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Is it like this everywhere now?

A nurse friend of mine had the day from hell at work the other day. He was telling me all about it. Patients moving, discharging, admitting and too many patients from the get go. Just chaos all day. Then he gets a call a couple of days later asking about a personal belonging of a patient that was missing, he didn't get the inventory sheet done on admit. So they are looking for this one item. He said he didn't feel that doing the inventory had a very high priority when insulin was past due and patients were asking for water and to go to the bathroom and admissions had to be done. So I guess the jist of it, he is being told this must be done, MUST on admission. I don't like what is happening to nursing, can't the nurse set priorities anymore? Is everything an absolute MUST? How are nurses supposed to get anything done that is important if inventory sheets are listed as a high priority?( just an example). I think the world has gone crazy sometimes. He says there are signs all over the place that the hospital is not responsible for valuables and families are to take them home. He did not unpack for her, her family did. So he thinks he may get fired for this. Seems a bit much to me.

He also said that most of the nurses don't change dressings, do actual assessments, etc, but chart that they do it because it is a must, because the work load is more than a human can handle. It is really scary to be a patient in a hospital I think. I wonder if it is like this everywhere?

TheMoonisMyLantern specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU.

I don't know if it's like this everywhere but it sure as heck is a common tune many of us are singing. Do more with less is guiding philosophy of healthcare, outrageous expectations many of which have little to do with patient outcomes and we must meet these expectations with minimal resources. It's sad and scary, what will healthcare look like 20 years from now if we continue on this path?

Serhilda specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ICU.

Sounds like an average day for me. Honestly, the only thing I document in terms of belongings are electronics, jewelry, and dentures. No complaints yet but I'm sure it'll happen.

On my floor, everything seems to conveniently fall back on the nurse. Not inadequate staffing, not insubordination by other staff. Just nurses. For example, our floor does daily weights of every single patient on the unit and it must be done before 6am, right around when we also have to do all the patient's lab draws. We have no house keeping, we have no phlebotomists, we have no unit secretary or free charge. We have CNAs that refuse to do brief changes, linen changes, answer call lights, blood draws, or do weights. Management is aware and none have been fired. Do you think every patient gets weighed, every linen gets changed, and every dressing is changed when we have up to 6 patients on drips (be it amio, heparin, argatroban, etc.) or continuous bipap/pulse ox monitoring? It isn't possible. But we had a physician complain that a patient wasn't weighed, so this became a top priority and the nurses are expected to pick up the CNA's slack on my floor.

On day shift, I recall one administrator going around to check if each IV tubing had been labeled with when to change it. She went around everyday with a clipboard documenting which nurse and which room didn't have labeled lines. In the time it took her to do this, she could've been the freaking designated line labeler. But no, just another mandatory task for nurses to complete.

That's the state of healthcare these days. If your floor doesn't seem similar, it will eventually, especially without a union.

And people wonder why droves of young nurses are going straight into NP/ CRNA schools!!

Yes. This is how it is now. Management will have pet projects that are low priorities, but easy to measure. Make sure you do those things to stay off their radar.

Everything else is optional because it just cannot be done in the time allotted. If you complain, you are (a) a trouble maker and (b) a poor time manager.

I passed by a quality board the other day one floor had achieved 100% compliance on one of these pet projects. My immediate thought was that 100% of the staff was making up charting, not “wow, good for them!”

Does this lead to extreme moral distress? Yup, definitely. But, that’s just how it is now. It’s just wrong, but I have no idea what to do about it. Hopefully, this post will foster some ideas, tips, strategies, etc to make it better. Our patients deserve better. We deserve better.

My theory is that nursing tasks should be like a balanced budget. Like my budget, not like the federal budget. If I decide to do one thing with my money, I understand that there is something else I won't be doing, as I will run out of money. Time is no different, as no matter what you want, there are only going to be 60 minutes in every hour.

So- feel free to add a task. But either remove one of equal time value, or make a couple more efficient. But, if you think about your last two years, consider what tasks have been added, and what tasks have been removed. It is literally impossible, so stuff is either being faked or done to a substandard level.

While working in the ICU, I was asked what I thought of the new flowsheet. (somehow there is always a new flowsheet.) I asked my boss if she had decided what I should stop doing. I got the same quizzical look I often get from my dog- "I know those words somehow relate to me, but I can't really put it together." I explained in simple terms that at that point, my shift was already full of tasks. The only way to add a task would be to remove a task, or to do some of my existing tasks less diligently, and I would like her input on what to stop doing. She changed the subject.

