Taking out the trash - page 4

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 stevielynn
    Wow, I guess I've always considered it part of team work. My CNA takes a patient to the shower, I make the bed for her. The dirty linen fills a laundry cart so I take that to the dirty utility room for housekeeping. Grab up the trash on my way out since it was filled with bandages from a dressing change I'd done. I just don't see how that is degrading. If I have time, I help. If I don't, I don't.

    It takes about 10 seconds to grab up a full trash bag, tie a knot in it and pull up a new one from the bottom of the trash can.

    I do phlebotomy in an emergent situation or when lab is backed up and I have time. I do the respiratory treatments. I get the mop out of the housekeeping closet to mop up if need be.

    It also drives me crazy when a nurse will answer a call light and then not help the patient . .instead running all over looking for the aid when the poor patient just needs to pee and pee now for God's sake. How hard is it to help someone up on a commode?

    I think we are splitting hairs here . . . . I'd much rather have a happy team of folks working together than not.

    Empty the trash!

    steph

    Steph, there is a big difference between team work and helping out in a pinch, then being expected to do it. When hospitals cut back on help (and you are lucky to have a CNA to take your patient to the shower) it all falls on the nurse. No housekeeping, then the nurse becomes janitor. No clerk? Then the nurse becomes secretary and janitor and nurse. No transport? Well, just let the nurse do it.

    How much is a nurse supposed to do? Is a nurse supposed to be responsible for everything from pulling trash, mopping spills, answering phones, putting together charts, transporting patients, stocking closets? And not to forget, nurses have also taken over many jobs formerly done by doctors, such as putting in IVs, doing EKGs, and other complex procedures.

    Where does it end? If the admin sees that nurses will pull trash and linens, and clean up the floor, is laundry next? Or prepare meals? It wasn't so long ago that nurses did that. Admin will just keep cutting staff and piling more and more work on nurses. And very soon it will be enshrined in the job decription, and housekeeping will be history.

    No wonder nurses are burned out and complaining that they can't take care of their patients. They're doing everyone's job, and have no time for thier own.

    And nurses who protest having to do these chores are seen as troublemakers, no doubt. Judging from many of the responses on this board.

    Sorry, but I maintain my position. If you allow it go on, it only gets worse. Nurses should be demanding more help, not sweetly grabbing the mop and pail. And not trying to justify it by calling it "teamwork." Teamwork is when the doctor grabs the mop too, and answers the phone. And the RT transports a patient, and pulls the trash from patient rooms.
  2. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from roxannekkb
    Steph, there is a big difference between team work and helping out in a pinch, then being expected to do it. When hospitals cut back on help (and you are lucky to have a CNA to take your patient to the shower) it all falls on the nurse. No housekeeping, then the nurse becomes janitor. No clerk? Then the nurse becomes secretary and janitor and nurse. No transport? Well, just let the nurse do it.

    How much is a nurse supposed to do? Is a nurse supposed to be responsible for everything from pulling trash, mopping spills, answering phones, putting together charts, transporting patients, stocking closets? And not to forget, nurses have also taken over many jobs formerly done by doctors, such as putting in IVs, doing EKGs, and other complex procedures.

    Where does it end? If the admin sees that nurses will pull trash and linens, and clean up the floor, is laundry next? Or prepare meals? It wasn't so long ago that nurses did that. Admin will just keep cutting staff and piling more and more work on nurses. And very soon it will be enshrined in the job decription, and housekeeping will be history.

    No wonder nurses are burned out and complaining that they can't take care of their patients. They're doing everyone's job, and have no time for thier own.

    And nurses who protest having to do these chores are seen as troublemakers, no doubt. Judging from many of the responses on this board.

    Sorry, but I maintain my position. If you allow it go on, it only gets worse. Nurses should be demanding more help, not sweetly grabbing the mop and pail. And not trying to justify it by calling it "teamwork." Teamwork is when the doctor grabs the mop too, and answers the phone. And the RT transports a patient, and pulls the trash from patient rooms.
    i couldn't have said it better myself.
  3. by   Spidey's mom
    Well, as usual we are all speaking from our own personal experiences and look at how varied they are. And someone recently posted a thread about why we don't all speak with one unified voice. :chuckle

    I've worked where I work for almost 6 years and "administration" has yet to change my job description, fire the CNA's, fire housekeeping, fire the kitchen staff, fire maintenance, fire the EMT's, etc.

    I'm sorry Roxanne but speaking for me, just for me, I'll take out the trash.

    steph
  4. by   roxannekkb
    Quote from stevielynn
    I'm sorry Roxanne but speaking for me, just for me, I'll take out the trash.

    steph
    Well, be my guest. And wax the floor while you're at it.

