The Kind of Nurse I Don't Want to Be!

  1. Hi All!

    As most of you know, I am currently working in a hospital as a phlebotomist while I am attending nursing school. Anyways, a few days ago I had to go into a room to draw blood on one particular patient. When I went into the room I noticed the young gentlemen had mottled hands and didn't appear to be breathing. I left the room and went to the nurses station and told the first nurse I saw, "Could you please come look at the guy in bed 12". Her response to me was "Thats not my patient, you need to find HIS nurse". I said "Who is his nurse"? The reply I got was "I don't know, I don't do assignments, nor do I babysit all of my co-workers." Then I said (no other nurses in site), "well who's ever patient that is I'm pretty sure he's dead".

    Talk about lighting a fire under her rear. She ran into the room and called a code. Sadly they were not able to save this gentleman. I understand about sticking with your own patients and everything, but geesh this was an emergency and all she wanted to do was argue with me. I then made the vow that this is the kind of nurse I don't want to be!
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   Asiancutie
    that is so sad
  4. by   RNKITTY04
    That is just pathetic. I pray I never get that jaded either. Sorry for you.
  5. by   mavnurse
    That's terrible.

    I remember how over the summer I volunteered at a hospital and I was shocked to see how things were. It was a large hospital in a suburban area and it was a pretty slow place - the census rarely exceeded 15 or 16 people and there was never anything to do. First of all, no one wanted me there and they let me know it. To top it off, they treated the patients the same way. I remember one time an elderly lady fell out of her bed trying to get to the bathroom. The person bringing lunch to the patients was the one who noticed and came out to the nurses' station to tell someone. No one did a thing! There were about 3 nurses there, but since none of them were assigned to that patient, they just waited around until the lady's nurse came back from lunch. When she finally did come back, they told her what happened and she still didn't do anything! I think she finally got around to it half an hour later. By that time the patient had thrown up and was on the floor passed out in her own vomit! That was my last day there.

    BTW I was in the Med/Surg unit which had a total of 6 patients that day.
  6. by   Katnip
    That's beyond disgusting. It's negligence at the very least. Doesn't matter if it's not your patient.

    I mean about the fallen patient.
    Last edit by Katnip on Mar 17, '04
  7. by   gwenith
    Just for future reference I would tell the nurse that the patient was looking dead as my FIRST statement. Entering into a conversation would not be the ideal mechanism. You do not know the circumstances - she might have had toher critical things she was involved in and just stating
    "Could you please come look at the guy in bed 12".
    May not mean a lot to the nurse - I have had non-nursing staff come up to me with this sort of request and found that it is because the patient had "made a smell" or was "watering the flowers" - usually with something other than a watering can or was happily snoring.
  8. by   LauraF, RN
    In all honesty, unless the assignments are printed on some large assignment board and ancillary staff is alerted to this fact, no nurse should have acted like that. Yeah we all have our bad days. But, geesh. That was just rude.
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from Jen2
    Hi All!

    As most of you know, I am currently working in a hospital as a phlebotomist while I am attending nursing school. Anyways, a few days ago I had to go into a room to draw blood on one particular patient. When I went into the room I noticed the young gentlemen had mottled hands and didn't appear to be breathing. I left the room and went to the nurses station and told the first nurse I saw, "Could you please come look at the guy in bed 12". Her response to me was "Thats not my patient, you need to find HIS nurse". I said "Who is his nurse"? The reply I got was "I don't know, I don't do assignments, nor do I babysit all of my co-workers." Then I said (no other nurses in site), "well who's ever patient that is I'm pretty sure he's dead".

    Talk about lighting a fire under her rear. She ran into the room and called a code. Sadly they were not able to save this gentleman. I understand about sticking with your own patients and everything, but geesh this was an emergency and all she wanted to do was argue with me. I then made the vow that this is the kind of nurse I don't want to be!
    Once you told her it was an emergency, she responded appropriately.

    I can understand the nurse's intial reponse. As a nurse, if you do everything that everyone asks of you in a typical day, you won't be able to care for your pts.

    Yes, she could have been more polite. However, as a nurse, you will have to learn how to deflect requests for things that are not your responsibity, or that can be delegated to someone else. If you don't, you won't be able to get your work done.
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from gwenith
    Just for future reference I would tell the nurse that the patient was looking dead as my FIRST statement. Entering into a conversation would not be the ideal mechanism. You do not know the circumstances - she might have had toher critical things she was involved in and just stating


    May not mean a lot to the nurse - I have had non-nursing staff come up to me with this sort of request and found that it is because the patient had "made a smell" or was "watering the flowers" - usually with something other than a watering can or was happily snoring.
    I totally agree.
  11. by   MikeLPN
    I've had people call me down to other wings for residents I had never even seen before for "There's a portion of her hand that's warm I think it's cellulitis". No swelling, redness, pain, temp etc. (Rolled my eyes and told the TMA to put it in report). And then you have "He's turning purple and gasping for air". Well, he was and that was handled with much greater dispatch. I think it goes with constant prioritizing. ABC's.

    I'm a little (JUST A LITTLE!) jaded about falls but the only one I didn't go to right away was when we had an MI going on next door. It's a long story that ended with me telling the aide "Well I didn't say to just walk away and leave him there alone for gosh sakes (equivalent phrase)" and the resident "No you can't get up and walk you don't have any legs (confusion r/t renal failure and blind and narcotics etc.). Really nice guy, knew all my family farmed in the same area, pretty sad.
  12. by   Asiancutie
    but you know if i am doubtful about someone being dead, i would have said something like what the poster said, i would have said, i think the man at bed #12 needs to be checked.

    a good nurse would say, what is wrong? not i am not his nurse therefore... blah blah ...

    well, that's my ideal world.
  13. by   MandyInMS
    Guess I just don't like the "It's not my pt " attitude..I feel like I'm there to help all the pts reguardless..if I'm busy I expect my coworkers to help me out and vise versa..teamwork..it benefits us ALL
  14. by   Jen2
    In all honesty I didn't want to come right out and say "Hey this guy is dead", because afterall I am "justa phlebotomist" not a nurse, and maybe he wasn't dead. It was also very quiet at 5:00 a.m. in the morning, the unit was low sensus, and when I asked her to come check on the guy, I didn't do it in a casual inside voice type of way.

    I guess all I'm saying is that instead of trying to blow me off like I was trying to get her to do more work over something stupid, she should have at least said Why? Instead of just giving me the "thats not my patient" bit. There is also not a board located on the unit with assignments posted, so who knows how many thats not my patient answers I would have gotten before I actually found his nurse. I believe I would have at least asked Why? Whats going on? before I snapped at someone. Like I said I am "justa phlebotomist" and if I told the nurse that the guys hands looked mottled she probably would have laughed and thought that I didn't even know what the word meant anyway. I just think that it could have been handled better, and everything at least needs to be looked at. Even if he wasn't dead it would have only taken her 2 minutes to peek in.

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