I like analogies. I would like one day to go into an administrator's office with a pitcher of water and a glass, and explain the the glass is my 12 hour shift, and the water represents tasks. I would put the glass on the desk, ideally on top of some critical paperwork, then fill it to the brim with water. "As you can see, my my shift is full to the top with tasks. Take this pitcher, and lets see what happens when you add something to a container that is full."

Many administrators possess at least basic intelligence. They can perform basic tasks like getting dressed, starting a car. Some can even do higher level stuff like using a check book and baking cookies. I have seen some do complex stuff like planning a vacation, coordinating lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. How they can miss some of the most basic concepts is beyond me.

Edited by hherrn

And another thing.........

There is this silly axiom in nursing: "If it wasn't documented, it wasn't done."

The only thing less true than that is the assumption that "If it was documented it was done."

If you make somebody's livelihood dependent on documenting having done something that is impossible to do, they are going to document it.

1 hour ago, hherrn said:

And another thing.........

There is this silly axiom in nursing: "If it wasn't documented, it wasn't done."

The only thing less true than that is the assumption that "If it was documented it was done."

If you make somebody's livelihood dependent on documenting having done something that is impossible to do, they are going to document it.

I agree. Back in the day when hospitals still employed ADN RNs (a long time ago) I was constantly guided by "not documented, not done" mentality, as I sat in front of a portable computer module, that kept disconnecting me as I charted. On average, per shift, to the best of my recollection, I had about 100 check marks per patient, times 6, so that meant checking off 600 things in 8 hours. Divide that , and its 75 documented task completed per hour, which is greater than one task per minute. Now, try pointing out this absurdity to top level managers, and you will be drop kicked from your job.

1 hour ago, hherrn said:

My theory is that nursing tasks should be like a balanced budget. Like my budget, not like the federal budget. If I decide to do one thing with my money, I understand that there is something else I won't be doing, as I will run out of money. Time is no different, as no matter what you want, there are only going to be 60 minutes in every hour.

So- feel free to add a task. But either remove one of equal time value, or make a couple more efficient. But, if you think about your last two years, consider what tasks have been added, and what tasks have been removed. It is literally impossible, so stuff is either being faked or done to a substandard level.

While working in the ICU, I was asked what I thought of the new flowsheet. (somehow there is always a new flowsheet.) I asked my boss if she had decided what I should stop doing. I got the same quizzical look I often get from my dog- "I know those words somehow relate to me, but I can't really put it together." I explained in simple terms that at that point, my shift was already full of tasks. The only way to add a task would be to remove a task, or to do some of my existing tasks less diligently, and I would like her input on what to stop doing. She changed the subject.

I like analogies. I would like one day to go into an administrator's office with a pitcher of water and a glass, and explain the the glass is my 12 hour shift, and the water represents tasks. I would put the glass on the desk, ideally on top of some critical paperwork, then fill it to the brim with water. "As you can see, my my shift is full to the top with tasks. Take this pitcher, and lets see what happens when you add something to a container that is full."

Many administrators possess at least basic intelligence. They can perform basic tasks like getting dressed, starting a car. Some can even do higher level stuff like using a check book and baking cookies. I have seen some do complex stuff like planning a vacation, coordinating lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. How they can miss some of the most basic concepts is beyond me.

Exactly! I worked in a nursing home where the MARs were so massive, that no nurse could actually complete a medication pass. Yet, the doctor group who ran the facility would come in daily, write more orders, add more medication, add more treatments, and write for more tests. At which point, it was so bad, that the facility required that each time they added something, they had to discontinue something else. Of course, it went in one ear and out the other. I often reacted to this by saying (to myself of course) I do not grow a second set of hands and feet, each time you add on to an already impossible workload.

ruby_jane specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

1 hour ago, hherrn said:

My theory is that nursing tasks should be like a balanced budget. Like my budget, not like the federal budget. If I decide to do one thing with my money, I understand that there is something else I won't be doing, as I will run out of money. Time is no different, as no matter what you want, there are only going to be 60 minutes in every hour.

So- feel free to add a task. But either remove one of equal time value, or make a couple more efficient. But, if you think about your last two years, consider what tasks have been added, and what tasks have been removed. It is literally impossible, so stuff is either being faked or done to a substandard level.

