Please don't judge me and my daughter - page 2

The night my daughter told me she wanted to kill herself was not an easy night. I drove her to the Emergency room that I used to work in, thinking they would care for her best. What I found was not... Read More

  1. by   Daisy Joyce
    Hi, first of all I'm so sorry you and your daughter went through this crisis. I hope she is on the road to recovery. I hope you're all finding healing.
    i am confused, however, about what the staff said and did that was so bad. I mean, objectively.
    Also, you were looking at the situation through crisis eyes. A bystander may have interpreted your encounter differently.
    Before my own father died, his nurse was explaining his end of life care to me and my aunt. (We all knew he was going to die, the doctor had informed us.). The nurse explained that because he was going to die, they would do some types care and refrain from others. I came away from that conversation thinking his nurse was calm and sensible. My aunt thought she was awful, snide and smirking.
    Maybe your staff really was bad. I just had a hard time, from the way you told the story, figuring out what was the bad thing that got said and done...
  2. by   Emergent
    I think you were probably feeling embarrassed and vulnerable, thus reading way more into the nurse's behavior than there really was. It was probably a mistake to go to an ER that was your former workplace.

    It sounds to me that you were expecting some sort of VIP experience and instead your daughter was subjected to the same suicidal ideation protocol as everyone. I don't know if the nurse in question was newer staff, someone unknown to you?

    When I get a suicidal patient, there's not much for me to do other than remove belongings, put patient in a gown, explain the plan, get urine, then we wait for MHP. I don't get into the patient's problem much generally, I'd rather leave that to the mental health professional.

    I think you are blowing this incident up into sweep in generalities because of the feelings that evoked in you. Probably you should concentrate on helping your daughter, and lower your expectations of the busy ER nurse.
  3. by   rninator
    I second Nickilaughs comments.
    I work in an ED, in a county with the highest suicide rate in the state. The sheer number of psychiatric patients I deal with is probably my largest motivation to move to another specialty, despite loving ED nursing. I would never advise someone to go to my ED or any other for psych care. At best our capacity is to ensure safety, at our worst what we do feels criminal, cruel, callused, devoid of empathy, antagonistic. We have no psychiatric care providers in the county. Most of our behavior feels dictated by liability concerns, as does the behavior of the county psych evaluators, the police, paramedics, and others.
    As a nurse, every bone in my body wants to find a warm room, with soft lighting, comfortable place to be, wrap that person up in warmth and do my best to address their concerns, anxieties, fears, to listen, to express that there are people out there that will care.
    But what I am forced to do is often the opposite, strip them of belongings, jewelry, things that represent their identity. Turn them out in a cold room, with harsh light, annoying sounds, uncomfortable beds, pulling everything away from them. I can't ask important questions and show concern only to ask them to hold on to that thought while I go titrate a dilt drip. So I don't ask. Doing it half assed seems worse than not doing it at all. I don't want to ask them to let me care only to show them the disrespect of not being able to actually do it. I think that's what rips some of us up the most, wanting to help, but not being able to. The truth is that the ED isn't the place for psych care, but often no-where is the right place... I can't agree more that the whole system needs overhaul. It is often a difficult place to navigate emotionally, going from doing futile compressions on a person who has no business being full code, to providing care for someone just finding out about a tumor for the first time, to triaging someones 3/10 sore throat lasting 4 days, to intaking a young person with SI who you know is gonna come out worse, whose relationship with health care and mental health care will be forever altered due to this multi-day ED stay. That's 2 hours of my day sometimes.

