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Do you ever contend with pesty ancillary staff?

Posted

Specializes in Critical Care, Float Pool Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

Often nurses on the floor, while in their busiest minutes of their day, and sometimes even during a crisis, are hunted down by phlebs, radiology techs, physical therapists, care managers, random consults, dietary aides over innocuous issues or pesty requests. These requests come from a group of staff who generally are not accountable for a patient load, but have one job that they perform over and over on multiple patients throughout the day and are not sensitive to the cloud of responsibility hanging over nurses, who are trying to keep track of 10 other things that people have come by to tell them.

"Your patient in room 4 asked for water."

"There's a dime sized blood stain on your patient's sheet (from when they drew blood)."

"Your patients armband is missing (when its on their ankle)."

"Where's this patient's nurse?"

"Your patient in room 7 wondered if you could help them with the TV."

Meanwhile, you're running around looking trying to get pain medication, or you're settling a fresh post op, or stepping a patient up, or trying to prevent a rapid response. You know that what the person says may be important, but it's not something you aren't already cognizant of or something that needs addressing immediately.

Sometimes these staff want you to tell the doctor this or that, and you just want to say "Leave me alone damn it. Why don't you ******* tell them to order it?"

The best is when they pop on the unit for the 15 minutes they need to do their job, see that something is amiss in the patient's room, and they adopt an attitude suggesting that you haven't been paying attention to your patients.

What is your opinion on pesty ancillary staff? Do you experience it, or this just trumped up? What do you think it stems from?

Although I respect all ancillary staff's roles in the overall care of a patient, I do find it distracting to be constantly interrupted with questions or comments from them. Especially if it's something as simple as the patient needs an extra blanket......well, go get them one!

This is one aspect I like about working nights....lots less ancillary staff around.

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

This is one of my biggest reasons for continuing to work night shift. Some of the ancillary staff goes home. :) I really feel like I get to spend more quality time with my patients because I get to spend less time with people doing busy work that doesn't really "matter".

FineAgain

Specializes in ED; Med Surg. Has 7 years experience.

That's why I work nights as well. The benefits outweigh the negatives.

Plus -- all patients go to sleep at 2100 and sleep alllll night, right? :roflmao:

wanderlust99

Specializes in ICU/PACU. Has 10 years experience.

The worst is when you are right outside the room busy doing something and they push the dang call bell "I need the nurse". Or the other day, I was running around like crazy and the OT pressed the call bell, asked for the nurse and then proceeded to ask me get her socks for the patient. Seriously? I think my look I gave to her said it all. I was in a good mood that day, but I would typically respond with "please be prepared next time" or "you can get those yourself" . I told her I would get them when I have time. I was even on the phone during this. So rude!

Sometimes you have to be direct with these people and ask them to do it themselves. Really.

Mr. Murse

Specializes in critical care. Has 7 years experience.

I've noticed though with most ancillary staff it's all about the individual. Some of our phlebotomists or respiratory therapists are really aware of our jobs and will do things like get a blanket or some water for patients without bothering the nursing staff. Others are petty little nagging people as the OP described.

The most annoying thing to me recently has been our telemetry monitoring room. They have now been requesting our shift assignment sheet so they can call the nurse directly about issues with the monitor. Now we get stupid calls bout O2 sats being down, or leads being off, or batteries needing changing, or something else that would have normally been called to the front desk and an available person would have gotten it instead of the nurse who is probably busy and doesn't need to be getting their phone rang for something anyone else could have done.

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

It's only annoying to me when it's something really stupid.

Phlebotomist: Your patient wants something.

Me: What do they want?

Phlebotomist: I don't know.

Me: OK. Why do you think they want something?

Phlebotomist: They were saying something.

Me: What did they say?

Phlebotomist: I don't know.

Why come disrupt me to tell me absolutely nothing at all? This particular patient was non-verbal and barely responsive. When I went to check on her, she was at her baseline and no obvious needs were identified.

RNdynamic

Specializes in Critical Care, Float Pool Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

Unfortunately, some of the ancillary staff think they are being extra diligent, high performers by being annoying and pointing out small, relatively inconsequential things. There is a housekeeper in the medical ICU that I work in, who will say things to the nurses like "isn't this a contact precaution room?" when you rush into a room without a gown because a patient is pulling at their endotracheal tube, or got disconnected from the vent, or they're in some very bad arrhythmia. The funny thing is that the guy almost never speaks English except to bother the nurses, so I think he may have used someone else's SSN to have gotten employed.

I'd like very much to tell him to shut up and keep mopping.

Edited by RNdynamic

noyesno, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Family Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

Had a physical therapist come into a patient's room, where I was administering medications, to tell me she got another one of my patients out of bed without a chair alarm. The patient was a high falls risk and I told her to go find an alarm.

Other disciplines want to delegate everything to us. Makes me want to flip them the bird. :angrybird1:

TU RN

Specializes in ICU, PCU. Has 7 years experience.

What is a phlebotomist? Never seen one. Sometimes I'll mess with the doctors who say "I think your patient in room ## had a bowel movement" with "oh and you didn't clean her up???"

