Angry Nurse - page 3

by goldilocksrn

I am wondering if this has happened to any of you.... I got "talked to" by my Assistant Nurse Manager (charge nurse) because of an incident with a patient. My patient asked for some water, and I went to get it, but on the way to... Read More


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    I know a supervisor who quit hospital nursing because she got tired of nurses on poorly staffed units demanding more nurses when there were no warm bodies (nurses) to be found anywhere. I don't think it's the middle managers who are to blame; but the manager in this instance should have supported her staff. As nurses, we are always trying to "fix" things and bending over backwards to make it easier on the patients, etc. Maybe it's time to be honest with the public and let them know that we can't keep doing what we used to. I believe that most nurses try their best, but I feel the public needs to know that we aren't waitresses, and chest pain is a priority over a glass of water.
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    This is a "let it go" situation. I agree with the poster that said that telling families you are short never helps; but the smart ones figure it out by looking at what is happening.

    Next time, trying agreeing with your complaintant. Agree with them that it is frustrating that they didn't get their water promptly. Tell them you got "derailed" and apologize. [not profusely, just: "I got distracted by another situation and I am really sorry I didn't get back promptly. I know that is frustrating for patients and families alike."] Get them their water. Try to check on them a little more frequently that night and there after.

    Since there is nothing you can say that will necessarily mollify them, agree on the part you can agree on: that this is a frustrating situation for them. you know all about prioritization and you did it right, but they're not going to go there. You're not going to get exonerated by them (or by your nurse manager, either it appears). Plan on this scenario playing out frequently in your future and develop the ability to take pleasure and comfort from the fact that you did good by the person that needed you most. The people that work with you and your high acuity patients appreciate your ability and skills, but it is a fallacy that we can make all the people happy all of the time.

    I stew over situations just like this to this day, but ultimately I resolve it by talking to myself along the lines I just talked about. Good luck.
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    About 15 years ago at a "mandatory service management class we were told not to tell patients we were understaffed. An RN asked,"what should we say to the patient when we are short staffed?" No answer from management at all. (I left there after >20 years).
    If they cannot tell you what to say, the advice to let the patient you take the concerns seriously yet have to prioritize may be the only option. Not details, just that you are doing your best but can only be in one place at a time.
    I have a job at a good hospital where I can ask management for help. I wish this were so everywhere. What happens if nurses ask nursing management for help where you nurses work?

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    Originally posted by Mijourney:
    Hi goldilocksrn. I agree that someone who is designated as a leader should approach an employee regarding an incident in an objective way. If you were at fault for something, the ANM didn't demonstrate, in my opinion, a professional approach in managing the situation. Therefore, learning by example would be difficult.
    I side with the posters who feel that you give a general response to a family member who inquires about a customer service issue. For example, you could have told the son, that on the way to get water, you were immediately summoned to another pt's room and left it at that. It's not his business to know why another patient/family needed you, because that would sacrifice confidentiality. You definitely want to avoid opening the door to potential legal problems that would involve you. I agree the honest approach would be best, but the fact that the son went out of his way to report the incident indicates that he has some internal issues to deal with. He may be stressed out. Just document this incident in your personal log so that you will have something to refer to if it goes any further or if it comes up on your job evaluation. If you encounter the patient or son again, just offer a sincere apology and show the son where he can get water if that's not out of the question. Families need to be encouraged to be actively involved in patient care, if feasible. Best wishes.
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    It really bugs me that nurses are supposed to cover up the fact that we are shortstaffed. Staffing levels will only improve when the public gets vocal about it. God knows management won't get more staff in just because nurse says they're needed. I hate the politics that go along with this job.
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    I refuse to deny that we are short staffed at my facility anymore. If my patients ask, I tell them that my patients are very sick, I do my best to give each and every one the best of care, and I am sorry that I cannot meet all of their needs. If they tell me something should be done about it, I tell them if they feel that strongly about it, to write the hospital, their congressperson, the governor, etc. to bring it to their attention. I see nothing wrong with this, as my job is to educate and pass along information. Hopefully some of these people actually do write and get something started.
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    Our Med/Surg unit recently had complaints from the nursing attendants to administration that no one helps them and they are overworked and their assignments are too much. Can you believe it? Well guess who is filling the water pitchers at twenty plus dollars per hour and telling the families when they are angry how many patients I have to attend to on my shift? If administration wants to pay the RNs overtime to fill water pitchers and do everything else so be it. After 22 years in nursing I'll fill the pitchers. When there is a complaint about care, I get the manager.
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    where i work, family members come at shift change, and many times it can be unpleasant. Most familys I interact with are wonderful but some are more of a liability than an asset. I had a patients son stop me in the hall to let me know its sad to see that I could not even feed his mother today let alone keep her water pitcher full. And yes, it is sad that the most basic needs cannot be met for my patients. And to all those family members out there, I am truly sorry. I am sorry for struggling through nursing school thinking I could help people when its not always possible. I am sorry that my job demands more than a pound of paperwork a night. I often go home after a shift and think about what I never got to do. I would rather spend time with my patients than standing outside the door at the chartbox. I hate running into rooms to pass meds as I hurry the patients along and practically shove the pills down their throat because I have to hurry to look up labs, finish a surgical checklist, do longhand discharge notes, replace pulled IV lines, hang new solutions before the others go dry, wipe the floor where my patient piddled all the way to the bathroom, assess my new admit and call the doc for 2 pages of orders as his cell phone goes in and out and I miss half of what he said, give that pain shot, call pharmacy about my missing meds, search through charts on 7 patients to discover if any labs got missed because it will be my fault, check blood sugar slips, do chart audits, check the crash cart, count narcs, sign off orders, sign mars, do discharge planning, update cardex,........I could go on but you see the picture.
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    As an update, I went to our hospital's DON and let her know how upset the nurses on our unit were, and how unsupported we feel. She just smiled and said, "You are doing such a good job". This really angered me because my friend is in management and told me that this DON instructed management to do just that to any angry nurse, and it would shut them up. This angers me that management uses our kind hearts against us. It is time to use our anger for a purpose, and that is to stand up for our patients and ourselves. If you are not already involved, go to millionnursemarch.com and see what you can do to help us take better care of our patients. Help us get better pay that we so much deserve( My garbage man makes more than me). I am tired of being angry....I want something done about it.
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    If RN's don't tell the patients that the hospital is short staffed then who will? One must be tactful and diplomatic in conveying the message and there are some situations where it may not be appropriate, but the message must be told. The old adage is you get what you pay for. Has anyone ever seen nursing care on a hospital bill?


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