Jump to content

"If you're not doing anything..."

Posted

Two patients in the department, neither critically ill- three nurses present. I've just discharged my patient, turned over the room, and now am sitting down to check my work related email after having been away for five weeks.

Other nurse walks up behind me and says "Hey Stargazer, could you fax this paper for me if you're not doing anything? I've been so busy I haven't had the time."

Clearly, I *am* doing something- checking my work related email after a long absence is a reasonable thing to do on the clock if I have the time, and I have the time right now. She has *one* patient who is not very sick, and she is most definitely NOT drowning.

How would you respond?

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

"I'm busy right now, this is hospital related".

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 10 years experience.

"I've been gone for five weeks, so I'm checking my work email. It's piling up! I would help you out otherwise, but right now, I really need to get this done while the gettin' is good. Sorry!"

Maybe the unit clerk could help you...I'm busy just now.

laKrugRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

"Sorry, I am too busy to help. As you know, I have been gone for 5 weeks and really need to catch up on these things! Sorry again" Sometimes we just have to say NO.

dexm

Specializes in ICU, ED.

Really? You're checking your email and you don't even have a patient anymore. Work-related or not, would it kill you to help out a coworker? I don't care whether you think she's busy or not. She has a patient so she's busier than you are. I work in an ICU, and even on days where my patient isn't very sick I can be just as busy as I am with a really sick patient. Also, why would you let your coworkers get to the point where they are "drowning" before you would deem them worthy of your help? Even if it is just sending a fax. Who. Cares. It's called teamwork.

I can see how you might be more reluctant to do it if this person regularly over delegates, repeatedly delegates inappropriate tasks, etc. But this seems like an appropriate task to ask of a coworker, and honestly, checking email is not a acceptable excuse. Sorry.

Also, if checking email is "a reasonable thing to do on the clock if [you] have the time," then one could argue that staying after your shift to check your email because you were busy helping your coworkers would be a "reasonable" thing to do as well.

Edited by dexm
edit

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

I have to agree with dexm ...although I might say, "I need two minutes, then I'm all over it." while holding out my hand to receive the fax. Any super-urgent communication would not be sent via email.

Seeing as we all have to log out of computers if we so much as stand up to stretch, I can see the point.

However, I would ask if the fax needed to happen right this moment, or could it wait 15 minutes? One's eyes glaze over after 15 solid minutes of reading 952 emails about patient satsfaction scores and meetings that you have already missed anyways.

Read a few, LOG OUT (the newest "thing" that is huge in the compliance lingo these days) and go for a little walk to the fax machine, fax, grab yourself a coffee on the way back, come back and finish your email.

Chances are that you may be asked to help do something or another, so reading in small incriments is perhaps may be a given anyways. Flag those emails that you need to look at again that are due to policy changes or some other really important things, otherwise, it is a matter of weeding through the masses.

Lev, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency - CEN. Has 7 years experience.

"Yeah, leave it there and I'll see if I can get to it after I finish up with these work emails."

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 6 years experience.

"I always screw up things on our fax machine" [God honest truth] "so I think you should ask one of the secretaries."

I understand the point of teamwork, and, if I was "only" catching up on email, it appears that I could move on to something else, but good Lord, the fax can wait a minute and "I can help you in few [left intentionally vague] minutes."

What's the big deal? Sending a fax will take less than five minutes of your time, and add to your good karma.

I'm not your secretary, fax your own mess.

Kidding.. Sort of..

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 10 years experience.

When a nurse is at a computer, it doesn't mean she isn't working, although patients (and apparently co-workers) feel that way. It is part of good time management to know when to say no. Charting and checking emails is part of the job. Of course, there are times it is prudent to stop and change direction, including contributing to teamwork. I'll give the OP the benefit of the doubt that when she declined to help that she wasn't leaving her coworker high and dry. We're all nurses here, so I'm not going to give examples of times you should help out. We should already know.

Although unrelated to the OP, how many times has your charting been interrupted about a question on another patient, then when you begin charting again, you chart on the patient asked about instead of the one whose chart is open in front of you? That's also why I hate small talk during charting sessions; it takes twice as long to chart. Precious time I can use on direct patient care. I love my coworkers, but dudes, SHUT UP!

Stephalump

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

"Sure, I'm checking my email right now, but I'll do it as soon as I'm finished!"

Done.

Thank you for the responses. I think it's interesting that I never stated whether I did or didn't send the fax, let alone how I responded to my coworker. I find it interesting that some folks here assume the worst. The interaction wasn't really about the fax anyway- I guess I didn't make that clear in my original post.

dudette10, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 10 years experience.

Thank you for the responses. I think it's interesting that I never stated whether I did or didn't send the fax, let alone how I responded to my coworker. I find it interesting that some folks here assume the worst. The interaction wasn't really about the fax anyway- I guess I didn't make that clear in my original post.

No one likes to be baited, in person or on a message board. I assumed the worst, i.e. you didn't send the fax, because your last paragraph in the OP led me to believe it.

So how did you respond?

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

In the time it took her to ask couldn't she have faxed it herself? Sorry but I took the nurse's request as a passive-aggressive statement that she thought the OP was just sitting around and she resented it. Her approach would have irritated me too. Now, if she had said "Hey Flyingscot, big favor, would you fax this for me I'm really buried" I would have been at the fax machine before her next breath. Maybe faster if she also gave me puppy dog eyes. :shy:

"Kinda busy, sorry..." Or, I would go ahead and fax it. Depends on my mood and other variables.