Question for those who work in small and/or rural hospitals.

Nurses General Nursing


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62 Posts

I work in a small rural hospital (22 bed M/S and 4 CCU beds), besides in a large teaching hospital. In the small hospital (I work in the CCU), if we call a code we are it ! The ER docs don't come, and to cut cost RT leaves the hosp. at 7:30 pm nitely. If I have 1 to 2 pats. then I'm on my own ---I'm screwed!!! The RT and the PMD have to be able to get to the hosp. in 20 mins. !! I like the code teams of the large hospitals!!!


624 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU (PCCN); Heme/Onc/BMT.

My hospital is really, really small: about 35 beds total. But "oh-agnurse" your hospital got us beat!!!!

The E.R. doctor comes during the codes. If he's unable to come because he's coding a patient in the E.R. (believe me, this would be the ONLY reason the E.R. doctor would not come during a code), I run the codes (the ICU/CCU nurse) until a doctor comes.

When a person is more or less slowly goes down the tubes, we manage that patient with the covering physician over the phone. This is done initially until the covering physician comes to the unit. . . maybe.

We have only one part-time cardiologist . . . Mondays through Fridays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The rest of the admitting physicians are basically GP's.

Our RT inhouse coverage ends at 11:00 PM. There is alway some RT on call, though.

Ted :)

sbic56, BSN, RN

1,437 Posts

Specializes in Obstetrics, M/S, Psych.

The ED doc in Our small rural hosptial responds to all codes when PCP is not availbable. I was suprised to see that this is not so in many of the other small hospitals. Seems there would be some legal ramifications for not responding, but obviously not. Go figure.

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

Our ER docs are our GP's (they take turns on-call and assume responsibility for all in-patients and the ER). They do not sleep in the hospital (generally) so we would have to run codes, react to a bleeder ourselves until doc shows up(mandatory 20 minute response from them). RT is done at 6pm (although someone is on call with a 30min mandatory response time) but they do not intubate anyway. It would be more likely that us RN's would insert a combitube then it would be for RT to intubate someone.

If we have contract docs covering ER (some weekends), their contract stipulates ER only....they do not have anything to do with the in-patients, although I haven't met one that wouldn't step in to help us if a 'situation' cropped up.


455 Posts

What do other facilities do in this situation?

Hire a Nurse Practitioner



992 Posts

I like the idea of emergent transfer to ER! Our facility doesn't have a mandated time for the PCP to respond (or if we do it is not adhered to by most PCPs). We are fortunate that we have RT available 24/7 in our facility. Getting the person intubated wouldn't be a problem. Our ER docs show up for codes, unless there is one in ER at the same time. That doesn't happen often enough that is a concern to me. Maybe our facility needs at looking at policies to get the PCP there sooner. I really appreciate everyone's input on this subject. I have learned a lot about other small facilities. Maybe that could be a topic of its own: Rural/small hospital nursing.


223 Posts

When I posted my earlier reply about Blue Lighting - had been working in the Unit 1 yr not had to do it.

BUT today at shift start had a NIDDM pt who was unresponsive on sliding scale insulin.

Little Dr. unsure so sent him to ER took 10mins and they are keeping him.

SO it seem to work just fine

Best wishes to you all



108 Posts

;) I work in a rural hospital, 24 bed Med/surg and 4 bed ICU. ER docs will respond to code blue in these areas. All of our primary docs and internists (except one) live in close proximity to the hospital. When we need intubation it is either the CRNA or RT to do the procedure. The patient is usually already tubed by the time the doc gets there. We have great response time from everyone.;)


624 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU (PCCN); Heme/Onc/BMT.
Originally posted by WashYaHands

Hire a Nurse Practitioner


Oh Linda!

We should.

Actually . . . .

Our hospital hired a new night supervisor who was also a Nurse Practitioner. She used to work on our ICU/CCU . . . just recently received her Nurse Practitioner education and stuff. So she took the job . . . thinking that she would be to utilized her Nurse Practitioner abilities as was told she would be able to do . . . down the road. She was smart and totally dedicated to the hospital.

Well . . . the road never came. Apparently the Chief of ER . . . or whatever his title is . . . . doesn't like Nurse Practitioners.

So dopey!!!

She's now working somewhere else utilizing her talents.

Our loss!!!

. . . . ahhhhh, small hospitals. . . . got to love them . . . got to hate them.



223 Posts

Oh Shame:confused:

Same happened to us. Apparently a part of their job discription was teaching but AT NIGHT. let's be fair didn't happen due to circumstances beyond their control

Nurse Practioners are worthy they weight in gold



216 Posts

I did not read all of the posts here, but as an ER nurse I back an ER doc not responding to anything other than a code, in a small hospital. If the surgeon was 30 minutes away he should have given you orders. Get the fluids rolling, insert the ng tube, yadda yadda. If these things didn't help and patient crashes call a code!! Sounds harsh I know but, between liability and never knowing what is going to come through the ER doors. It is safer this way.

I worked med-surg as well, at a small hospital to boot. It is frustrating not having immediate access to a doctor, one of the many reasons I love ER nursing.


prn nurse

208 Posts

Is the country club/golf course/$500,000.00 homes subdivision thirty minutes AWAY from the hospital ?...These docs are fully aware of how far they are from the hospital when they purchase their homes. If they don't care, then why do you have your knickers in a knot?

That's what phones and faxes are for. do your doc's have faxes at home?? Most do. You can fax ekg's. You can type and cross, start fluids, draw stat labs and have 90 % of it done before he walks thru the door. GI bleeder, you've already got the blood in the blood bank, do stat HH, call dr. Get 2nd or 3rd iv access line going , start NS, get order to start blood and do it ! Throwing up BRB...insert ngt and start icing them down with normal saline...have someone doing vitals...You won't have time to be watching the clock...if you are carrying out verbal orders....put o2 on pt. .do stat labs, start ns, NO doc is going to criticise you for common sense nursing decisions.

Pts start trending down prior to a code, usually. I never wait til they are asystole or in resp arrest to call a code....Why would anyone do that? you can see which way they are going....

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