Was I wrong or would you be mad too??

  1. I was so upset the other night, I really needed all of your professional opinions!!!

    I am changing my place of employment next week and hopefully will not have to deal with the following problem (as much) there!

    I had been sick for about a week. Head cold, fever, cough, etc. but was on antibiotics and was getting better, just really drained and exhausted easily. I work in OB but the department was "closed" that night when I came on duty. There are two OB nurses assigned per shift to the department.

    I went on the Med/Surg floor to "float" for the night (7p-7a). Well, a labor patient came in and I get her on the monitor etc..., she was not in labor. Well, the other OB nurse came into the department and told me to take a patient assignment on the Med/Surg floor so that she would be in OB. I would not have had a problem with that except within the past hour I felt REALLY REALLY bad. Dizzy, ear pain, temp 37.4 after taking Ibuprofen and literally unable to think.

    Well, my patient load consisted of 10 patients!!! There were only two other Med-Surg nurses scheduled on the floor (40 bed unit!). I told the supervisor that I could not take that much responsibility in my condition and didn't feel that I could give good patient care with 10 patients and only 1/2 of me. I actually came into work because I hate leaving the staff short an RN, but I could legitimately called in sick.

    She told me she didn't know what to tell me but there was no one else that she could call in. I was so upset because first of all, this is my license on the line if a mistake is made due to any nursing error. Also, since they knew it was one of my last nights, the OB nurse was really rude to me and so was the supervisor. She ended up telling me to go home and they would manage!!!

    I am supposed to work again tomorrow and still feel like crap. It is my LAST night to work there, thank God!!! I know that nurses float, I NEVER have a problem with that. I ALWAYS went in extra to work when the hospital called due to census being high. I am not lazy but not crazy either!!!

    That hospital relied on OB nurses to actually take a patient load...which leaves the patients and the other nurses in a bad situation. Does anyone else have this problem all the time????? And did I over-react?
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   passing thru
    Aaaah, When I think back on all the nights I have gone to work sick, very sick, and sick !!!
    And all the nights I got sick after I got to work; makes me feel sick thinking about it.
    Nights I've spent on the potty, nights I puked a few times. Nights I checked my blood pressure.....and blood sugar....and envied the patients I was caring for, knowing full well I was sicker than they were.
    We've all been there.
    Sometimes you gotta just suck it up and give it your best !
  4. by   jaxnRN
    I guess that TEN patients just threw me over the edge. And that was not counting admissions sure to arrive that night. And all the while our hospital is convinced that we have adequate staffing of nurses on all shifts!!
  5. by   ceecel.dee
    You had no business showing up when you know full well that YOU are to care for the patients, not be taken care of.

    You cannot delivery a newborn with the flu! As helpful as you think you are, this is NOT helping!

    Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of the others!
  6. by   Tweety
    Ten patients would throw me over the edge on a good day. Geesh.

    Agreed that you should have called in sick. They wouldn't have believed you since your quitting so soon, but what the heck, you were sick.

    Also, as a very occasional supervisor who has listened to numerous complaints about floating, the "too sick to float" excuse goes on deaf ears because I've heard it over and over again. Sorry. Sad but true.
  7. by   Little One2
    I agree, should of called in sick if you were not feeling well. Ten patients is a very heavy workload on a night shift. You need all the energy you have to get through the night. Need all your six senses. Should alert and able to function.

    By coming in not feeling well, may cause lack of judgement, errors, and a possibly other problems could come up unexpectedly you may not be able handle when not fully well.

    Managers may say too many people call in sick just for the sake of not coming to work. But, if you are not well then you are not well.

    Put yourself first before you patients. You don't anything to jeopardize patient care.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Not only are you NOT wrong to be mad but it was downright dangerous and it is your responbility to stop THIS!

    As an OB nurse who has floated to other units, I make it clear I will NOT take a patient load on for two reasons. One, I am NOT experienced in that area and am not comfortable doing things I never do. Two, a labor patient MAY come in and I MAY at ANY moment be called down to handle it. THEN who handles the 10 patients in med/surg when I have to go? I am happy to do gopher work; do IV's, foleys, pass meds, run to lab/central whatever, but WILL NOT TAKE ON A PATIENT LOAD INDEPENDENTLY, period.

    What went on that night with you----IT WAS DANGEROUS--- and you need to speak to your manager about this post-haste. NOW.......immediately.---- well as soon as you are feeling better. Good luck!
  9. by   ShandyLynnRN
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    Not only are you NOT wrong to be mad but it was downright dangerous and it is your responbility to stop THIS!

    As an OB nurse who has floated to other units, I make it clear I will NOT take a patient load on for two reasons. One, I am NOT experienced in that area and am not comfortable doing things I never do. Two, a labor patient MAY come in and I MAY at ANY moment be called down to handle it. THEN who handles the 10 patients in med/surg when I have to go? I am happy to do gopher work; do IV's, foleys, pass meds, run to lab/central whatever, but WILL NOT TAKE ON A PATIENT LOAD INDEPENDENTLY, period.

    What went on that night with you----IT WAS DANGEROUS--- and you need to speak to your manager about this post-haste. NOW.......immediately.---- well as soon as you are feeling better. Good luck!
    ^^^ what she said.

    And why did the other OB nurse make you go back to M/S when you were the one that checked in the OB patient? Doesn't make sense to me. Ofcourse, I CAN understand it if it was because you were sick, and didn't want to pass anything to a preggo. But I also agree with those who said that you shouldn't come to work when you are sick. ESPECIALLY when you work OB and might have to take care of a newborn.

    When I float to M/S, if I have to take any infectious patients, I am supposed to shower and change if I get a labor patient in.

    I also don't take patient loads. I will do assessments, treatments, meds, admissions, etc... but I always make sure that there is another nurse that knows the patients, and is able to fully take over without having to get a report from me first.
  10. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Whether or not you should have been the one to go back to OB isn't really the point here. You really shouldn't have been at work at all if you were sick.
  11. by   gwenith
    Bottom line - we don't get thanked for turning up sick and I know we all feel the "guilts" for not being there when they are short staffed. I learnt my lesson years ago - kept doing unpaid overtime until I finally complained to my supervisor and she told me that it wasn't her fault my social life was so poor that I needed to stay at work. NEVER NEVER AGAIN! Martyrdom only generates expectatons of martyrdom.

    Don't do it.
  12. by   Sourdough
    10 patients on a med/surg floor is at least the norm...but no, you shouldn't have come to work sick...I have heard that from one too many nurse...it usually means I'm too sick to work, but thought if I showed up I could help....wrong...you were being counted on, so if you can't do the job, you have no business being there...
  13. by   passing thru
    3rd shift guy,....LOL had a good laugh over your comment, ""too sick to float""...it is true though. Even if you're sicker'n a dog, you can get thru the shift by rote on your own unit. Sometimes , the prospect of having to float....well, if your'e sick, the mental/emotional and physical reserves just aren't there. I think the original poster here was trying "to do the right thing." Coming in since she was scheduled, etc.
    Newborns don't kick-off from the l&d nurse having a cold. she was way past that, being on her antibiotics, etc.
    if newborns got sick cause the l and d nurse had a cold, then all of our newborns would be sick.
    it's flu city here and has been for four months....maybe six.
    i still say, if you're in the middle of it. just take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other and start counting down til the shift will be over...just suck it in !
  14. by   GraceyB
    I think that most times we are too loyal to our jobs but management just doesn't give a damn about us. Hope you feel better soon and good luck on your new job.

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