My poor co-worker! - page 2

I really guess I would just like to hear some opinions about something that happened to one of my fellow nurses. I'll try to make it short. One of the 7a - 7P L&D nurses came onto her shift to be... Read More

  1. by   floatRN
    In my hospital, L&D nurses are never given an assignment when they float. They help out with tasks they are comfortable with. Mostly, doing admission histories, giving pain meds, answering call lights etc. It is still helpful to have the extra set of hands on the floor even if they can't take an assignment.
  2. by   UM Review RN
    Were the situation reversed, with me taking a full load on an L&D floor --- omg, perish the thought!! --- as soon as I found out that I'd be taking an assignment, I would've been refusing and let the chips fall where they may.

    The problem is that this situation has not been resolved in a good way. As sympathetic as you are feeling toward your friend's plight, you need to understand that next time, it could be you. You have to choose whether you'll either be floated or fired.

    That's why I think you should quit before you get mired in the situation and someone gets hurt.

    Good luck to your team and please keep us updated. We're rooting for you.
  3. by   tryingtomakeit
    Quote from Bridget O'Malley
    Your co-worker was treated horribly. I'd be bringing the big guns in on this situation as cisco recommends myself.

    Now I'm going to threadjack and give a different perspective. At my hospital, L&D nurses are told at their orientation that they may be expected to float to a med/surg floor that specializes in gyn and male urinary problems. They are given monthly competencies specific to that unit.

    And yet, every time a L&D nurse comes over to act as an aide (they are never given patient assignments) they refuse to give meds such as Toradol and Zantac because they are not familiar with them. They refuse to assist in caring for men because "We only deal with women's parts in L&D" and will not go into a room unless it is strictly post-op in case they get "called back to the babies". Why these nurses can't look up meds they are not familiar with like the rest of the nursing population; take care of an infected foot of a diabetic (as though everyone who delivers a baby and her multitude of visitors is 100% healthy); and apply an ice pack to a scrotal injury is beyond me.

    I love my L&D nurses, really. They took wonderful care of my babies and deal with as much family BS as any ER nurse. But at my hospital (don't know about any others), I just wish they'd stay in babyland or think of ways in which they CAN help instead of reasons why they can't.


    Now back to the original post--

    I can understand that being really frustrating, but this is the thing that is so frustrating to us where I work. We do go to med-surg from time to time. It just so happened that this girl had only ever been floated over there once before, and it was to clerk. She knew next to nothing and is a relatively new grad to boot! I have passed meds for the nurses over there, emptied foleys, hung IV's EVERYTHING. I am comfortable with that. I can do those things. I dont even mind taking a small patient load and still help the other nurses because I have been over there enough that I do feel as though I have had some form of orientation, but let me tell you what happened the last night I worked ...

    I was in L&D alone and my partner was helping out in post partum, we have no problems with this because we are just down the hall from each other and can still tell what is going on in our area. But, at any rate, I had a patient who came in, 31 weeks, bleeding like a stuck pig! All I had to do was yell down the hall to my partner and by the time the Dr got there, we had her IV started, labs drawn and ordered, had taken them to the lab, had her abd shaved, and the C/S room partially opened. As it was, by the time we were taking her off the monitor to go to the OR, her baby was having HUGE late decells. If I had been alone to call the Dr, take orders, and do all the other things I mentioned, that baby could have been dead. Not to mention if I had to wait for my partner to give report, then come to me - minus the time it would have taken us to contact med-surg, then have them find her down the hall.

    Believe me, I know your frustration, because we can't even get the same people we are being MADE to help give us the time of day when we need help. They say, "that is a specialty area and I can't be made to do that". When in reality we would never DREAM of giving them patients. All was ask is for help with call lights and answering phones, things like that. It can be very frustrating on both ends.

    Another thing that we are finding very frustrating is that when we are slow, they will pull us over there even when THEY are slow. The other night they were complaining that there were two of us in L&D with only two patients. They only had four patients each! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Please don't think for a minute that I am flaming you for your comment, because I'm not. I guess I just really wanted to say that sometimes I realize that it gets frustrating for ALL of us, no matter where we are.
    Last edit by tryingtomakeit on Mar 10, '07
  4. by   whiskeygirl
    It sounds terribly unfair to do this to anyone. I am so sorry for her. Had I been her co-worker I would most likely be quickly searching for a new job for myself.
  5. by   BBFRN
    Personally, I find it outrageous that they think it's OK to float a L&D nurse to Med/Surg.

    I hope all this poor nurse's coworkers plan on backing her up here, by also contacting the BON, JCAHO, state nurse's association, etc themselves. I think if more nurses did this when things like this happened, there might be different outcomes than if the nurse was left alone to defend her actions.

