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nurses with attitudes

ok, so heres a question, do we all come across as nurses with attitudes when we speak to relatives on the phone. ok, so we know that we cant give information over the phone just to anybody, but there must be a better system for relatives who are not close to the hospital and cannot visit. there are no phones in the rooms so, you cant speak directly to them and there is no cell phone usage,,,'it interferes with the equipment" even although thats been disproved. patients have phones in each room over here and are allowed full use of their cell phones. then when you get the ward sister on the phone in the uk, she is totally off hand and makes no effort to communicate between the patient and myself, and repeats the "no cell phone usage" unless the patient can walk off the ward to use it. over here we have a password system, so that the patient chooses who can have information. in scotland, we used to have that patientline, that charged an arm and a leg for patients to use it, its about time the uk health system came up something that works for both patient and relatives. after all theres nothing worse than having a dozen relatives all calling to the nurses for the same patient.

clemmm78, RN

Has 25 years experience.

re several people calling about the same patient:

When I worked in an ICU, we had a rule that we told all families that one person should be designated as the point person for information that we were allowed to share (eg: had a good night, is having pain, got out of bed, etc). We would give that information to the point person and the family would have to call that person for info.

If someone else called, we said that X person had the info and that they should be contacted. If the called didn't have the info, we said that we weren't able to help. It may sound cold, but we were there to help the patients get well enough to leave ICU and help the immediate family (or friend) cope with this crisis. Not to play information attendant.

thats part of my point, i cannot get hold of any family member right now, and i am not in the uk, so to be given almost zero information doesnt really sit well with me. somewhere down the line, when the uk catches up with the rest of the world patients will be allowed outside contact. if our patients are too unwell to be recieving calls to the room, then we block them and answer them at the desk, otherwise thay are allowed their cell phones at all times, even in the icu. our nurses dont have to speak to relatives unless they request it, as they call directly to the patient. my relative is now waiting for a step down bed that is unavailable right now, but can still have no contact with anybody unless they live close enough to visit.

XB9S

Has 22 years experience. Specializes in Advanced Practice, surgery.

cariad I am away this weekend but will pm you sunday I may have a solution not a brilliant one but it may help a little

i suppose the whole point of the thread is to make us think whether we treat calls from relatives the same way i was spoken to earlier. because my last 2 classes have been ethics and spirituality, it sometimes makes me wonder just how many rules are in place to protect the patients and how many are in place to protect the nurses,

nurses dont always have time to be talking on the phone, they do have patients to take care of especially in the icu. i didnt call when i knew he was critical and having the full care from the nurses, but now i know he is being encouraged to be out of bed and active then he should be fit enough to talk to me, but there is no way for this to happen because of the rules,,,sometimes its good for patients to be able to communicate with their family who are not close enough to visit.

Cariad

I agree, it's really difficult/worrisome when there's someone in the hospital and we're so far away. Similar thing has happened to me. Once when my mum was in for an op and the staff nurse couldn't give a monkies where I was calling from. Then another time my auntie was extremely sick, no one really knew anything at all and they certainly didn't understand what was happening. I thought if I spoke to the nurses they might have been able to tell me a wee bit and then I could explain it to the family better. Nope, they wouldn't. I tried explaining I was overseas and that the family were very much in the dark...didn't help! Unfortunately she died shortly after, I still think her family doesn't really fully understand what happened. Just makes you feel so helpless being on this side of the pond. Whilst I understand the need for confidentiality I think there has to be a better system in place. I dread the day I get a phone call from home about one of my parents!!

its funny how we are told by the hospitals in the uk that the patient cannot use their cellphone as it interferes with the equipment, but the same cell phones dont affect the equipment in the us.

its not right that a patient loses contact with their family because of the rules that are made by the hospitals, what if someone dies and because their children live away they are not allowed to talk to the patient. like you bright eyes, we dread the day our parents are admitted to hospital, when do we decide to fly home when you cant get any information from the hospital. we are in a country where time off is very limited and we cant just fly home at any time, and thats not taking into account the cost.

MaryAnn_RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ICU.

Cariad

I'm sorry you have been having problems.

It would be worth contacting the PALS (Patient Advocacy and Liaison department) officer. Their details should be on the Trust website...just a thought.

Mary

thanks mary, good advice, especially if ever our parents are admitted. we have hippa over here, which is the privacy act much the same as the uk. so its understandable, but what started it was the attitude of the ward sister, when she spoke to me, no need for that, comfortable is not exactly a description of a day 2 open heart surgery in icu, we do get acclimatised to the patients that we take care of and sometimes lose sight of the person and relatives that we rae dealing with, whats routine to us is not to them.

even in class, i was amazed by a nurse who worked in trauma icu, and how she spoke about relatives who came in, as i pointed out, its not everybody who can be at the bedside and take time off work and deal with someone close to them who is in a hospital bed, a year later, and after our classes, she actually thinks differently to when she spoke then. ethics and spirituality,,,,not religion are a big part of nursing that gets overlooked in this short staffed society that we work in, its all about numbers and money.

