interventions in favor of emptying the trash, but if your shift is ending and you have completed the tasks that need to be completed, and the trash is full then by all means leave the room in a clean orderly manner for your replacement. If you clean someone of incontinance and there is a large stool in the linens you remove you do take the linen bag out to the dirty utility room right? I mean you don't leave the dirty linens in the room stinking your Pt out of the room do you? Trash is dirty and smelly and if it is full should be taken out, if you can get a housekeeper to come and empty the trash then more power to you. One of my pet peeves is a person (any person not just nurses) that will go out of their way to avoid doing some minor easy task and chase someone all over the unit and make two phone calls and then complain about the time it took to get someone else to do a task that could have been easily performed by the person in a matter of seconds and the entire issue is just an excuse to waste time and effort.

    example: call light is on nurse walks in the room and asks what the Pt needs? They say they would like water pitcher filled. Nurse will walk to the other end of the hall and search for this Pts nurse and find her/him perfroming some other task say passing a pain med and they tell that nnurse your Pt in room so & ao would like a pitcher of water.

    This person that answered the call light could have more easily just taken the pitcher to the ice/water machine filled it and returned and been done if you are not sure if they are NPO check the chart on your way and find out this is still much easier and more efficient than chasing down a nurse and then telling her/him about the probelm.
  4. by   duckboy20
    If we think we are above taking out trash simply because we have an RN or LPN or what have you behind our name then we have got major delusions of grandeur.
  5. by   leslie :-D
    well, it seems i stand alone on this....our housekeeping dept. has very specified dos and don'ts in their contractual duties. i will empty trash or clean a room since we're all there to serve our pts. however, i absolutely refuse to have this incorporated into my job description. i have to and do draw a line. i've put my foot down to the housekeeping supervisor and have even told the nsg. assistants that they do NOT have to do such and such. it's not a matter of what's beneath me but a matter of what is relevant to what i do as a nurse and its' relevance. if trash is overflowing every day of the week or floors are messy every day of the week, then something needs to be addressed with housekeeping. i believe in team work but absolutely will not be housekeeper and nurse. no way.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    The only time we really have a trash overflow problem is in the isolation rooms. And we ARE responsible for bagging that up if it's full.
  7. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    We (nurses and techs) take out all the red-bag trash cans each day in our dialysis unit. The janitorial contractors, who come in after the unit closes, have it written into their contract that they are not to touch any biohazard trash.
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I forgot to add that too, housekeeping is not allowed to touch any red-bag trash, the "Red Team" in waste management take this stuff out.
  9. by   Tweety
    A lot of times the trash is full of nasty stuff and housekeeping only comes in to clean during days. So I don't mind emptying it. But never have I ever complained that someone before me left the trash full. I let the nurses decide for themselves without building it into their job description.

    Interestingly enough on our unit, the CNAs presume it's part of their job to empty the trash qshift and leave the next shift an empty trash can.
  10. by   nursenatalie
    I think the issue is that the nurse following complained...that is quite nit-picky. The fact that she complained implied that he had not done something he was expected to do. I work nights and have been called at 10AM by a nurse asking if I did an 0600 CBG~which was documented on the MAR and nurses notes... she said she had looked at the MAR and couldnt find it and while she had me on the phone she found it!! By this time I was fully awake and promising to call her at 2AM with any questions I might have!! I am super-sensitive to "complaints" from on-coming shifts now. Sorry guys, within reason I believe in taking out the trash and have done it often but would never complain to a nurse if it was not emptied and if I have time to complain then I have time to empty it myself...this is not on the top of the list of priorities so if it is the only thing left then hallelujah!
  11. by   RNPATL
    I certainly did not say I am above taking out trash and yes, it is a part of our priorities. I mean, if the nurse is expected to take out the trash, then what, on our list of priorities for the day should be removed. I guess my response was more related to working on a busy unit. Trash is the least of my concerns. Sorry, but I have all I can do to manage what is happening in my day let alone worry about the trash. For those of you who take out the trash, are you carrying a patient assignment that allows you the time to perform this task?

    I did not mean any disrespect at all and in fact value the contribution of the housekeeping team. But I have to agree with Roxanne, in that nursing has come a long way and taking out trash should not have to be one of our responsibilities. I also agree that if taking out the garbage is such a priority for people, then perhaps it should also be added to the list of tasks for the pharmacist, respiratory and the clinical dietition. And, finally, if the hospital is so cheap that they do not have sufficient help in housekeeping, then that is not my problem and maybe the CEO should come an empty the garbage.
  12. by   uk_nurse
    we are lucky on our unit we have not had any real problems with the rubbish bins. It is very rarely we empty the bins.The house keepers are there all day (they do shifts) and leave about 8ish.To be honest i have never had to empty a bin but if the need arose i would, if i was not busy caring for my patients.
  13. by   Agnus
    Quote from roxannekkb
    Do the unit secretaries pull the trash? Do the doctors? Do the respiratory therapists? Do the pharmacists? So why does everything automatically fall to the nurse. What next? Will it become part of the job description--pull linens and trash? Don't laugh, when I was working in the mid-1990s, it was part of it. I refused, but other nurses did it.

    Will mopping the floor come next? Preparing meals? Laundry? How many of you work in units without full time clerks? Do you have to answer phones, do charts, etc?

    Nurses fought hard to get rid of these chores, so they could spend time doing clinical work. And now it seems it's coming back around.

    Sorry, but I don't see it as a nurse's job. Let the CEO come down and pull the trash, or the nurse manager, or the department head. The more you do, the more management will just heap upon you.
    Sorry where I have worked the CEO does do trash as, does the pharmasist, and department heads and unit secretaries, and resp therapist.

    Your slippery slope therory that if we do this then automatically other things follow does not hold water nor is it even logical.

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