    Yes, we all have different experiences, but it still comes down to the same thing--nurses doing non-nursing chores. And being expected to more and more.

    And people wonder why there's a nursing shortage. And why new nurses are quitting with increasing frequency.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from roxannekkb
    Well, be my guest. And wax the floor while you're at it.

    Yes, we all have different experiences, but it still comes down to the same thing--nurses doing non-nursing chores. And being expected to more and more.

    And people wonder why there's a nursing shortage. And why new nurses are quitting with increasing frequency.
    Well, actually we have a great guy who waxes the floor so there's no need for that or the rolling of the eyes . . I'm not an idiot. And I'm not to blame for the nursing shortage, in fact I bet the nursing shortage has very little to do with grabbing up a full bag of trash in a patient's room and throwing it away. Making a political statement out of every little thing that happens MAY just be one contributing factor to the dissatisfation felt by new nurses. The bitter in-fighting between shifts, the antagonism between nurses and management. Sheesh, instead of trying to figure out how to get along better and have safer staffed floors, we shoot the messenger who decides to take the trash out.

    I've been a nurse now for almost 6 years and MY biggest disappointment is the constant bickering and fighting and moaning and groaning . . . . the political climate around nursing, to be blunt, sucks. And THAT is what they don't teach you in nursing school. I proctered a new nurse a few years ago and one of the points I tried to reiterate was not to join into the bashing of your co-workers. Don't buy into the shift vs. shift blame game . . . the administration is evil/Nurses are angels game . . . the lazy CNA game. Try to remember the job is 24/7, we are teammates, rely on one another, trust each other. Well, he fell fast and deep into the cesspool of blame . . . .like my kids . . "I didn't leave that glass there" . .well, help out anyway and take it to the kitchen!

    I'm not going to fall into that angry mode of thinking . . . . I'm going to help my co-workers and empty the trash and make a bed and help a patient up to a commode and mop up a spill in the middle of the night. And I think I'm smart enough to notice if administration starts making it my job description and starts firing all the other staff . . . I think I might just be able to make my own decision about where to go from there.

    It actually does make a difference where you are coming from. We are not a monolith speaking groupspeak.

    steph
  6. by   leslie :-D
    I'm not going to fall into that angry mode of thinking . . . . I'm going to help my co-workers and empty the trash and make a bed and help a patient up to a commode and mop up a spill in the middle of the night.

    stevielynn,

    i truly don't think that's the dispute here. i personally detest the mentality that projects 'that is beneath me'. you (generically speaking) would hope that team spirit would encompass ALL staff to help out in a pinch. my protest is being expected to do something rather than it being my decision to do so.
  7. by   CCU NRS
    Quote from VAC
    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 nurse that followed me felt the need to point out that the trash can in a paitent's room was full and the room a little untidy when I'd left the morning before. I asked if housekeeping wasn't around all day to do it. We are expected to put away soiled linen bags, and pick up after ourselves, but I draw the line at taking out the trash. Housekeeping seems to be stretched a little too thin.. For the record, the patient insisted he wanted to sleep, as he had just recovered from an episode of shortness of breath, so I chose not to make extra noise in the room making it pretty. My other patients room was left spotless however.

    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
    Ok this is the OP. It would seem that the 1st question is are any of you expected to take out the trash at work?
    To this one I say yes if trash is full and messy I feel that I am expected to create a clean environment for the Pt, I do see this as nursing duty.

    Then it seems like we have a bit of venting which is always allowed and I think the issue here would be more the spirit of what the other nurse said and the manner in which it was delivered, I mean there are ways to say oh BTW the trash was overflowing in room #? so I took care of it, it was really nothing I just thought i would mention it for future reference. Or oh BTW you left room #? really filthy and I don't apreciate it could you not empty the trash when your shift is over?
    To which OP admits being offended and being a bit rude in reply
    "I asked if housekeeping wasn't around all day to do it."

    Then OP present a legitimate reason for leaving the room in such a condition a worn out Pt SOB asked not to be disturbed to catch up on rest this seems acceptable.

    Then OP adds my other Pts room was left spotless, so this would seem that OP does see the connection between a clean room and the duties therein and the sake of Pt request in one room to be let to sleep.

    I agree you will probably not see your dentist or your Gyne taking out the trash but I also assure you they have someone come in between you and the last Pt to place a clean paper on the exam table and clean as needed.

    We are professionals and as such we should all be more tolerant of one another, you perhaps had a tough nite and your SOB PT asked to sleep and the room was not up to your admitted standards, perhaps the person you took report from had a bad day and was just letting off a little steam and the only thing that came to mind was that the trash wasn't emptied.

