My poor co-worker!

  1. I really guess I would just like to hear some opinions about something that happened to one of my fellow nurses. I'll try to make it short.

    One of the 7a - 7P L&D nurses came onto her shift to be floated to med-surg. Bear in mind that this young lady has never worked med-surg a day in her life.

    We have been told recently that if we are floated, we may be asked to take a couple of low accuity patients so that if we are needed in our own area we can quickly hand then off to another nurse. None of us has had any orientation to med-surg, other than to occasionally help out as a "runner", and our L&D is staffed with a MAXIMUM of two nurses per shift. Only if there is a second nurse are we expected to take patients.

    Back to my co-worker ... She came in at 7a and was to be floated. She was already upset that she would have to take patients because she had very rarely been over there to work at all, but she held her head up and went anyway. When she got there, she started taking report. After two patients, the offgoing nurse continued. The L&D nurse stated that she was only supposed to have two patients. The offgoing supervisor told her that she was going to take a full load - that the med-surg manager had approved it through the CNO.

    My co-worker became upset and told the nurse supervisor that she had to go to the restroom (she didn't want anyone to see her crying). After coming out of the restroom, she told the supervisor that she would be right back, that she really needed to speak to the L&D nurse manager, who's office is just down the hall from med-surg.

    When she got there, the NM wasn't in yet, and she ran into the CNO, who told her that she needed to wait for the L&D NM to get there so they could talk about the situation. The nurse was still visibly upset, so she thought they were just going to maybe work out a compromise of some sort.

    When the L&D NM got there, she was taken into the CNO's office, told that she had abandoned her patients, and escorted off the property by security with the NM telling her that she was going to report her to the BON.

    The other nurses were still taking report and hadn't even been on the floor to see their pt's yet, and she had told the supervisor that she would be right back, which she had every intention of doing.

    That night, another L&D nurse was pulled and was given a full load also - without any form of orientation. I guess I'm just wondering if I have lost perspective of the whole incident and was wondering how you guys feel about it.

    Thanks so much!
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  2. 66 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I'd be hitting the want ads. If you are expected to take a full med-surg load, then orientation is in order.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Agree 100% with the above post. WRONG WRONG WRONG!
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    One more thing: If you have a union, tell her to contact her rep NOW.
  6. by   tryingtomakeit
    I only wish for a union! We were told that we should have received enough orientation to med-surg in nursing school
    Last edit by tryingtomakeit on Mar 9, '07
  7. by   Mulan
    Is that the only hospital in the area? I'd be out of there in a heartbeat.
  8. by   first_lobster
    That's just oh-so-wrong in ssoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many ways. Perhaps She should contact the BON herself, or the Joint Commision, or other supervising body, or even just the board of health, and at the very least an attorny to defend herself. We recently had a house float down in the icu who got completely overwhelmed, and our NCM jumped in and took over until we could get another nurse to come replace her (yeah, i'm lucky in the NCM department). I think that it could be said that it would be negligence for her to have taken a full load if she's not been oriented, or ever worked med-surg. Her patients would have been in much more danger. I really hope that she stands up to this. :angryfire
  9. by   mekrn
    All I can say is OMG!

    Don't walk, RUN AWAY! FAST! VERY FAST! GO NOW!

  10. by   mekrn
    Quote from first_lobster
    That's just oh-so-wrong in ssoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many ways. Perhaps She should contact the BON herself, or the Joint Commision, or other supervising body, or even just the board of health, and at the very least an attorny to defend herself. We recently had a house float down in the icu who got completely overwhelmed, and our NCM jumped in and took over until we could get another nurse to come replace her (yeah, i'm lucky in the NCM department). I think that it could be said that it would be negligence for her to have taken a full load if she's not been oriented, or ever worked med-surg. Her patients would have been in much more danger. I really hope that she stands up to this. :angryfire
    :yeahthat: Thank you, that's EXACTLY everything I wanted to say, but was COMPLETELY SPEECHLESS for a minute after reading that post! Whoa! Are they kidding! Perhaps she would like to contact her local newspaper, as well!
  11. by   cisco
    As a former nurse manager of a med/surg floor there is no way I would expect a float from L&D to carry a full load, especially if they were expected to return to their home floor if needed. I would have had them help with meds, treatments, walks, admits etc.

    As for your friend, she really needs to talk to an attorney who works with healthcare professionals to get some advice. I would also, be talking to the Director of nursing, director of HR and the CEO about your serious concerns about patient safety. Just keep stressing patient safety. This situation is totally outrageous and callous. She needs to fight to protect her hard earned license.
  12. by   babyktchr
    This happens to us way to many times. We are floated to med surg where we are supposed to be an aid or take a light assignment, only to have a full load. The last time I was floated, I was sent to telemetry, where I was given report on a patient with a cardizem drip!! Granted, I am an ex CCU nurse, but my telemetry experience is not what it used to be. In the morning I had the on coming nurse grill me about rhythms and stuff, and I looked at her and said..you will have to talk to the charge nurse about those...I am not qualified to read it. Of course I presented my objections to the nursing supervisor who said there was nothing she could do. I also wrote a lengthy report to risk management.

    The problem is....administrations feel that a RN is a RN is a RN. This is not the case any longer. Even med/surg nursing has become specialized. No one can be versed in every kind of specialty to work competently. I don't know what it will take to get the higher ups to realize this. We certainly do...why can't they????
  13. by   vamedic4
    I have to agree with solidarity on this one...I'd fashion a nice editorial on what REALLY goes on at that facility and have it published in bold print...
    To the OP, I'm so very sorry your friend has had to endure this type of treatment. I hope you never do. But with a NM like yours, you never know.

    And they wonder why nurses are leaving the bedside?? Gimme a break.

    We all know that nurses are in terrible need - as evidence by the OPs story, but why do nursing administrators have to take it upon themselves to alienate the very people it is their job to support??

    Have your friend run from this place and not look back. She deserves better. You all do.

    vamedic4
  14. by   Bridget O'Malley
    Your co-worker was treated horribly. I'd be bringing the big guns in on this situation as cisco recommends myself.

    Now I'm going to threadjack and give a different perspective. At my hospital, L&D nurses are told at their orientation that they may be expected to float to a med/surg floor that specializes in gyn and male urinary problems. They are given monthly competencies specific to that unit.

    And yet, every time a L&D nurse comes over to act as an aide (they are never given patient assignments) they refuse to give meds such as Toradol and Zantac because they are not familiar with them. They refuse to assist in caring for men because "We only deal with women's parts in L&D" and will not go into a room unless it is strictly post-op in case they get "called back to the babies". Why these nurses can't look up meds they are not familiar with like the rest of the nursing population; take care of an infected foot of a diabetic (as though everyone who delivers a baby and her multitude of visitors is 100% healthy); and apply an ice pack to a scrotal injury is beyond me.

    I love my L&D nurses, really. They took wonderful care of my babies and deal with as much family BS as any ER nurse. But at my hospital (don't know about any others), I just wish they'd stay in babyland or think of ways in which they CAN help instead of reasons why they can't.


    Now back to the original post--

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