    Don't just walk- tell people why you're walking.
  6. by   imenid37
    So where does patient safety fall in all of this? That CNO is a clown who is trying to flex his/her muscles. I'd say go get an attorney. Preferably a nurse attorney. You only abandon paitients if you had accepted the assignment from what I learned. I worked on a post-op OHS floor for three years. I left 17 years ago. My cardiac and med-surg experience has cobwebs all over it. Folks had L/D in nursing school too. We NEVER EVER EVER would give them a labour patient. If there would be a staffing crisis for us, we would have our manager, assistant manager, or educator (me) or all three take a patient. I often do have patients or float around our unit, as does the assistant manager. The hospital wants to save $. I hoped they have saved enough for the lawsuit and publicity they deserve pulling this cr*p. I hope someone has the gonads to address this type of practice in the next National Patient Safety Goals. As we ALL know the pulling of staff to an unfamiliar unit is an accident waiting to happen. I wonder if the CNO would have wanted to have the L/D nurse be his/her nurse or his/her parent/child's nurse. If I were placing my bets now, I'd say I'd soon be very rich!
  7. by   imenid37
    Quote from Bridget O'Malley
    Your co-worker was treated horribly. I'd be bringing the big guns in on this situation as cisco recommends myself.

    Now I'm going to threadjack and give a different perspective. At my hospital, L&D nurses are told at their orientation that they may be expected to float to a med/surg floor that specializes in gyn and male urinary problems. They are given monthly competencies specific to that unit.

    And yet, every time a L&D nurse comes over to act as an aide (they are never given patient assignments) they refuse to give meds such as Toradol and Zantac because they are not familiar with them. They refuse to assist in caring for men because "We only deal with women's parts in L&D" and will not go into a room unless it is strictly post-op in case they get "called back to the babies". Why these nurses can't look up meds they are not familiar with like the rest of the nursing population; take care of an infected foot of a diabetic (as though everyone who delivers a baby and her multitude of visitors is 100% healthy); and apply an ice pack to a scrotal injury is beyond me.

    I love my L&D nurses, really. They took wonderful care of my babies and deal with as much family BS as any ER nurse. But at my hospital (don't know about any others), I just wish they'd stay in babyland or think of ways in which they CAN help instead of reasons why they can't.


    Now back to the original post--
    When I have been pulled, I am a great nursing assistant. I have done that job, Oh so many years ago. I don't give an entire team of meds like they do on the med-surg floors EVER. Yes, you should be careful. Again, it is an accident waiting to happen because it is unfamiliar territory. Do the L/D nurses get a formal orientation to your unit? Is there a list of approved tasks for them to do? If not, they should do basic nursing care, like nursing assistants. They could assess some GYN patients if they are pretty basic, but really they are not a substitute staff nurse for the unit. They should be functioning as a helper giving basic nursing care because there is no one available that is regular staff for the unit to work and take a full load. It means that the regular staff have been called and asked to work, etc. It doesn't mean the nursing supv. thinks L/D is "not busy" and she/he doesn't want them "sitting around" so they are pulled to cover a sick call on med-surg when the supv. didn't bother to call regular staff. I f there are tons of confused patients and med-surg has regular staffing, i think it is fine to get a nurse from L/D to do things like take vitals, waatch confused patients, help w/ moving or hygiene, but not take an assignment. It doesn't mean that a nurse from L/D is pulled to med-surg so the med-surg nurses can put up Christmas decorations. That happened to me several years ago. They were wonderful and friendly, but they were pinning snowflakes to the ceiling and telling me they were "surprised" I wasn't going to hand out a team of meds or do an admission. They also had a helper from Critical Care. It is not so much those nurses who I was pulled to work with that I fault, it is the supervisor. She saw them hanging up decorations knowing she had pulled me and the Critical care nurse. She wouldn't dream of pulling a nurse from the med-surg unit to take a labout patient. med-surg is very busy. The hospitals need to pay the med-surg nurses OT, premium time, or whatever to get staffing up to snuff when you are very short. The hospitals owe it to the patients to provide safe and appropriate nursing care to them.
  8. by   angel337
    this is one reason why i am not fond of the float position. hospitals think a nurse is a nurse, which just isn't true. there is no way i could float to L&D, when all i have ever known is ER. i have known nurses that just take a chance that they can get by with basic knowledge and sure enough a disaster always happens like in this case. i feel sorry for your coworker. she will need a good lawyer.
  9. by   GardenDove
    That's totally bogus. She hadn't taken report yet so she hadn't abandoned her patients. I'm so sick of management like that.