While working in the ICU, I was asked what I thought of the new flowsheet. (somehow there is always a new flowsheet.) I asked my boss if she had decided what I should stop doing. I got the same quizzical look I often get from my dog- "I know those words somehow relate to me, but I can't really put it together." I explained in simple terms that at that point, my shift was already full of tasks. The only way to add a task would be to remove a task, or to do some of my existing tasks less diligently, and I would like her input on what to stop doing. She changed the subject.

I like analogies. I would like one day to go into an administrator's office with a pitcher of water and a glass, and explain the the glass is my 12 hour shift, and the water represents tasks. I would put the glass on the desk, ideally on top of some critical paperwork, then fill it to the brim with water. "As you can see, my my shift is full to the top with tasks. Take this pitcher, and lets see what happens when you add something to a container that is full."

Many administrators possess at least basic intelligence. They can perform basic tasks like getting dressed, starting a car. Some can even do higher level stuff like using a check book and baking cookies. I have seen some do complex stuff like planning a vacation, coordinating lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. How they can miss some of the most basic concepts is beyond me.

BEAUTIFUL. We won't do more with less. We'll only do less with less. Unfortunately the supervisor is responding to a complaint from a family member. No amount of logic is going to help here.

Serhilda specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ICU.

1 hour ago, panurse9999 said:

I agree. Back in the day when hospitals still employed ADN RNs (a long time ago) I was constantly guided by "not documented, not done" mentality, as I sat in front of a portable computer module, that kept disconnecting me as I charted. On average, per shift, to the best of my recollection, I had about 100 check marks per patient, times 6, so that meant checking off 600 things in 8 hours. Divide that , and its 75 documented task completed per hour, which is greater than one task per minute. Now, try pointing out this absurdity to top level managers, and you will be drop kicked from your job.

Sorry, off topic, but every single one of my ADN classmates works in a hospital setting, if they so desired. It really depends on your location. We aren't particularly rural either.

umbdude specializes in Psych/Mental Health.

Yes. It was exactly like that when I was working inpatient psych. On top of that, management laid off the unit secretary shortly after I started and RNs and MHWs had to answer phone calls. The volume of phone calls during the day is insanely high (I only worked day shift). When staff asked management to re-hire a secretary, we were threatened with written warnings.

11 minutes ago, Serhilda said:

Sorry, off topic, but every single one of my ADN classmates works in a hospital setting, if they so desired. It really depends on your location. We aren't particularly rural either.

Thats nice that you are still in touch with every single one of your ADN classmates to know for sure they are working in hospitals. Ask them if management did to them what is happening here, forcing them to be in school at their own cost, to get the BSN, or be terminated. (which basically means working full time and attending school part or full time). Thanks.

2 hours ago, hherrn said:

My theory is that nursing tasks should be like a balanced budget. Like my budget, not like the federal budget. If I decide to do one thing with my money, I understand that there is something else I won't be doing, as I will run out of money. Time is no different, as no matter what you want, there are only going to be 60 minutes in every hour.

Yes.

That's why there is a problem with RNs' own acceptance of seemingly limitless duty and responsibility. Nurses ourselves act as if we can, should, and must indeed accomplish everything just as it is demanded of us.

2 hours ago, hherrn said:

It is literally impossible, so stuff is either being faked or done to a substandard level. 

And when RNs raise this issue as you have just done, others try to defend the "honor" of the nursing profession by impugning your (pl) character. You must not have good time management or are an unethical person or are greedy or lazy or uncaring. They seem to believe there's a bluff to be called and so will tell you that if that's true and if you are an ethical person, why haven't you quit. The decline in what is accepted as quality patient care over time and the competition between patients' needs and business needs is a chronically toxic, morally-compromising situation that is only enabled by nurses who act as if these are merely individual perceptions of inferior nurses.

2 hours ago, hherrn said:

I got the same quizzical look I often get from my dog- "I know those words somehow relate to me, but I can't really put it together."

🤐

(Yep).

[Although, I blame immediate managers for very little really, except their own personal reactions to the position in which we all find ourselves; IOW, how they handle it, how they treat people. Do they get angry and vindictive and impugn the character of those who can't accomplish the impossible, or do they take a reasoned, realistic approach that helps preserve morale and general well-being?]

Edited by JKL33

Jedrnurse specializes in school nurse.