This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves about working days. The offenders are almost invariably looking to shove off a task that they don't feel like completing onto the nurse. The keyword is the pronoun: "your patient". As in, I'm not going to take any responsibility for what this patient wants because I'm only the RT/PT/phleb/etc, even though I could with relative ease get them a Jell-O or a warm blanket.

Perhaps one of the most irritating incidents I've ever had with ancillary staff was when I met a housekeeper who was an aspiring nurse. OK, fine. The problem was, he used his working hours as a makeshift clinical. He'd hang out at the assignment board, study the patients and their diagnosis/diet/activity/fluid orders, and then seek out their nurse and ask them questions. When I arrived to this ward and found myself being questioned as I prepared my brain sheets, I told him that he was violating HIPAA and that if he valued his job, he'd stick to doing his job and not mine. I was told by other staff members, "Oh, that's just Joe. He's harmless." It occurred to no one that he was a confidentiality risk--they were so used to him that they didn't notice he was writing down information in a notebook and taking it home with him at night. Weeks after I arrived, he was transferred to an area of the hospital that didn't directly deal with patient care.

Mr. Murse

Specializes in critical care. Has 7 years experience.

What is a phlebotomist? Never seen one. Sometimes I'll mess with the doctors who say "I think your patient in room ## had a bowel movement" with "oh and you didn't clean her up???"

Do you seriously not know what a phlebotomist is or are you saying that sarcastically to imply you have to do your own blood draws?

I know many facilities don't have phlebotomists (or PCT's and other ancillary help) and the nurses do all the draws, but usually those facilities have a lower patient/nurse ratio too.

Thank God I work in Homecare! In Homecare PT, OT, PC and nursing all work as a team. I use PT, OT, and HHAs to my full advantage and they can be extremely helpful as long as communication is left open :)

When I did work in the hospital setting you're right the situation is a lot different! Usually I just responded with a short and sweet "OK thank you for notifying me. I'll take care of it as soon as I can." Then maybe write the room number or pt initials down real quick so they see you are serious and listened to them.. then they'll walk away lol

TU RN

Specializes in ICU, PCU. Has 7 years experience.

Do you seriously not know what a phlebotomist is or are you saying that sarcastically to imply you have to do your own blood draws?

I know many facilities don't have phlebotomists (or PCT's and other ancillary help) and the nurses do all the draws, but usually those facilities have a lower patient/nurse ratio too.

It was sarcasm, we draw our own blood.

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 9 years experience.

Luckily, PT/OT are usually pretty good about attending to patient needs that they can perform during their sessions. If they put a fall risk up to the chair, they will get a chair alarm. Blankets, water, etc. before they leave, they will do it. There are two that have adversarial relationships with nursing, implying we aren't doing our jobs re: comfort. Meh, whatever. I know we are doing our best, so if they want to make the patient super-dooper comfortable with getting them green jello rather than red jello, have at it!

What gets me, and that I've addressed with management, are fall risks close to falling, but for some reason, the person has left the patient's room to tell me. Or, alarms going off and only the nursing staff answers them. I've requested that management facilitate a culture change where bed alarms and chair alarms are expected to be answered by everyone, with a call to the nurse from the room.

I refuse to be the go-between for any ancillary staff to the doctors. If lab wants to know if they can add new labs to the morning draw, I give them the name and pager of the intern. "Good question, and I don't want the patient to be stuck anymore than they have to, too. The doc's name is X, and his pager is 12345. It's really a medical decision, not a nursing one. Thanks for calling." Click. Of course, if I know it can't be added, I'll say so. Same for RTs or any imaging staff that wants to push the test to the next day. If I know things can't be changed or delayed, I'll say so, but even if I know it can, it's out of my scope to make that decision.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

From RNDynamic

"Your patient in room 4 asked for water."

"There's a dime sized blood stain on your patient's sheet (from when they drew blood)."

"Your patients armband is missing (when its on their ankle)."

"Where's this patient's nurse?"

"Your patient in room 7 wondered if you could help them with the TV."

"The sign above his head clearly states that he's NPO. Thanks for reminding him of that." or "Feel free to give him what's in the cup sitting beside his bed. Thank you."

"Thank you for taking care of that for me! The sheets are in the cupboard in the corner of his room."

"Did you check his ankle?"

"As you can see on the white board at the nurse's station, Floyd has that patient and the patient in room 6. If you don't see him in the substation between the two rooms, try room 6. Or you could just call his Ascom phone."

"It doesn't take a registered nurse to help with the TV, but it does take one to hang this blood that I'm hanging. I'm sure he'd be thrilled if YOU helped him with his TV."

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

What is a phlebotomist? Never seen one. Sometimes I'll mess with the doctors who say "I think your patient in room ## had a bowel movement" with "oh and you didn't clean her up???"

Our doctors would HELP me clean it up if need be. I'm lucky! (Or maybe I'm just old enough to ask for help when a younger nurse would say, "No, no, I'm OK.")

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

So its not a good thing when you call up CP and tell the person on the end of the phone "Come minion I need you"