What's the reason for a RN to be snippy to a new post op pt. ? - page 5

OK. I don't want to fluff any feathers. I'm simply trying to get an opinion to experienced nurses and try to see this from the nurses point of view. I'm a nursing student so my POV is still very... Read More

  1. by   Moogie
    Quote from LEN-RN

    3. Family members can drain staff very quickly. You will find that they come out like ants. You give alittle, and they demand it all. Before you know it, you are giving snacks to sons in law, brothers in law, ex spouses, ex sisters in laws, next door neighbors, ex next door neighbors, ladies from a church that the patient doesnt even go to anymore. I am not kidding. "This drawer sticks when I open it." and what were you doing opening the drawer?? Your not the patient. "can you find the fishing channel?" the patient is asleep, I doubt 90 year old Aunt Lucy watches the fishing show ANYWAY. "what is the phone number to the pizza shop across the street?" or "we need to let Uncle Lester know shes in here. do you have a phone book." or "little bobby knocked his mouth on the bed frame. can we get some ice?" So why did you let little bobby treat the bed like a junglejim??

    You are right, nursing is a service industry. But when a nurse is being investigated for neglecting a patients in room 101... I doubt the nursing board, or attorneys are going to care that the family members in 104 were wined and dined and taken care of.

    The patient is the reason the nurse is there. Not the family.
    Sounds like you have dealt with family members from Hades. Does your administration and nursing management condone such outrageous behavior? Do they convey the attitude that your institution is not a health care facility but a hotel with nursing staff? Explicit or covert messages from management and administration that any family behavior or demand is acceptable might be setting you and your co-workers up for this sort of nonsense. Behaviors like that would drain ANY nurse and might make it less likely for him/her to be understanding for other, more reasonable family demands.

    You are right that the patient is the reason the nurse is there. Throughout my nursing education, I've had it drummed into my head, though, that to holistically address a patient's needs, we must consider the family system and sometimes address family needs as well. We can't just take care of patients in isolation from their family members---though sometimes, yes, that might be better for everyone!

    I'm old but idealistic enough to believe that there can be a middle ground between serving coffee to ladies from the church the patient no longer attends to meeting the legitimate needs of a family in crisis.
  2. by   Virgo_RN
    Quote from RedhairedNurse
    Compassion is not a requirment, but we are in customer service and we should provide people with the same respect we would expect in the same situation. Whether or not she had just received pain meds or not, the nurse was disrespectful and rude!
    No. I am most certainly NOT in "customer service". I am a healthcare professional. I do not care what bill of goods the hospitals are trying to sell. My job is to keep my patients safe, to protect them from harm, and to help them to recover from the acute phase of illness and transition to the next level of care. I am not a waitress.
  3. by   LEN-RN
    Quote from Moogie
    Sounds like you have dealt with family members from Hades. Does your administration and nursing management condone such outrageous behavior? Do they convey the attitude that your institution is not a health care facility but a hotel with nursing staff? Explicit or covert messages from management and administration that any family behavior or demand is acceptable might be setting you and your co-workers up for this sort of nonsense. Behaviors like that would drain ANY nurse and might make it less likely for him/her to be understanding for other, more reasonable family demands.

    You are right that the patient is the reason the nurse is there. Throughout my nursing education, I've had it drummed into my head, though, that to holistically address a patient's needs, we must consider the family system and sometimes address family needs as well. We can't just take care of patients in isolation from their family members---though sometimes, yes, that might be better for everyone!

    I'm old but idealistic enough to believe that there can be a middle ground between serving coffee to ladies from the church the patient no longer attends to meeting the legitimate needs of a family in crisis.
    Unfortunately, money and reputation are the bottom line. Also, families are catered to because unhappy families and friends can bring complaints, whether valid or not. And complaints mean investigations, paperwork. So management says to smile, do the best we can, and smile, smile, smile.

