What punishment should this nurse get? - page 21

Had an interesting situation that came up and thought I'd throw it out for discussion. One of our staff RNs was found sitting in a chair and sleeping at the bedside of one of our ventilator... Read More

  1. by   PMHNP10
    BTW, med/surg night nurse here. I too have never fallen asleep on the job, but I bet if I had been in a darkened room with the rhythm of a ventilator, I would have had some droopy eyes for sure.
    Wow, soooo many posts, can't believe I read (or at least skimmed) them all. I quoted the above because one thing that kept going thru my mind was my personal experience as it relates to this. There is no more difficult job than to sit in a dark room in the middle of the night and watch someone sleep. I have worked nighs for almost all of my nursing career (including my time as a student) and can say that I always got a good day's sleep prior to work, and it just didn't matter when I had to do a 1:1 suicide watch in a pt's room (although I'd be doing this for 8 hrs). I go in alert; come out dizzy from exhaustion. To the best of my recollection I never fell asleep, although I'm sure I've dozed for moments at a time. Point being that what happened to this nurse could happen to everyone of us in a similar situation. That being said, I don't think anyone is saying it couldn't happen to them; and I believe the people who are advocating for dismissal admit that if they were the nurse they should be fired.

    IMHO, this post says almost all that needs to be said about this subject:

    Also, I'm curious if anyone who wanted to terminate the nurse initially has since redirected their thinking (but take this case as an in general example and disregard the policy for this specific situation)?

    And finally, as much as I enjoy union debates, I'm so glad this thread didn't continue to go down that tangent.
    Last edit by PMHNP10 on Oct 31, '05
  2. by   Esme12
    [quote=lost in boston]
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    Gosh, there is making a mistake, and there is sleeping on the job!
    If you are not able to stay awake during your shift, then you should not be working! Your responsibility is to be a safe practioner to your pts. If the night is too hard to work, then speak up to your boss and get traded to days. Gees, imagine being the agitated pt: Imagine looking over and seeing your nurse asleep!! And, BTW, this wasn't a little nap-this was a 2 hour nap! Someone had to wake her up! Totally and completely unacceptable...[/quote

    [FONT=Arial Narrow]Cardiac,
    [FONT=Arial Narrow]I must share that there are times in a ICU when intubated patients truly want to feel a physical presence in the room so they know they are alive. I am sure that when she first went into the room it was not with the intent to fall asleep. A dark quiet warm enviroment can make anyone doze off. The rhymic soumd of the vent and finally the patient who had been the bane of everyone existance that night is finally quiet. Share if you have ever not known how you got home after working 2 -12 hour shift in a row, made dinner, washed a couple loads of clothes and baked cookies for your 6yo's party. Have you ever been driving after a night shift and had to open the window in a blizzard just to stay on the road! Or don't remember if you stopped at the traffic light? I know I have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel at a RR crossing or at a dead stop in traffic in chicago on the dan ryan or on 128 in boston. Only to be rudely awaked by some irate driver blowing their horn furiously and flipping me off!! Should have been driving? NO! but I also needed to get home to meet the bus! Man is not NOCTURNAL it is not a natural state. I agree it is not "acceptable" but it is not such a grevious act that she should lose her liscence.!! "TO ERR IS HUMAN TO FORGIVE DIVINE" :angel2: Even as a supervisor when I finally sit down in the morning to do staffing with the staffing sec. We have both closed our eyes, not realized it pencils in hand bolt upright in the chair... to be awakened by the ringing phone. It is the responsibility of the charge nurse to be aware of her staff and to check upon them if they are missing. I will lay a paycheck on the line that the rest of the staff was so relieved that the patient was finally quiet and stopped being disruptive that they never noticed until the nurse who actually had the patient did the one last check and found her...asleep (been there done that) I am sure that if she went in after "several staff members" had been ther also her patients were being watched as they would if she went on break or lunch. If I traded everyone to days that c/o of being tired I would never have a night shift!! You will be entering the profession soon and I need you to feel compassion and understanding to your peers because that shows me that you will be able to show compassion to your patients from a diversified background. You WILL encounter things and ways of life or someones decision that you do NOT agree with and goes against your very core of beliefs. ......it is compassion and understanding that you need to have...it's TOLERANCE that is imperative!!!! Serious offenses are serious but it is our job to help change them or help them through whatever it is they need. To help them realise the gravity of what they have done....remorse is huge with me. I agree that there is a level of expertise that we need or a standard that needs to be followed but.....we also need to stop eating each other alive!!!! Just food for thought.....I'll get off my soap box. Besides if the patient was that agitated I and intubated I bet you that even if he looked over at the nurse he was just relieved that someone was ther holding his hand!!!! :redpinkhe

