Angry Nurse - page 8

by goldilocksrn

13,111 Visits | 141 Comments

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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    Originally posted by BobL:
    As nursing professionals, it is our duty to put the patient's well-being first. I can't see any benefit to the patient in telling them that you are short staffed. It just creates more anxiety and concern. The correct and professional way to deal with the situation is the apologize for the delay stating that you had an urgent matter to take care of for another patient. If the patient/family is not satisfied, you can cetainly direct them to the appropriate supervisory person who can handle it from there. Then, you just have to let it go. There will always be difficult families and patients. It comes with the territory.

    The stress involved in being a nurse is tremendous these days. It is the reason that more people are leaving the profession than are entering it. This is scary as more people are needing care and there are less of us to give it.

    I hear repeated themes of blame on "Administration" for staffing problems. I think that we all need to realize that the causes of the nursing shortage reach far beyond our local "Administrations". They are only a part of the problem.
    The staff shortage in nursing is now affecting most parts of the country. It is not new and it is not going away anytime soon. What I have not been hearing from nurses are possible solutions to solve the staffing problems. We can complain all we want, but what about being proactive? Have you written any letters to your local, state and federal political representatives lately?
    Have you been involved in any nursing organizations that are advocating for our profession?
    We all need a place to vent our frustrations and discuss the problems arising from this crisis. Let us also be part of a process that can lead to solutions.

    I agree with most of whatyou said in the above post. Particularly about being involved and active in the solution.
    Yes the local facility is pressurred by managed care et. al but that dosn't mean that they have no responsibility. The local administrators (all, not just nursing) set priorities on how the institution will spend and invest it capital. Nursing and patient care seem always to be at the bottom of the list. It's a cost center you know and doesn't generate any revenue. If I can have one nurse take care of 10 patients instead of 6 I have just increased my profit on that group of patients by 40%, and the Nurse isn't going to get any of it. Not even a thank you. So much for rewardand recognition, as to respect well...

    [This message has been edited by ocankhe (edited November 26, 2000).]
    leeannjamRN likes this.
  2. 0
    Originally posted 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 the kitchen, got stopped by another family member stating my one of my other patients had CP. After 30 minutes, I took my patient her water, only to find out her son called community relations saying that his mother was ignored. I apologized, saying that we were short staffed that day, that I had an emergency to attend to. He said there was no excuse for his mother not getting water. Anyway, I got "talked to" because I was not supposed to tell patients and family members that we are short staffed. What am I supposed to tell them, that I a retard? Why do they think that nurses should take all the blame? What do you think?
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    HI, I totally understand where you are coming from. It is very frustrating when we can't get to our patient's needs as soon as possible. It might not be okay to tell patient's and their families that we were short staffed but sometimes I wonder if you make them aware of what is going on in the hospitals that they might have some influence. If they are aware of short staffing problems they should start getting concerned and they need to take an effort and start writing letters to the hospital administration to let them know of the concerns of patients not being taken care of like they should be. It might have some influence on the hospital. I feel community invovlement could make a difference.
    Originally posted 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 the kitchen, got stopped by another family member stating my one of my other patients had CP. After 30 minutes, I took my patient her water, only to find out her son called community relations saying that his mother was ignored. I apologized, saying that we were short staffed that day, that I had an emergency to attend to. He said there was no excuse for his mother not getting water. Anyway, I got "talked to" because I was not supposed to tell patients and family members that we are short staffed. What am I supposed to tell them, that I a retard? Why do they think that nurses should take all the blame? What do you think?
  4. 0
    Originally posted 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 the kitchen, got stopped by another family member stating my one of my other patients had CP. After 30 minutes, I took my patient her water, only to find out her son called community relations saying that his mother was ignored. I apologized, saying that we were short staffed that day, that I had an emergency to attend to. He said there was no excuse for his mother not getting water. Anyway, I got "talked to" because I was not supposed to tell patients and family members that we are short staffed. What am I supposed to tell them, that I a retard? Why do they think that nurses should take all the blame? What do you think?
    I would like to respond to this problem, because I feel that it reaches other issues that nurses need to deal with in addition to the nursing shortage.
    Although I sympathize with your situation, fueling the patient's "fire" is counterproductive. The nursing shortage has been widely publicized, yet, we continue to deal with it in less than effective ways. Complaining to patients about it will only achieve minimal results- most of them will not be able to assist us with this problem.
    This is something we're going to have to deal with ourselves.
    Unfortunately, nurses are not educated and socialized as part of a dominant professional culture, as I was in law school. No lawyer I know would tolerate the disrespect for their authority that most staff nurses put up with everyday. Let's face it, we are still predominantly a women's profession and acting authoritatively just isn't a part of our nature. We don't demand that people respect our authority when they are admitted. That is saved for the physician, and we are second-class. I think that once we begin to behave as authority figures within our institutions, we will generate the respect that the profession deserves. And nurse managers had better start to support that if they expect to keep their units staffed AT ALL. We need to let people know what OUR expectations of them are.
    Don't be afraid of asserting yourself, there is no excuse for the rude comments and actions of this patient's family. Try stating THAT to them next time, and then, kindly direct them to get their own water from now on. Good Luck!

