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Not Picking up the slack or breaking my back......

ColdFusion ColdFusion (Member)

I'm working on a VERY scary Med-Surg unit.

Alot of admissions of confused geriatric patients who cannot be placed anywhere else. The other night one of my admissions had been in the ER two days......................!

The longer I'm there the scarier it gets...........

understaffed and oriented to "Customer Service"

The other evening one of my patients and their family told me about coming thru ER and having a heavy object FALL ON THEM, patient had a large bruise -

had a patient going to CT scan, it took over 30 minutes to get anyone back to help transfer. There was me and the transport person waiting, pt. over 300 pounds. I'd just arrived at work and it was so busy I hadn't even had to chance to do anything but a quick assessment; this patient had been bedfast, he was a two-person assist (at least), and I get all this attitude from the transport person (staring at me, hands on hips, waiting for assistance.)

(Guess it didn't occur to her to go round up help on her own....)

Anyway I have been having more pain in my back than usual and I'm deciding that hey, I'm not willing to sustain injury because the floor is constantly understaffed. Not to mention that the nurse aides there are lazy and basically run the unit.

Very scary.

I have children to raise. I'm not willing to injure myself. I had a nurse aide refuse to turn a patient the other night. It all seems to fall in me, the RN.

I'm not staff there.

Anyone else faced this kind of "challenge?" :chair:

I think all nurse can relate to such situations. I applaude you for recognizing the situation and stepping in when no one else will. There doesn't seem to be any spirit of teamwork or accountability on your unit. If you leave without trying to change anything, the situation will just become worse. I would suggest going to your manager and letting her/him know of the situations you have encountered and how you are feeling . Be willing to be part of the solution and be a change agent. At least then if you feel the need to leave, you will leave knowing that you done all you could to make the situation better for patients and staff alike.


I hear you, but being that I am not staff, I do not have the same voice as other nurses there.

I am not a permanent employee. I am not staying there longer than my contract for obvious reasons.

I'm all for changing and working towards solutions but at this point the best I can hope for is to come out of the tunnel with my nursing license and my back intact. It isn't the unit it's the entire hospital and the corporation that owns it.

That's a pretty big job for one nurse.

I'll be satisfied if I still have a license and my health, thanks! :nurse:

Yes. I have. But it was many years ago and I had a young back. And I was too naive or too gung-ho (like there's a difference) to know any better and tried to do more lifting than I should have.

You should leave. Do you have other options? Other, better units in the same place, or another hospital in which you can work? In the meantime, document, document, document. The acuity of the patient load, the staff with which you have to work, the communications you have with management... everything.

Good luck.

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

I will not take on a transfer that I can not handle...NEVER! It is not worth my back, an injury and especially the patient being injured. I will wait till the sun goes down if necessary till I get assistance from how many people I feel need to be present for the transfer.

Yes, that equates to sometimes missing that vital output time..LOL! But, that can be cleaned...an injury takes much more effort to fix. (heck in paperwork alone!!!).

For me it isn't a matter of creating a probelm than solving a probelm already in progress, which is my job. Risk assesment and implementations to counter the risks is our jobs...and well, I will gladly bring that up to anyone that has a bit of a probelm with me waiting for help (including patients). Yep, I would rather get chewed out for a delay, then a chew out for an injury that could have been prevented.

Do not risk your health doing your job, that is silly! If you are injured you are no good to patients, your family or yourself..a total lose lose lose. A back injury is a big deal and will haunt you for life...in fact most of my patients last week were nurses getting back/neck surgery after years of wear and tear on already sustained injuries they didn't get help for right away! That certainly sings the praises of prevention and treatment asap if you suspect an injury...ALSO, they didn't tell the facility right away and well...it was on their dime for life, instead of the facility caring for the injury through workers comp! Talk about chaaaaa ching!!!!!

Most injuries can be avoided...and do what you can to avoid them!

I had a back injury several years ago, in fact, I was treated and sent to a back saver clinic. It worked wonders for me, I was shown how to work to my best advantage to protect my back. Funny thing though, at this new job, the guy discussing back safety was very upset when I told him I was a "back saver graduate" , he proceeded to tell me all of the things they taught me were wrong. I just looked at him, smiled and made sure to stay out of his way. He can save his back his way..I'll save my back my way.

I hear that.

I didn't transfer the patient I was referring to. I called for assistance and waited until it got there.

I'm not going to try to transfer someone without assistance. I don't know what the other nurses do in those situations; it's not like I would have the chance to actually watch anybody else do anything. I'm lucky to get all my work done.

I'm just praying I can get out of there without being injured or some other calamity. I've just never seen anything like it in my life and I thought I'd seen it all.

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