Where's the Aide?

  1. Yesterday, I had the patient assignment from hell. My side was full, a bunch in isolation, and about 6 that were so much work, I had little time to help the other two nurses that I was assigned to. The aide on the other side is just off of orientation (and she got a much longer orientation than I did). At least three times yesterday, I had nurses from the other side come to me and ask where the aide for their side was. I'd seen her twice during the day. Once when I was in the pantry getting washcloths ready for baths, and again about 1:00 when she decided she was going to lunch. (Never mind I got no lunch yesterday, but that's another story).

    Since the other nurses obviously needed help since they asked me where the aide was, I offered to help. I do this a lot, and I really don't mind. One nurse got an admission, and since I was doing vitals on my side, I offered to do this patient's admission vitals. While we were in the room, I could tell the nurse was livid about not being able to find the aide. After the patient was settled, we left the room so the family could go in and she thanked me. I told her it wasn't a problem, and she said "Yes, it IS a problem. You shouldn't have to stop your work and do hers." I told her I didn't mind, but I could tell she was still really angry, so I let it go.

    Then the other nurse comes to me and asked if I saw the other aide. I said "not for about 2 hours" and asked if she needed help. She said she did, but then she said the aide "said she was coming right back."

    Should I have helped her? I got the feeling she didn't want my help, so I went back to my vitals.
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   nrsang97
    I know what you are going through. There is always one person on the floor everywhere I have worked that can pull a good disappearing act when they feel like it. Since this continues to be a problem I would suggest that the nurses on the floor bring it to the managers attention. I would also suggest that they document when and how long she disappears.

    I had a nurse do that to me in the ICU when the pt he was taking care of was desating. I was in charge and had 2 stable patients and his sick one. I was running around like a crazy woman. I wasn't able to find him after calling his phone (floor assigned) and looking in the break room and asking if others are covering for him. I finally got mad and checked the phone list and called his personal cell and he answered. He was in a room on the other side of the unit. He did finally come and care for his pt. I did go to the manager and the issue was addressed. He was mad at me for a while but no issues after.

    I would also suggest that if the nurses are required to carry phones then the manager get some extras for the assistants. This can help. That made a difference on the previous unit I worked.

    As for helping the nurse, if you offered your help and she didn't take you up on your offer let it go.
  4. by   RNperdiem
    Perhaps the vanishing aide will disappear for good?
    Helping cover for an aide who is having a difficult day is fine, but if it becomes frequent, the care of your patients will suffer,and you will be blamed.
    Yes, offering to help the nurse was good. Don't take it personally if she turned down your assistance.
  5. by   Ms Kylee
    I don't mind helping the nurses since that is what I am there for. What I do mind is the same nurses coming to me and asking more than once where the aide is. I didn't take it personally that the other nurse didn't want my help. We sort of have a history, so I try to stay out of her way. I think other aide took over an hour for lunch, but I can't prove that.
  6. by   ginger58
    Where's the charge nurse? Where's your manager? They need to know this. I would have the charge tell this aide that everytime she leaves the floor she needs to tell her or report to her/him where they'll be. Then personally I'd check with my patients and without creating suspicion, just ask the patient what the aide has helped them with today.

    I can tell you where our aides used to go: out to smoke frequently, hide in a room with a housekeeper and chat, cafeteria.

    Maybe this person needs another job. Getting paid far more than they're worth.
  7. by   Medic04
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Perhaps the vanishing aide will disappear for good?
    Helping cover for an aide who is having a difficult day is fine, but if it becomes frequent, the care of your patients will suffer,and you will be blamed.
    Yes, offering to help the nurse was good. Don't take it personally if she turned down your assistance.
    No I work with one who "vanishes" quite frequently. Management loves her, and no, they go no where ( talked too or job loss)cause they"Work so hard........"
  8. by   nurz2be
    Quote from Kylee45
    Yesterday, I had the patient assignment from hell. My side was full, a bunch in isolation, and about 6 that were so much work, I had little time to help the other two nurses that I was assigned to. The aide on the other side is just off of orientation (and she got a much longer orientation than I did). At least three times yesterday, I had nurses from the other side come to me and ask where the aide for their side was. I'd seen her twice during the day. Once when I was in the pantry getting washcloths ready for baths, and again about 1:00 when she decided she was going to lunch. (Never mind I got no lunch yesterday, but that's another story).

    Since the other nurses obviously needed help since they asked me where the aide was, I offered to help. I do this a lot, and I really don't mind. One nurse got an admission, and since I was doing vitals on my side, I offered to do this patient's admission vitals. While we were in the room, I could tell the nurse was livid about not being able to find the aide. After the patient was settled, we left the room so the family could go in and she thanked me. I told her it wasn't a problem, and she said "Yes, it IS a problem. You shouldn't have to stop your work and do hers." I told her I didn't mind, but I could tell she was still really angry, so I let it go.

    Then the other nurse comes to me and asked if I saw the other aide. I said "not for about 2 hours" and asked if she needed help. She said she did, but then she said the aide "said she was coming right back."

    Should I have helped her? I got the feeling she didn't want my help, so I went back to my vitals.
    The incredible vanishing nurse aid.

