Unprofessional to mention you have other patients?

Posted
by Emergent Emergent, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience.

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Amy01

Amy01

29 Posts

I never say that other patient argument, however there are many other polite ways to express your situation like i get back to you very shortly with medications

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 5 years experience. 882 Posts

Your parents were scared. Also, they are not nurses I am assuming, so don't expect them to understand just because you are a nurse.

What was there nurse crying about?

No. They were not scared. She was waiting to be d/c, and it wasn't happening fast enough. The last test result wasn't coming fast enough, which was impeding the process. A formality, as all other tests were in the clear.

Mom was feeling good, drinking and eating.

The nurse was crying, as I later found out in my new grad residency, by being overwhelmed. She's been there for 2 months. And my dad was stalking the halls hunting for her, demanding her for answers (lab results, drinks for him, etc).

Add an overwhelming patients family to an already overwhelming ratio of patients to a new grad nurse (with a variety of trauma) = I would get teary too if the stars aligned right.

And I typically give my parents a lot of leeway. My mom has breast cancer, for gracious sakes. But I even told them to please just stop with the stalking of the nurse, why it was inappropriate ... and the audacity that they thought it ok that they visibly saw her attending to a much sicker patient and didn't think twice about harassing her for juice and about why she was late for THAT ... and that they STILL thought it was ok.

... I don't think you have to be a nurse to see that that is wrong.

It is what is wrong with society in general these days. Me me me. Nothing can ever wait.

That's why I think so many of us (general us) get so cheery when we hear feel-good stories about kindness; it can be so rare.

amzyRN

amzyRN

Specializes in ED, Cardiac-step down, tele, med surg. 1,142 Posts

When I worked on a med/surg floor, management would stress never mentioning you have other patients because it's bad "customer service" That's one of the reasons I switched to the ED to escape some of the push toward "customer service" and "patient satisfaction". I don't think it's wrong, to be honest with patients. I will tell them "I'd love to chat more, but I have to go and check in on my other patients, here's your call light" I mean what else am I going to say? Why shouldn't they know they are not the only patient I have and that by extension their needs are not the only needs that need to be met. I think to say that would be blunt and not polite, but to say you have to check your other patients is perfectly fine.

~Mi Vida Loca~RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 5,259 Posts

When I worked on a med/surg floor, management would stress never mentioning you have other patients because it's bad "customer service" That's one of the reasons I switched to the ED to escape some of the push toward "customer service" and "patient satisfaction". I don't think it's wrong, to be honest with patients. I will tell them "I'd love to chat more, but I have to go and check in on my other patients, here's your call light" I mean what else am I going to say? Why shouldn't they know they are not the only patient I have and that by extension their needs are not the only needs that need to be met. I think to say that would be blunt and not polite, but to say you have to check your other patients is perfectly fine.

Some of the ER's I have worked in have gotten into the game of the scripted things you should say (AIDET anyone?) and it being all about customer service. Like how you're supposed to ask do they need anything and follow it with "I have the time". If I were a patient I would find this condescending and disingenuous. Patients I have a good rapport with when I would go to leave I would smile and tell them how I was supposed to say that. They would roll their eyes at how fake it sounds and I would say "besides aint nobody got time for your shenanigans, you need to cluster your needs, anything else before I go for a while!" that would always get them laughing. ( I DO NOT recommend this if you're not good with your patients and don't know how to read them)

keto

keto

26 Posts

It's a completely subjective matter, based on opinions, highly prone to emotional variations rather than facts.

Who am I to tell you whether or not it is right. All I have is a notion limited by what you have described, not a true perception of what your work environment is like, as such, I may be but I do not feel able to give you appropriate advice.

fezz

fezz

29 Posts

I think this depends. Everybody that went to nursing school knows that it's not considered therapeutic communication to mention other patients when caring for one. I avoid it as best I can. It has happened that I have said something but that is in the case of extreme neediness. On occasion I will say something "I'm going to head next door now, if you need me don't hesitate to ring". That way they know I'm busy but that I'll still come if they need me. I think it's very unprofessional to constantly tell the patient how much sicker the other patients are. I see that quite often.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

To be frank, that's how I feel when my loved ones are in need of nursing care. I truly do not give a good _________ about anyone else. I know that's awful but that's how I feel.

Why should I care about anyone else? I'm not totally in my right mind when my loved ones are seriously ill, so don't expect me to be fully rational or courteous.

When someone I love is in danger, I am afraid. And knowing how terribly wrong a situation can quickly go, knowing that signs are often missed, knowing that errors can and do occur, well, I just care about nothing but the well-being of my loved ones.

If you are honest (you = anyone reading this), you might acknowledge the fear and the terror and the lack of concern for anything or anyone but your loved ones.

It might be different if I knew and trusted the nurse/staff involved. Even those with whom I am more comfortable because it's not the first contact with them can and do flub up sometimes. But it's very hard to automatically trust upon first meeting them that they will give excellent or even just adequate care. And being helpless to intervene makes it all that much worse.

So for me, just tell me "OK, no problem. It will be about 20 minutes. Or I can show you where the kitchen/linen room/supply closet is located if you want it sooner".

And I would be happy to get it myself if I can.

But no I don't think I would like to hear that you have other patients, especially if that is stated in an exasperated or complaining kind of way. I know you have other patients and I don't care.

WOW! Just . . . WOW!

