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covid unit safety


Specializes in Med-Surg/Tele. Has 2 years experience.

This month is my one year of being a nurse, the beginning was definitely a roller coaster ride, I’ve finally found my place, become more confident and trust my decisions. The thing is I’m miserable at my job, I’ve been trying to stick out the one year of med surg and have been applying like crazy the past week. I guess my first question is are all hospitals this short staffed? At the beginning I was told I’d only have 5 patients a night but have always had 7, a lot of time total care, because we do not have enough aides either. There’s no evaluations so I have no idea what I need to improve on, in my interview I was told there was tuition reimbursement then upon being hired told they didn’t have the budget for that.

Enter COVID-19 I’ve been working on our hospital’s designated COVID floor since March, last weekend we only had four patients the rest were ICU level, I was total care and told we didn’t have any aides. It was a complete mess, two of the patients were total care on their own and the day shift nurse had given them both sorbitol, an enema and suppository before they left. Another had a heparin drip for a PE and DVT that had been a problem during the day and I was on the phone with pharmacy constantly about it.

The unit manager called me on my way home in the morning to apologize and tell me it’s a safety issue that no one should be the only person on a unit.

When I came back that night the day shift nurse told me I was being moved to another unit, that I was a new nurse who just couldn’t handle the patient load and the charge nurse said I “***ed” to management to be moved. I never asked to be moved I just said I could have really used an aide and that it was a rough night, when the unit manager called me. I pride myself on not complaining and trying to have a positive attitude at work, so it was really disappointing that the one time I speak up, I’m immediately put down.

There’s no real question here, I guess just any advice would be appreciated.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

See what the new unit is like. Hopefully you find a more supportive environment. Applying for other jobs is a good thing. You now know what to look out for in a department. Disorganization, lack of aides and an unsupportive environment are what you need to avoid.

Vquest5, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Nursing Education.

Please don’t be afraid to state concerns related to patient safety, it’s a big part of being a RN. If you feel your comment was misinterpreted, contact the unit manager and clarify. If you like, paraphrase Clint Eastman’s “Dirty Harry” quote, “A man’s got to know his limitations....” or just think of it silently when you do so. You are so early in your career that these criticisms have extraordinary weight for you. (Check out nurse researcher Dr. Patricia Benner’s Theory “From Novice to Expert” to see where you are on a RN developmental timeline.) These are extraordinary times that demand a tremendous effort to meet patient needs but taking care of you now ensures you’ll be around to take care of others later. Be gentle with yourself and your expectations of what you can do. ‘Thank you for your care of COVID patients!

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 4 years experience.

You made it - the first year. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Don’t ever worry about “complaining” (which I say in quotes because it sounds like you weren’t - you were telling it like it was, if you were anything like this post). Sometimes you have to express concerns related to the safety of your patients. It sounds like the unit manager called YOU, and you appeared to express yourself honestly and professionally. If others take your feedback negatively, the onus is on them.

Look at this move in a positive way - you were looking for a new unit, so this may work out for you.