10 minutes ago, panurse9999 said:

Thats nice that you are still in touch with every single one of your ADN classmates to know for sure they are working in hospitals. Ask them if management did to them what is happening here, forcing them to be in school at their own cost, to get the BSN, or be terminated. (which basically means working full time and attending school part or full time). Thanks.

Wow. Was that level of sarcasm necessary (or warranted)?

3 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

Wow. Was that level of sarcasm necessary (or warranted)?

"Sorry, off topic, but every single one of my ADN classmates works in a hospital setting, if they so desired. It really depends on your location. We aren't particularly rural either."

Her words, not mine. Every single one. Yep. Every SINGLE one. Not to be confused with many, most, or some...or none.

17 hours ago, Forest2 said:

So I guess the jist of it, he is being told this must be done, MUST on admission. I don't like what is happening to nursing, can't the nurse set priorities anymore? Is everything an absolute MUST? How are nurses supposed to get anything done that is important if inventory sheets are listed as a high priority?( just an example). I think the world has gone crazy sometimes.

What is he going to do about this?

A couple of thoughts:

This belongings inventory thing is a great example of something nurses must not prioritize. I would bet every last penny I have that almost every time an RN is found doing one of these, there is a more important thing s/he could be doing. Generally, belongings inventory has no connection with patients' prudent health care or safety.

So, with very few words, this is rejected. No big long "sob stories" about how some patient supposedly needed insulin. Nope; they don't want to hear that. Just (pleasant but unapologetic), "That task could not be prioritized." If pressed further, "It is unethical to prioritize that kind of task."

If my employee/performance record was in any way threatened or compromised related to not prioritizing belongings inventories (and similar 🦄 demands), this is worth finding a new job. It isn't a "little" issue - it is a huge one; it is someone saying that come hell or high water you are to prioritize a relatively useless task over patients' safety and well-being.

50 minutes ago, umbdude said:

Yes. It was exactly like that when I was working inpatient psych. On top of that, management laid off the unit secretary shortly after I started and RNs and MHWs had to answer phone calls. The volume of phone calls during the day is insanely high (I only worked day shift). When staff asked management to re-hire a secretary, we were threatened with written warnings.

I think there should be some kind of group as it seems that the ones there are aren't addressing real issues. A group that has lawyers or something. I bet my friend works harder than anyone I know, and it's not enough. This is frightening.

ruby_jane specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

15 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

(pleasant but unapologetic), "That task could not be prioritized." If pressed further, "It is unethical to prioritize that kind of task."

I learned a thing and I'm stealing and using it.

3 hours ago, hherrn said:

My theory is that nursing tasks should be like a balanced budget. Like my budget, not like the federal budget. If I decide to do one thing with my money, I understand that there is something else I won't be doing, as I will run out of money. Time is no different, as no matter what you want, there are only going to be 60 minutes in every hour.

So- feel free to add a task. But either remove one of equal time value, or make a couple more efficient. But, if you think about your last two years, consider what tasks have been added, and what tasks have been removed. It is literally impossible, so stuff is either being faked or done to a substandard level.

While working in the ICU, I was asked what I thought of the new flowsheet. (somehow there is always a new flowsheet.) I asked my boss if she had decided what I should stop doing. I got the same quizzical look I often get from my dog- "I know those words somehow relate to me, but I can't really put it together." I explained in simple terms that at that point, my shift was already full of tasks. The only way to add a task would be to remove a task, or to do some of my existing tasks less diligently, and I would like her input on what to stop doing. She changed the subject.

I like analogies. I would like one day to go into an administrator's office with a pitcher of water and a glass, and explain the the glass is my 12 hour shift, and the water represents tasks. I would put the glass on the desk, ideally on top of some critical paperwork, then fill it to the brim with water. "As you can see, my my shift is full to the top with tasks. Take this pitcher, and lets see what happens when you add something to a container that is full."

Many administrators possess at least basic intelligence. They can perform basic tasks like getting dressed, starting a car. Some can even do higher level stuff like using a check book and baking cookies. I have seen some do complex stuff like planning a vacation, coordinating lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. How they can miss some of the most basic concepts is beyond me.

Don't be fooled, administrators are most certainly capable of higher level cognitive processes. Examples of such are; being a 'yes man/woman' to management to secure their Mon-Fri, 8-5, no W/E's/holidays, and how to screw over-ie short staff, lack of supplies.....to bring their units in at year's end under budget and get their bonus $$. Nice!

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