I hope some of you know work in states where they have standardized color-coded wristbands. This was brought about because of the many nurses who work PRN or travel. Texas started in January and we have implemented this in our hospital. The idea behind this is that you can go to any hospital and purple will be DNR, yellow will be fall risk, etc. However, you still have to make sure staff places the bracelet on the patient.
I would also like to ask you to remember that we are not infallible. I am sure when the charge nurse told you that the patient was a DNR that she thought she was correct. I noted that you mentioned at least twice that it was a chaotic unit. The charge nurse was possibly just as overwhelmed. There are many of us who have made mistakes in our nursing career that have made us sick. Just look at all the medication errors that are reported. It does happen. I think it is harsh to feel that the charge nurse should have been counseled, reprimanded or even fired. Rather, it seems that the system is what is in need of an over haul. I do believe that we should always be honest with our patients and I am sorry that the hospital did not come forward with the family.
I would also like to point out that a DNR usually means no CPR or other heroric measures. However, it does not mean NO TREATMENT. That is a pet peave of mine. I don't know how many times I have heard nurses or doctors state "do not do this or that because they are a DNR." I believe that is why a lot of people are afraid to make a decision of DNR or advanced directives. They are afraid they won't get any treatment. It seems this is an area that we all still need a lot of education.