Jump to content

How to Help Friend in the Hospital

Posted

Has 1 years experience.

I am new to allnurses.com, but I need advice from more experienced minds. I am a nursing student, and I have a friend visiting from New Zealand who broke her tib/fib badly and required surgery. I am new to the area and assumed she would get good nursing care whereever she was. Wrong! These nurses leave me embarrassed to be a nurse with their care of everyone on the floor. (I won't go into details now since I'm pecking on a Droid, but that post is coming soon.)

My biggest concern is that she is not getting adequate pain control and the nurses seem indifferent, saying her doctor hasn't been by to see her. They are extremely reluctant to talk to me, and I have to ask very specific questions (not" how are her labs?" but "what is her H & H?") How can I get the nurses to work me, or at least care for my friend?

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

If you are not her POA they would not be at liberty to discuss her care,medications or lab results with you.They are there doing their jobs. They are not obligated to "work with you".

Edited by loriangel14

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology. Has 34 years experience.

What makes you think she is not getting adequate pain control? Is she complaining of pain to you? But more importantly, is she c/o pain to her nurses?

As far as her lab results - sorry, none of you business. Unless,as loriangel said, you are her POA. As a nurse, I don't have time to discuss lab results with each and every visitor.

Finally, don't blame the nurses for the MDs actions. Its not their fault that the MD has not been by to see her.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

The above poster is correct that the nurses might not want to share her medical info with you because of confidentiality. Can you get your friend to sign a paper that says that the nurses can share information with you? Or write down the questions for your friend to ask the nurses.

I think one thing that you can do is help your friend advocate for herself. Emphasize that if she is in pain, she needs to mention it to her doctor and ask for pain medication from the nurses. As a nurse, I'm much more likely to give a pain med if the patient asks for it. You can help your friend identify questions and concerns that she should discuss with the doctor and write them down for her.

The absolute BEST thing that you can do is be a friend. Sit with her, talk to her, hold her hand or give her a hug. Your presence and caring means more to her than anything. (I've broken my tib/fib too and it's awful. You suddenly find yourself unable to do much for yourself and the reality of 12 weeks of no walking, driving, sports, etc. is so disheartening. I didn't need my friends to be nursing students, I needed them to be friends.) I'm glad your friend has some one that is so concerned about her, especially when she is away from home. You're going to be a compassionate nurse.

MassED, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.

nurses are not to share medical information. It is a violation of the law. You can be sent to JAIL for violation of HIPPA.

Have your friend request pain meds and ask the questions you would like answered.

So you know this now, no one, and I mean NO ONE, likes a nursing student (or any other health care person in school), say "I'm in nursing school...." and then go on and on about how much they think they know and what needs to be done.

alphabetsoup

Specializes in LTC,med-surg,detox,cardiology,wound/ost.

I think it is admirable that you are trying to be a patient advocate for your friend. But I have to agree that there is also a fine line for the nurses and they are obligated to follow the rules and regulations governing privacy. Your friend's H&H should not be your business or concern.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

nurses are not to share medical information. It is a violation of the law. You can be sent to JAIL for violation of HIPPA.

Have your friend request pain meds and ask the questions you would like answered.

So you know this now, no one, and I mean NO ONE, likes a nursing student (or any other health care person in school), say "I'm in nursing school...." and then go on and on about how much they think they know and what needs to be done.

Oh my yes. There's nothing worse than a patient that has a friend or relative that is a nurse or student nurse.

I'm sorry but nursing student does not a nurse make. Perhaps you sound condescending( as most of us tend to be during nursing school),or perhaps not.

A pertinent fact that I am not clear on is this- did your friend voice uncontrolled pain?She broke her tib/fib you say, so she is still able to talk. Please ask her.

Hope your friend gets well pretty soon- it sucks being ill. Hug to you:)

Jenni811, RN

Specializes in Intermediate care. Has 3 years experience.

Here is the deal....

You are not her activated POA so they are unable to share information with you. Even the type of medications she is on for pain control.

Your friend is able to share this with you however.

I've had a broken Tib/Fib/humerus and hand (all on my left side), including that i lost my left thumb. I was in an accident. Here is what i've learned from pain control from my own experience, as well as being a nurse on a med/surg floor.

our goal is to not get your pain to a 0, but to a tolerable level. Yea it would be IDEAL to have her pain be a 0, but it will probably never be a 0. But it can be brought down to a tolerable level.

I was rating my pain a 7 and i told the nurses my tolerable level would be a 3 or 4. Meaning...yea i was having a little pain, but it wasnt causing me any distress or i wasnt losing sleep over it. Honestly, i was able to get my pain down to a 4 with ibuprofen alone!! I know everyone is different...but just realize this. Its really hard to get pain to a 0.

and you are only 1 year into nursing school, so you have much much to learn my dear. You really do. Its really great you are watching out for her, but you can't call yourself a nurse yet. When you learn about medications you will realize that with these pain medications comes LOTS of bad side effects.

Tylenol- Risk of liver failure

Ibuprofen- Risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding

Opiods- Risk of respiratory depression, Constipation

SO yea....you don't want her uncomfortable but you want it TOLERABLE.

and she may always have pain....i still have pain from time to time, especially in my humerus and phantom pain in my missing thumb. but it happens...and when it happens, i've learned what has worked for me to bring it to where i can tolerate it.

Oh my yes. There's nothing worse than a patient that has a friend or relative that is a nurse or student nurse.

If the patient has a pushy, overbearing friend that is a nurse or nursing student, then that is bad (and I mean very bad). Other than that, being a patient and having a friend that is a nurse or nursing student can be very helpful to the patient AND the staff.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

OP, I admire you for being an advocate for your friend. However, the nurses are "not working with you" because they probably find you pushy. If I walked into a pt's room, and their friend was asking me what my pt's H&H was, my knee jerk reaction is "why is that information pertinent to you and moreover, it feels like you are questioning my critical thinking skills". I am not suggesting that you are, in fact, questioning the skills of the nurses, however I can see how some nurses might take it that way. That is just my thought. I am educated as a nurse, and I know to check lab values. If I see that an H&H is low, I will alert the doc and follow their orders. If you are asking these types of questions, I bet the nurses LOATHE going into your friend's room. You don't want to be counter-productive in her care by grilling the nurses so that they avoid coming into the room unless they are giving meds and doing other required tasks. I am sure that is not your intention at all, but the reality is that the nurses don't want to have to justify everything to you. Do you see what I mean?

All of the posters have touched on HIPAA, and I believe this to be a major factor in why they will not share info with you. They simply can't.

I agree with a poster who wrote that you should just be a FRIEND right now. Offer to give her a hand massage, read a funny story to her, bring your computer so that she can watch a movie, bring a cross word or some type of game so she won't be bored out of her mind, get some Chap Stick or some hard candy so that she won't have cotton mouth from the narcs, offer to assist in bathing if she will let you. These things mean a great deal and your actions will be much appreciated by your friend.