Where's my thank-you card?

  1. I feel a little silly writing this, but I want to hear from other nurses and maybe you can shed some light on this. Ok..I feel a little stupid but here goes...I work in a small hospital as a labor and delivery nurse. Although, as everyone knows the 3-11 shift can be crazy busy, I do my best to give great care and anticipate needs before the patient even asks. I'm not going to go on a brag fest but I think I'm a good nurse with a good attitude...well...I'm starting to question if there is something that I'm doing wrong. Another nurse that I work with (we work the same shift and have similar schedules) is CONSTANTLY getting gifts of gratitude from her patients...At least once a week a former patient of hers comes back to the unit with a "goodie basket" or flowers or a card thanking her for her for the care she gave. Of course she shows me the card and I tell her, hey..."her name" that's great! I'm not jealous, but I'm starting to wonder if there is something that I'm doing wrong that I'm not having this kind of connection with my patients. At first I just blew it off. But now it's starting to mess with my head a little. Hey...sometimes after I've given all I can give, I don't even get a thank-you..much less a card. I used to think that just knowing I gave the best care I could give and knowing for myself that I did a good job was enough....and most of the time it is.
    •  
  2. 54 Comments

  3. by   lannisz
    I could have written your post - I know just how you feel! I have wondered the same thing. On the OB unit where I work now, one of the nurses (KNOWN by the staff to get the MOST complaints from patients - believe me, we hear about them from patients!) has lots of little stars on her badge. The stars symbolize going above and beyond in giving good customer service. WHAT the? Another one of the nurses, (well-liked by staff for her great sense of humor, but known to be incredibly lazy - NEVER moves from the desk - and the rest of us are always doing her work and answering her call lights) she told me yesterday that her patient named her baby after her! I smiled and bit my mouth so I wouln't blurt out "You MUST be lying!"
  4. by   Sylv
    I think sometimes a lot of it is just personality. (Not saying you don't have a good one, but I'm sure you know what I mean.)
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    It could be that she's been there for a long time, and also might have been a 'repeat' L and D nurse for some of the people who have more than one child.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Small unit, small town? Maybe she is well-known among patients/families and that is why she gets all these goodies. I have seen this myself in the small hospital where I used to work. The one nurse, "V" worked there like nearly 20 years. EVERYone knew her in town...she was a "townie" (I was not at all, being a military wife) and I watched her get lots of goodies from pts/families. People would come in ask where "V" was as if I were invisible. It used to get to me, but I just decided to blow it off. After a year or so, things changed and they came to know me and I was recognized both by the staff and locals in town more.

    Do not let this get to you. After time, they will come to recognize your efforts and give you tangible thanks. Don't try too hard; just do your best, be professional and things will likely change.
  7. by   SierraN
    yeah, she's been there a long time...I think she helped pour the cement when they were building the hospital. She is always calling everyone "baby" and she's always telling all her patient how she's had 5 children and how she knows what they're going through..and that her children are in their 20's and 30's..then everyone exclaims how young she looks..(which she does). She talks with this sing-songy type voice and she's usually upbeat. On the Flip-side - she's one of the most disliked nurses on our unit because she's
    1. always calling out sick so we end up working her shifts
    2. Finds ways to "disapear" in a patient's room when it's slamming on the unit
    3. Constantly talking/bragging about herself
    4. usually charges and when making assignments, gives the crap assignments to others
  8. by   SierraN
    Quote from Sylv
    I think sometimes a lot of it is just personality. (Not saying you don't have a good one, but I'm sure you know what I mean.)
    I don't know what you mean.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    But the PATIENTS don't that side of her. They see "Mommy" when they see her---the nurse who will kiss their boo-boos and take them all away. SOME patients love this treatment and do well with it. Others are rather insulted or demeaned by it. It's all in how it's presented. But I suspect she comes off as everyone's favorite "Mom" figure and that is why she is getting all the goods.

    YOU have YOUR OWN style. Give it time. You know not to compromise your standards or behavior. This person gets away with what she does for the reasons you mention---well-known, well-loved by the community. It's how it is. Not much you can do, but be patient and keep on trucking. Treat your patients with respect and be real, as well as thorough, and the recognition will come.

