Sitters/CNA's: Thank you for "doing nothing" - page 2

Two mornings ago I received a distraught phone call from my mother telling me that my dad, who is suffering with end stage COPD, spine compression fractures, and a distinct lack of proper narcotic... Read More

  1. by   deemalt
    Your timing is so interesting. We all got an email today saying that due to budget cuts, we need to call our manager at home, day or night in order to get approval for a sitter. Our aids and unit secretary hours have been decreased and falls have gone way up as it is.

    It really is a shame that the large university health system that I work for does not see the forest for the trees (I guess the dollar signs get in the way).
  2. by   IHeartNursing321
    I loved this story, I am a sitter myself! Some days are easy, but some days are difficult. Patience and compassion are a must. I wouldn't have any other job right now...I have met some amazing people! <3
  3. by   SleeepyRN
    First and foremost, I'm sorry for what you and your family are going through.

    Second, this post brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the hundreds of people I "sat" for as a sitter before I became a nurse. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saying thank you to sitters. Boy do I have stories of my own from my sitter days. The one that comes to mind first was the lady I cared for on a neuro unit. I came in the morning at start of shift. Everyone thought the patient was still sleeping. I knew this was unusual for her. She didn't wake when I took her BP. I called out her name, over and over. She didn't wake, I began to call out for a nurse when one walked in. Rapid response followed by a CT of the brain. It turns out she had a hemorrhage. And everyone thought she was just sleeping. Many others saved her life, but I've always silently known that it was I, a lowly sitter, who caught it to begin with.

    I had another patient as a sitter who began seizing while eating, sitting up at the edge of his bed. I cleared the food and lay him in in a safe position as to not aspirate.

    I know I've prevented countless injuries and falls from confused patients trying to get out of bed. I know I've eased anxiety in countless patients.

    Thank you for reminding me of all I've done. And thank you for being appreciative. Being a sitter is one TOUGH job.
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    CP, as always, you write with a combination of poignancy and humor that's not often seen. I love to read your stories!

    As a hospital CNA, I used to be a "sitter" too, mostly with patients on sui watch or CIWA protocol who needed 1:1. There were times when I almost screamed to be let out of the room because the patient was climbing the walls and driving us both crazy. But then, I'll never forget the patient I sat with during my co-worker's dinner break and wound up staying with for the rest of the 12-hour shift because we bonded in about two minutes. She was my age, a wife and mother who suffered from depression and had made a half-hearted attempt at suicide with a handful of tranquilizers when her husband threatened to have her committed.

    We talked through the entire night. I don't recall what I might have said to help her, but at one point she sat bolt upright in bed and said, "That's it, I am NOT going to let other people have that kind of power over me, ever again." I ran into her in the mall about a year later---she recognized me right away, while it took me visualizing her in a patient gown to remember who she was---and she looked amazing! She had her two small children with her and was obviously enjoying life, and she thanked me again for that night we'd spent together battling her demons. It was easily the most gratifying moment of my early career.

    Sitters do perform a valuable service, and I don't understand why hospitals are so stingy with them because they SAVE the facility money in the long term by preventing falls, exit-seeking behaviors and violent incidents, as well as the necessity of employing licensed staff to replace the lower-paid techs. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, I call it.
  5. by   Vespertinas
    Quote from deemalt
    We all got an email today saying that due to budget cuts, we need to call our manager at home, day or night in order to get approval for a sitter. Our aids and unit secretary hours have been decreased and falls have gone way up as it is.
    Saving money? They'll be paying in spades.
  6. by   iluvivt
    I loved it when I had a sitter for my patients. I made sure they got breaks and kept them happy. I checked on them and the patient frequently and even brought my sitters drinks. This goes along with respecting every member of the healthcare team from the housekeepers on. Besides from being a decent human being you just never know when you may need that person.

    I remember a ward secretary that was spreading catty rumors about me and my boyfriend. Well, one night look who gets admitted to my unit with an SBO and look who is in charge! I think she turned a pale green when I walked in the room and almost passed out when I immediately secured some IV pain medication for her,got her settled and comfortable and she was fully aware that I knew of her insane jealousy and untrue nasty rumors.That WS from that day on treated me like a queen because she learned her lesson the hard way and realized I was kind person that chose not to use my position to seek revenge.

    Glad you dad is OK
  7. by   amygarside
    Oh wow! Great piece of writing!
  8. by   msteeleart
    I am currently a sitter while looking for my first RN job. I am so glad you acknowledge that what we do is not easy. I have met some awesome patients while being a sitter and I have learned so much.
  9. by   LindaBright
    You definitely have a way with words, and there is a lot of truth in your writing! Sitters are definitely under-appreciated for the most part, yet so necessary. I've also had the pleasure of hearing the families of patients express their gratitude for the sitter that was assigned to their loved one, though. It happens, just not enough!
  10. by   CheesePotato
    Your kind words and genuine well wishes are very much appreciated. I am thankful for each and every person that took the time to pause and read my ramblings.

    As for the gentleman in question, last I saw him, he was attempting finger painting with mayonnaise. But he was content, and that is all that matters.

    They have stopped his pain meds to see if he will come back around.

    I have yet to decide whether or not once he "sobers" I want to show him the video recorded conversation between he (him? Grammar Fairy to the courtesy desk, please.) and "some guy in a cardigan", AKA: the curtains.

    I'm pretty sure the fact that I recorded anything places me smack dab in a beach-side property on the lake of fire.

    I think I'm okay with that.

    Kindest regards,

    Last edit by CheesePotato on Mar 21, '13
  11. by   monkeybug
    "go big or go home"

    Reminds me of Julia Sugarbaker's oh-so-true quote about crazy people in the South: "I'm saying this is the South. And we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic, we bring 'em right down to the living room and show them off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family, they just ask which side their on."

    I remember sitting with my grandfather when he was having oxygenation issues. Lord have mercy, we could have used a sitter. Especially after he bit my aunt.
  12. by   sandyfeet
    I used to be a sitter. I'll never forget the night that I was sitting for a suicidal young woman, and her family came in with their pastor. They asked if I would like to pray with them, and so I held hands with them and all of a sudden I was listening to the pastor say "And Lord, thank you for bringing sandyfeet here to keep (patient's name) safe, please bless her and give her the strength to stay awake all night...". I wish all sitters could hear things like that. They deserve it! It was such a difference from the treatment staff members gave me--waiting until 0330 to give me a lunch break, or making me beg for a bathroom break!
  13. by   lezthetica
    Thank you so much for acknowledging sitters. I'm a night sitter with an elderly lady who lives in an assisted living facility. The CNA's at the facility often roll their eyes at me and talk about us in hushed tones to one another since we stay all night with her....until she starts to stir and get out of bed on her own, where to wander we'll never know! That's the moment I spring to action. They complain because I rest during the night, but it's like resting in the room with your own newborn baby, I leap to action with the tiniest stirring! It's a job where I'm responsible for her safety all night long. It is a big job and I often feel underappreciated by other members of the care team. Thank you!

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