We have (my husband and I on separate occasions) caught one of our night nurses sleeping. The first time it happened, DH saw her on the baby monitor (I was already knocked out!) and he didn't say anything. He just got up to the hall bathroom (even though we have the en suite) and made a lot of noise so she would wake up. I guess she got the hint, because the next morning when I relieved her she told me about how she was coming down with something and may not be back that night. Being a PDN myself, I understood and respected where she was coming from, and just told her to call the agency in enough time for them to find a replacement since I had no day nursing that day and would be exhausted. She ended up calling in sick, we got a new nurse and all was well. We never reported it, and asked her back because we assumed it was an isolated incident. We watched her, and the other nurses on the monitor as indicated for the next few days, and had no real concerns. I trust most PDNs are honest and do a good job. I know I've always tried to do a good job and I never want to be one of "those" parents. I try to see it from the nurse's POV.
Weeks later, I woke up with one of my other children and happened to glance into the room and see the nurse sleeping. Not just dozed off (which I admit, I have done in the past- but not on purpose- and never comfortably) but LAID OUT on the floor (off camera) with Gem's Minnie Mouse throw blanket over her! I took care of my other child, put her back to bed, and when I walked past again, the nurse was sitting up in the chair (red eyes, groggy looking, obviously just woke up). I offered her a cup of coffee, and asked if she wanted to sit in the living room with a monitor to have better lighting. She declined, so I kindly reminded her that there is no sleeping and Gem can turn on a dime, so we needed full eyes on at all times. I don't think I was nasty about it, and I told her I wouldn't report her because I understand sometimes it's hard to stay awake.
Third incident, two night ago (3 days later), on my birthday. I came in from my celebration and went straight to bed. I had been the night nurse the night prior and my family had my birthday full from morning to night. I was EXHAUSTED! Because I fell asleep around 9, I was awake again by 2. I got up to get a drink, looked at the monitor, and didn't see the nurse. When I went downstairs, the nurse was on the couch with the other video monitor, lights low, TV off, curled up on the chaise lounge. At this point, I woke her up and sent her home. I did the rest of the shift and called the agency Monday morning. They said they would take care of it, apologized profusely, and arranged to send more nurses out later this week to interview.
Well, yesterday I get a call from them telling me they would no longer be able to staff my case! We are foster parents. These children aren't mine legally, and I HAVE to have nursing coverage 60% of the week as part of my placement contract. I have 6 kids total. They are not going to allow a medically fragile child to stay in a home with limited nursing coverage! When I asked the nursing director for an explanation re: canceling our contract, she simply said because I overreacted with the nurse and it would be difficult to find nurses who are NEVER going to doze off on night shift. I advised her there had been other incidents, and it was NOT
dozing off in the traditional sense. It was sleeping
. She told me that being a nurse myself, I was already a harder case to staff because nurses don't want to work in homes with other nurses, and this was proof that I heldthe staff to a higher standard than most parents would. Whatever. I moved over to PSA full time, and some of the best nurses I've had are from there. I just wanted two agencies to try to keep my case fully staffed, which didn't work as planned, anyway.
OK, fellow nurses. Please help me improve. Did I overreact?
Jan 17, '13
by CloudySue, LPN
I also believe that you did not overreact. I agree with the sentiment of what all other posters have expressed here regarding sleeping on the job.
However, I am curious as to why you have an A/V monitor with the nurse in your field of vision. Don't you trust your licensed nurses, even before this happened? Perhaps the agency cannot find any nurses for you who are willing to work with a camera in the room. My agency has one known case who uses a camera like that. EVERYBODY knows about them and they have a hard time staffing them. Working with a camera trained on me like that would make me highly uncomfortable. I don't even like seeing my image on monitors when you walk into grocery stores, or seeing myself on home videos. I hate the feeling of being watched in department stores on security cameras. I've never stolen a thing, but I feel like Big Brother is always there behind me.
I am an adult and a professional with a license and would appreciate not being spied on throughout my workday. I do my job and I have nothing to hide, but I would refuse to go back to any case where the family wants to watch me in secret. I want to be able to eat my lunch, scratch my boob or pick my wedgie without feeling spying eyes on me. Families check on me occasionally by sticking their heads in the room at any time without warning, and that's perfectly acceptable to me. I had one case once where the camera was angled towards the baby in the crib facing away from where I sat and that didn't bother me. I don't mind an extra set of eyeballs on the baby.
You were interested in another nurse's POV, so this was mine! If I'm misunderstanding the situation, I'm sorry. But just going on what you wrote, if I were a nurse in your home I would probably not stick around, no matter how nice and understanding you are. I simply would never feel comfortable or welcome. Just my two cents. That said, put the camera away or angle it differently, and I'd be the best nurse you ever had. Pour me some of that coffee!
Last edit by CloudySue on Jan 17, '13
Jan 17, '13
by tnmarie, LPN
It is hard to staff cases with cameras in general. Pretty sure my current case has a camera and I really don't care. My case is also working for a nurse. Really don't care about that either. I'm a night nurse and I don't sleep on the job. I pace, drink 5 hour energy, do what I have to do to stay awake. Sleeping is unacceptable but I've known a lot of nurses who don't feel like it is (for whatever reason).
I actually LOST a case because I refused to "just go into the back room and sleep"! It hurt my wallet bad, but I sure sleep like a baby (in the daytime, lol).
I've lost several cases because they were dropped d/t being unable to keep them staffed. Seems to be a common thing. It's a shame.
Quote from lauriefulcher
I am trying to go independent because my patient needs more hours and my company will not give her over 30 hours nad she needs more care but I can't seem to find any information on it...
Just a few of quick thoughts on this:
1. Usually companies give nursing hours based on what insurance approves. If you did take on hours above that, the family would have to pay you privately and that could get complicated/messy.
2. Most companies have strict policies against working for patients that you work(ed) for while on their staff. Even if you were to go independent, you most likely couldn't take that case (usually for a set amount of time AFTER leaving your company).
3. I worked as an independent contractor and it was terrible. Taxes were a headache so I took it to H&R block and they screwed them up. I ended up owing the IRS thousands from my year as an independent contractor. I wouldn't recommend it and certainly would never do it again.
Last edit by tnmarie on Jan 17, '13
: Reason: clarification