    Look at the annimosity on this thread over such a simple issue. Yes housekeeping should be responsible for overall cleaning and trash, but yes Nurses should attempt to keep a neat and orderly room and empty trash if needed.

    It is highly unlikely that by occassionally emptying a trash can the entire hospital will begin to revert to The time of Nightingale and expect you to cook meals and do the laundry, however Nightingale was a formidable force in instituting cleanliness and infection control which brought about much of the early reasoning behind keeping things clean, and I do beleive it has always been part of nursing responsibility to provide comfort and cleanliness.

    Good Luck to all and be Kind to each other!
    Last edit by CCU NRS on Mar 15, '04
  8. by   TEXASWAG
    When I occasionally work med surg or tele I do not take the trash out. ICU I might, if it's something really, really offensive. I have so many other things that I have to get done during my shift that taking out the trash just isn't on the top of my list. We have housekeepers were I work who are always available.
  9. by   sjoe
    "Taking out the trash"

    Oops. I figured this thread was about your dating and love life.
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from stevielynn
    Well, actually we have a great guy who waxes the floor so there's no need for that or the rolling of the eyes . . I'm not an idiot. And I'm not to blame for the nursing shortage, in fact I bet the nursing shortage has very little to do with grabbing up a full bag of trash in a patient's room and throwing it away. Making a political statement out of every little thing that happens MAY just be one contributing factor to the dissatisfation felt by new nurses. The bitter in-fighting between shifts, the antagonism between nurses and management. Sheesh, instead of trying to figure out how to get along better and have safer staffed floors, we shoot the messenger who decides to take the trash out.

    I've been a nurse now for almost 6 years and MY biggest disappointment is the constant bickering and fighting and moaning and groaning . . . . the political climate around nursing, to be blunt, sucks. And THAT is what they don't teach you in nursing school. I proctered a new nurse a few years ago and one of the points I tried to reiterate was not to join into the bashing of your co-workers. Don't buy into the shift vs. shift blame game . . . the administration is evil/Nurses are angels game . . . the lazy CNA game. Try to remember the job is 24/7, we are teammates, rely on one another, trust each other. Well, he fell fast and deep into the cesspool of blame . . . .like my kids . . "I didn't leave that glass there" . .well, help out anyway and take it to the kitchen!

    I'm not going to fall into that angry mode of thinking . . . . I'm going to help my co-workers and empty the trash and make a bed and help a patient up to a commode and mop up a spill in the middle of the night. And I think I'm smart enough to notice if administration starts making it my job description and starts firing all the other staff . . . I think I might just be able to make my own decision about where to go from there.

    It actually does make a difference where you are coming from. We are not a monolith speaking groupspeak.

    steph
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAmen!
  11. by   tonchitoRN
    you have time to take out the trash?

    btw - something i was taught a long time ago. no matter how much you wash your hands they are never 100% clean. even though everyone wears gloves and is diligent about washing hands you are never as clean as you think. now i am wondering you as a nurse clean poop and take out the trash and then you do a surgical dressing change or insert an iv. then everyone wonders where that patient caught the nosocomial infection? anyone listening?
  12. by   Tweety
    Good post Steph.

    My take on it is, if it becomes written in the job description and part of the evaluation "nursing to take out trash", then I will object. In the meantime, if it's overflowing and housekeeping is off duty, I'll empty it. Again, I realize that's my decision and I decline to make a complaint or even take notice if the offgoing shift doesn't empty trash. Because it's not their job. I do plenty of things though that isn't my job like defrosting the fridge, cleaning the breakroom, etc. It's going above and beyond when time allows. Just don't "expect" it of me and I'm o.k. Kind of selfish of me I know, that I pick and choose which chores I take on, but that's me.

    If you don't want to empty the trash, then don't. If your coworkers make a big deal of it, who cares what they think. If your manager wants to write you up for not dumping the trash, find another job.
  13. by   CCU NRS
    Quote from tonchitoRN
    you have time to take out the trash?

    btw - something i was taught a long time ago. no matter how much you wash your hands they are never 100% clean. even though everyone wears gloves and is diligent about washing hands you are never as clean as you think. now i am wondering you as a nurse clean poop and take out the trash and then you do a surgical dressing change or insert an iv. then everyone wonders where that patient caught the nosocomial infection? anyone listening?
    you should change your gloves between cleaning poop and doing the dressing change anyone listening?

    I mean you are now equating the emptying of the trash to causing nosocomial, but you feel that leaving the trash in the room is not a problem...breakdown in crtical thinking

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