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Where there is smoke ... there is usually a cigarette

Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 26 years experience.

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It's been years since smoking has been allowed in public places.....including hospitals. But this doesn't deter some patients. They will go to all lengths to get their nicotine fix. Have you had encounters with smokers who try to bend and break the rules?

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience.

oh yeah, even in LTC there's always a resident [or more] that gets caught smoking in their room. We've even had a few get caught smoking the not legal in my state stuff, the smell is a dead giveaway.

NYbabyRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in General Surgery, NICU. Has 5 years experience.

There was once a patient on my unit who locked herself in her bathroom to smoke. She was soon discovered by the smell and tried to get us to believe that she was showering and the smoke was actually steam coming from her feet...

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

Back in the days when smoking was allowed in the hospital (yes, I'm THAT old) I was receiving report on a patient when the smoke detector alarmed in that room. The off-going nurse and I ran down the hall to see this patient standing beside his bed attempting to beat out the fire with a pillow.

He had a fracture of his elbow, with his arm suspended in a sling from the ceiling. It seems that in trying to light his cigarette he stuck the cigarette between the fingers of the hand in the sling and then brought the lighter to it. In doing so he caught the nylon webbing of the sling on fire. Melting nylon dripped from the flaming webbing onto the bed, catching the mattress as well.

First time I ever got to see a fire extinguisher in real use!

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

Yep, I am also from the days when you could buy cigts from a machine-dispenser in the hospital lobby. Nurses and Dr's smoked in the nurse's station and lounge. And patients could smoke in their rooms. Never had a fires from that, but once we had electrical smoke coming from a room and I got to pull the red alarm system which broke the little glass tube and rang directly at the fire dept. I always had wanted to pull one of those alarms, and I got to do it legally!

When I worked at MGH in the early 70's, the quads and paras would gang up and wheelchair themselves to the attached building that was undergoing renovation, in the evening when no one was around, and smoke pot. A blind eye was turned from this activity, as long as they weren't caught-in-the-act. The rationale being that they were in the hosp. for MONTHS and weren't harming anybody by acting out in this way. Only one time they were observed by a security guard, who very calmly walked by, said ,"Put it out." and he kept walking. They thought that was mighty "cool" of the guard. And they were so mellow when they arrived back on the floor and went to their rooms.

Not condoning this, just telling of days gone by.....

Edited by No Stars In My Eyes

beckyboo1

Has 30 years experience.

Always amazes me the things ppl will do thinking it will hide the cigarette smoke smell. We had a lady close her door and open the window and hang out the window smoking. We could smell it halfway up the hall. When I went in she said "shhh don't tell anyone", like everyone didn't know already.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

we had a visitor smoking pot. She saw the no smoking signs but assumed they referred only to cigarettes.

SoaringOwl

Specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

We confiscated crack pipes, bongs, etc. Cigarettes are nothing! I'm so glad I'm not at that hospital anymore.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

Had a woman admitted for "rehab" for a bad back (A complete joke, but not pertinent to the topic!) who used to block her door with her O2 tank so she could smoke in her room. She knew that maintanence had said not to push her door open when she did that so that the tank wouldn't get knocked over and become a potential missile.

While a nursing student, doing a rotation in an LTC, there were a few residents who could/would go outside to smoke. One gentleman wore a VERY dapper looking cap when he would go out for his smokes and we were told we had to search his hat when he'd come back in. You could see from a distance several perfectly circular holes in the fabric---where he would stick still-lit cigarettes of trips past that he'd save to smoke in his room later. It was, at times LITERALLY a smoking hat!!! He was very good-natured about the required searches =)

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

the above stories indicate what an addiction nicotine really is.

SoaringOwl

Specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

the above stories indicate what an addiction nicotine really is.

And yet it's legal. Go figure.

CalicoKitty, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg. Has 8 years experience.

There was one patient (not mine) with visitors that came in and smelled "very" smokey. I asked if they were smoking in the room. They denied it (I can't tell for sure). I think the patient was upset that I'd even think to accuse him of that.

Another patient (again not mine that shift) that snuck himself into the back of a room we don't use to smoke (the front room is used for stinky stuff). Took a few times before we realized what was going on.

I think I recall hearing about 1 or 2 other patients that were caught smoking in their rooms.

We've had 2 patients that I can remember that had visitors bringing in more than cigarettes. (One patient would become very "happy" after some visitors). Another (young female) patient seemed to be suffering withdraw (and had illegal stuff removed when belongings were inventoried). She had a gentleman (ahem) visit that was asked to leave (and I believe possibly seen by security or police right outside of our doors). I believe she left AMA shortly after (same day?)

