Moving patients


I worked in a teaching hospital for a long time, and I was taught that you should never move a patient without having four people, one at each side. It was also drilled into my head that, after the surgery, you never leave that patient's side. This is what I've always done, until I went to a private hospital not too long ago. Now that I don't have medical students and residents to help, it seems like such a hazard. It's pretty obvious they're out to save a buck wherever they can, but when I'm going outside the room to get the stretcher, leaving nobody directly next to the patient since anesthesia is at the head and the scrub tech is cleaning up for the insanely quick turnover, this is a huge hazard. I actually had a patient wake up wild, and we got to her side just in time to keep her from falling off the OR table, but even with both of us holding the patient down, it was still very difficult. There was nobody else around to help though. Having one less body when it comes to moving these patients places staff at a higher risk for injury as well. I'm a petite female with a small body frame (so are most of the girls I work with as well), and it is very difficult for me to move obese patients without that extra hand. I am curious, is this really the norm in the private world or did I just happen to land myself a job at a terrible hospital?


71 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg;Rehab;Gerontology; Now OR. Has 17 years experience.

I've worked in both teaching and private hospitals and yes, I really prefer the teaching ones because there are plenty of help. Wherever you work, please don't compromise the patient's safety. I would usually ask my surgical tech to either get the stretcher or stay at the patient's bedside while I get the stretcher or bed. Patient safety is way more important than fast turnovers and if management doesn't recognize that then you are working in the wrong place.

I've worked in a private OR too where turn overs were 5-15 minutes but then everyone who were free came to help clean and turn over the room as soon as you get the stretcher in so there were plenty of help for patient transfer.

Can you talk to your manager about your concerns?

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

8 Articles; 2,543 Posts

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

Call the charge nurse about 10 minutes prior to your pt's emergence from anesthesia. If s/he can't find someone to help you, then s/he should be with you.


118 Posts

Specializes in OR. Has 3 years experience.

I'm afraid to even go to my manager about any concern because I've always felt like I've got a target on my back. She has made it a point to tell me everything I've done wrong since day one, even if I'm not doing anything wrong at all. This would seem like another excuse to tell herself that I can't do the job.

About calling the charge nurse, I'd do that if she were available. The place is so small and so short staffed though that half the time, she's in another room herself. They have absolutely no ancillary staff running around, so there is nobody to fall on unless a room is down. A lot of times we can rely on pacu, but during a busy day, they may be tied up.