Worst nursing experience

  1. Hope you guys don't mind sharing this. What was your worst nursing related experience? Could be dealing with a patient and something disgusting happening, or a fight with a coworker or something else. Looking forward to your replies
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   Cute_CNA
    Worst? No comment.

    I had a pretty crappy experience today, though. I had some colorful words to call that nurse afterwards, too.

    But I don't feel like talking about it.

    Sorry to be a spoil-sport. I'm just acknowledging that poo happens. And it stinks.
  4. by   VeryPlainJane
    Preparing the body of a 3 year old that was beaten to death for wetting himself.
  5. by   sjb2005
    Oh Boy! I've got some horror stories!!!!! How about the time I was working a subacute vent unit in Las Vegas. There was lighting storm. It was Labor Day. I took my orientee out to view the spectacular lightning show outside. Suddenly, the building behind us went BLACK. I thought to myself, "This can't be good!" I raced in the building. It was pitch black. I couldn't find a flashlight. I knew I had one in my bag. I dug around in the dark, under the desk. I finally found my bag which had a flashlight in it. I got it out. I directed my orientee to call the DON. All of the flashlights that we found did not work. After we found the emergency numbers, she started to call. I went to the first patient's room to find out that her ventilator had failed. No back up generator power and the battery on the vent had failed. Fortunately, I had a respiratory therapist helping me. He set her up with an ambu bag in the dark and started ventilations. I took over so he could move on to the next room. I hollared to my LPNs for help. One took over ventilations so I could move on to other rooms. On to the next room, it was the same situation. Over all, 6 out of 8 vent patients were needing mechanical ventilations. I called over to the long term care building. The generators were functioning over there, fortunately. I requested any help they could send. Several CNAs came over, got a crash course in how to ventilate patients with an ambu bag. They were marvelous.

    Oh, it's not over yet....The patient I intervened with first, began having tremendous secretions, she was gurgling and struggling to get a breath through her trach. Since my portable suction only worked with electricity, I called 911 for help. When they arrived, they were obviously put out by my needs stating how there were important calls they needed to attend to. I demanded for them to suction the patient and get a clear airway for ventilations and that we were doing the best we could and we might need their assistance. They complied and stated, "Your on your own".
    I came to my ambulatory and alert vent patient who was having difficulty with the mechanical ventilations. He was diaphretic, unable to verbalize and becoming very anxious. He was sweating, tachycardic and the air conditioning had failed on a very hot night. I called the hospital nearest to the facility. The triage nurse chastized me. They were not able to take all of our distressed vent patients. I assured her that we were handling the situation and would only send patients on an emergency basis. She decided to accept this patient. I had my orientee assisted me to get him ready for transport.
    In the mean time , the maintenance man had come along with the facility educator who lived very close. I asked the facility educator, "were can we find batteries for the flashlights". She explained, "batteries were not available due to previous problems with theft". After an hour or so of this calamity, we had intermitent power via generator. Unfortunately, the thermostat of the generator had burnt out. The maintenance man had burnt his arm trying to get this under control. We had intermitent power for several hours. Then the maintenance man took me outside in the pouring rain. He showed me how to kick start the generatoe so that we had auxilary power. I wished they had showed me this during my orientation just the month before.

    The DON said, "You mean the call lights don't work?" The administrator came in within 2 hours to help. It was much appreciated. Oh well, the patients on two other wings had no emergency oxygen and were on flat air beds for four hours, but all patients survived without adverse effects. I quit a month later.
    This was by far the worst experience I had as a nurse. I have more less exciting stories, but, unfortunately, they are all true. Shelly
    Quote from Alpha13
    Hope you guys don't mind sharing this. What was your worst nursing related experience? Could be dealing with a patient and something disgusting happening, or a fight with a coworker or something else. Looking forward to your replies
  6. by   Retired R.N.
    Quote from Alpha13
    Hope you guys don't mind sharing this. What was your worst nursing related experience? Could be dealing with a patient and something disgusting happening, or a fight with a coworker or something else. Looking forward to your replies
    The very worst was scrubbing for the delivery of a thalidomide baby and then taking that deformed body to the morgue.
  7. by   sjb2005
    I have always been reluctant to practice with babies and kids because of the stress it causes. Thank the Lord for nurses like you.Shelly
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    The very worst was scrubbing for the delivery of a thalidomide baby and then taking that deformed body to the morgue.
  8. by   sjb2005
    Thank You for the great nurse that your are! Shelly
    Quote from VeryPlainJane
    Preparing the body of a 3 year old that was beaten to death for wetting himself.
  9. by   sjb2005
    Tell Me! Don't hold it in. I will share my fun nursing stories with you. Maybe you will LOL. Shelly
    Quote from Cute_CNA
    Worst? No comment.