    One time I was floated over to OB to be the "NICU" nurse, since they needed someone to watch a baby because they were so busy. It was a twin that was a little puny. My hospital doesn't really have a NICU, just a couple of those incubator things with a hooded O2 thingie. I got report from another ICU nurse float, and also oriented to the apparatus, charting, and the whole shebang, right in front of the Dad! LOL, I tried to emphasize my "ICU status" to the Dad to impress him so he wouldn't be scared $hitless by a total newbie watching his kid. I pulled it off, he was really grateful and nice.

    I was behind a glass and could signal to a nurse who knew what in the h*ll was going on fortunately. I've done it a couple of times since, one time I assisted with a fullterm spontaneous pneumothorax babe that needed a needle decompression before transport to a larger hospital. LOL, I'm a bigtime NICU nurse.

    Back to the OP, your friend should definately fight this injustice, it's outrageous.
  10. by   Jolie
    Quote from Bridget O'Malley
    Your co-worker was treated horribly. I'd be bringing the big guns in on this situation as cisco recommends myself.

    Now I'm going to threadjack and give a different perspective. At my hospital, L&D nurses are told at their orientation that they may be expected to float to a med/surg floor that specializes in gyn and male urinary problems. They are given monthly competencies specific to that unit....Why these nurses can't look up meds they are not familiar with like the rest of the nursing population; take care of an infected foot of a diabetic...is beyond me.

    Simple. Because it is a violation of accepted standards of infection control.
  11. by   tryingtomakeit
    I just wanted you guys to know how much I appreciate your support - you have no idea how much it means to me right now.

    I am very grateful that, at least for right now, we are all hanging in there together. There have been three people who have left in just the past week with this situation being their deciding factor.

    I really do love my job and it is sad to me that something like this is pushing me away from a place that I love so much. The Drs there are WONDERFUL - they are trying very hard to take up for us and my co-workers are second to none. I am looking at going PRN on a very limited basis until I can see if this is going to pass. I am hoping that with everyone leaving (there are more looking for jobs), that they will see the light and then maybe I can come back full time. I plan on telliing them why I am going PRN - I just can't handle the stress.

    Thanks again for all your support. I will keep you guys posted.
  12. by   imenid37
    Quote from Jolie
    Simple. Because it is a violation of accepted standards of infection control.
    I didn't see the thing about the diabetic foot in the original post. YUK!. I agree that violates infection control as Jolie says. I have been questioned about why I couldn't go into a C.diff room. Our tech was pulled to sit w/ a C.diff. pt. and then had to shower and change clothes when she needed to return to OB to prepare for a delivery. It goes on and on. Time to sing a new tune for nursng admins. NO PULLING. I was so sick of this on nights, I was going to seriously look for another job until I took the position I have now. Why can't nursing supervisors, admin, etc. believe us when we say that we don't have med-surg skills? When a nurse is pulled to your unit and says I can't give that med, why do you make her feel like she is doing something wrong? She doesn't want to make a mistake and cause trouble for herself and the patient. Go to your admin or manager and tell them you need someone who can assume full responsibility for the patients and do the tasks. For the sake of patient safety, that means someone w/ the correct skills NOT a make-do from somewhere else!
    Monthly comps? People have time to do them??? Wow!
  13. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from GardenDove
    One time I was floated over to OB to be the "NICU" nurse, .

    See, I just get myself in trouble because I'll say, "You want to send me where without any orientation? ICU? CCU? OB? I'm not an ICU/CCU /OB nurse, I haven't the skills or the training. I'll float where I have the skills, but I can't float where you want me to."

    They used to say things like, "Well, this is really a Tele patient, so it won't be hard."

    To which I'd respond, "Fine, bring 'em over and give us all a full assignment."

    Or they'd say, "It'll be OK, the ICU nurses will 'cover' you." To which I would respond, "You mean that they'll do things that I will be responsible for, to the patient that I'm assigned to? So if something happens to the patient and family sues, then I have to justify what was done to my patient by someone else that I signed off? No thanks."

    It never ceases to amaze me that I have to tell helpful visitors that no, they are not qualified to pull Mother up in bed because of the potential liability to the hospital, yet they can take me, float me to a critical care area that normally it would take a very competitive, hours-long panel interview and 8 weeks of orientation, plus more time in preceptorship--and allow me to float with no training and no orientation and be legally responsible as an agent of the same hospital for keeping someone alive.

    All to save a few bucks in Agency fees, they'll take that crapshoot with someone's life?

    Not to mention that they're messing with my livelihood, my license? :angryfire

    I'd better get offa my soapbox now because this is a subject that heats me up pretty quickly. Nurses have enough problems to deal with and floating to units in which they have no skills and no expertise should not be added to the burden.

Must Read Topics


close