A couple topics discussed earlier got me thinking about an issue that has come up for me frequently and I wanted to know what others think.
I'm a travel nurse. I more often than not walk into a work environment that offers low moral and nurses who are overworked. I'm often find myself, while trying to be a team member and contribute as much as I can while there, being relied upon to answer a great many call bells that are not mine. Too many nurses, when the know someone of this nature is on board, wil abuse it. I've known more than my share of nurses who, literally, will not answer a call bell their entire shift, including their own.
There are even those that will take it a step further. They will refuse to answer their own call bells, then when you inform them of what the pt. is requesting, they shoot back with something to the effect of "You answered the bell, you'll have to get it".
Obviously, I tell them to "First, go to the ER and have a thourough neuro exam performed cause you must be outside your mind. Second, get off you ass and take care of your patient." Yeah, this approach has led to a couple bad reviews.
Right or wrong, I've learned a strategy to keep this from affecting the care given to my patients (yes, I have had this behavior go to such an extreme that the pt's actually assigned to me suffer). I pay carefull attention to the one's who abuse help and the one's who dont. Once I've made up my list, I'm carefull not to offer any help to those who wont do for themselves, much less anyone else. I let their call bells ring ring ring and eventually they have to get it, or they ask me to and I say "NO".
I understand the pt. must come first, but thats not the issue in my eyes. To me, not allowing myself to be bogged down by another nurse's patient load is in truth being a mediator for the patients assigned to me. Its great to be considered a team member and all, but being a team member is useless if you are getting frequent complaints from your patients because you had no time for them.
I only ask what people think/do when they are in the same situation. I ask because, I know for a fact the unit my next assignment is on has a serious problem with this. DON, during the phone interview, even warned me about it and blantently told me "I'm using travel nurses at this time to get a better quality nurse on the floor while I rid myself of a few people who are bringing down the pt satisfaction scores on this unit. It is my expectation that, as a traveler you assist me in helping with the call bell problem until I can get a handle on it myself. It is for that reason that my unit pays well". It is true, I'm being well reimbursed for this position. Obviously, I have to find a way to handle nurses who dont want to participate in pt care. I dont think my usuall routine will work.