It's 10am, I have been here for 3 hours and "all" I have managed to accomplish is making sure everyone has their medications. In the middle of pulling a locked narcotic that a patient needs now, the phone rings informing me that a patient has a critical lab needing called to the doctor.
This particular lab can be deadly so I pick up the phone to call the doctor....wait....what are the patient's vital signs?
Because we know he will ask that.
On my way to get the patient's vitals, I am stopped by therapy letting me know that there is a patient complaining of dizziness and her oxygen is dropping. I go to the therapy room to assess the patient and she is struggling. I am now diverted outside to grab some oxygen and get her vitals. Once she is stable, I remember that I have another patient needing immediate attention based on a lab result so I grab those vitals and pick up the phone to call the doctor.
Wait.....what med is this patient on causing this abnormal lab? What disease process could be causing this?
I grab her chart to quickly get more background information because I am required to know everything on ALL patients so that the doctor can make informed decisions. As I'm on the phone, I hear a bed alarm go off and my STNA is in a room changing another patient. I can either tell the doctor to wait, or find a patient on the floor, hope they are OK and now do frequent neuro checks.
I put the doctor on hold and get this patient to the bathroom reminding him that he must call us before he gets up....he laughs, I laugh and we both know that "education" will go nowhere.
I receive new orders from the physician (who is now yelling at me because the poor thing had to wait) and as I'm working on squading this patient out, the original patient who has been in pain reminds me of how I'm not "doing my job."
This is only 15 minutes of my day....the prioritizing and re-prioritizing. Worrying that any move you make or don't make could harm another life. Having patients ask you where their breakfast is, what time is their appointment today and do they have a ride, what is the pink pill they are taking, why are they not getting their pain pill on time, etc.
I have messages from the social worker and dietician, a patient who is a full feed which takes my STNA away from all other patient care, another doctor who just walked in writing orders for a STAT lab and a patient telling me if they don't get to the bathroom NOW, they are going to poop everywhere.
This is all happening and it's up to me to keep it straight.
All of this while being reminded from someone who works in an office somewhere that you are not "documenting things in a timely manner as they happen." Being told that more paperwork is required and more thorough documentation needed is maddening because I'm meant to be on the floor, not at a computer.
My charting and initialing of everything I do isn't saving lives, my presence on the floor is. Please stop requiring nurses to spend more and more time at a computer and then getting upset when patient quality of care scores go down.
You want quality care?
Get us some help because we are drowning.