    moOHIO
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    Hope you all had a great TG. I should be on the treadmill as we speak. Have to put my 2 cents worth in. I think incident reports with copies to everyone, including maybe the Governor, are an excellent idea. The problem is by the end of a shift from hell, most of us can't wait to get our weary bodies out of the door and the thought of spending another half hour doing yet more paper work is about as appealing as a high colonic. If we made out an IR each and every time there was a problem related to understaffing, with copies to everyone, I believe it would leave a very impressive paper trail. And if, at the end of each week, we sent just the NUMBER (the vast number!) of these reports to someone in power, or a bunch of someones, like the hospital administrators, the Governor, 60 minutes, if we made a commitment to do this for as little as a month, we would might even surprise ourselves. There is not a real shortage of nurses as we all know. There is just a shortage of nurses who are willing to subject themselves to the worsening conditions under which we work with no real relief in sight. I think most patients know that hospitals are understaffed. Many are reluctant to use their call lights in a timely manner because they don't want to bother us. It's those squeaky wheels that give us fodder for our burn outs. The ongoing interest and response to the original post sure tells us something, doesn't it? Maybe we'll come up with a real plan. Let's be creative.
  6. 0
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by goldilocksrn:
    [B] I am wondering if this has happened to any of you....

    Of course this has happened to most of us! You aren't alone in your frustration and anger. There is a constant balance between providing good patient care and codifying administration. Management vs. the humble worker is an age-old problem in any profession.

    My advice to you is that if you are ever in a similar position (and sooner or later you will be), to apologize for not getting back in a timely fashion. I don't believe in offering excuses or reasons. I don't feel that I should have to explain to anyone when I am being pulled in too many directions at the same time. If the "customer" (and let's get real here -- this isn't a "customer" this is a PATIENT), becomes dissatisfied with the "service" they are "purchasing," then they can get their excuses and explanations from the management that put you in that position in the first place! And, if that "explanation" even hints of them suggesting incompetence or lack of support for you, then you need to find a new employer FAST! You don't want to be there if something more serious comes up.

    As for you and how you handle it, remember that YOUR first priority is to protect your own license, which is the same thing as giving good patient care. You must prioritize and go to the most critical need at that moment. Consider for a moment the complaint that you'd have received if you had been wandering the hall with ice water instead of tending to the more important matter first! That complaint would have been far worse for you than a "politically incorrect" statement about staffing!

    And, finally, if you can't live within the expectations of your facility, find another job. You can walk away knowing that you have your license intact and that you gave good care and made sound nursing judgments. We just don't have to be put-down and misused. It is precisely the "shortage" that allows you to pick and choose your employer. If your nurse manager/management/facility can't treat you with respect, then get out of there FAST!
  7. 0
    BobL,
    I couldn't disagree with you more. I do believe that a nurse's first obligation is to his/her patient, but the only way to meet that responsibility is to have a reasonable workload.

