Speaking of incompetent coworkers - vent and request for help

  1. Near the end of the shift, a pt family approached the nurses' station today to inform the first person she saw (who happened to be the pt's nurse) that her mother (a lovely little confused elderly lady) needed to use the BR. The nurse, according to the unit secretary who was mortified and told the other two nurses, told the family member and I quote, "She has a Depends on; she can go in that."

    The secretary did not want to be perceived as "tattling" but neither could she let this comment go. The nurse happened to be our charge nurse for the day (shouldn't be, but that's another thread.) The family was clearly uncomfortable with the response and the secretary was fortunately able to intervene and get one of us to assist the lady in question.

    I am horrified. I did not say anything because of how I came about the information (third hand - altho I have no doubt of the veracity of it) and the fact that I was so angry that someone would do that I was concerned about the nature of my response if I had said something.

    Thank you for letting me vent and, please, let me know how I can approach this person now after the fact. I know immediate interaction is usually better, but that's shot, so any suggestions? The thought that will keep me awake tonight is that if that family member had gotten (justifiably) angry and asked to see the person in charge, it would have been the *same* person, and that somewhat implies that she was the most experienced, qualified person on the unit. I don't want this family or anyone thinking that this is how we run our unit. More importantly, I don't want it happening again.
    Last edit by Nurse Ratched on Sep 8, '02
  2. Visit Nurse Ratched profile page

    About Nurse Ratched

    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 6,584; Likes: 70
    RN - College Health
    Specialty: Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health


  3. by   RNforLongTime
    Well, I would speak to the secretary involved and OF course the Nurse involved. This nurse definitely needs some sensitivity training!
  4. by   BadBird
    Perhaps that nurse should wear depends for a day and just go in it. How awful for the patient to have a nurse like that. Most hospital falls happen because the patient is trying to get to the bathroom. I hate when a nurse will come out of a room and look for a aide to put the patient on the bedpan! I have seen that happen and it is a pet peeve of mine.
  5. by   fergus51
    Sounds mean, but I would also encourage the family to write to hospital admin. This type of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable and there should be documentation from the family's point of view so that it does not become a he said she said nursing gossip problem.
  6. by   sjoe
    ...and the secretary, not the nurse who only heard all this second-hand, needs to be encouraged to do the reporting. Not the nurse.
  7. by   mario_ragucci
    Blessed are the nurses who honor the humblest requests of a family/individual in need, for this nurse is truely my keeper and friend. There will be no hesitation to strike with great vengence and furious anger any nurse who forgets what a nurse is, and that real people can't be made miniature. The wages of selfish nurses are ???
    Originally posted by BadBird
    Perhaps that nurse should wear depends for a day and just go in it.
    I agree. Next time she's complaining of how busy she is and she needs a potty break, just tell her to go in her pants. If it's OK for her patients, then it's OK for her.

    What a jack*ss!

    This is absolutely uncalled for, and should be reported. But I agree that it's the unit secretary that needs to be the one to step forward.

    And I'm with you too fergus. I often encourage patients and their families to take their complaints to hospital admin. They sure as hell don't listen to the nurses.... maybe they can get somewhere!

  9. by   night owl
    First of all, that response to the daughter of the elderly lady by the charge nurse would not fly in my facility. We had a similar situation. Pt told the NA he had to use the bedside commode and NA told the pt and I quote,"You have a diaper on, go in it." Pt always used the commode. Pt was very sensitive to the remark and seeing that the NA wasn't going to get him the commode he did have to have a BM in his undergarment. The Next day Pt mentioned it to the HN and how much it bothered him. The NA was transfered off the unit when he reported on duty. To me that is one of the most degrading comments you can give to a person.
    Another situation happened with my mother when she was in the hospital for CHF...Mom was on bedrest with IV Lasix had to urinate every 10 minutes or so. Told the first nurse she saw which happened to be the med nurse. Mom her if she could please hand her the bedpan which was in her bedside cabinet because she had to go so bad. Nurses response, "It's not my job." And went about her business. Mom had to wet the bed which she told me was the most degrading thing she ever had to do. Thing is she never told me until she was home two months later. Why? b/c she knew I would have hit the roof and mom didn't want to be known as, "The pt who's family causes trouble."
    Delores, if I were you, I would speak to the secretary first and get the right info. Then I would take this nurse aside and have alittle talk with her about how degrading she makes people feel when she makes comments like the one she gave to that family member. Ask her if it were her, how would she feel then? She should act alot more responsible than that as a charge nurse and this kind of behavior is not an option in nursing. If it were me talking to her, I would tell her that I would see to it that she wasn't charge anymore b/c with comments like that, she is showing how rude and insensitive she really is. Then I would speak to the family involved and ask them if they would want to persue this matter. Some families don't want to make any waves and then others want to sue! If so explain to them how to go about it. If not, let it go with them, but I myself would definately have a talk with this nurse and then It was just uncalled for and does not need to happen again.
  10. by   Fgr8Out
    Don't you just CRINGE when you see/hear/observe this sort of abusive, ignorant behavior? Makes one wonder how these people ever made it out of the shallow end of the gene pool enough to become an RN.

  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I simply DO NOT believe my eyes here. This is a rude wakeup call for me. I have never witnessed such insensitivity working where I do. THIS MUST BE REPORTED AND STOPPED!!! THE NERVE!!! I am so angry, I am shaking...unbelievable.
  12. by   Nurse Ratched
    Just an update: someone who witnessed the incident reported it to our nurse manager. I'm sure I won't know if anything is done about it, but at least it was "passed on" to TPTB.
  13. by   studentOH
    Makes you wonder how many residents/patients are actually incontinent *sigh*. Glad it was brought to someone's attention.

  14. by   night owl
    I too am very glad that it was reported to the NM. Hopefully something will be done. This kind of insensitive, rude behavior must be stopped. These people need a reality check!