    Good luck.
  10. by   SierraN
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    Small unit, small town? Maybe she is well-known among patients/families and that is why she gets all these goodies. I have seen this myself in the small hospital where I used to work. The one nurse, "V" worked there like nearly 20 years. EVERYone knew her in town...she was a "townie" (I was not at all, being a military wife) and I watched her get lots of goodies from pts/families. People would come in ask where "V" was as if I were invisible. It used to get to me, but I just decided to blow it off. After a year or so, things changed and they came to know me and I was recognized both by the staff and locals in town more.

    Do not let this get to you. After time, they will come to recognize your efforts and give you tangible thanks. Don't try too hard; just do your best, be professional and things will likely change.

    Well, I think you may be right. She's worked there longer than anyone and she is always saying things like.."I helped her with her 1st baby and blah-de-blah." Also, I'm not from the South...I'm former military (started out as a dependent (army brat), then went active duty, than got out and married active duty, then divorced and finally a civilian for the first time). It's hard when you don't go to their church...know so-and-so who went to high school with such and such and like to fry everything but the toothpaste your brush your teeth with. (Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with fried pickles, Twinkies, Snickers..hehheh)
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Fried pickles are the bomb.
  12. by   SierraN
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    But the PATIENTS don't that side of her. They see "Mommy" when they see her---the nurse who will kiss their boo-boos and take them all away. SOME patients love this treatment and do well with it. Others are rather insulted or demeaned by it. It's all in how it's presented. But I suspect she comes off as everyone's favorite "Mom" figure and that is why she is getting all the goods.

    YOU have YOUR OWN style. Give it time. You know not to compromise your standards or behavior. This person gets away with what she does for the reasons you mention---well-known, well-loved by the community. It's how it is. Not much you can do, but be patient and keep on trucking. Treat your patients with respect and be real, as well as thorough, and the recognition will come.

    Good luck.
    You're the bomb. I love your posts. I'd give you a high-five right this minute because you hit the nail on the head, told me what i needed to hear. (see how i'd give you a high five, well "nurse I'm complaining about" would give you a hug) How did you get so smart?
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Rofl well I dunno about being the bomb. But experience is a grand teacher. I have 9 years' worth, in both urban and rural settings. The rural setting was the one I could relate to, when I was thinking about your situation.

    I just want you to take heart; it (recognition) does come. It took me the better part of a year to become even visible to some of the patients and staff of that small community I was a non-local/native of the area, and therefore a non-person to some of them. They even hated my Northern accent down there!

    It was really hard to take at first, but things did improve and before I knew it, not only were the patients appreciative of me, my coworkers became some of my best friends. Don't let this chick get to you-----you know who the truly "better" nurse probably is.

    Now, show them that.
  14. by   RNfromMN
    Former gift receiver here...

    A couple of years ago I escorted a developmentally disabled, 30-something, non-verbal patient to the hospital to have his wisdom teeth removed. I've developed close bonds with a lot of these patients, but this was not one of them. He had episodes of "bucking" in his chair, or on a bath table, or in his bed, that were actually quite dangerous to the staff. He'd be admitted to my unit every six months or so and stay for about a week at a time. Never disliked him, or anything...I just never really "bonded" with him.

    Well, for whatever reason, I was chosen to escort him to the hospital for his procedure and his mother elected to join us, as well. During the procedure, her and I had a lot of time to get to know eachother, make small talk, etc. Before he was dischargd from our unit, this patient's mother had dropped off a goody basket with my name on it and it totally blew me out of the water. I almost felt guilty for accepting it, because deep down, I'd never really cared for her son.

    I think sometimes what it comes down to is a "customer service" thing. This patient's mother got to know me and we made this personal connection. While your co-worker may be a competent nurse (I don' know, is she?), perhaps she spends time "eliciting" these gifts by engaging in chit chat with her patients, rather than focussing on needs that aren't as easy for a patient to appreciate (performing assessments, encouraging ambulation, monitoring electrolytes, behind the scenes stuff).

    In my opinion, it's more important to be an efficient nurse (which it sounds like you are) than to be the most liked-nurse. We are constantly doing things for the patient's welfare that they'll never even know about.

close