    I drew the line when a mother left a sticky note on the television in a waiting area Big BOLD LETTERS "Animal channel or Cartoon channel ONLY", because she would let her children run back and forth unattended. Half the time they werent even watching tv. But she didnt want any other visitors to change the channel. The other staff wouldnt touch the note. I tore it up. I told her it was a public room.
    Last edit by LEN-RN on Jun 19, '09 : Reason: add
  4. by   LEN-RN
    Quote from Virgo_RN
    No. I am most certainly NOT in "customer service". I am a healthcare professional. I do not care what bill of goods the hospitals are trying to sell. My job is to keep my patients safe, to protect them from harm, and to help them to recover from the acute phase of illness and transition to the next level of care. I am not a waitress.
    I agree with you, and still do. But some of those demanding family members can cause alot of trouble. Most of the time, I just grin and bear it. They may have a long wait, but I tell them someone was crashing, and I was knee deep in blood.(lol not really the explanation, but something similiar) That usually calms them down.
  5. by   Virgo_RN
    Yep. The good news is if I'm not hovering over you, you're not my sickest patient. The bad news is that you might have to wait a bit for that cuppa coffee. Am I rude about it? Of course not. I follow the Golden Rule. But the simple fact is that while whether or not you got what you ordered on your dinner tray might be your top priority, my top priority is the guy next door who is trying to climb out of bed with a sheath in his groin. It's a hospital, not a hotel. I'd rather deal with a complaint that I didn't get a patient their correct dinner tray than have a sentinel event on my conscience.

    Maybe that's what's behind that nurse in the OP's attitude. Maybe she's sick of people acting like a chair should be her top priority when she's doing all she can to keep her patients safe. Does it excuse her rudeness? Of course not. But perhaps we can understand it just a little. Maybe she's due for a vacation.

    Heck, maybe she put in for that vacation that she's due for and was turned down because the unit is understaffed. You just never know. Again, I'm not excusing being rude to patients, just offering up some thoughts.
    Last edit by Virgo_RN on Jun 19, '09
  6. by   maxthecat
    If the nurse reacted as you say I agree she was out of line. I would probably have said something to her charge nurse.


    To address another issue that has come up in this thread--if customer service is so important to the hospital then why don't they hire customer service personnel for the nursing units. These people could fetch chairs, serve snacks, handle problems with tv, etc., thus allowing nursing staff to handle assessments, education, medication administration, etc. I have heard that this is not done because it would be a liability problem, but I wonder. Administration seems to have no problem shoving liability onto our backs because of short staffing. Oh, yeah...it's on OUR backs, not theirs!
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from redhairednurse
    i've been a nurse for over a year now and still agree with the op.
    i don't understand how you think she was wrong and her nurse
    was not in the wrong.
    sounds like another burn out to me.

    it's hard to understand some of the posts i'm reading here.
    sad for my profession at times.
    a year is just a tiny speck of time . . . .
  8. by   RN1982
    Quote from LEN-RN
    I agree with you, and still do. But some of those demanding family members can cause alot of trouble. Most of the time, I just grin and bear it. They may have a long wait, but I tell them someone was crashing, and I was knee deep in blood.(lol not really the explanation, but something similiar) That usually calms them down.

    You know what? We shouldn't have to "calm" down any family member because they are irate that they didn't get their chair or cuppa coffee. We shouldn't HAVE to say "Oh, I'm so sorry about the delay, my hands were in another patient's chest".
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from moogie
    i think the op is aware that she's not an experienced nurse and, from what she said, she is interested in hearing how experienced nurses would approach the situation, both as nurses and as family members or patients. after a year of experience, sure, she might view this situation quite differently. but she's dealing with her feelings now and trying to get a handle on the situation as it occurs. most of us have 20/20 hindsight and, with professional and life experience, we see things from a different perspective after they occurred. i get the impression the op is trying to gain some insight from experienced nurses to help her deal with her feelings now, not to determine how she will feel in the future.
    i think the op started the thread looking for validation, and when she didn't get that she got defensive. she started the thread asking for input from experienced nurses, but it seems that the only input she's interested in is input that agrees with her. i really don't think she's interested in how experienced nurses would approach the situation unless they agree with her.

    yes, 20/20 hindsight is a factor -- but i no longer believe that the op is trying to gain any insight. i did believe that at first and tried to help. don't believe it anymore.
  10. by   truern
    Let's have a raise of hands here: how many nurses have seen their patients nervous, writhing in pain, upset, etc UNTIL the family members go home?! Nerves begat nerves!

