Jump to content

What do you say?

Posted

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

What do you say to a pt, pt's family or both, when they complain about the nursing care given by one of your co-workers? Sometimes I'm at a loss and I know the family is correct and this nurse SUCKS!

I had two conversations yesterday about the same nurse. Since I'm charge, I get pulled into these conversations in attempt to diffuse them and give good customer service. A pt and her husband came to me yesterday and pulled me into the hall for a discussion. Here is that conversation. The second scenario pretty echoed this one

Me: Hi, I'm Suzie Q, the charge nurse, how can I help you?

Pt: "I want to complain about the night nurse I had. She was very rough with my IV, and I had to remind her to plug in my second small IV bag that she left on the IV hook for 2 hrs. The nurse told me that she was new again to the floor (she had been in the charge role for 7 months, and never left the desk because she's lazy. Her nursing experience is well over 20 yrs). She just seemed really scattered and was rude when I asked for pain meds. I took a walk down the hall to remind her to plug in my other IV bag and she was at the desk reading."

Me: I'm so sorry you had this experience. I will most certainly pass this on to the manager and he will come down and speak with you (which he did). What can I do for you at this present time?

Pt: Nothing. You have been great, as are the other nurses. Thanks for your time.

What else can I say or do??? I don't want to think I'm brushing this patient off but they are right. This nurse is not a good nurse. I want the pt to leave feeling good about their stay, but I just know they will remember the one bad apple and not all the good care they received. I'm really tired of putting out fires like this.:mad:

SlightlyMental_RN

Specializes in chemical dependency detox/psych.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is much more you CAN say. I think that you handled it admirably.

brownbook

Has 36 years experience.

You handled the situation fine. There is nothing more to say.

I would hope when this nurse gets her annual evaluation you are asked to comment. Or initiate a meeting with this nurses boss. State the FACTS, quote what the patients have said. Keep a diary of quotes, actions you witness about her patient care.

Fortunately or unfortunately customers realize, understand, there are going to be some bad apples.

merlee

Has 36 years experience.

Are these comments being accrued somewhere so this can be dealt with? This nurse needs a wake-up call. Sounds like she is burning out -if not already- and needs a reminder.

Best wishes. Sounds like you are doing the best you can.

j621d

Specializes in Critical Care, Nsg QA. Has 28 years experience.

You've taken the time to listen to the patient, and you'e passed on the information to the appropriate person (manager). Since you are not in a leadership position, you really can't do anything else.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

I am not sure if you have a patient safety reporting protocol at your hospital, but I do at mine. WRITE HER UP. This gets sent to Risk Management, and will be dealt with by your boss. You don't have to sign your name to it if you don't want to, but it would add some credibility to it if you did. I write up behaviors like this all the time whether it be from surgeons, nurses, support staff, etc. It should not be tolerated, and writing it up is a measurable way of documenting patterned behaviors by the offender. She needs to be sent packing.

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

Thanks. I feel better now knowing I handled this okay. This isn't the first time this nurse has been approached for bad behavior. Management is tolerant of her because of her family issues at home. Personally once you walk in the door, you leave your personal life right there and pick it up when you leave. I do think the boss is slowly gathering though. He wants all complaints in email.

I could write her up, but my name Is on the form. Not that I won't do if in the future.

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

1. Offer an apology and determine what you can do to assist them now.

2. Speak to the oncoming charge nurse and assure that this patient is not assigned to the same nurse. I might also speak to the nurse directly myself, depending on the circumstances.

3. Write a report of this complaint for your manager to give him/ her the heads up. This does not have to be on an incident report form and it does not have to be a long drawn out affair.

4. Get the name a phone number of the/ a family member and include it in your write up so that the manager can call them.

5. Give the family the name and number of the manager and make sure the manager knows to expect a call from them.

RNforLongTime

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.

Personally once you walk in the door, you leave your personal life right there and pick it up when you leave

Yes, this is a good theory but have you ever had something devastating happen to you RIGHT before you had to leave for work? I have. It was too late to call off. I was a wreck the whole shift. Thankfully, my coworkers were understanding. I wasn't a perfect nurse that night. I did the best I could and as far as I know, I didn't make any mistakes and patients did not complain.

It's HARD to leave your personal life at home when you're at work. Especially when something devastating happens.

That said, I think you handled the situation appropriately. You addressed their complaints and forwarded it to your manager. It's up to him what happens to her from here.

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

Yes, this is a good theory but have you ever had something devastating happen to you RIGHT before you had to leave for work? I have. It was too late to call off. I was a wreck the whole shift. Thankfully, my coworkers were understanding. I wasn't a perfect nurse that night. I did the best I could and as far as I know, I didn't make any mistakes and patients did not complain.

It's HARD to leave your personal life at home when you're at work. Especially when something devastating happens.

That said, I think you handled the situation appropriately. You addressed their complaints and forwarded it to your manager. It's up to him what happens to her from here.

Right before shift? Yes, a few times. That's when co-workers step in and pick up the slack. It's called teamwork.

However, when this is person calls in frequently and once there doesn't do the work she is expected to do and it puts pt's in jeopardy and brings down the floor then you need to leave your personal life at the door.

