Dear patients, families, MDs and fellow RNs

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    Dear patients:
    * When I'm leaving your room, I'm actually asking if there's anything else I can get you. Please don't want 2 minutes after I walk out your door and ring again. And again. And again.
    * If you *think* you have to go to the bathroom, ring your call bell. I'd rather get you up and have you not go, then have you yell at me for 10 minutes and be sour the rest of the day because you waited til the last minute to push the button and I wasn't able to get in here within the 2 minutes you could hold it.
    * Don't push the call button because something you haven't used all day dropped to the floor or because you'd like more ice water. I'm checking on you every 30 minutes-1hr in the ICU. Unless it's vital, please just wait.
    * The passive-aggressive attitude you have when things don't go your way is just annoying and puts me in a bad mood. Which makes me have less patience for the next patient I see. I get it, you're in the hospital and I'm trying my best. But if the MD says you can't eat because you're going to a procedure, there's literally nothing I can do.
    * When I ask you to use your call bell, not get up without me, to follow the rules- just do it. I get that you're independent at home. But guess what- you're not home. And there's a reason I'm asking. You are in the hospital after all. Telling me "No I know but I knew you'd say no" just makes me want to ring your neck.

    Dear families:
    * I don't know how you think the hospital works, but I can't snap my fingers and make a doctor appear. They were here with your patient an hour ago and have a lot more to see. I'll tell them you're here and want to talk, but no I don't know that they'll come, when they'll come or why it's taking them so long.
    * Oh that's nice. You brought your high cholesterol, history of CHF patient who is just recovering from a CABG McDonald's and Subway. Um, *** are you thinking. I gave you the nutrition information last night. In one ear- out the other?
    * Your family member is in bed at 3PM because he got washed up at 5AM, was OOB to the chair at 7 for breakfast, walked with the nurses, worked with physical therapy, had several dressing changes done and was medicated with pain medicine as it's a fairly painful process. He hasn't been laying in bed all day with no one looking at him. Relax.
    * I understand that you want to spend the night with your family member as sick as they are. But please don't ask me for 10 cups of coffee, a johnny, a sandwich and toiletries and scowl when I say I can't accommodate you with all of that but I'll do my best. It's not the Hilton.
    * When you see me coming with my arms full of supplies, medications and I tell you and the patient that we're going to get them cleaned up from their bout of incontinence, do wound dressings, get them cleaned for the day, set up for breakfast and OOB- can you go to the waiting room or the cafeteria? Or at least sit in the corner of the room. You standing over my shoulder or watching your family member like a hawk is irritating to me and possibly embarassing for them. Privacy please?

    Dear MDs:
    * You're not God. If you give me attitude you will earn a life-long enemy. I don't care how many surgeries you've performed. You might be very talented and I'll respect you for that. But do not talk down to me. If I'm asking you a question, it's because I need the answer.
    * If you put in an order 10 minutes ago, please don't call to see if it's done. Chances are, no. It's not done. If it's STAT- then probably. But I do have more than just your one patient. I have my computer- I can see when orders go in. You don't have to call me.
    * Get your stuff together. If you sit at your computer and put 15 new orders in, one at a time, over the course of an hour... I will stop after 3 of those orders and just sit on them until I think you're done. Constantly going in and out of patient's rooms, med rooms, supply rooms- it's exhausting. And I still have other patients to see.
    * When I call you with a concern over a patient and you don't agree with what I'm saying, that's fine. But tell me why. I absolutely could be wrong. But maybe I'm seeing something that you're not seeing.
    * I called you over an hour ago with that patient's mental status change, hypotensive BP and tachycardia and you never responded. So when I finally call an RRT on your patient- I dare you to give me attitude.

