I work on a busy telemetry unit. We have an RN on night shift that is in her 70s and while she is the nicest, sweet old lady, with a great sense of humor, when it comes to nursing, ITS TIME TO RETIRE GRANDMA. The saddest thing about this situation is that she genuinely cares about her patients, she talks kindly to them and really wants to help, unfortunately she looks like she should BE the patient, not caring for one. We recently (over a year ago) switched to a new computer system and her computer skills were poor to begin with. She can't enter simple orders, if she looks away from the cursor when scrolling she steers the mouse off that direction and doesnt understand why the screen isn't moving. If there is an alert or warning on a med when she is trying to administer it that patient had better just forget about it. She cries in front of patients when she gets flustered, she cries on the phone with doctors when she is flustered. The worst is when she sits at her computer at the nurses station for hours muttering in a high pitched whine to herself. She complains to herself about not knowing what is going on with the computer. We have all started ignoring her because she wont ask for help, its like she is just hinting out loud hoping for someone to come to her rescue. We used to help her but its to the point now we all want to run and duck for cover. Even when you show her things she is already so flustered at that point its like the information bounces right off. You don't want to show her, you just want to jerk the keyboard out of the way and fix it for her and go on about your day. If we didn't work in the profession we did it might be easier to accomodate her but we are already so busy, so short staffed, and already taking care of a bunch of other helpless geriatrics, its frustrating to have to carry the burden of another employee (elderly or not). She also does things old school ways sometimes and then when newer staff members do them different the patients complain or are concerned about their care. For example, if a patient is giving her a hard time about smoking she will facilitate a smoke break for them just to avoid the confrontation. If the next shift doesn't do that the patient obviously thinks 1 of the 2 is a bad nurse or not qualified and dislikes being jerked around.
Whats more frustrating is the things she gets exempt from because she doesn't do them correctly. We prep patients for bypass surgeries and the whole process is lenghty, time consuming and requires a lot of paperwork, not to mention inserting 2 gigantic IVs, having extra tubing and equipment ready to go with the patient, and preparing the chart, etc etc. She consistently forgot things or didn't do things correctly and the CVOR complained on her so much that eventually when she got a patient assignment that included a CABG prep, she stated our manager said she isnt to take them anymore because she never does them right. HOW IS THAT FAIR? You make the same amount of money, if not more (since you came with the building when it was built), but you arent expected to do the same tasks? In addition the supervisors are annoyed with her so if she is scheduled and someone is to be put on call or needs to leave during the shift because the census drops--its always her because they don't want to put up with her.
I have had patients wake up in the middle of the night and see her in the hall and turn on their light to ask me if they are dreaming or if she is real because of the way she looks. She frightens some of them (long, white ponytail, bright blue eyeshadow). Also, she falls asleep, almost to the point of us thinking she might be narcoleptic. She used to do it frequently when we taped report, less so now that we do face to face, but she has even fallen asleep at the desk in the middle of that. I feel bad because as I said, she is nice and if she were capable she would help you with anything, but a lot of us are starting to think she might not be safe anymore. The issue also is with the hospital which is severly short staffed and just needs a warm body to show up, for which she qualifies.
Anyone else have slow and/or elderly employees they are concerned about/for? Let's hear it.
Aug 23, '13
by OCNRN63, RN
Quote from Esme12
I think that if management was as fed up with her they would do something about it. I think patience and kindness is a virtue.
I think she gets tearful and upset because she hears her fellow nurses making unkind statements about her and poking fun of her.......in some circles that is called bullying or lateral violence. I think as much as pregnant women get allowances to avoid infectious diseases and other patient assignments due to pregnancy...... that if this nurse really isn't able to or doesn't like to care for the open hearts.....allowances can be made for her by her fellow workers. Turnabout is fair play
If you were a new grad and she did this to you....she would be an old bat eating her young.
You don't know what personal burdens she has that forces her to work. Maybe she just loves to be around her peers and patients. Many nurses that were supposed to retire can't because when the market crashed we lost half if not all of our retirement and since hospitals don't provide pensions....we can't retire as there is nothing left to retire on.
Back in the day we tried to help patients and go that extra mile....it is what we did. It is what she still should do. We did NOT try to push our personal biases down our patients throats. If a simple cigarette helps defuse a situation it beats using the energy, and time, causing the patient to get angry and upset and having to call the MD, negotiate with the patient medicate the patient....all which is very time consuming.
I don't know your patient nurse ratio on night but I an sure you all would like to adsorb her 6 or 7 patients in addition to your load. I think poking fun at her appearance because if you don't think she hears you...guess again.
I think your floor needs some self reflection and your supervisors need to exercise more discretion with their personal opinions...like shutting their mouths.....for it doesn't belong being vented to the staff as it adds fuel to the fire and does nothing to promote teamwork.
[FONT=Vedana]Matt. 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
[FONT=Vedana]Remember ........every day you age so...... There but for the Grace of God go I.
The more I think about it, this really is lateral violence. If these things were done to a new nurse, we would be hearing cries of "NETY, NETY, NETY!!!", and everyone would be rallying to the poor young nurse's defense. Somehow, because it is being done to an older nurse, it's OK. But it's not...it's not at all. It's a mean-girl, petty and unprofessional way to carry one's self.
Last edit by OCNRN63 on Aug 23, '13