Angry Nurse

  1. I am wondering if this has happened to any of you.... I got "talked to" by my Assistant Nurse Manager (charge nurse) because of an incident with a patient. My patient asked for some water, and I went to get it, but on the way to the kitchen, got stopped by another family member stating my one of my other patients had CP. After 30 minutes, I took my patient her water, only to find out her son called community relations saying that his mother was ignored. I apologized, saying that we were short staffed that day, that I had an emergency to attend to. He said there was no excuse for his mother not getting water. Anyway, I got "talked to" because I was not supposed to tell patients and family members that we are short staffed. What am I supposed to tell them, that I a retard? Why do they think that nurses should take all the blame? What do you think?
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    About goldilocksrn

    Joined: Apr '00; Posts: 107; Likes: 8


  3. by   sanshin99
    I understand where you are coming from. You had a legitimate reason for not bring the patient her water right away. All you really needed to say was that you had a crisis come up and that you were sorry about not bring the water promptly. Unfortunatley I don't think the short staffed comment was appropriate. Staffing issues need to be addressed with your manager and not with the patient. The patient has enough to worry about. I know it's tough but it is important to act professionally around our patients even when they are a PIA.
  4. by   hollykate
    I agree with the above poster. Saying we are short staffed doen't mean a lot to a family memeber anyway. If "there was a crisis with another patient" doesn't work. you say, I needed to see about another pt who might have been having a heart attack- Thats overly dramatic, but it gets your point home. I have told people in the ED for a UTI who are complaining about where the MD was (He was coding a pt in the next room) that the MD was trying to actually save someone's life next door. Dramatic- but truthful, and I never had to speakl to pt relations about it, as bizarre as it seems. And, just know, sometimes no matter what you do- families will complain because thats how they were taught to be- sort of antagonistic.
  5. by   Tiara
    If this situation occurred because you did not have enough staffing and you had to handle a potential emergency with no one else to get the water then it should have been you complaining to the asst. manager rather than the reverse. Nurses are perfectionistic and too willing to be hard on themselves.
  6. by   Tiara
    This is so dysfunctional. Does it make any sense that you have to work without enough help and then you have to lie or cover for working like this when you have no control over it and would not have chosen it? In other words nurses have been placed in the position of being responsible for someone else's ideas on staffing and then the nurse is in the line of fire. Thus, you are not only responsible for whether your patients get decent care but why they can't! Does this make any sense?
  7. by   Chellyse66
    I disagree I think as a Nurse (we are not waitresses here)You were right to state the truth about the staffing.IN Florida,In Long Term Care a law was passed making the institutions Post in a visable location Staffing for the Day/night/evening.
    Responsibiltiy should lie upon the employer,if you were short staffed the consumer deserves to know that you are.I believe you can go to the ANA website under legislation to view this law.Maybe you could have worded it "I apologize I had another patient needing immediate attention and ancillary staff were unavailable""your family member was not intentionally ignored"
    But now way should you carry the burden of blame!!!

    "Influence gained is not by preaching but by what we are- heroic in your
    everyday work"
    Florence Nightingale
  8. by   ANnot4me
    My old manager told ud the sam thing in a staff meeting. Reminded of the unwritten rule in my house: Don't tell anyone about dad's drinking. The patients do have alot to worry about; unfortunately, they don't know that one if them is whether or not the institution is approriately staffed. So be professional and deceive your patients (sarcasm).
  9. by   goldilocksrn
    Let me just clarify something. That particular day, we were one nurse's aide short, and a second aide had floated from another department and wasn't used to taking care of the acuity of patients that are on our unit. On top of everything else, this is the type of family that even if I was trying to save someone's life, "someone should always be available for the basics".Nothing I said made it any better. I am just upset because administration would rather me say that I am incompetent and unable to do my job, rather than say we are short staffed.
  10. by   Lespnp
    You are not the maid or a flight attendent. You are a degreed professional. Next time tell the mouthy family member where the water is and tell him he can help his mother out next time by getting the water hisself.
    As for the manager tell her next time you are in a bind that you will ellict her help to fetch the water.
  11. by
    In this business, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. You can't slice yourself up into a thousand pieces and be everything to your patients, their families, the doctors AND hospital administration. You were just telling the simple truth, as bad as it sounded...and what your supervisor didn't want anyone ELSE to know.
  12. by   Mijourney
    Hi goldilocksrn. I agree that someone who is designated as a leader should approach an employee regarding an incident in an objective way. If you were at fault for something, the ANM didn't demonstrate, in my opinion, a professional approach in managing the situation. Therefore, learning by example would be difficult.
    I side with the posters who feel that you give a general response to a family member who inquires about a customer service issue. For example, you could have told the son, that on the way to get water, you were immediately summoned to another pt's room and left it at that. It's not his business to know why another patient/family needed you, because that would sacrifice confidentiality. You definitely want to avoid opening the door to potential legal problems that would involve you. I agree the honest approach would be best, but the fact that the son went out of his way to report the incident indicates that he has some internal issues to deal with. He may be stressed out. Just document this incident in your personal log so that you will have something to refer to if it goes any further or if it comes up on your job evaluation. If you encounter the patient or son again, just offer a sincere apology and show the son where he can get water if that's not out of the question. Families need to be encouraged to be actively involved in patient care, if feasible. Best wishes.
  13. by   Jenny P
    There are some people in this world you can never satisfy; it sounds to me like the pt's. son might be one of them, and your manager may be another. Please tell me why we, as nurses, shouldn't tell families that we are short staffed? We are always trying to "fix" things for everyone else, maybe we should start "fixing" what's wrong with our profession by letting others know what is happening to us? There are emergencies that happen on a daily basis in our work place: if there isn't enough staff to "fetch a glass of water" for someone when someone else's problem is more critical, then tell them. If it was the first patient who was having C.P., the son would have blown a gasket (and rightly so!) if we were "fetching a glass of water" for someone else. Your manager should be supportive of a nurse who has their priorities straight. Letting John Q. Public know that there aren't enough nurses and ancillary staff to do all of the niceties that we used to do is also important. We all want to make our patients comfortable, but the son could have "fetched the water" as well as anyone else.
  14. by   goldilocksrn
    I really do wonder how my patients see me sometimes. What do they think I do all day? What do you think goes through our patient's minds?