Why do nurses take the fall?


I'm a nurse tech at a hospital and we do the vitals, I&O's, chart, general patient care ya know. So why is it when a patient hits the floor, I&O's/vitals don't get done and or charted, there is inaccurate charting, or whatever else the tech was hired and responsible to do, the nures takes the heat from the doctor and or manager? I don't get why they can hire us to do the job but ultimately the nurse carries full responsibility of the patients. I personally want to know if I'm doing a good job or if there are things I can work on. In order to know these things i need to know when I might have accidently screwd up. So if they can hire us to do the job we should be responsible for the job we do.... Why aren't we??? :uhoh3:


520 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health. Has 31 years experience.

I wish all techs thought like you.


25 Posts

Why thank you. Is there an actual resason y?


3,362 Posts

Specializes in ICU/Critical Care.

We have the license. We are ultimately responsible for stuff like charting i/o's, vital signs, etc, regardless of whether the tech is doing a good job or not. It sucks sometimes. It's unfair but life isn't fair.

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

7 Articles; 5,163 Posts

Specializes in Utilization Management.

True. As stated above, we're considered the managers of care for the patient. We are given the authority to delegate under our license. Therefore, what we delegate to whom is our job -- and our responsibility. Which means that if the tech does not do the vitals, we have to. If the manager is aware that the tech is not doing her/his job and does nothing, it's still my butt.

Which is why I've said in other posts that I'd really rather work on a unit that does not use techs. True, I usually said that after working with techs who refused to go into isolation rooms, who never got vitals, left the patients in a mess, etc, etc, till I was ready to scream.

No offense, but now you understand why.

Specializes in Cardiac, ER. Has 18 years experience.

Ploppers,.I wish more techs took their job so seriously. Thank you.

The reason why the nurse "takes the fall" as you state it,..is because even though you physically take the BP, measure the I/O's etc,...it is the nurses responsibility to use the info you provided to make decisions about pt care. There is a reason some pts need a BP checked every two hours and others only every shift, or that some pts need strict I/O's and others don't. Is the pt responding to the medications we are giving? Is the pt's pain under control? Has something changed? Is there something going on we missed earlier? The information you provide us helps us to make those decisions. If you aren't doing your job,..we aren't doing ours.

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

7 Articles; 5,163 Posts

Specializes in Utilization Management.

RN-Cardiac is so right. I'll never forget how horrified I was as a tech to discover that one of our residents' BP's was --manually-- 44/20. No kidding.

That was how we found out that a few of the techs were "making up" vitals.

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2 Articles; 2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

You SHOULD be notified when you have done something wrong!!!! How else are you supposed to learn?

Sometimes the nurse WILL be the first and only person to take the heat, but then really they should turn

around and, as nicely as possible :), let their tech know what they did and how to do a better job next time.

If you aren't finding out what you are doing wrong, when you do something wrong... well, there's something wrong. :) You aren't part of a good cohesive team.


1,170 Posts

Wow Ploppers can you work on my unit! I love that you take what you do so seriously. Unfortunately as the RN I am responsible if something isn't done or done correctly. Part of delegating tasks is knowing that the person you are delegating the task to has the license and skill to do what is asked. I know often they may have both but things aren't done or done correctly.


193 Posts

I am 'justavolunteer'. Even I have learned that the nurse is ultimately responsible. I have learned to ask questions & be darn sure about ANYTHING that I think could come back to bite a nurse. I have also reminded nurses that if I ask lots of questions, it is often them who is protected.

On another angle, I can understand nurses being responsible for vital signs, proper med administration, etc. What I have never understood is non-compliant pts. who sneak off the unit to smoke, sneak food when they're NPO etc. This happens & the nurse gets blamed for not preventing it. (What's a nurse supposed to do, hire an armed guard for people like that)?


520 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, LTC, Home Health. Has 31 years experience.
Why thank you. Is there an actual resason y?

I was just debating with a tech the other day why despite the fact that techs give each other report, the nurse will give them one too. The tech thought it to be a waste of her time. She resented the nurses for giving a second report, but i am certain that given your point of view on how the nurse is going to get the blame for everything, you would understand.


55 Posts

Specializes in LTC, hospitals and correctional settings.

Once upon a time, when I worked in the hospital, I delegated other duties to the CNAs/techs and got my OWN vitals. I never wanted to be responsible for something so important without doing it myself. That being said, I can't begin to imagine what I would have done without the CNAs. Most of them thought I was great to work with because I got my own vitals while doing my initial assessments for the night. That left them open to do the baths, get water, turn and "fluff", etc. It's all about team work, and the best way to lead is by example.

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