Nurses who don't take the time to care: have you seen examples?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm writing an essay about caring in nusing (caring meaning the "tending to the spiritual/emotional needs of the patient" part above and beyond their physical needs). Specifically, I'm writing about how student nurses leave school fairly idealistically, anticipating being able to listen, empathize, etc. with patients at will, but how some nurses and the hospital culture can make this tough.

    I was hoping that a few of you might be able to point out examples of colleagues who demonstrate less-than-caring behaviors. For example, a student friend of mine's preceptor discouraged her from providing education to a patient because it would "make them needy." Anyone experienced something like this? I am hoping that I can integrate a few of these examples into my paper.

    Thanks so much,

    Kelly
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  2. 47 Comments

  3. by   CyndiW35055
    Actually, a fellow student was told by an RN not to worry about doing to much for her pt. as the pt. was about to die. When the student asked the RN why she wouldn't do much, she was told by the RN that she would just be wasting time on the pt. and that she would do better by spending that time with another pt instead. The pt did die, that day in fact. The student, being assigned to that pt though, still spent the quality time with the pt, bathing her, turning her, ROM and everything. The family actually sent a letter to the hospital administrator commending her for this behavior and recommended that the hospital "grab her up before someone else does".

    The RN though, after having been heard by the students clinical instructor, received a written warning from the ADON regarding her lack of care. The RN resigned within two weeks. So, let that be a warning I guess.
  4. by   iy0ga
    Does a RN even have to "care" for a patient besides there physical needs? Just wondering...
  5. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from iy0ga
    Does a RN even have to "care" for a patient besides there physical needs? Just wondering...

    YES, YES, YES!!! How would it feel if you or someone close to you was in a horrible car accident; you sustained major physical injuries; you need to have some high risk surgery and you are absolutely petrified. Or maybe you're overwhelmingly depressed because you've lost the function of your legs. Now let's say a nurse comes into your room and just merely changes your dressings and totally ignores your mental/emotional pain.......any GOOD nurse will treat you holistically; they will try and heal all of your pain, regardless of its' origin. Unfortunately, not all nurses are like that-which addresses the OP's question. There are nurses that just address the physiological impairment-nothing more, sometimes less. But thank God, the majority of nurses do indeed treat the person wholey and holy.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    The best nurses are wholistic in practice, seeing their patients as HUMANS with multiple needs, not just the obvious physical ones. And yes, I have seen nurses who don't care. But I see MANY MANY MORE WHO DO.
  7. by   jax
    One of the reasons I only work part time is that I do care, and it is increasingly hard to do so.

    The rewarding part of nursing is being able to spend time with your patients, learning about them, their lives, families and the impact of their hospitalisation on all of these.

    I am finding that my workload is generally so heavy, pt. acuity is very high, that you do what you must first, to keep every-one safe, and it doesn't leave much time left for the "caring". It's a balancing act, and as I'm getting older it's one that I am beginning to lose the taste for..

    jax
  8. by   heart queen
    I have never found it to take more time to make my patients laugh or smile. I feel better about myself, my shift and have a blast with my patients, even during those bad nights.

    But I did not leave nursing school like this.. I had NO idea how to relate to patients. so I developed interpersonal skills and ways to show caring as I went. It's been great to show new grads I' ve precepted that you can have fun.

    There will, unfortunately, always be a nurse that turns and walks out of a room when they were needed to pull up a chair for 5 minutes. I've found that these "neglected" patients become anxious and use the call light more :chuckle

    So I've had a different experience than you're looking for, but just because nursing school "teaches" therapudic communication does not mean all students have it... god knows I didn't

    luck with the paper
  9. by   2ndCareerRN
    Caring is a vital part of nursing IMO. But it does not stop with the patient. Working ER there are many times when the people needing the caring are family members of a sudden death or accident. This is such a devastating event I can't even begin to imagine what the families are going through. So, I am there to provide care and comfort to the survivors as best I can. It doesn't take much. Cleaning the deceased, making the room comfortable by reducing lighting, providing chairs, tissues, time, and honest answers to their questions. There have been many times when I have hugged and cried along with the survivors.

    There are nurses who don't seem to care. Perhaps they are still uncomfortable with death, or interacting with the survivors....who knows. Perhaps their type of caring is to provide the family privacy. I don't ask, they don't tell. I think it takes some people a little bit of time to come to grips that this is more than just a job. And, when they do realize the difference they can make by just showing some concern or a little extra compassion, it kind of grows on them. I like to think they go home just a little bit happier after that shift.

    bob
    Last edit by 2ndCareerRN on Apr 25, '04
  10. by   Town & Country
    There have been many times when I have hugged and cried along with the survivors.
    You are the kind of nurse I like.........
  11. by   mattsmom81
    The challenge is to get the esential work done along with all the caring. Nothing worse than working with someone who is 'so caring' they sepend all their time hugging family, etc...while the rest of the staff must do the work for them. Lots of codependency out there and nurses must learn how to balance caring with professional duty.
  12. by   PBAJS
    The charge nurse on my floor has mentioned that she would like to be able to spend more time with each patient, however, with medications, treatments, paperwork, telephone calls she just doesn't have the time.

    "... working with someone who is 'so caring' they spend all their time hugging family, etc...while the rest of the staff must do the work for them. Lots of codependency out there and nurses must learn how to balance caring with professional duty."

    There was a 'colleague' several years ago that talked, laughed, joked with the patients, the patient's family; knew how many children, grandchildren the patient had, etc.; brought in treats, clothing, birthday gifts for his/her 'pets'. Colleague had told patients 'if you need anything, I'll be right here.' There were times when someone else would answer the call light, the patient would say "I'm waiting for so-and-so to do this for me." We did not have to do the work for our colleague, but in the patient's eyes we were not as good as him/her.

    .
  13. by   MandyInMS
    Quote from mattsmom81
    The challenge is to get the esential work done along with all the caring. Nothing worse than working with someone who is 'so caring' they sepend all their time hugging family, etc...while the rest of the staff must do the work for them. Lots of codependency out there and nurses must learn how to balance caring with professional duty.
    Reminds me of a nurse that works with us occasionally...OMG...she talks her pts & us to death!!! she is a sweet person and I have no doubt she cares for her pts..but is a bit lax on the actual WORK part..example: she's been in 1 pts room for > 30 minutes chit chatting about their family/her family, while in the mean time buzzers for her pts are going off like crazy..her meds are late being given..so and so needs this or that... :uhoh21:
  14. by   missmercy
    Quote from iy0ga
    Does a RN even have to "care" for a patient besides there physical needs? Just wondering...
    YES!!!! The beauty of nursing is that we are experts at providing holistic care -- as opposed to other disciplines who focous on their respective systems or disease processes, Nurses have been trained to see the WHOLE person and treat the needs of that WHOLE person!! Any nurse who can't see the need for that... shouldnt be in nursing!!! Any nurse who does not "Care" for more than a person's physical needs -- isn't practicing real nursing! (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

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