I saw this on an ER thread and I feel it needs to be discussed. Before anyone flames me, this post is not intended to attack nurses, especially ER nurses. I feel that I do need some clarification about what nurses consider to be a "bother."
Originally Posted by RunnerRN
14) Just because you or your family member says "I know you're busy" or "I'm sorry to bother you" before making another dumb request (another blanket, when will my room be ready, etc) does not make me less busy or you less of a bother.
OK, not to be another scolding student, but this one did bother me. It is natural to want to make your family member comfortable during their stay in the ER, even if their need perhaps isn't as urgent as the dying patient down the hall. The family member is at least showing some politeness and sensitivity for the nurse. They are not trying to be a bother. It's just that their family member is sick (even if there are other people there who are sicker) and they are trying to get their needs met.
Trust me, if I knew where the blanket/clean sheet/washcloth/emesis basin was, and I was allowed access to the supply closet, I'd get it myself and not bother you. But I'm a "guest" in the ER, so I have no choice but to bother the nurse or leave my family member cold/wet/dirty/thirsty etc. So to all you hardworking ER nurses, I'm sorry to bother you, I know you're busy, but I will advocate for my family member when I accompany them to the ER.
Point is, from a patient's perspective it's hard to know what will be considered unreasonable. I don't think it's unreasonable to want to be comfortable if you're really not feeling well. I'm not talking about patients who have no reason to be in the ER. I'm talking about patients who truly are sick, but are stable and not about to die. Should their need for comfort be ignored because there are patients who are so much sicker? As a family member, I hate to bother the nurse because I know how much she has to do--but as I said, I'm a guest in their facility and I really don't know where things are. If I could take care of it myself, I would.
It's not just in the ER that this is an issue. I'm one of the least demanding people you'll ever meet, yet I have been in hospital situations where I was made to feel like a "bother." That's one reason I chose to have my babies at home. The OB nurses during my first birth were great, but the postpartum nurses acted like I was a big pain. When I have my babies at home I'm on my own turf and can look after my own comfort, and the midwife is there to assist me. I am not a bother to anyone.
I don't really know what the resolution to the problem is. I know nurses are overworked as it is and can't be all things to all people at all times. I also know that there are whiners and unreasonable people out there who demand all sorts of things that are not their right at all. But should a patient with a legitimate (although not desperate) need be ignored simply because other people have bigger needs? Maybe hospitals can have the most necessary supplies readily available so family members can provide the comfort care when nurses are too busy to do so? I really don't want to bother the nurse, but it's frustrating to be so dependent on people who have much more important things to do than tend to you.
Jan 5, '07
Quote from chayan
but should a patient with a legitimate (although not desperate) need be ignored simply because other people have bigger needs? maybe hospitals can have the most necessary supplies readily available so family members can provide the comfort care when nurses are too busy to do so? i really don't want to bother the nurse, but it's frustrating to be so dependent on people who have much more important things to do than tend to you.
no, they shouldn't be ignored, or feel that they shouldn't ask. however, they need to understand that i might not be able to get that blanket (or whatever) right then and there. even if we don't look busy. 'cause i don't look very busy when i'm on hold with the lab trying to get the result of that critical lab value, but i can't stop what i am doing.
and that, my friend, is the problem. when you or your loved one is sick, the whole world begins to revolve around you and your loved one. it is difficult to think of that other patient. all you can think of is that your mom is cold, hungry, and in pain. and this is a reasonable perspective, it really is.
but, that is not the average nurse's perspective. nurses in general (especially er nurses) are constantly trying to prioritize. and unfortunatly, unless the patient is hypoglycemic and hypothermic, food and warm blanket isn't my top priority. :spin:
so, it is ok to ask for the meal tray/blanket/glass of water, as long as you promise to forgive us (and not write nasty comments on the press-gainey survey) if you have to ask again.
as to having a supply of comfort-type stuff for family to have access to, there is a reason why we keep tight control of that stuff:
1. food. not everyone can have it. we only want to feed the patients. family only gets food in very special circumstances. some patients can't have it, either.
2. warm blankets. one tends to shiver/feel cold when one has a fever. depending on how high that fever is, you may not get even a sheet from me, much less a warm blanket. in fact, if the fever is high enough, be glad i'm not taking more drastic (and very uncomfortable) measures to cool you down!
3. everything else. you would be surprised at how many people consider the er to be their own personal drug store/linen store/wound care supply store..... you would be amazed at the stuff that comes up missing. in fact, there is a fairly old thread on the very subject. i, personally, have seen gowns, pillows (at $90 a pop), blankets, sheets, ky jelly, the stirrups from the ob stretcher
, dopplers, and countless bandage supplies disappear, to name just a few. people seem to have the notion that hospitals are rich, and they will take what they can walk out with. no, thank you, we will keep the stuff hidden!
Last edit by CritterLover on Jan 5, '07