ER Nurse Attitude - page 3

by Chlometov

8,683 Views | 70 Comments

A few weeks ago, my 89 year-old grandmother fell at her home, resulting in a bleeding gash in her arm (and later discovered, a broken hip). My mother took her to the emergency room. I wasn't there, so everything I write here is... Read More


  1. 4
    Quote from imintrouble
    I'm wondering why, in this age of customer service hysteria, they don't have a hostess in the ER. Doesn't have to be a nurse, just a well dressed, professional looking person to go from room to room with a hostess cart offering coffee, cookies and approved platitudes.
    Basically that is what our volunteers do. For legal reasons they cannot touch pts, even if it is for repositioning, helping them out of bed etc. They can get the pt a warm blanket, which often helps.
  2. 5
    In high stress events like a code or a patient you know is going to code you re not going to have a smile on your face as an RN. The house is burning down and someone is complaining about being hungry.
    People coming out into the hall and starring down for a nurse bugs me to no end. We are low staffed and over worked. We want to keep our licenses so the least sick patient is going to come last. Next time it would be best to take your grandmother to an urgent care.
  3. 4
    I, also, based on what I've read here do not view the nurse's actions as rude. She was being honest. People are dying and those people are a higher priority than Grandma's laceration. Many nurses have been in this situation... you have a patient trying to die so you are spending all your time with that patient and then you have someone else complaining that their IV pump has been beeping for 5 minutes and no one's attended to it or that their lunch hasn't arrived yet. The nurse may not have had time to stop and say "I'm sorry for the wait, we have several critical patients that we need to attend to. Once we get those patients stabilized and move to the ICU, we will see your mother as soon as possible." These kind of explanations often don't necessarily do any good either.

    I recall trying to explain how prioritizing worked in the hospital to parents who thought that their kid should be a priority for an MRI because he came in having seizures. Briefly, this child presented with classic infantile spasms and it was more important to get an EEG. The overnight resident kept the child (who was like 6 months old and didn't need to eat overnight) NPO overnight in case there was an early MRI slot. MRIs that required sedation were prioritized when the Radiologist arrived in the morning. The results of this child's MRI could have told us why he was having infantile spasms (and it did, he'd had a stroke in utero) but it wouldn't have affected or changed his treatment. Once he was put on EEG the diagnosis was confirmed and he started treatment that same day. When I came on in the morning the parents demanded to know exactly what time the child's MRI would be. I didn't know because the Radiologist didn't come in until between 8-9am. I calmly explained that and that the Radiologist prioritized all the cases as soon as he got in... if, for example, a child had come in overnight with a new tumor that was picked up on CT, that child would be priority for the first MRI slot. The father screamed that he didn't care about anyone else's child that his child was having seizures and that he was the priority patient. The child didn't end up having this MRI for several days and, as I said, it didn't affect his treatment for his seizures at all.

    I imagine your mother wasn't the only person to ask that particular nurse what the hold-up was and that she was incredibly stressed if dealing with several critical patients.
    anotherone, imintrouble, canoehead, and 1 other like this.
  4. 4
    I know nurses are supposed to be full of customer service and compassion in all, but when we are busy running around with emergenices sometimes we may come off a little short.

    Tell your grandma not to take it personally. I wonder if people post about waitresses, police men, and teachers being rude. It seems as though nurses are suppose to be perfect.
    anotherone, OCNRN63, Ir15hd4nc3r_RN, and 1 other like this.
  5. 4
    I agree since when did healthcare become all about customer service? The ER is not the Hilton. It is a hospital for critically ill people.
    anotherone, OCNRN63, Ir15hd4nc3r_RN, and 1 other like this.
  6. 3
    I also agree how come I don't get to complain about the police men who asked me if I could read? I forgot to tape a piece of paper to my windshield and placed it on the dash. I got ripped a new one, don't my taxes pay for his job?
    OCNRN63, JZ_RN, and KelRN215 like this.
  7. 7
    I have SO much respect for ER nurses. I'm an ICU nurse and I could not do the ER because of situations like this with frustrating families! Yes, I am pulled an many different directions where I work but it is different. Go ER nurses!!
  8. 7
    Having been on both sides myself, as a nurse and a family member, some nurses are rude.

    Yes, they really are. The scenes I have witnessed are usually caused by nurses who are rude for no reason. That's their personality. There have been the few occasional instances where the nurse was perceived as rude because she didn't have time to talk, but she always came back later and explained what was going on.

    My mother, however, is one of those patients that look for ways to get offended. So, if you say that you were needed by another patient, she gets all dramatic and can't believe that anyone else is more important than her.

    If your mother tends to be easily offended, then the nurse may not have been at fault. If she is normally a laid back and forgiving person, then the opposite may be true.

    Not having been there, you may never know the truth.
  9. 1
    When situations like this happen, I usually take more time after the fact to help smooth things over. I apologize for the wait but tell them that they don't want to be the pt where everyone is in their room cause that's really really bad. And yeah, I don't think the nurse was rude, when you have people dying you don't have time to coddle the non urgent pt.
    Ir15hd4nc3r_RN likes this.
  10. 12
    No disrespect intended, but what I can't help but wonder is, "what difference does it make?" In other words, who cares? Why do you care? I assume your grandmother fine now. So why does someone else's busy day, that you have no first hand knowledge of, several weeks ago merit worrying about today?

    Everyone knows if you go to an ED with a non emergent condition you are going to wait. Being reminded that your condition is non-emergent and you are not at the top of the priority list should not be deemed offensive. It is not the nurses responsibility to deliver this news in some super sensitive touchy feely manner, but rather matter of factly: "Every one gets a turn in order of priority, this is not your hour. Sit tight, we will get to you when we get to you." That is all she needs to say. Any thing else is gravy. Getting all butt hurt about being given the facts of the situation is silly.


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