    I had a pretty crappy experience today, though. I had some colorful words to call that nurse afterwards, too.

    But I don't feel like talking about it.

    Sorry to be a spoil-sport. I'm just acknowledging that poo happens. And it stinks.
  10. by   Cute_CNA
    No, not now.

    I work at a psychiatric facility, so any stories I might have are a bit different from the other stories thus far.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    i was working a sunday afternoon in an icu with ventilated patients, patients on dialysis, and a number of eps patients with dangerous ventricular arrhythmias. this was the day the hospital had elected to change out the generators. as they were lifting the old back-up generator out with a crane to replace it with a brand new generator, the crans slipped and dropped the old generator right on top of the functioning generator . . . with predictable results. the ensuing black-out didn't affect the entire hospital -- just the tower that contained the or, the er and all of the icus.

    our ventilators had battery back-up for about an hour. but our monitors went down, and we had only two portables for 5 eps patients. the dialysis machines went down -- the dialysis nurses were hand cranking the blood back into their patients. the elevators stopped between floors -- one of them with a patient coming back from surgery. in the dark, the patient extubated herself and the anesthesiologist, and or transporters were scrambling around in the dark to re-intubate her without all of the supplies they needed. (i'm a little fuzzy on this because it wasn't a patient destined for our unit, but it seems that she went into larygylspasm (sp?) and they ended up traching her. in the dark. she did ok, too!)

    our phone system went down and we ran out to the lobby to use the pay phone to call the fire department to bring their generators., maintence to string extension cords from the parts of the hospital with electricity and the nursing supervisor and aod to get us some help. i'll never forget the medical director of our unit . . . he happened to be walking through the unit as i was fumbling with a handful of quarters and asked me what was up. at my explanation, he emptied the change from his pockets into my hands, then called his office at an adjacent payphone and asked them to send over every available body to help. they brought a portable monitor from their office, and monitors from another hospital that was nearby for all of our eps patients. they helped us bag patients when the ventilator batteries failed. he sent out a page to all of the medical residents, and one of them inflated and deflated our balloon pump by hand so no clots would form on the balloon while the power was out. other medical residents went to the or, the er and the other icus. we sent someone to the rehab floor for every available flashlight and battery. somebody's family member organized a message train from the payphones in the lobby to our main desk. (this was before cellphones were widely available.)

    by the time the fire department had their generators set up and functioning, we were confident that our patients had survived the experience and that we could handle anything!

    i still occaisionally have nightmares about the moment the lights went out and we realized they weren't coming back on, though!

    ruby
  12. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from VeryPlainJane
    Preparing the body of a 3 year old that was beaten to death for wetting himself.
    Wow, I am so sorry about this
  13. by   Lil_Skipper04
    Wow, some of my horror stories aren't anywhere near as bad as those. I almost feel bad for sharing them.

    1. I'd only been at our Assisted living facility for about a month and a half where I'm a CMA. One night when I came in for work, they were preparing to send out one resident for being lethargic, and having bright red blood in her colostomy bag. After comforting her, and promising her everything would be okay (she died 2 weeks later), we thought it was all over. Not 10 minutes later, another light goes off and the resident was turning blue and couldn't breathe. It was the night from hell. Running from one end of the building to the other, getting o2 tanks, calling 911. We both looked at our DON that night and told her we deserved huge raises. LOL. Looking back on it, it wasn't that horrible.

    Then I've gotten in several spats with some of the other nurses at my work. They're mostly older ladies, 40's & up, and are only CMA's. They keep hearing about my college and all the other stuff I do. My DON loves me, and that's gotten around a bit too. So, in the end, I end up crying because they get so jealous of me & start screaming about me. It's awful.
  14. by   canoehead
    The absolute worst situations come when I have issues with my coworkers. If you have coworkers that are supportive and you can count on them the rest is all manageable.

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