Need an opinion...


Ok..not sure if this is where to post, but I needed a professional opinion...

I just had surgery. My MD came and wrote my discharge instructions about 30 prior to shift change. I knew it would be after shift change before my nurse could DC me. I didn't bother her or ask her about my DC. Well about 1 1/2 hours later, my new nurse comes in. The first thing she says to me is that she is going to do a quick assessment and that she could not DC me. Her exact words were "It would be rude for me to DC you before I see and assess my 4 patients. I will be back as soon as I can, please bare with me." It was late in the evening. I was tired, definitely ready to go and was not happy, but I was nice. Having worked in a hospital I politely asked for the charge nurse. We still had an hour drive home and had to fill my script for pain meds. The nurse really got upset with me. She argued that my husband should fill my script while a waited to get discharged. Where??? That irritated me. I was still calm though. She couldn't believe that I didn't have a 24h pharm where I lived...small town USA. Just got a CVS about 6 months ago...not 24h. Anyway, I asked for the charge nurse again. Finally the charge comes...VERY nice RN...took her 10 minutes to DC me. In the time that the 1st nurse argued w/me, she could have DC'd me. Was I wrong to ask for the charge? I hope I'm not one of those pt's people talk about after the fact. I just wanted to get home. My mom had been with my 3 kids all day and you know how MD's are...waiting till the last minute to give DC instructions...

Any opinions will be appreciated!!!:wink2:

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,209 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Nope - you were certainly in the right. Hope you are feeling better.

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I think you did exactly the right thing. Hope you feel better soon :nurse:

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

No, I don't think you're wrong. I think that it was good of you to realize that your nurse wanted to wrap up her shift, but she should have come to you immediately after report to do your d/c if the oncoming nurse was not willing to d/c you immediately after your assessment. As you said, it would have only taken a few more minutes. Who wants to be d/c in the evening anyway, especially in rural America? It just doesn't work well!


51 Posts

Specializes in Im interested in ob,L&D, crna, and np.

I don't think you were wrong at all.:)


672 Posts

I did it once when my brother was in the hospital. He had been in for surgery, and we had relatives coming in at the end of the week. One of his incisions wasn't healing as fast as they had hoped, so they decided to keep him an extra day, and that the doc would see him first thing the next am, and he could go right away (so we would be back before relatives showed up, not that that is a huge priority, but still) if the incision still looked okay. He came and saw my bro at 5:30 the next am, and wrote the d/c. I went in at 8am to pick him up, assuming, of course, that the d/c would be close to done, if not done already. Well, bro said doc was there and said he could go, but it had been about 3 hours. I happen to work there, and had floated to that unit before, so I didn't feel uncomfortable asking about the d/c. First we put the light on, and the tech came in and said she would let the RN know bro was ready. Half an hour later (around 9), still no RN. She hadn't seen him at all yet, so he didn't know which RN he had. So I went out to the station. I asked UC if d/c was ready. She said yeah. I asked if she knew where RN was. She didn't. I asked her to have RN come in, she said okay. Went back to room. Another half hour goes by, and still no RN. Tech has been back with w/c to see if we are ready to roll, and seems surprised we haven't seen RN yet. I went out again and said, "look, I hate to be a pain, but bro has been waiting 4 hours for his d/c. If RN can't do it right now, do you have a charge RN who could do it?" Boy howdy did RN get there quick that time. Best part? Entire d/c (including IV out) took less than 5 min! Found out later she was holding on to him as long as possible because he was her easiest patient. Don't you love it???

Lol, so, long story slightly shorter, I don't think you did anything wrong at all!


328 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Psychiatry, Home Health VNA.

I think you did exactly what you needed to do for you. It also sounds like your nurse was a new graduate or new to med-surg and was still in "task-oriented" mode. It's hard to break that habit to actually rely on time-management and see 5 patients with 5 assessments and 5 sets of orders, and you just go go go without thinking about the bigger picture. It's also hard to admit you're wrong as a new grad because you have this overwhelming anxiety to get everything perfect. Good for you for keeping your patience with her but also for being your own advocate. Hope you're feeling better.

MA Nurse

676 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Telephone Triage.

You did the right thing. Sounds like that nurse didn't want to deal with discharging you.

Vegas RN, MBA

24 Posts

You were right. I went to an ER for IV ATB's after an accident I had (at 0230 in the morning). After the wounds were cleaned, the nurse started an IV and I knew it would be given over 30 min.

45 minutes later I asked my friend to go find the nurse to DC the IV and DC me. The charge nurse came back and said he was at lunch. I asked if she could DC the IV and she said she couldn't because she didn't have my DC instructions. So after she left I got up, grabbed a 2x2, pulled out my own IV, and went up to the desk asking for my DC instructions. Another nurse got the charge nurse who came back and gave me my DC instructions.

See, we can always make time to get patients home instead of making excuses.


1,549 Posts

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

I think you were well within your rights to follow the course you did, but I can see the point of your new nurse. You were being discharged- obviously stable and in no acute life threatining state of distress. If the other 4 patients were fresher post ops, or criticaly ill overnighters the nurse had a greater obligation to ensure they were safe and stable before discharging you. Your inconvenience dosen't supersede the needs of patients that may have been in more critical need of care. In addition, discharging a post op patient shouldn't be a 5-10 min proceedure. Did you and your support person understand all your post op instructions? Do you have access to a pharmacy for your Rx.s? Do you know who to call and when if complications occur? Discharging a recently sedated person isn't just a matter of yanking the IV and helping them on with thier shirt(or at least it shouldn't be). The nurse may have just had an honest desire to make sure you got the time devoted to your care that you deserved.

Dolce, RN

861 Posts

Specializes in Day Surgery, Agency, Cath Lab, LTC/Psych.

I have seen nurses delay a discharge because then they are first on the list for an admission.


1 Post

I don't think it was rude for you to ask for your D/C papers. Your new nurse could have "eyeballed" her other pt's then discharged you. after your discharge she could have done her full assessment. and aren't one of "those" pt's. she's one of "those" nurses

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