    Dear fellow RNs:
    * It's a 24-hour job. If I wasn't able to do something, understand I wasn't sitting at my desk twiddling my thumbs for the past 12hours. It was too busy, the order was put in late, the patient refused for me... whatever it is- there's an actual reason.
    * Fresh eyes are great. So if you think of something I didn't think of, like a new MD consult or trying a different kind of dressing on a wound that's fantastic. I didn't have time to think of that. So don't look at me like I'm an idiot.
    * Night shift is busy. Day shift is busy. They're different kinds of busy. But night shift should be able to weigh all of their patients and wash at least one of them. And day shift should have figured out the plan of care and make sure labs are replaced and at least one dressing change was done. Okay? Great.
    * It's okay to help each other out and answer call bells. Enough said.
    * Thank you for all you do. Because you don't hear that enough.
    not.done.yet, donsterRN, poppycat, and 22 others like this.
  2. 14 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    "You're not God. If you give me attitude you will earn a life-long enemy. I don't care how many surgeries you've performed. You might be very talented and I'll respect you for that. But do not talk down to me. If I'm asking you a question, it's because I need the answer. "

    BRAVO!!! I have been an RN for over 20 years and I agree with everything, especially the above comment on physicians. I worked the Cath Lab and saw this narcissistic attitude from Cardiologists every single day.
  4. 1
    I'm thinking you are headed toward burnout
    prnqday likes this.
  5. 2
    Your vent is very much understood OP. I do think you were a tad bit hard on the patients though. My heart breaks for the elderly patient "that keeps getting out of bed without help". I try to place myself in their shoes, I'm sure it is difficult to unlearn independence when that is the only way you are use to living. Please don't allow other patients to "put you in a bad mood". I KNOW how difficult patients can be however I don't allow them that much power to affect my mood. Patients are just that, patients. I hope things look up for you soon. I totally understand how you feel.
    tewdles and sapphire18 like this.
  6. 0
    I love this - thank you!!!!!
  7. 0
    How are they supposed to get ice water then if they can't ring the call bell? Get up and get it themselves? Or when you do rounds once an hour?
  8. 1
    Quote from Poochiewoochie
    How are they supposed to get ice water then if they can't ring the call bell? Get up and get it themselves? Or when you do rounds once an hour?
    Every patient is given ice water on my floor. It's rationed out in buckets. When I'm rounding hourly I'm filling their buckets. Most ring without looking.
    anotherone likes this.
  9. 2
    Quote from crazy&cuteRN
    Your vent is very much understood OP. I do think you were a tad bit hard on the patients though. My heart breaks for the elderly patient "that keeps getting out of bed without help". I try to place myself in their shoes, I'm sure it is difficult to unlearn independence when that is the only way you are use to living. Please don't allow other patients to "put you in a bad mood". I KNOW how difficult patients can be however I don't allow them that much power to affect my mood. Patients are just that, patients. I hope things look up for you soon. I totally understand how you feel.
    It's more the patients who know better with getting up. The younger cardiac patients who defy the nurses on purpose but listen to the doctors. I'm glad you don't allow your patients that much power over you. When I'm giving my everything and get attitude for 12 hours from my patient, families, meet dead walls on pharmacy, phlebotomy or lab and demands from MDs when I can only be in one place at a time- I get weary. I wish that would change. I suppose it could if I cared less, but I'm not built like that. I agree with you, however, on my heart breaking for the elderly patients.
    taossantafe and anotherone like this.
  10. 3
    Quote from onetiredstudent
    I'm thinking you are headed toward burnout
    i don't know about that. Great post op. I agree on everything. Frankly, I am getting sick of the bad attitude and stupidity of pts , families, and other staff.
    taossantafe, OhioRn11, and serenity1 like this.
  11. 0
    I have had many patients that get up themselves because they don't want to 'bother' us; lol or as some of the elderly ones have said, 'wake us up'. I try and tactfully explain to them that it is our job to help them, we want to help them, and that not only are they much safer if we do help them; but that it is much easier for us to help them to the bathroom than it is to do all of the assessments and paperwork required if they do fall, even if there is no injury. I have had pretty good luck with them calling after that (unless they have dementia).


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