I would like some advice please. A very close relative of mine is a nurse with +/- 20 years experience. At one time I know she was an excellent nurse, as I have been her patient and know how deeply she cares about her patients and how much her job means to her.
However, in the last several years many things have happened in her personal life that have been incredibly stressful (some very traumatic) and there is just a lot going on. It has affected her work and ability to concentrate and stay focused. She was asked to resign from one job, but I know more than some of her employers and I am concerned -- both for her, her patients and her employers. As a family member of a once wonderful career nurse who has slipped, can you advise?
She is the primary income for her family and her husband refuses to carry family health insurance, so there is a lot of financial pressure, but she really does not need to be working... or working as much. Every mistake upsets her more and causes more stress and anguish, but I am really becoming concerned about possible effects on patients at this point. I certainly don't want her to be sued or something like that either. I don't think she could handle that emotionally. I also don't want to cause more trouble than she already has. Thank you in advance.
May 22, '09
Most places have an Employee Assistance program. I would suggest she utilize it and get professional help. It's confidential.
May 22, '09
I would suggest first to sit down with her and talk openly of your concerns expressing your worry that she doesn't need any more stress right now. Possibly a different job in nursing would improve things also. Aside from the stress she could and may be experiencing burn-out. A few days off/vacation can help tremendously. There are also councelors/psychologists that could help her and her husband who sounds as if he may need to be more supportive. Whatever the final answer would be however it will have to be hers.... therefore talking and finding out her wishes will help the most.
May 22, '09
She is lucky to have someone like you who cares! There is no easy answer to this situation. I think whoever has the best rapport with her should take her out for coffee and express the concerns. Ask her how you can help her. Perhaps a less stressful job (home health, teaching, MDS) (yes I know they can be stressful too....I've done them....) .She may need to see her primary care MD and get started on an antidepressant such as Zoloft. Ideally she would see a therapist....A job change could be perfect, especially if she can take some time off between jobs. Again, thank you for being concerned and wanting to help her. Please keep us posted!
May 23, '09
Thank you all for your replies! She is currently on several medications for severe chronic depression & is seeing a therapist on a weekly basis. Before going to pool/agency nursing and home health, while at the hospital job, she was able to take two leaves of absences under FMLA. After the second one it really seemed they just wanted her OUT, though at that time I don't believe major errors were being made. (Or not that I know of.) The hospital was under new management, her unit closed down & there was a new DON. At the same time there was a huge tragedy in the family that directly impacted her. The tragedy and being asked to resign seemed to really set off a fall of dominoes effect. Her identity is very wrapped up in nursing and in being a GOOD nurse. We're all perfectionists to some degree as well.
Is EAP available to agency/pool nurses? Or would she have to check on her particular agency?
The husband is a selfish jerk and I see no change forthcoming in that area. She is determined to stay in the marriage to not upset the remaining school-age children, now in high school, at least until they graduate.
Wow, I didn't realize how afraid I was until I started actually writing it down. I completely understand the position of hospitals that don't want her to work there again due to errors for patient safety and their own liability, but as a family member I know the "why" of how she got to this point and why she keeps working in spite of the difficulties. Perhaps it is a breech of confidentiality, but I may speak to our physician as a friend as he knows and sees both of us. From my perspective it seems she needs to somehow step away or get some substantial help before painting herself not only into a corner (financially, emotionally, & career-wise)... but painting herself right off a cliff.
Thank you again. Coming from a family of health care professionals and first responders I understand the pressures of that line of work, the trauma, and also the need to be accurate and "on your game". I also understand how much it becomes part of one's identity and purpose in life ~ helping, care-taking, making a difference.
May 23, '09
Hey Blue, Thanks for giving the additional info. Don't know what to tell you. Agencies usually don't have EAP's. Big hospitals do. Seems like she is getting help. How about church, and talking to a pastor? Even if she doesn't belong, she will get some help. Also, she is so lucky to have a caring relative like you. God bless you for caring about her! :clphnds:
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