I'm guessing you are thinking I can say this because I haven't been there. Well, guess again...I was out of nursing for almost 5 yrs due to burnout. I stayed home to take care of my kids and my special needs daughter. Suddenly out of the blue, my husband developed a seizure disorder that has left him on disability because it cannot be controlled. He is a completely different person now and the guy I married is no longer with me. In the meantime, I go to work on a regular basis, give excellent care, got promoted to charge nurse in over a year of being there and have been nominated for yearly corporation awards due to my caregiving and attitude. In the meantime, when I leave for work, I pray my husband is ok when he has nobody to watch him, that my daughter stays healthy and can learn to write her name this year, while I work FT and raise my other kids, plus pay for the 3 I'm putting through college. There are a few people at work that know my issues. They have figured out when I'm quiet that home is heavy on my mind, and I might get a hug or too, but they know they can DEPEND on me to help them, because it's what I'm getting paid to do.

Now with that being said...I do like the idea of handing over phone numbers. I would report to the a night charge, but there isn't one. Everything I say to manager is repeated in email with just the facts.

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

OP, that is how I handle it. I try to validate, apologize, and tell them I will speak with the nurse and the unit manager. I always thank them for bringing it to my attention.

If possible, I *do* pull the nurse aside and privately tell her what the patient said. I think they need to know from me right now, rather than from a report three weeks later, when they can't even remember who the patient is or the circumstances around the situation.

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

OP, that is how I handle it. I try to validate, apologize, and tell them I will speak with the nurse and the unit manager. I always thank them for bringing it to my attention.

If possible, I *do* pull the nurse aside and privately tell her what the patient said. I think they need to know from me right now, rather than from a report three weeks later, when they can't even remember who the patient is or the circumstances around the situation.

I think I will try to do so, BluegrassRN. Our shifts are varied, so I migh not see her for a couple of weeks. If she calls in, then I won't see her for close to a month. It will be an uncomfortable situation, no doubt about it.

Ironic as I just read the article Silence kills...

Yes, this is a good theory but have you ever had something devastating happen to you RIGHT before you had to leave for work? I have. It was too late to call off. I was a wreck the whole shift. Thankfully, my coworkers were understanding. I wasn't a perfect nurse that night. I did the best I could and as far as I know, I didn't make any mistakes and patients did not complain.

It's HARD to leave your personal life at home when you're at work. Especially when something devastating happens.

That said, I think you handled the situation appropriately. You addressed their complaints and forwarded it to your manager. It's up to him what happens to her from here.

To the OP:

This is nothing more than a red herring to distract you from your original intent. One bad night for a nurse doesnt move ANYONES peers to complain about them.Continual sloppy performance NEEDS to be reported and you did so. Congrats!

Pt's complain often, and thier motives are sometimes suspect, but if you believe a lack of care happened, then it is your duty to not only make a report, but to FOLLOW UP and make sure that consequences occcur. If they don't, than take it up the ladder.

Don't worry about "your job if I make a fuss", worry about your job if you report it and nothing happens. Do you REALLY want to work in such a place?

What's really bad is when you get a similar complaint from a resident in a LTC facility and the resident is supposed to be "not with it". Pretty bad when poor nursing care is obvious even to the cognitively impaired.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

I agree that personal problems should be left at the door. You seem to have quite a lot on your plate, OP. You also recognize that you can depend on your team mates when you need extra help. That is professionalism at its best. We are all human.

However, it is a much different scenario when co-workers are constantly bringing their problems to work. It leads to poor performance and takes precious time from management and the staff to repeatedly address the issues of the co-worker. I see this all too often.

I commend you for handling yourself in a professional manner.

BluegrassRN

Has 14 years experience.

I think I will try to do so, BluegrassRN. Our shifts are varied, so I migh not see her for a couple of weeks. If she calls in, then I won't see her for close to a month. It will be an uncomfortable situation, no doubt about it.

Ironic as I just read the article Silence kills...

Sometimes, with shift variation, it's impossible to talk to the person directly. If you can in a timely manner, I would. It's an uncomfortable situation, but I think it's important. You have be non-accusatory in this situation. Something like "Hey, Jane, I need to talk to you about the patient you gave me last night, Mr. S in 214. He was upset and stated X, Y, and Z. I apologized to him about it/got him some different meds/explained the procedure (whatever), but since he was so mad, I also wrote it up/directed him to the manager/informed the manager."

If the nurse gets mad at you, I'd say "Hey, I'm just telling you this as a courtesy. *I* didn't complain about you, *the patient* did. I just thought you'd rather hear it from me first than from the director in a week."

More likely, the nurse gets upset and tells you what happened. Sometimes the patient is completely unreasonable, misperceived the situation, or is lying; sometimes not. Your response depends upon what's going on. If the patient is unreasonable, I usually say something like "I've been there. I'm sorry you had a bad night. He probably just needed to vent. At least you don't have him again tonight!"

If it's someone who is chronically getting complaints, though, I don't beat around the bush. "I'm sorry it was a bad night for you. This isn't an easy conversation for me. I think it's fair to tell you that, as a charge nurse, this isn't the first complaint I've gotten about your time management/communication skills/nursing skills from patients. If patients were complaining about me, I would want to know about it specifically, so that I could use that as a tool from improvement. In any case, I thought you would want to know."

CoffeeRTC, BSN, RN

Has 25 years experience.

Ugh...I get this a bunch where I work.

I appologize, listent, tell them what I can do for them right now. Sometimes their complaints might leave you speechless and I just tell them that. "I'm sorry, I'm speechless...I really don't know what to say for that BUT, I will make sure I answer your call bell, get you xyx......" Then report it and I do like the "Let me get your phone number for my manager" approach.