    I don't really know where I'm going with this, maybe I'm just trying to say, I bet the nurses there wish they could do better by your daugher. Write the hospital administrators, tell them your daughters psych care was abysmal, shameful even. I think they would receive a thousand of those letters and never blink, so as long as no psych patients got ahold of a sharp and hurt themselves. I wish young folks with si would never have to go through such experiences.
  4. by   NurseAngie
    I really miss any point you're making because it's you making all the judgement. Nurses, like any one else, can not be all things to all people. Certainly you have "missed the mark" of meeting patient expectation at some point in your career, so I would expect you to be understanding and show some tolerance for others. It is not their job to engage YOU in distracting conversation. I have a really hard time believing they allowed a suicidal patient to go home. It sounds to me like the nurse's "cold" eyes were assessing eyes and you didn't like it one bit, although it is exactly what she is responsible for. I'm thinking a fake smile would have been totally inappropriate in this situation.
  5. by   wondern
    Sometimes a fake smile turns into a real smile, and sometimes it even spreads into laughter, the best medicine of all! There are many times a smile is in order in life in general and especially so in nursing! Smiles heal. Try it sometime when you're feeling down.

    I think there's actually a physiological link between our brains and our facial muscles contracting in to an upward position!

    I know I am not the only one who has ever forced a smile especially when you've been dealing with lots of sad stuff like in nursing. It doesn't make it fake. It's created by me and my will, or actually, by God's will and blessing, so it is as real as any other smile. Can I get a second on that emotion???
    Last edit by wondern on Sep 23
  6. by   Axgrinder
    I understand many ED nurses are feeling inappropriately slighted by this post, but I think the point is that when you are a parent whose child is in distress in any capacity you no longer are a nurse in the professional sense - you are a frightened parent that goes into mother-bear mode, and she is roaring in pain in the only forum she knows of where she can vent her spleen.

    When you are a nurse AND a parent, parent wins every time. When you are a scared parent you lose all professional nurse sense in the blink of an eye. You find yourself suddenly naked and trembling, stripped down to your humanity with your soul laid bare before God and everyone. Not a pleasant place too be.

    More than any one offense of this encounter I sense she felt let down that the type of help she sought wasn't available to be had in any ER by the ED's very nature of saving lives first and everything else come in second.

    I'm also sorry that an obvious cry of parental pain was met here with such scorn - perhaps that is the type of welcome she received also at her local ER too?

    Reading between the lines I see a parent who wanted help for her kid - and got it, but the help was delivered in a way that was less therapeutic than she had hoped.

    No one told me how hard the job of parent would ever be, and it doesn't end at 18 - no sir it does not. You'd do anything to protect that child - and God help anyone who invokes your protective instincts (whether they really deserved it, or not).
  7. by   wondern
    No sireee it does not!

    I don't get the cursing at the TV part either! A nurse should be able to control their cursing at work in all cases but especially in front of children who are already depressed. Who needs that negativity? It's stressful and that's not healing.

    I agree with you Cat about nursing being an art, an art backed up by lots of science. I bet that's a whole other very very long thread somewhere on this site.
    Last edit by wondern on Sep 23
  8. by   JillRN
    Cat! I'm so sorry! I literally JUST went thru the same thing with my 24 year old daughter (we have 11 adopted, 3 bio kids). We adopted her at birth we have no family history. My husband is a Psychologist, I'm an old Ortho RN and also work at a State Mental Hospital. My dtr had been working up to what manifested as full blown psychosis; hallucinating; delusions -she was Jesus and suicidal. The hospital that I worked at. Exact same experience! According to the 20 yr old nurses she was fine, on drugs, take her home. During this time dtr ran out to ambulance bay to prove she could run thru vehicles. After 4 hrs and my husband pulling some strings w his practice WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET HER ADMITTED. The nurses cursed under their breath I couldn't keep dtr in bed I begged for ativan they actually laughed.
  9. by   AddictedToCoffee4657
    Wow! So sorry to hear you went through this!! I'm ashamed that some nurses act like this, but it's good to know that not all are like this...just like yourself! You seem like a kind, compassionate and caring nurse! Thank you for sharing.
  10. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from JillRN
    Cat! I'm so sorry! I literally JUST went thru the same thing with my 24 year old daughter (we have 11 adopted, 3 bio kids). We adopted her at birth we have no family history. My husband is a Psychologist, I'm an old Ortho RN and also work at a State Mental Hospital. My dtr had been working up to what manifested as full blown psychosis; hallucinating; delusions -she was Jesus and suicidal. The hospital that I worked at. Exact same experience! According to the 20 yr old nurses she was fine, on drugs, take her home. During this time dtr ran out to ambulance bay to prove she could run thru vehicles. After 4 hrs and my husband pulling some strings w his practice WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET HER ADMITTED. The nurses cursed under their breath I couldn't keep dtr in bed I begged for ativan they actually laughed.
    Why didn't you ask the doctor directly for Ativan when the nurses laughed at the idea?