    One thing I will tell you is that IF you continue Covering her work they will NOT see what she is lacking. If you tell the other nurses politely that you are really too busy with your own 475,000 patients, slight exaggeration, but you would help if you had time. They will get pissed enough to find the "I V N A" and make her magically reappear. Nurses are magical like that (wink wink). Seriously, DO NOT cover her patient load. It is NOT your responsibility and you SHOULD NOT let her pull her magic act. Be tough, like MOST nurse aids I know. Don't take the guff.
  9. by   TiggerBelly
    I know where you are coming from. There are days when I work with two other aides who are joined at the hip and they seem to disappear together. I don't mind helping people out, but you get to a point where you are physically and mentally worn out by the end of the shift. I would tell the charge nurse and manager that this aide seems to disappear quite frequently and that it is affecting patient care. Since the other nurses seem to notice her vanishing act too, they will back you up if asked. As far as the nurse who turned down your help, I wouldn't worry about her. You offered your assistance, she declined. Thats her problem.
  10. by   swee2000
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Helping cover for an aide who is having a difficult day is fine, but if it becomes frequent, the care of your patients will suffer,and you will be blamed.
    As the poster above mentioned, there's nothing wrong with helping out another aide who is busy or having a bad day. I did it all the time as a CNA and still do now as an LPN. And I also expect that my coworkers will do the same for me. To me, that's what teamwork is all about.

    However, in getting back to the OP issue, not only are you helping out the nurses, but you're also inadvertantly helping out the "disappearing" aide. Here's why: Everytime you jump in to assist a nurse whose aide has gone MIA, you also unintentionally help that aide to get away with her actions because she sees you're willing to pick up her slack & do the work for her. Thus, you've not only covered her a** and enabled her to continue on "disappearing", but you've also put yourself right in the middle of the issue.

    I know you mean well and want to be viewed as a helpful & generous person, which I don't doubt you are. I can relate to that and have probably done the same thing. But there's a difference between helping and doing, as well as asking for/needing help and taking advantage of someone's offer to help. From the sound of your post, this other aide is walking all over you.....and you're doing nothing to stop her. And everyone, except you, sees this(that could be part of the reason why the nurses are getting so frustrated). So get a backbone, become assertive, and open your eyes & realize that nothing will change &/or be corrected regarding the other aides behavior until you speak-up and do something about it. Otherwise, you have no one else to blame when she continues on walking & disappearing, walking & disappearing, walking & disappearing.
  11. by   Ms Kylee
    This was the first day I worked with her as she is new, and always had a preceptor before-- working the other side of the floor. What bothered me about this one was I found out she never did the AC breakfast blood sugars on her patients (and I found this out way after they had all eaten). From what I've heard from the other aides, she's very untrainable and does whatever she wants. I've only had one experience, and I can say I am not impressed.

    However, I hope I only need to suck it up a little bit longer... I keep praying I'll get the job in Hospice, and I'm sure the nurses will be telling the unit manager about what happened yesterday as the one was very angry (and I don't see her get angry very often). She's the one that will speak her mind.
  12. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from nurz2be
    If you tell the other nurses politely that you are really too busy with your own 475,000 patients, slight exaggeration,
    That really hit my funny bone-and some days it really does feel as though I have that many patients all clamoring for attention...I do agree that it is not up to you to jump in and do the other aides work-that takes you away from your group.The nurses obviuosly see the problem-let them step up and do what they should be doing.I would have her report to me before and after every break -if she refused to do so and continued to "disappear" I would PAGE her and write it up....They need to handle this.I like that you pitch in-I will,too Sounds like you really like your job and care about doing it well...The nurses should show you how much they appreciate you by getting rid of the dead wt....
  13. by   locolorenzo22
    common courtesy says that if she's going in a room for a bath, or going to take a while, she tells you...I've NEVER had a bath last more than 30 mins, and the only time I was swamped and in a room every 15 mins was when a woman was getting go lytely down a NG....whoo.
    Next time you work with you, mention that you expect her to come find you if she's having problems, leaving the unit, or taking lunch. If it's busy, mention that lunch is impossible right now, but later it'd be ok...etc.
  14. by   swee2000
    Quote from Kylee45
    This was the first day I worked with her as she is new, and always had a preceptor before-- working the other side of the floor. What bothered me about this one was I found out she never did the AC breakfast blood sugars on her patients (and I found this out way after they had all eaten). From what I've heard from the other aides, she's very untrainable and does whatever she wants. I've only had one experience, and I can say I am not impressed.

    However, I hope I only need to suck it up a little bit longer... I keep praying I'll get the job in Hospice, and I'm sure the nurses will be telling the unit manager about what happened yesterday as the one was very angry (and I don't see her get angry very often). She's the one that will speak her mind.
    I must've skipped over the part in your OP where you mentioned this other aide was just off orientation. That, in itself, should make you &/or the nurses want to say something so that you can put a stop to bad or old habits before things get any worse. Considering she is new to the facility, try talking to her first and nicely pointing out what's bothering you & the nurses. Then, if that doesn't work &/or the problems continue, approach the manager. Does this aide have any prior experience working as one? Regardless, as I said earlier, "Nothing will change &/or be corrected regarding the other aide's behavior until you speak-up and do something about it."

    Ironically, now that I'm aware of her just getting off orientation, your story sounds eerily familiar to what I just got done dealing with last week. I was training a brand new LPN whose only job experience was as an LPN at a LTC facility for 2 months prior to this job. He never worked anywhere as a CNA. So to put it mildly, the past 2 months of training him were a hair-pulling nightmare. No matter what I said or did to help him, the same issues kept coming up. And I did say something, and several times, to the higher ups regarding his progress, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, they were all about giving him the benefit of the doubt and would only say to me "He just needs more time" or "He's still learning". I hope to God they were right because he's now off orientation and, when he comes back from vacation, will be taking patients all on his own w/o someone standing in the shadows to guide him along. Honestly, it was very frustrating being his preceptor because I had never dealt with an orientee who struggled so much & just "didn't get it", and at the same time, lacked the support of higher ups who couldn't even give me suggestions or ideas on how to "fix the issues" when everything else failed. And if they're not willing to support me or take me seriously, who will?
    Last edit by swee2000 on Nov 20, '07

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