Help me to forgive them

Nurses General Nursing


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ktwlpn, LPN

3,844 Posts

Specializes in LTC,Hospice/palliative care,acute care.

I don't think that anyone is actually throwing trash into the bedlinens on purpose but it does show careless disregard for others...Welcome to the exciting career of nursing/housekeeping.When you are assisting a doc at the bedside during a procedure just make sure you pick up all of the sharps when he leaves(a very few will do it themselves but many don't) Sloppy med carts is a big peeve of mine-I just take a deep breath and push the trash where is belongs.Let us know what happens during codes when you are an RN-I am anxious to hear if you hit the can with every cap then....Or when you are working med-surg-10 pts with 5 or 6 finger sticks..Or a patient is circling the drain and you are frantically trying to get another line in them...You may leave an alcohol wipe or lancet cap on a bed...But not because you are mean....Just over-worked.Possibly the reason you seem to find this happening to the most helpless patient is because the others can pick up and throw away the stuff themselves?As you gain experience as an RN you will learn what is worth fighting over....As has been stated-we are surrounded by neatniks and slobs-you can waste alot of energy in a negative way fussing over something that is out of your control...BUT remember- always put the seat back down-and always put another roll on if you use the last of the t.p.-that is an absolute...but don't sweat the other have along career ahead of you....Ya gotta pace your self......(PS-Jay-what is a murgatroid?)


279 Posts

I agree with you Mario! It's just plain carelessness!

Mario, I've definately been in your shoes and like RN-PA, I just pick up after those inconsiderate ppl and leave things better than I found them. This issue will never be resolved I'm afraid..


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

The world seems to be divided up between the "casually organized" (read "sloppy" in my mind) and the "tidily organized" (read obsessive-compulsive in some other minds). Mario, you and I seem to be in the second category. However, it is a mistake to think that the organizationally-challenged are mean-spiritied or uncaring or sadistic toward their patients, as it is to think that you and I are necessarily into controlling every facet of our environments (though I, for one, sometimes would like to). My solution has been to simply mention or show the offending item to the responsible, or "irresponsible" if you will, person, mentioning where I found it. Those people who are going to remember to do so, will. Other will not. When they are not around for me to do this and are not likely to be seen soon, I simply throw it away myself AND TRY TO FORGET ABOUT IT. It's not up to me to forgive them or condemn them, but just to move on. Heaven knows there are enough other things for me to do just to complete MY tasks that shift. No doubt I do some things that annoy/offend others that they haven't, yet, gotten around to telling me about. Some of which I might choose to change, and others which I would not. Best wishes to you, who sounds like a caring nurse.

adrienurse, LPN

1,275 Posts

Does anybody care what that needle cap is doing to the skin after the person is lying on it for a few hours?

I work in LTC and am really angred when I receive a patient back from the hospital who had previously immaculate skin -- with pressure ulcers. I know that there are many factors contributing to this -- the least of which is the person is really sick. I also realize that hey, hospital staff are overloaded and maybe it is just not feasible to expect them to be able to do good skin care and turn a patient every 2 hours. It just saddens me.


693 Posts

I no longer work the floor, but when I did -- well, let's say, I've seen more than my share of dsgs, syringes, procedure trays, etc., left where they shouldn't be. My solution with the docs who liked to leave their post-procedure debris all over the place was to request politely , "Would you please dispose of everything when you're done? I'm always afraid of not seeing a sharp and getting stuck." Their usual response was to ask where to throw things away when they were done. It didn't work with everyone, but I did express a legitimate concern that caught their attention. Of course, that can't help with those who come and go without your seeing them.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,878 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Well, I want to go back to the person who found a used condom in the syringe wrappers are one thing, but I am NOT going to touch that thing! And the next question...was the patient able to consent to that type of activity?

Drug paraphenalia too?? Time to call the cops, I think.

ktwlpn, LPN

3,844 Posts

Specializes in LTC,Hospice/palliative care,acute care.
Originally posted by adrienurse

Does anybody care what that needle cap is doing to the skin after the person is lying on it for a few hours?

I work in LTC and am really angred when I receive a patient back from the hospital who had previously immaculate skin -- with pressure ulcers. I know that there are many factors contributing to this -- the least of which is the person is really sick. I also realize that hey, hospital staff are overloaded and maybe it is just not feasible to expect them to be able to do good skin care and turn a patient every 2 hours. It just saddens me.

Adrienurse,that is another thread.........Sadly it seems that basic nursing care often does come last in acute care-nurses there are being asked to do the impossible with out the needed resources..God love'em all-I have been there and know what it is like to run all day and go home exhausted and in tears with frustration because you could not do the job the way you wanted to.The bottom line is money-not t.l.c......


111 Posts

Specializes in inpatient hospice house.