I cannot understand how anyone who is a member of this forum and supposedly has read some of the threads and has a clue how things work would be so callous as to say that they don't care about anyone else. Yes, we understand that your loved one is your priority . . . but don't you have any compassion for the family two rooms down who is watching their mother die? Or the young man across the hall who is having his chest cracked at the bedside? It's fine to say that you're scared or nervous about your loved one -- we get that. But that you don't care? Unbelievable.

Before you tell me that I just don't understand having an ill family member, let me tell you that I've watched my father die, been at the bedside for 15 years of my mother's chronic illness exacerbations, watched my husband nearly die from mis-diagnosed ulcerative colitis and been a patient myself more times than I care to count.

I get that there are members of the general public who just don't care about others. But I really thought that WE could do better than that.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

At our job, it's no big secret that we have other patients. All they have to do is look at the whiteboard.

As far as telling patients directly, if it's an urgent matter, I will tell the patient that I have to take care of an urgent matter for another patient first and then I will be right with them. If it's not an urgent matter, I generally handle patients in the order in which they approach me (e.g., "Patient X asked me for something first and once I get that done for them, I'll take care of you next.").

If they have a temper tantrum about it, well, they have a temper tantrum...and quickly realize that yelling and screaming isn't going to magically make me drop everything to attend to them :)

I really like this one! Great way to handle the tantrums, too.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

I just had this happen ... with my own parents.

My mom was rushed to the ED after experiencing stroke-like symptoms during chemo. The same hospital where I work. The ED staff did a fantastic job meeting her needs, following stroke protocol etc etc.

I walk in (wearing the hospital scrubs), meet the doctor who is explaining that they're waiting on one more test and then mom can take off. The nurse is a new grad, like me.

This nurse has 6 other patients. On a Friday night at a major city hospital. My mom was stable, drinking a ginger ale and resting comfortably.

But according to both my mom and dad, they were waiting for 3 whole hours! The horror!

My mom hit the call bell for everything before I got there: "when am I getting my results," "my socks are too tight," "I asked to go to the bathroom 5 minutes ago!" My dad was wandering the halls looking for her nurse, in the meantime.

I was never so damn angry at them. You're stable! You received good news! My dad even saw my nurse racing to a code. And it was all "me me me." They didn't care, and they had this nurse reduced to tears.

I saw red. Yeah, you're stressed ... I get it, mom and dad. But would you order ME around like that? Because I'm wearing the same uniform!

They knocked it off ... after an apology to the nurse.

So, in some cases: a firm "I have other patients that I need to see, but if you ring that call bell, someone will be with you as soon as they can possibly be" I think is needed.

My parents were childish. Nothing would have made them happy. So treat them like a child: to the point. They probably will poorly score their experience anyway.

I'm glad I'm not the only nurse with nightmare patients. My mother wandered into the break room to get a cup of coffee ("because they offered me coffee this morning") and found the pot empty. So she rummaged around until she found coffee filters, coffee, etc, and started a pot. Only she forgot to put the pot on the machine, and the nurses had to go running into the breakroom when they started smelling burned coffee. She wandered around the nurse's station to answer a ringing phone because "I like to help." Mom was in the early stages of (undiagnosed at that time) Alzheimer's.

My sister, now, has no excuse. She's a Gucci nurse who hasn't been near an actual patient since 1982, but according to her, she knows everything about everything. Dad was in VT, and she picked that time to start a fight with the nursing staff about providing a more comfortable place for my mother to spend the night . . . complete with threatening to "have your job" if they didn't instantly comply. I KNOW my sister is a self-absorbed narcissist, but that still shocked me.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,008 Posts

Which is understandabale and reasonable to us sitting here reading it on AN.

But expecting ordinary folk, who are worried about their loved ones, to be able to grasp it, receive it, accept it, laud it, or feel better about the whole thing - you might as well spit into the wind.

I'm just telling you the emotions of having a loved one in the ER or in the hospital. Especially knowing -

and we know because we are nurses - how facilities staff bare bones style these days.

YOU aren't an "ordinary folk worried about a loved one," and yet you baldly stated you didn't care about anyone else.

pixierose, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED, psych. Has 5 years experience. 882 Posts

YOU aren't an "ordinary folk worried about a loved one," and yet you baldly stated you didn't care about anyone else.

Good catch.

I've had family members in the hospital, both for several days, weeks, and in the ED. Watching my husband in the ED for stroke-like symptoms, my son as a 5-month-old with RSV struggling to breath, my grandmother who did indeed have a stroke, my dad having an MI and now recently running to the ED with the vague text message, "your mom is at the ED, something went wrong at chemo."

Of COURSE I'm scared, terrified, (insert any descriptor).

But even as my son struggled to breath so many years ago, I NEVER took it out on the medical professionals. To be honest (and I am being honest) when I thought of other patients, it was (a.) a small prayer to them as well, (b.) interest in their conversations (yeah, I'm human and needed a distraction).

I feel blessed walking out of the hospital doors, both as an employee and when with loved ones. I would expect that my father, for example, would want his nurse to be focused on his care, not being harassed every 5 minutes for that drink of juice for that other patients guest.

Everyone should care. It would be easier for everyone involved: not just for nurses, but especially for the patients.

Edited by pixierose
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cecile9155

cecile9155, BSN, RN

Specializes in Skilled Rehab Nurse. Has 6 years experience. 89 Posts

Sometimes you have to. I had a resident who wanted me to get her ice water. An aide stuck her head in the door and told me quietly that another resident was on the floor. I told the resident that wanted the ice water that I would get back to her as soon as possible, because I had an emergency with another resident.