    [FONT=Arial Narrow]To all,
    [FONT=Arial Narrow]This still says it all!!!! Talk with her don't crucify her!! [FONT=Arial Narrow]I even find it sad that she got suspended.....seems that someone went out of their way to get her in hot water

    lost in boston
  3. by   aryahsmom84
    How could you say that a person should get fired. Have you ever been fired do you know what it's like? It's a cruel person that says a person should get fired just for falling asleep. Humans do make mistakes. If you have never made a mistake, than you deserve to be fired, because you're not human.
  4. by   Q.
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    Sorry, there has to be standards. You fall asleep on the job for 2 hours, someone has to wake you up, you get fired. IF, she does fall asleep in the future, and IF harm comes to her pt, THE HOSPITAL is at fault for letting her continue to work. I would not take that chance.

    I agree completely.

    Sleeping on the job, I'm confident, is in direct violation of hospital policies. If this one were to be "let go", what other policies should we let slip and where do we draw the line? This wasn't a late-night McDonalds she was sleeping at, this was a hospital with a vent patient!

    And yes, who in the world would be relying on alarms to monitor your patient's status? For heaven's sake...
  5. by   lglnurse
    If she is truly an excellent nurse, she should be given another chance. Maybe probation or something? I fell asleep just after the job....I happened to be behind the wheel of a Volvo going 45 miles per hour, and I fortunately only had a concussion and bloody nose from hitting a telephone pole! I just as easily could have fallen asleep on the job, I was exhausted! We must protect our own and if she truly is not a repeat offender and a conscientious sort, give her a break and give her a chance to earn your trust again.

  6. by   RobCPhT
    Some of the opinions on here aren't very promising. Of all the things nurses are accused of, sleeping is probably one of the most minor. I mean we are only human. Of course she wasn't caring for her patients, but did anyone look for her? I would have found a PCA or other staff member to do such a basic task. This one seems a bit odd, but the infraction is minor compared to others I've seen. :trout: Why is everyone about "fire" "fire" "fire".... how about construction? let's just all terminate each other.... I mean really calm down people she fell asleep in a very relaxing situation.
    Last edit by RobCPhT on Aug 14, '06
  7. by   catlady
    This is an old thread resurrected, and we just had a long thread with many angry exchanges about this same subject. Perhaps it's best to let it go at this point.
  8. by   PMHNP10

    Imagine if we were like cats (and how appropriate given your pic); noone would be able to hold a job.
  9. by   TracyB,RN
    Former night shifter here... Never fell asleep, but, I can't tell you how many times I fought the urge to do so, but I also worked a unit where we couldn't be in the restroom for more than 30 seconds without having a search party sent out...
    I don't think she should be term'd, but definitely reprimanded... If it is a pattern, then I would consider the term...
  10. by   PMHNP10
    Quote from TracyB,RN
    Former night shifter here... Never fell asleep, but, I can't tell you how many times I fought the urge to do so, but I also worked a unit where we couldn't be in the restroom for more than 30 seconds without having a search party sent out...
    I don't think she should be term'd, but definitely reprimanded... If it is a pattern, then I would consider the term...
    or how bout giving the nurse the option to move to either day or evening shift; if that's not an option, then and only then, maybe cut ties
  11. by   leslie :-D
    admittedly i haven't read this thread in its' entirety.
    but if this nurse had an excellent record and this is her first offense, then termination is harsh.
    nothing in life is so black and white that the solutions are that absolute.
    looking at the big picture, is what was needed.
    extenuating circumstances w/a progressive discipline policy.
    pt abuse, stealing and proven impairment are reasons for immediate termination; not firing an otherwise model employee.

  12. by   Babarnurse
    I'm not going to be popular here, but I think she needs to be canned. What if that was your family member in that bed? Would you want a sleeping nurse taking care of your family member? I sure the heck wouldn't. Besides, she is paid for working, not sleeping. I have been in her position and almost fallen asleep, but you don't put yourself in that position.
  13. by   steelydanfan
    I would also like to know where her team members were for the 2 hours. An ICU is not that big that a nurse won't be missed.
    Everyone who works nights knows how hard it is around 4-5 am.
    This could have happened to anyone, and I'll not bet that it hasn't.
    A daily occurence of nodding off is one thing; a 12 hour shifter on the third night ONE TIME is something else.