Patient Advocate

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    Once again, I am being faced with a crisis involving patient advocacy. I am employed as a RN BSN faculty member and one of my clinicals is on a Med-Surg floor. I have witnessed so many unsafe issues and have reported them to their Administration and Education Coordinators. I have also intervened to protect patient safety. There is a great deal of politics in hospitals and academia and that cannot be ignored. I have spoken to these low standards in conference and have informed the students that my conferences are confidential. Needless to say, there is a student who has been employed there for many years and she informed the nursing administration about the content discussed in those conferences. To think that asking me not to come back into their building with my clinical group is going to make my spirit disappear....they are dead wrong! I will continue to fight these issues outside of their walls...it won't be the first time either. I have dealt with politics many times in my career and I simply won't give into it. Being a patient advocate is not always popular as many of us have experienced.

    I am wondering how those of you who have been involved in such a situation, coped with the dilemma of no one listening to you to affect change? This is not a post whereby I am asking for educator vs. staff nurse feedback...purely about patient safety. I have seen many shocking things in my career, but I have never seen this level of care in a JCAHO accredited hospital. To want to shove something under the rug rather than problem-solve is beyond me. I am accustomed to working in teaching hospitals and this one is rural...perhaps that is the difference? I have taught in another community hospital and did not witness this behavior or a nursing administration that was so blind to problems within their own walls.

    In advance, I appreciate your input,

    Barbara
  2. 12 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I don't have a solution but applaud your advocacy. The students should know when care should be given differently, and admin should be backing YOU up.
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    Barb - congrats on being a pt advocate - there can be no higher compliment. I gather you can take your students to other hospitals? Good luck...they are lucky to have you as their instructor.
  5. 0
    One of the most valuable lessons that can be learned is that of patient advocacy. God bless you - from experience I know that the high road is by far the most difficult to travel.

    Have you discussed the matter with your department head/SON dean? I would question whether any nursing program worth its salt would want to continue to use such a facility for clinicals.
  6. 0
    The past experience at this institution led the instructor to remove the students from that hospital....seems like someone would get the hint that we aren't really welcome there. However, I have been removed as their clinical instructor. I prayed so hard about it and the next day, poof it was all over. However, I think the students will get the wrong impression that being a patient advocate may lead to negative effects. Of course, I am not the one who will inform my students. Yes, I think the entire situation and institution needs to be reevaluated. I do have other students in a clinical setting at another facility and this will give me more time to focus on them and get another nurse practice job.

    I have reevaluated my desire to remain in this setting as well. I think I have arrived at my decision.

    Thank you,

    Barbara
  7. 0
    [B]Barbara,
    Write this story in a letter to your state's senate health and human services committee, your state legislator, your congressman in the US Senate, Go go go!
    I have also been extremely frustrated about not being able to provide quality care for my patients. I am struggling to keep people alive in one of NJ's overcrowded emergency rooms. Patients classified at triage as Urgents (pts recommended being seen in 1 hour by a physician) have waited as long as 6 hours to be seen by a physician. I am just waiting for another one of them to die in the waiting room! Yes this has happenned. Last year October 2003!!! One woman waited about 2 hours and was in moderate respiratory distress and there was no place to put her , no one to take care of her , the nurse in triage kept calling to get her back to treatment area. BY THE TIME THE WOMAN WAS WHEELED BACK TO A ROOM< SHE WENT INTO CARDIAC ARREST!! was coded and died. I have spoken to the nurse in triage asking her to write a letter to the state, but she fears for her job, even though in this New Jersey there are whistleblower protection laws. I know I will be writing this letter myself soon!!! Visit http://www.safestaffing.com/SafeStaf...feStaffing.htm
  8. 0
    I have begun the task of legislative intervention.... :hatparty:

    Thank you all,

    Barbara
  9. 0
    I applaud you! especially with discussing these things with your clinical students.
    I am a new grad working for 7 months in the ER, and I am a complete patient advocate. I find that when I notify the other "nurses i can trust" about these things, they have no problem with how I feel and the things that I take note of. Also my ER charge nurse is great about patient advocacy. I am pleased to work with such great nurses!!
    I haven't been in your situation, neither do I know the beaurcracy involved with faculty/facility, but I am proud of you that you follow your gut, and teach your students to do the same.......... because someday they will be put in the same situation.......and won't have an instructor to hold their hand.
    btw.... some of my profs dealt with similar situations and they would say "this is how they do it, and this is the right way to do it" etc, etc.
    I'm glad you stuck to your guns and took it to legislative intervention, and this is a real part of nursing that your students must be aware of also.
    xo Jenni
  10. 0
    Barb I commend you for your efforts. I do believe however that it is largely a fact that when you become a patient advocate on some units you will suffer negative effects. That is just a fact and your students will have to learn this and deal with it.
    Good luck in your endevours.
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    Annonomyous complaints can be called into State Health Department.
    In PA, our Attorney General invstigates concerns like this.

    Any specific concerns regarding Medicare clients? They have whisleblower protection
    http://www.medicare.gov/FraudAbuse/Overview.asp
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Mar 5, '04


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