    Both you and OP need to discuss your experiences with the Manager of these ER's. Their nurses are idiots, coldhearted, ignorant, and due for some WAMIMS therapy. (walk a mile in my shoes) I pray that they will get some of that therapy soon.

    I imagine some of the anger toward those who confess to SI is due to religious guilt/teaching re: suicide being murder and an automatic ticket to hell.
    Some nurses are irked because they don't quite know how to think or feel about mental health issues, some staff have had or still have hard lives and their compassion is at a low level now, some are having a hard time at home, or God only knows what their problems are.

    Nurses I've worked with in ER call overdoses underdoses and that sort of thing. Very upsetting to me, very disrespectful, not helpful at all.
  11. by   Thorp71
    I've read all the comments, questions and suggestions and as a BSN, MSN, FNP who works in family practice, I do see patients who need empathy, concern and holistic care as well as safety and assessment and, yes before anyone jumps on any bandwagon, I've worked as a nurse for over 20 years BEFORE becoming an NP and worked in ALL settings. It is up to us to BE PROFESSIONAL at all times while on duty, and being compassionate as well as competent SHOULD be a no brainer, but more and more I do see that others enter into this field just for a paycheck not looking at all aspects of the human experience. Where have we gone as nurses if we cannot keep our compassion? This is our hallmark! Btw- so sorry about your experience in the ER. I have seen this myself and have a child who is also depressed with other family members who have been through similar experiences. One was also a hospital where I used to work. After my own father died on the unit where I worked due to negligence the nursing staff was awful to me as was the hospital. It happens, but so does Karma.
  12. by   DoubleblessedRN
    I haven't even logged in on Allnurses in years, much less posted on any discussion board, but I felt compelled to post a reply. First of all, I am so sorry that you and your daughter had this type of experience. I have a teenaged daughter with some troubles and I pray that she never attempts or even contemplates suicide. Admittedly this is one of my biggest fears for her. I sincerely pray and hope that you are both doing better and getting the appropriate help.
    I have been an RN for nine years, and I was a paramedic for twelve years prior to being a nurse. I have never worked in the ER as an RN and I most likely never will, partly due to a lot of ER nurses' attitudes like you, the OP, described. There is a hospital in the area with a reputation for rude ER staff, and I myself have even been hesitant in the past to seek care for myself and my children, even in their urgent care area.
    I have taken many, many patients to ERs in the past: dead, half dead, urgent, or for BS reasons, and I understand that a lot of that gets old after so long. I hated getting frequent calls for intoxicated homeless people who just wanted somewhere to eat, sleep and stay warm or cool (depending on the time of season), drug seekers, lonely elderly people who have been sick for days and call 911 at 3 am because they can't sleep and want someone to talk to; septic, contracted, debilitated nursing home residents who aspirated Jevity, gasping for air and were found wearing a simple oxygen mask with only three liters per minute of o2 just to name a few. I get it. I know you're frustrated and burned out. But don't take that anger and frustration out on "ambulance drivers" and/or your patients. Nobody is forcing you to stay where you are. If you don't like it, leave. I have done so with other jobs and I couldn't have been happier.
  13. by   Julius Seizure
    OP, in an effort to make this thread more productive, can you give us some insight on what you would have changed about the experience? I don't mean like "I wish the nurse would have not cursed at the TV". I mean like, big picture, what do you imagine as how an ER visit for a patient such as your daughter should be? What do you think could have been more therapeutic from the nursing side (obviously they don't control things like medication orders or if someone gets admitted or discharged home)?

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