I know that ways to handle a family differs by case. To be honest, I'm probably here to unload rather than ask for advice.
Let me tell it chronologically. One of my patients is on mechanical ventilation and the alarm for his tidal volume kept ringing. I did everything my untrained self knew when it comes to intervention. When I couldn't fix it, I immediately asked for the team leader's help. She said that that's just the way it is with that patient. Sometimes it just happens to be go off like that. She even reprimanded me when I tried promoting lung expansion by repositioning.
Later in the day, we eventually consulted with our head nurse with the attending physician within earshot. The plan was to change the tubings with a "disclaimer" that nothing would probably change. I was advised to just monitor the patiens status.
Now, it's policy not to mute mechanical ventilators and that's where the problem is. The patient is sharing a room with another patient whose family came later in the day. Naturally, they were worried and bothered. I said my apologies. I even said that I've referred the situation. Apparently that went through their heads. It didn't help that therapists were making a fuss about it nearby. What? Was I supposed to explain to them the status of the patient who's not related to them?
I couldn't just stand there forever. The patient's vital were fine. No loss of consciousness and such. I had 20+ other people to take care off. I left and later I found one of the relatives roaming around looking for my leader.
The moment was quite upsetting for me. I didn't like this idea that I wasn't doing my job. That I don't care about the patients. I got really sad. If I was in my early 20's, I would have cried. I respond to alarms not coming from my patients even if other nurses simply ignore mine...
I'm the one who found the leader first. Funny, before I could even finish my referral, she told me to stop minding the alarm. I told her that the family on he next bed seems to think that I'm not doing my job. She went to troubleshoot for me and the alarm stopped... for a while. Just like it sometimes does. But, in that short while, I could hear one family member, the one who went roaming around, saying things, one of which is, "It's good that I reported it."
=_= FYI, the consultation with our head nurse happened when I bypassed our leader.
It's just so upsetting. I wanted to defend myself but I also feel stupid for doing what I was told to do/not to do. I mean I would be worried to if I were the family... Maybe I should habe broken the policy and kept the machine on mute... I don't know.
Anyway, they were considering the respiration problem to be time-related body-clock wise.
This reminds me of the quintessential little old lady screaming ..HELP me...HELP...me and visitors coming up to the nurses station to report it.I always found this odd as if we would all ignore pleas for help.As an aside I find it odd that a tidal volume alarm can't be fixed..was it a low tidal volume alarm? Maybe a wonderful respiratory therapist will chime in and tell us how to troubleshoot this alarm.With that said it would not bother me one bit if a visitor that I owe nothing to thinks I am not doing my job and they think they are the savior.If you are I see nothing wrong with either telling them the staff is aware of the alarm and it does not indicate a problem.If said visitor patted herself on the back and made the comment you indicated I would have approached her and said,"Thank you for your concern but your report was not necessary as we are aware of the alarm and we are handling it.Don't violate a policy ever for convenience especially one as critical as ventilator alarms.
Last edit by iluvivt on Oct 10