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

One of those spinal-cord patients I mentioned in my post above had his sweet little sister bring in brownies, and I was offered a sample. I had eaten 1 & 1/2 of these really delicious brownies when they told me she had made pot​ brownies. Well, that was about 9:30 PM. I had to give report at 11PM and I honestly don't know HOW I did it. Needless to say I had to take a cab home that night. (again, this was in the early '70's).

In the past month we've had two patients caught smoking in their room, another patient had their cigs seized and locked after they walked around asking for a light, and one lady on HIGH FLOW NC O2 light herself and the bed on fire after lighting up in the room.

I'm just thankful she didn't blow up the whole danged hospital. Every time I think of her I get so disgusted with human beans and their not-so-common sense.

I'm to the point where I think each patient should be searched at admittance and all lighters and cigarettes either tossed, locked, or sent home. It's all fun and games until someone gets sent to the burn unit.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience.

One of those spinal-cord patients I mentioned in my post above had his sweet little sister bring in brownies, and I was offered a sample. I had eaten 1 & 1/2 of these really delicious brownies when they told me she had made pot​ brownies. Well, that was about 9:30 PM. I had to give report at 11PM and I honestly don't know HOW I did it. Needless to say I had to take a cab home that night. (again, this was in the early '70's).

Sweet Jesus! I shouldn't laugh at that, because really you worked a couple hours impaired and at least nowadays that could get you in some real and major trouble! But my goodness, I sure will think twice about partaking in the home baked goodies this holiday season!

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

Oh yes! Looking back, it amazes me how acceptable smoking was for both patients and staff. I'm recalling the break room of a large multi-specialty clinic I worked in. It literally had a perpetual cloud of smoke hovering over the top half of the room and had a seating capacity of up to 30 people at one time.

Non-smokers never demanded a smoke-free break room. On the other hand, watching people struggle down the hallway with their oxygen and seeing "patient still smoking" in the notes was so disturbing to me I quit smoking and became one less person polluting the air in Secondhand Smoke Central (aka the break room) I still count that as among the top decisions I ever made in my life.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

Sweet Jesus! I shouldn't laugh at that, because really you worked a couple hours impaired and at least nowadays that could get you in some real and major trouble! But my goodness, I sure will think twice about partaking in the home baked goodies this holiday season!

Gads, I can't even imagine it happening today! I was in my early twenties when this event took place.

Well, the brownies didn't even start taking effect until about 15 minutes before report, but that was bad enough! Just before I went to give report I stuck my head in the patient's room and said to him and his sister, "Toto, I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore."...which left them laughing until they cried. I just tried very hard to be straight-laced and sober acting, made report brief and to the point and got the h___ out of there! I really would have hated to have to do actual working or charting​ in that condition. Fortunately I was essentially through with everything except for report. It's a thousand wonders nobody asked me why my eyes were lit up like christmas-tree lights. By the time the cab dropped me off my brain was feeling like I'd had 3 glasses of champagne, loopy as all get-out!

Edited by No Stars In My Eyes

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 39 years experience.

I was the one who argued and got smoking banned in our "lounge", a room about 6x10 with lockers and maybe 5 chairs. People were propped everywhere and it stank. That was in '84.

As an aide in the 70's it was my job to help my little old ladies light up, indoors. (Also enemas, but that is a different tale!)

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

I worked at a small private hospital on the 'back-pain' floor. Some post laminectomy, some just as a chronic sufferer of back pain, unspecified. It was like a spa/drugs vacation for them. I actually had a patient who rang for me, the med nurse, and when I walked in her room, she'd inform me, "I'd like 'the works please.!"

'The works' consisted of: a pain shot (usually Demerol 50 or 75), her muscle relaxer IV drip, her muscle relaxer tablet, her 'nerve' medicine, AND her sleeping pill! Then she sat up chain-smoking cigts and drinking coffee and chatting away with her roomie for several hours until things started wearing off. Four hours later she'd ask for another pain shot and her repeat sleeping pill.

The one time I mentioned it to the doc, he very wearily said, "If it's ordered and it's time , give it." I said, "ALL of it at the SAME time?

He repeated his statement; so she got what she wanted: to be high as a kite all evening long. She was generally there for at least a week at a time, just happy as hell to have 'back pain'. I don't remember too much PT going on, but this was a 3-11 shift. This was also in the mid-70's. Doubt a doc could get away with that today! Talk about your dependence being catered to!

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 39 years experience.

As one who is having some long term problems, honestly there are times when I wish someone would just knock me out for a "vacation" from the pain, even for a short time.

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