    We can't be SuperNurse and do everything we'd like to when we have to take care of WAY too many patients, and the only way hospitals will improve staffing levels is if PATIENTS complain. The nurses at our hospial in the ICU were demanding more staff for AGES and got nothing. The first patient's family who threatenned a lawsuit (one member of the family happened to be a doctor) and presto, management decided we needed more nurses. Gee, thanks administrators, why didn't we think of that?
  8. 0
    Originally posted by fergus51:
    BobL,
    I couldn't disagree with you more. I do believe that a nurse's first obligation is to his/her patient, but the only way to meet that responsibility is to have a reasonable workload.

    We can't be SuperNurse and do everything we'd like to when we have to take care of WAY too many patients, and the only way hospitals will improve staffing levels is if PATIENTS complain. The nurses at our hospial in the ICU were demanding more staff for AGES and got nothing. The first patient's family who threatenned a lawsuit (one member of the family happened to be a doctor) and presto, management decided we needed more nurses. Gee, thanks administrators, why didn't we think of that?
  9. 0
    Originally posted by Chellyse66:
    I disagree I think as a Nurse (we are not waitresses here)You were right to state the truth about the staffing.IN Florida,In Long Term Care a law was passed making the institutions Post in a visable location Staffing for the Day/night/evening.
    Responsibiltiy should lie upon the employer,if you were short staffed the consumer deserves to know that you are.I believe you can go to the ANA website under legislation to view this law.Maybe you could have worded it different....like "I apologize I had another patient needing immediate attention and ancillary staff were unavailable""your family member was not intentionally ignored"
    But now way should you carry the burden of blame!!!

    About a month ago my mother had to have surgrey. As a CNA,I know the staffing issues.
    When I offered to do things for my mother that I felt I could do(get her freah water,help her up in bed,etc. nothing out of
    my scope).I had some (well alot of staff) act like I was trying to take their job from them!! I was only trying to help with these simple tasks,so that the staff would not have to tend to them. Now I read these posts and families do not do enough! And I know first hand what goes on and I tried to help.
    Gosh what do Nurses want? (Dumb question I guess.)
  10. 0
    Originally posted by cinny071:
    Originally posted by Chellyse66:
    I disagree I think as a Nurse (we are not waitresses here)You were right to state the truth about the staffing.IN Florida,In Long Term Care a law was passed making the institutions Post in a visable location Staffing for the Day/night/evening.
    Responsibiltiy should lie upon the employer,if you were short staffed the consumer deserves to know that you are.I believe you can go to the ANA website under legislation to view this law.Maybe you could have worded it different....like "I apologize I had another patient needing immediate attention and ancillary staff were unavailable""your family member was not intentionally ignored"
    But now way should you carry the burden of blame!!!

    About a month ago my mother had to have surgrey. As a CNA,I know the staffing issues.
    When I offered to do things for my mother that I felt I could do(get her freah water,help her up in bed,etc. nothing out of
    my scope).I had some (well alot of staff) act like I was trying to take their job from them!! I was only trying to help with these simple tasks,so that the staff would not have to tend to them. Now I read these posts and families do not do enough! And I know first hand what goes on and I tried to help.
    Gosh what do Nurses want? (Dumb question I guess.)
    Hi. I agree that you should be able to participate in the care of your mother. In fact, I strongly endorse it. Perhaps you informed the staff up front that you are a CNA, and their responses were simply a defense mechanism. They may have felt that you were judging them as being inadequate in their care. There are many other reasons. In rare instances, I have faced this. In my case, I would escort and stay with a family or friend not making anyone aware of my background as a nurse. Nevertheless, my family would blurt out my occupation or someone from the facility would recognize me. I would explain I'm only present to support the patient, and I am willing to assist with basic care anyway I can. Usually, this has worked for me.


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