I've been the one who has left a little mess by mistake and also the one who has cleaned up the mess that another nurse or doctor left by mistake. If something is left it isn't on purpose (unless you are a surgion of course :)) Part of being a good nurse and good team is to realize no one is perfect and when something is left like the cap to a syringe it isn't done on purpose and we just pick it up. Of course that does not include a childs bed who is young enough to put it into there mouth or sharps in any bed. When you are doing a dressing you set up a sterile field and change the entire dressing before you throw everything away with the dirty dressing double wrapped. I hope what you are finding is some part of the sterile field that someone may not have finished cleaning up because they were called away from the bed by something more urgent. As for other things and how it happens such as trying to start an iv, you see blood, you have to now flush with heparin before you loose it, and now tape it down. While switching hands you may without thinking toss the cap to the side because if you worry about where the garbage is you just may pull it out of the vein. When you are working with nurses, doctors and other professionals what may look so simple to you someday may not be as simple as you think when you are trying to do it all at once by yourself. This guy needs his iv started that infiltrated so that he can get his iv antibiotic that is already one hour late because the iv blew. Mr so and so down the hall is complaining of pain and you know you have to go assess him and give him his meds. You just finished changing mrs so and so's dressing who happened to have a bowel movement right in the middle of changing the dressing and oh my you forgot a cap in her bed and didn't realize it with all these other things on your mind. Now, why do great nurses leave nursing. Is it maybe because there are people who don't work as a team and just understand, nursing is a tough job and so is being a doc. Oh yea, I happen to always have worked with doctors who clean up there own mess unless by mistake they forget something. Good luck with your future nursing career. :kiss


381 Posts

Hey mario!

I know what your going through. Someone else said, pick your battles. Good advice. Anything that is of no harm to you or the patient....fergetaboutit! The caps might be a problem if they cause skin tears, but I'll bet the person who left it behind didn't mean to leave it. I am a very tidy nurse and I can tell you that after a big dsg change, the garbage is a low priority...especially when you've been in the room for 20-30 min..and all your other patients are in need of your services, it's easy to forget some of the trash. There have been times when I've done the procedure, left, came back, and found things I left behind. I didn't mean to leave it and it surprises me....How did I miss that when I cleaned up??? I used to go through my rooms at the beginning of the shift, say hi to all my patients, do an eyeball assessment, and clean up the rooms....not anymore, too many patients, too little time. I also try to clean up the rooms before I leave but sometimes that doesn't work out either. Boss wanted no OT derived from shift 2 nurses on the clock for the same patients. I've learned some people are just perverbiably sloppy, they just can't help it! Being a organized and neat person, it drove me crazy and that's why I used to clean up before I started my other work. Wouldn't have to look at all night that way.

I too hate finding gross things in the the dsg the doc takes off, or my number one item that I hate to find...A exposed needle or a needle that is sticking into the mattress!!! Don't like blood tubes either. OK that's where I pick my battle and will f/u every time for this one.

I felt the same way you do when I was a newbie, but after a while, the perspective does change and it's all about priorities, cause that's all there is time for.

My advice, again, pick your battles, if it is of no harm to the patient or you...move on. And, do give people the benefit of doubt. You'll figure out who the messy nurses are and as an assistant, it would be your job to help out and clean it up without making a big deal about it. Your not doing the dsg change but you can assist with it! Anytime I help another RN by assisting for wound care I always prep the field and clean up at the end. Remember that we nurses are not supposed to bend over and pick up garbage off the floor, the floors are cleaned by housekeeping daily, or should be. Remember too, we nurses no longer have housekeeping to clean up the rooms or even take out the trash like we used to, I remember when housekeeping used to change the linens too!!! Keeping people alive and working so hard to improve the patients status is our priority..The garbage can usually has to wait, weather it's taking it out or filling it up. ;)


87 Posts

Mario I agree with what you're saying. The patients that can't even move themselves or turn over or even remove the debris from their bed shouldn't have to be subjected to this. A few more moments to double check before you leave wouldn't be that difficult. I have been a patient myself and found caps, etc. in my bed and thought now that's just not right.


1,961 Posts

:rolleyes: As if I sit in report in the morning and think, how big of a slob can I be today? As if I think, oh goody another shot, another cap to toss around the room!

Sh*t happens. While I find fault with an old dressing left lying around, sometimes nurses have to use the bed as their table. And sometimes, it's hard to see that white alcohol swipe or clear needle cover on the white bed linen. It is not done to intentionally p*ss you off or to cause the patient any harm.

I do not excitedly gather all of my trash so that it can be "flagrantly tossed into the patients bed."

Sometimes I have to clean up a little after the nurse that worked before me. Sometimes the nurse that relieves me does a little cleaning up after me. Why is this difficult? Why can't we just do our jobs without nitpicking about her, him, them , and all of us?


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