"Hardened" Healthcare Providers

  1. I recently floated to the ER and witnessed such poor ethics in two nurses and paramedics I was astounded! The EMT team brought in an extremely morbidly obese woman in respiratory distress who was “caked” in feces. Their heads were wrapped in towels because of the odor she emitted!
    <O</O
    The EMT’s placed her in the bay while I started her vitals and placed her leads. They walked over to the nurse’s station and two RN’s and the EMT’s began talking about how filthy her home was and how disgusting the patient was. Their conversation was loud enough for the patient and the surrounding patients to hear!
    <O</O
    I was mortified and embarrassed for the health profession! Sure the patient was disgusting. Sure she was filthy. But aren’t we taught to deliver healthcare in a non-judgmental manner?? Yes, I am new to nursing (and healthcare as a whole), but is this what happens to healthcare providers after years of witnessing these types of incidents? I said nothing, but delivered the type of care I was trained to deliver without judgment of the patient and with the compassion I show other patients.
    <O</O
    What should I have done? How do I handle this type of situation in the future? Any input would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. Visit cwinlv profile page

    About cwinlv

    Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 30; Likes: 4
    RN
    Specialty: Perioperative; Gyn-Onc

    51 Comments

  3. by   tamari07
    I'm a new nurse as well, but I saw this type of ethics frequently as a student and now as a nurse. I think what you did was right. Even though others are direspecting the patient and talking loudly, you should just ignore their loud comments and deliver the best care you can to your patient. If this continued, I would definitely maybe contact the manager or director because that type of behavior is purely unprofessional.
  4. by   arelius
    I think what you did was right but geez, what kind of life was that patient living to end up in that kind of position? It makes me seem sad and angry at the same time when people don't take care of themselves at all. I don't expect people to be perfect but some people just...
  5. by   VickyRN
    Similar discussion on this thread: https://allnurses.com/forums/f205/ex...rt-170700.html
  6. by   madwife2002
    Sad
  7. by   gr8rnpjt
    I remember as a student spending a couple of days with an EMT company in the area of my school. I was appalled at the way EMT's are so expressive about what they see and what they deal with every day. I remember hearing an EMT talking about a trip to a small amusement park in the area, that had a train ride that encircled the park. A small child had fallen off the train and was run over. This EMT was smiling and describing how the head was just mush in the back. I got very angry and cried and yelled at him for his insensetivity. Several other EMT's spoke to me and told me that is how they cope. But I will never forget the SMILE on his face.
  8. by   madwife2002
    I was a victim of an interstate wreck and I was a bit of a mess the EMT forced open the door and asked me if I needed to be taken the hospital. I started speaking ( I didnt think I was hysterical) and he shouted at me to calm down or he wouldnt take me to the hospital. I was in a car which was squashed, lying on the floor for over 30 mins, had no feeling in my left side and in a foreign country. How should I have behaved?????
  9. by   traumaRUs
    Did you report this? The condition of the house is important though as discharging a pt back to an unsafe environment isn't right either.
  10. by   emsrn1970
    I agree they should not have been talking loudly, but that does not mean she got inferior care. It's providing care in a non-judgemental way, not non-judgementalism period. I would certainly let the RN know what kind of conditions the patient lived in so they could provide the adequate resources to this patient. The ER is a different environment and Pre-hospital providers are not taught all of the psychosocial BS that nurses have to go through. When you get more time in the ER you will see there is the nursing school way and the real way of doing things.




    Quote from cwinlv
    I recently floated to the ER and witnessed such poor ethics in two nurses and paramedics I was astounded! The EMT team brought in an extremely morbidly obese woman in respiratory distress who was "caked" in feces. Their heads were wrapped in towels because of the odor she emitted!
    <O</O
    The EMT's placed her in the bay while I started her vitals and placed her leads. They walked over to the nurse's station and two RN's and the EMT's began talking about how filthy her home was and how disgusting the patient was. Their conversation was loud enough for the patient and the surrounding patients to hear!
    <O</O
    I was mortified and embarrassed for the health profession! Sure the patient was disgusting. Sure she was filthy. But aren't we taught to deliver healthcare in a non-judgmental manner?? Yes, I am new to nursing (and healthcare as a whole), but is this what happens to healthcare providers after years of witnessing these types of incidents? I said nothing, but delivered the type of care I was trained to deliver without judgment of the patient and with the compassion I show other patients.
    <O</O
    What should I have done? How do I handle this type of situation in the future? Any input would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  11. by   tencat
    Quote from emsrn1970
    The ER is a different environment and Pre-hospital providers are not taught all of the psychosocial BS that nurses have to go through. When you get more time in the ER you will see there is the nursing school way and the real way of doing things.
    Uh.....wow. It's not 'psychosocial BS' to treat a human being like a human being. That means we keep those conversations in areas that patients can't hear us. I've participated in those conversations before, and they are necessary to handle the job, but it's really NOT professional to do this in front of patients, etc regardless of your role as a provider.
  12. by   Medic/Nurse
    Yes, some of the "attitude" from EMS is a bit hard to take for the faint of heart. Their actions DOES NOT mean that they are uncaring and fail to DO THE RIGHT THING. Even if not immediately apparent to anyone watching.

    I saw "stuff" in the field that just BROKE MY HEART - I would literally go home after 24 on, scrub myself head to toe in the shower and cry like a baby! Then I'd find myself kneeling at the foot of the bed deep in prayer. Nothing, that's right NOTHING -I've ever seen in the hospital will even break the TOP 25 tragic things I was a part of in EMS. I had to get a bit "hard" or I'd have lasted a week and I'd would have been near desperate myself. It was a defense mechanism. I needed it to survive. Sometimes I even surprised myself at just how "tough" I'd gotten! (And you can bet, when the 4am "demons" enter my dreams - they are from my time spent in the field)

    Now, to the "behavior" - yep, it was bad. Yep, the patient heard them and I cannot imagine how it must have made her feel. No excuse. Also try, to Imagine "extricating" an alert LARGE, filthy, foul person that has cared so little for themselves (whatever the "reasons") from a house that you can NOT WALK through for the crap, garbage and feces too! Then imagine finding roaches crawling in YOUR hair in the truck, or stepping on a live large mouse (rat?) while tying to "carry" this patient out of "nest". This situation DID NOT happen overnight.

    You were the absolute beacon of light for this patient. Your behavior is to be commended and you did the RIGHT thing. Bless you. :angel2: You were an angel to this patient!

    But, the description of the house and conditions should have set off reporting to Adult Protective Services, the Department of Health, Fire Department (for residential inspection/possible need for condemnation due to code violations if in an enforcement area) and anyone else that could assist. Reporting is generally MANDATED for EMS and HOSPITAL providers alike.

    Wow, but this is not an uncommon as you might imagine.
  13. by   fergus51
    There is no excuse for saying this where she could hear it. I use black humour same as most nurses, but I wouldn't dream of doing it within my patients' families' earshot.
  14. by   peds4now
    Quote from emsrn1970
    When you get more time in the ER you will see there is the nursing school way and the real way of doing things.
    That's for sure true, but the fact that you don't seem ashamed of it shows that at some point you veered off the path of proper patient care and can't find your way back. All that "psychosocial BS" and the "nursing school way" is why nursing is supposedly a profession. MOST nursing care I have seen is substandard and makes nurses look just one step above someone on the line at McDonalds. I say have some self-respect and practice professional nursing.

    This is probably the most scathing post I've ever made on this site, but one thing I can't handle is sloppy nurses who use the excuse that they've been around and this is how it's done!

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