Stopping patient care for another patient

  1. 1
    Ok I have a question....

    Here's the scenario ... I was in the middle of patient care with one patient who was requesting pain medication. It was time for her scheduled meds so I was doing the whole nine. Checking her vitals, re-positioning, etc.

    When I stepped out to grab something off my cart one of the techs on my other hall told me that a patient's family said that she wanted something for pain. I said I will come as soon as I finish.

    When I finish I went to my other cart to prepare her meds when her family came up the hall and stated she needed more water so I said I will get it. I got some water then finished pulling her meds and walked with the family down to her room. Administered her meds and made sure she was comfy before I headed back down the hall.

    2 days later my DON calls me and asked me to explain what happened because the family said she waited 45 mins(bogus) and they wanted to move her to a new facility. Now was I wrong for not interrupting my current patient care to go to another?

    If I was then I will accept that for future reference. But I look at it as unfair to patients to put them on hold for another unless absolutely necessary. I took all of 10 mins at the most. I feel bad. Do you cut patient care short when someone requests something i.e. pain med, tx, water, snacks??
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 31, '12
    Joe V likes this.
  2. 68 Comments so far...

  3. 30
    Nope, not wrong at all. Unless you are (A) On fire, or (B) have forgotten how to breathe, you can be next, but you can NOT be "RIGHT NOW!" If you constantly get interrupted, how can you get anything done?

    Also, shame on your DON for climbing in bed with the family right off the bat.
  4. 14
    You weren't wrong, there was no difference in the priority of their needs so you did what any other nurse would do, the right thing. Some people are impossible to please and you will just have to accept it and stand up for yourself to your DON. Sorry you had to deal with this.
    anotherone, wooh, LovedRN, and 11 others like this.
  5. 19
    You were absolutely right. Contrary to some family and patient's beliefs, one patient is not more important than another. And getting interrupted a bunch of times during a med pass is a good way to make a med error.
    JDZ344, beckster_01, Burn-Unit-RN, and 16 others like this.
  6. 11
    No, you were not wrong. You should not feel bad. You cannot be two places at once, although management seems to think you can be.

    One thing that I do that seems to work for reasonable patients, although we aren't allowed by management to do it: I say, "I'm sorry for the delay. I was with another patient at the time I was told of your request, but I'm here now! Here's your pain pill! Anything else you need?"

    Most seem to respond positively to that. If the family or patient is impossible to please, nothing you could say or do would make it better.
  7. 6
    Thanks for asking the question. To be honest I am tired of being pulled in so many directions for non-emergent problems that must be attended to "this minute" by rude people. I am now a DON and I hope I can have my staff's back when dealing (nicely) with families. Even though I understand that we must generate revenue, my staff is very important to me. I think you did the right thing.
  8. 11
    Quote from dudette10
    No, you were not wrong. You should not feel bad. You cannot be two places at once, although management seems to think you can be.

    One thing that I do that seems to work for reasonable patients, although we aren't allowed by management to do it: I say, "I'm sorry for the delay. I was with another patient at the time I was told of your request, but I'm here now! Here's your pain pill! Anything else you need?"

    Most seem to respond positively to that. If the family or patient is impossible to please, nothing you could say or do would make it better.
    Can I ask why you wouldn't be allowed to say you were with someone else? Seems to me there is nothing wrong with that! You aren't disclosing personal information, you aren't saying 'I was with Mr. So-and-So.'
    I hate what health care is becoming...when did it become more important to kiss everyone's butt than to actually make people better? Just a scary thought for the future of nursing, more about customer service than health care... Ugh...
  9. 7
    if I am in the middle of medication administration with one patient, nothing short of a code blue/rapid response/pt about to hit the floor will pull me away from that. That is how errors happen. Your DON sounds like a ***** - just tell the truth, move on, and keep doing a good job.
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Jul 31, '12
  10. 7
    How does your manager suggest you handle that scenario in the future?
  11. 3
    The only time I'll leave a patient to tend to something/someone else is for a code being called on my floor or when a bed alarm goes off nearby and it's one of those patients that you have to be quick about... for example, we have a lady on the floor right now who, with her bed alarm on the middle setting, would be out of the bed and at the nurses station by the time the alarm sounded. That is one that I'd probably leave someone, to attend to.


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