  11. by   twinmommy+2
    If it were me...I would have asked the patient next door politely if this patient's family could borrow the chair. I also may have asked your family for one or two family members to go home, since three family members in a semiprivate room is a bit excessive and not only leads to the patient in question to lose rest but also the patient across the curtain to lose rest. It would have been more ideal for everyone involved including your mother to probably have just one person looking out for her, even through your intentions are loving and you all want the best for her.

    If her only medication was toradol, and she was not on a morphine drip, then perhaps the nurse could have called the dr. for more pain meds. Or perhaps the nurse thought she was still too sedated to give more pain meds to her.

    I do agree with those who posted above, there could have been less rudness. Just my
  12. by   LEN-RN
    Quote from TurnLeftSide
    You know what? We shouldn't have to "calm" down any family member because they are irate that they didn't get their chair or cuppa coffee. We shouldn't HAVE to say "Oh, I'm so sorry about the delay, my hands were in another patient's chest".
    I know. We shouldn't have to.

    Maybe there should be a big sign in each room stating "Visitors: no requests - for anything. Please." That might help.LOL It would make a nice tshirt to wear to work, in the cafeteria, waiting rooms, elevator.LOL before changing into scrubs or uniforms.
  13. by   ghillbert
    Quote from momofqc
    If you went to a restaurant you want the server to be nice and hospitable...you don't care if they had a bad day, if they have a crapload of tables and side work, if they worked a double and have class the next morning. If they are rude and don't live up to our expectations we don't tip well or complain to the manager. It's no different. It's a service minded job. People expect a certain level of communication from all professions.
    I was with you until you said this. Nursing is not waitressing. I didn't go into nursing to get tips, or be in a service industry. I went into nursing because I'm interested in health and science. If I'm not as sunny a personality as Maggie next door, but I am competent and professional, then that's all I need to do.

    Having said that - why didn't you just speak up? My mum was recently in hospital for a few procedures after a cancer diagnosis, and the nurses were TERRIBLE! They didn't bring analgesia when due, answer the call-bell, they didn't help her shower, they didn't change the bed at all for 2 days so I finally did it myself... etc. One evening I literally hadn't seen a nurse all afternoon. Mum was in terrible pain and sats were down because she was not able to deep breathe without significant pain. Pain meds were an hour overdue. I rang the bell, eventually the nurse answered and said "I haven't done the 8 oclock meds yet". I said "Ok, but this was due at 7, so if she could have it I'd appreciate it". She then sighed and huffed and said "Well, I was going to start at the other end of the hall for meds, but I guess I'll start here and you'll have to forgive me if I'm walking backwards since I have to do things out of order".

    I was SO mad that she was so nasty when mum hadn't asked for anything...I took her outside and said listen, I don't know if you're having a bad day, but I don't need your attitude. We have not been demanding, in fact I haven't seen you all day, so I'd appreciate if you could act professionally and drop the attitude". She did.

    I must say, nurses that I saw were not compassionate or even human to mum at times. One night, she needed a pan. She had a chest tube and couldn't get out of bed, so she pressed the call bell. Noone came. About 2 hrs later, the night nurse came in and mum said "oh thank goodness, i'm dying to use a pan". The nurse said "see this? This is a pacemaker battery. THIS would mean you were dying" or something to that effect. I wrote a formal complaint on that one.

    It is easy to forget that what is happening to your patients is probably the worst time of their life, it's not just another day to them. When you've lost sight of that, it's time to take a break.

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