5cats

Has 17 years experience. Specializes in intensive care, recovery, anesthetics.

I don't think it's a UK problem, I think it's a certain Hospital/Trust/Unit problem (and problably certain nurses). For instance in our Unit (ICU) we have a phone in every bed space, so as soon as a patient is able to, they can talk to family/friends themselves. For the other unit where there were no bedside phones available we organized a mobile phone for the unit.

We do use passwords as well, if necessary.

But obviously if the patient is unconscious, you have to be careful what about and to whom you are talking.

5cats

MaryAnn_RN

Has 15 years experience. Specializes in ICU.

thanks mary, good advice, especially if ever our parents are admitted. we have hippa over here, which is the privacy act much the same as the uk. so its understandable, but what started it was the attitude of the ward sister, when she spoke to me, no need for that, comfortable is not exactly a description of a day 2 open heart surgery in icu, we do get acclimatised to the patients that we take care of and sometimes lose sight of the person and relatives that we rae dealing with, whats routine to us is not to them.

even in class, i was amazed by a nurse who worked in trauma icu, and how she spoke about relatives who came in, as i pointed out, its not everybody who can be at the bedside and take time off work and deal with someone close to them who is in a hospital bed, a year later, and after our classes, she actually thinks differently to when she spoke then. ethics and spirituality,,,,not religion are a big part of nursing that gets overlooked in this short staffed society that we work in, its all about numbers and money.

what changed my attitude to families was not what i was taught in pre-reg, or on the ward. on christmas day nearly 9 years ago now, my dad collapsed at home with a massive gi bleed. they lived about 100 miles away from me. dad was blue lighted to hospital and resuscitated on arrival. there were no beds available in icu so he was cared for in theatre recovery and then the following day transferred to another hospital. every day for 6 weeks i used to drive up there and ferry mum back and forward.

the nurses were so friendly and caring. they used to try to give any little encouragement that they could...sadly dad died of multi-organ failure after a long fight. those nurses who spoke to me on the phone, made me cups of tea and shared their breakfast toast with me - they were just simply humane and caring - they were and are my role models for speaking to families.

i think if we lose sight of our compassion and understanding of what the families go through, we have lost something essential to our nursing role.

i totally agree with you, to me its all part of being a nurse, caring sharing attitudes towards both patients and relatives is what makes us. but then hospital rules are not made by nurses.

its funny how we are told by the hospitals in the uk that the patient cannot use their cellphone as it interferes with the equipment, but the same cell phones dont affect the equipment in the us.

its not right that a patient loses contact with their family because of the rules that are made by the hospitals, what if someone dies and because their children live away they are not allowed to talk to the patient. like you bright eyes, we dread the day our parents are admitted to hospital, when do we decide to fly home when you cant get any information from the hospital. we are in a country where time off is very limited and we cant just fly home at any time, and thats not taking into account the cost.

i know cariad, it's really scary! it's something myself and hubby (brit too) talk about often but we choose to bury our head in the sand and not really address it. i can't imagine how stressful it'll be if/when something happens! :(

karenG

Specializes in midwifery, ophthalmics, general practice.

when my uncle was in hospital with an inoperable frontal lobe tumour, my mum (another nurse) phoned the ward to ask how he was. now she lives in Essex, he was in hospital in Edinburgh.. she went up to see him every weekend for 3 mths.. until he died. when she asked the nruse how he was, she was told he was comfortable and had been pottering round the ward... at a time when he could no longer walk! nor could he feed himself. The nurses were not kind to my poor mum.. and she actually ended up reporting one of them to the NMC (never upset my mum- she is old school and ended up very senior - 8b equivelent before retiring) for unprofessional conduct.

my uncle ended up in a hospice and the care there was fantastic, cant tell you how great they were, but the hospital was awful. my uncle managed to fall down some stairs and break his jaw because the tumour affected his memory first and he wanted to go home. no one noticed he was gone until he was found at the bottom of the stairs. sad.

Grace Oz

Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/HH/Radiology-Now Retired.

I've said it before, I'll reiterate it now ..... nurses should NEVER lose sight of the fact that they (we) are "in service!".

Nurses who elevate themselves to lofty heights and forget the humanitarian aspect of the nursing profession, need reminding of just what being a nurse is really all about.

Hope you obtain some information soon!

although some nurses become very laid back about the job, and we do have a very weird sense of humour about things that happen, but i do believe that is our way of de-stressing amongst ourselves, but when we deal with relatives, we need to become sensitive to their needs, and as i stated before, hospitals need to lose the cell phone issue, as it helps the patient to keep contact with the outside world, and their family, at a time when it is needed.

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