I am completing pre-reqs in anticipation of applying for nursing school. I am excited by the prospect of doing this but have had some personal experiences that are making me question my plans. Over the past year I've had two close relatives who underwent surgery (my mother and my mother-in-law). In both cases the surgeries resulted in hosptial-borne illnesses that greatly complicated their recovery; they were both infections that would not heal. My mother had breast reduction, and her recovery has gone so badly that she will have to go back for further plastic surgery to repair the damage.
In both cases, the hospitals were less than forthcoming in admitting negligence; in fact, in both instances, the doctors attempted to blame the infections on the patients themselves (one doctor told my mother that she was borderline diabetic, which accounted for her inability to heal properly. The nurses in the doctor's office, and a second opinion, absolutely do not support that diagnosis). In both cases, we believe that the hospital staff is attempting to cover up their negligence. In the case of my mother-in-law, we had a series of mis-diagnoses; when we requested her records to verify her meds, they were "unable to locate them." I should say that both of these instances happened at separate, highly regarded hospitals.
I do feel called to nursing and, despite the experience I've already had as a volunteer and in providing care to my family members, I don't think that I could stand by and watch a doctor or administration lie about a patient not getting adequate care or having suffered because of the care received. The nurses themselves were wonderful and helpful in both cases but, but I know they're not dumb; one even mentioned outright that my mom's infection was the hospital's fault. Despite their best intentions, they're part of the hospital establishment and so are necessarily put in a moral quandry. I'd like to think that I could be honest and make a difference as a nurse, but I'm wondering what that means in real terms.
Do any practicing nurses encounter this kind of behavior regularly? If so, how do you handle it?