What to do in family emergency situations? - page 2

by treeye 7,675 Views | 39 Comments

Two weeks ago at the beginning of my shift when I was passing meds, my husband called crying because his Dad coded twice in a hospital and was transfered to ICU. He wanted me to come up immidietely because he is afraid his Dad... Read More


  1. 3
    I think that it was very unprofessional for the manager to NOT expedite your departure from the unit. That delay will surely affect your feelings about the incident and about your employment. It does not represent compassionate leadership, IMHO. Many a manager has set aside administrative duties for short periods to support the nursing staff in times of crisis...is your manager not a nurse?
    SHGR, Blackcat99, and barbyann like this.
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    I am so sorry. Years ago when I was in an abusive marriage and when I was abused, I would call in at my nursing home job. I didn't have the best reputation. One sunday morning, my house caught on fire. The nursing supervisor thaught I was just trying to get out of work, I guess, and made me call the fire dept. to confirm that my house was on fire. Then she went to review orders on another unit. Luckily my parents were in the area and I called them so they could go down. I finally got out of there an hour later. My youngest son was burned( he was 5 at the time) but not seriously. I don't understand why supervisors can't get report and take over. I am so so sorry for your loss and that of your family.
    Blackcat99 likes this.
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    I haven't read any of the other responses because what the OP wrote struck a chord.
    I got a call at work that my daughter, who was in the ER at another facility had coded, and I needed to get there ASAP. My fellow nurses immediately divided my pts and after the briefest of reports sent me on my way. We called the boss, but I don't even remember what she said.
    There was no discussion about the work load. The women I worked with that day saw my distress and helped me in the only way they could.
    Even had I stayed and waited for a replacement, I wasn't thinking clearly.
    On that day, nurses treated one of their own, with the same sense of compassion we are expected to give to pts.
    It's hard for me imagine anyone so cold blooded as to prevent a person from being with family in an emergency
    Last edit by imintrouble on Sep 27, '12
    nursel56, Hoozdo, anotherone, and 4 others like this.
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    I am so sorry that this was your experience. It must have felt hard not to feel you let your husband down. My mum died in ICU before any of us had a chance to get there, While like you I had no control of the situation but a deeper part of me had always hoped that as a nurse I could be their for her when her time came and also make it easier on my dad.

    I completely understand the anger you feel. In an emergency 45 mins probably felt hrs. I like earlier post suggestion to bring it up at staff meeting with view to creating a plan that may help in the future.

    I hope your husband was understanding when he learned the details.
    Blackcat99 likes this.
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    The manager was too slow in finding coverage and the report did take too long, that much is true.
    SHGR, xoemmylouox, and Blackcat99 like this.
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    That's awesome that there is amazing teamwork on some units to divide and take over the pts of the nurse in crisis. However, in California, we have staffing ratios and it is absolutely ILLEGAL to have more pt's than ratio allows. I would NEVER do this unless i had empty beds, nor would anyone expect anyone else to do this. We had an RN that had to leave d/t illness and the Charge RN immediately took over until they were able to get someone from the night shift to come in early and take over.
    anotherone likes this.
  7. 2
    Wow that is ridiculous. When I did LTC, there was only me and another LPN for our pts. Her grandmother unexpectedly died on another unit. It's probably easier in LTC since I already knew everyone, but I took the keys and just started passing her meds along with mine. Eventually the supervisor came to help me.

    That just sucks. I'm sorry for your loss and for what happened at work. I've always found it ironic that nurses take care of sick people and are expected to be compassionate and empathetic but a lot of the time we're given grief if we get sick or need some compassion or empathy ourselves.
    anotherone and Blackcat99 like this.
  8. 1
    I am sorry for your loss. As woo said above, trying to coordinate staffing can take some time and I don't believe 45 minutes is that long, but I know if you're in a family emergency, it feels like an eternity. When we work with human lives, we can't just leave. I've lost 3 family members in the last 2 years, so I understand how you're hurting. Maybe when you've had a chance to grieve and feel calm, you can discuss this situation wih the charge nurse, especially if you truly do feel like she was dawdling and taking her time. That being said, considering we're in nursing, I do see where it could be 45 mnutes to get things together. Sending thoughts & prayers to you & your family.
    anotherone likes this.
  9. 2
    Quote from treeye
    Two weeks ago at the beginning of my shift when I was passing meds, my husband called crying because his Dad coded twice in a hospital and was transfered to ICU. He wanted me to come up immidietely because he is afraid his Dad won't make it.

    I was emotionally too. I talked to my boss. She said they will try find someone as soon as they can so I can leave. In the mean time, she told me to finish my med pass. With my coworker's help, I finished med pass in about five minutes, then I sat at the nurses station and wait for the charge nurse to tell me what to do. She walked down the hall twice for something else like nothing happened. She eventually came up to the desk and told me that the rest of the nurses will take two extra pts of mine. When I gave reports to the charge nurse, she grilled me about the pt I just got for one hour. For example, I have to check in the computer for her what type of dressing the pt has for his cellulitis.

    Anyway, I finally left 45 minutes later and by the time I got to the hospital, my father-in-law has already passed away.

    Now the more I think about it, the more I became angry. There were no other emergency in the unit that day, why the charge nurse has to take so long to take my report? Why she can't look for the dressing information in the computer herself?

    It is the first time this happened to me. I know I can't just leave because it counted as abandoning pts and my license can be suspended. However, is it common practice to expect you to stay 45 minutes when your family memeber is dying? and I'm not even talking about the grandparents.
    Stuff like that makes me really really angry...Im not just mad at your charge nurse but also your other co workers, who werent helping you to be able to leave right away. I would proffessionally remind the charge nurse that if you had left earlier you may have seen him. And I would constantly remind her in a proffessional way, and I would also proffessionally remind the staff that worked there that day.
    However at the same time..this is an opportunity for change for the better for all and I hope you take advantage of it. You have the opportunity to use your situation, to get staff and union and go to management and ecourage them to establish a practice for family emergencies, where an individual can leave right away in a family emergency.
    You can use your situation to benefit many more future nurses and staff to come. Please try to take advantage of it, so nobody else would have to go throu what you have experienced.
    DizzyLizzyNurse and Blackcat99 like this.
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    I remember a few years ago a colleague called around 22 pm she wouldn't be in for the nightshifft. She came home found her husband drowned in the tub together with her 1 year old. As she called us the EMTs were still coding her child. I'm still amazed she called in at that time. Long story short I stayed for her nightshift. Even though I had morning shift the day after, we decided the morning shift would do with one person less. I got chewed out by my manager even before asking how our colleague and her child were doing. Some people have just lost all compassion.
    GrnTea, nursel56, anotherone, and 3 others like this.


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