(Disclaimer: So this turned out to be longer than I thought it would, and a bit of a rant. Sorry! But I think this is something that's relevant to all of us).
Some background: I work in a combined med surg ward, so we see a bit of everything. We have a young-ish girl, in her twenties, that has a VAC dressing in her leg following very deep self harm about two weeks ago. Her drug use has also given her 'meth mouth', and she's had at least one tooth removed about a week ago as well.
The issue is that she has a personality disorder, a history of aggression, is a known drug seeker and has had to have her VAC replaced twice now because she keeps sabotaging it - picking at it, poking and playing with it. Before it was put in she was seen physically pulling the edges of the wound apart with her hands also. She demands morphine roughly every hour for "ten out of ten" pain even though you can clearly see that she's not distressed in any way. She is charted for PRN morph and fentanyl, subcut (not allowed to have a cannula).
We always hear about the patients right to refuse; surely nurses have some way of objecting in a situation like this? Panadol (Tylenol), anti-inflammatories and endone all "don't do anything", even though it barely gets to two minutes after giving these before she buzzes and asks for "something better".
It's ridiculous; the patient knows she's playing us for fools and has said as much. Surely there comes a point where enough is enough and we stop giving in to people,
especially people who don't want to help themselves. No wonder the state health system I work in is broke; It frustrates me to no end when we can't even afford more then one obs machine on the ward between thirty two patients, yet we will hand out expensive treatments to people who clearly don't want to get 'better', and dole out morphine like it's soda.
I know we need to cover pain relief somehow; I'm aware that vac dressings can be painful. But it's not like she can say we're not giving her anything at all. What are our options here? I'm not the only one with the same concern.
Sincerely, nurse who didn't become a nurse to be a drug dealer.
*edited for spelling