Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bad Nurse/Good Nurse

I wanted to get my thoughts on this subject down before I forgot everything. Time does have a way of making one forget, especially for me!

The difference between a good nurse and a bad nurse can make a huge difference in the patient's attitude. I don't make this statement as a matter of fact, rather as a personal observation.

I understand people can have an off day, but in something like nursing, in my humble opinion, the bad day should be shoved aside and all effort made to take care of the patient in a good, professional manner.

When I had to go back to the hospital the triage nurse was not very personable. When I had first gone in I was told not to bring a purse or any personal items as they were obviously not needed. So when I went in the second time I remembered that and didn't bring anything with me.

The triage nurse asked about why I was there and what my history was. I told her I had been instructed by my surgeon to respond to the emergency room to get checked in. If he hadn't called yet he would be calling soon. I told her I had just had lap band surgery and what was going on with me. As for my prior history, I politely asked if she couldn't just look it up in her computer since I had just been there. Because I was so dehydrated I was having a hard time focusing on anything, like what my medications were, never mind the dosages. (I did remember one medication, diovan hct. After going back and forth with her about what the medication was she ended up writing something down that wasn't what I said. This was found out later with another nurse going over my meds with me.)

She told me there was no way she could pull up any of that information from where she was. Excuse me, but I just find that a little hard to swallow. Meanwhile I was put into a room. The attending nurse was a little nicer. She flitted back and forth. Sometimes it seemed as if she were a little lightheaded too, because she would forget what she came into the room for. Well, at least she was nice about it all.

Later on after I was put up in ward room I went through a succession of nurses, some the same. I looked forward to the shifts where Katherine or Ana was my nurse. Both of these ladies were exemplary. They were always polite, always had a smile, responded immediately if I called, and if my husband or I had a question they went above and beyond to try and answer. I felt like I was the only patient they had because they would often check on me and see if I needed anything before I even asked.

At one point we were talking about the triage nurse. I don't remember which nurse it was, but she didn't think it sounded right either that the triage nurse had no access to the hospital's records. She said that didn't make any sense whatsoever.

The other nurses were all okay. I could tell I wasn't their only patient, and I knew that, so most of the time I was okay with it. I did get a little irritated at one point when I asked for a dilaudid shot. Thirty minutes later I asked again and was told she was getting it ready. Fifteen minutes later I finally got the shot.

On my last day I was finally cleared to go home. By this time my arms looked like they belonged on some kind of street junkie, they were bruised and poked from all the iv's. I was happy I was finally going to be able to remove the iv's and get dressed in real clothes. The iv alarm went off because it so happened one of the iv's was empty. I pressed the nurse call button after a while because apparently nobody heard the alarm. A different nurse came in. She turned the alarm off and I asked if, since I was being discharged could the iv be removed from my arm. She explained she'd have to get my nurse and ask her. I told her I would appreciate it if she would ask.

A few minutes later my nurse came charging in the room and looked at me like what did I want? I explained the alarm went off, when the other nurse came in I asked if the iv could be taken out. She jumped all over me then. "I'm your nurse. She is not your nurse. I am your nurse and only I can do that." I was a little surprised at her outburst but said, "Ok, I understand. That's why I asked her to find you about it." Then she looked at me and said, "Can it wait? I haven't had lunch yet."

Now it was my turn to look at her dumbfounded. I looked between her and my arm and maybe she got it then. She unhooked the iv tubing from my arm but left the needle in. She would take care of that after she had lunch she said. I knew it would still be a while before all the paperwork would be done and I figured at least I wasn't going to be dragging a pole around anymore and I could get dressed in my real clothes.

An hour and a half later I started poking my head out the door looking for the nurse. Someone walking by asked if I needed anything and I mentioned I was waiting for my nurse to finish up my paperwork so I could go home. They said they'd find her and check on it.

Another thirty minutes went by before "my" nurse came back in and said she was so busy she'd have someone else finish everything up for me. Well, I guess, if you're sure it's okay for another nurse to take care of me!

Finally all the paperwork was done and the needle was taken out of my hand. A final check out person came to wheel me to the door. On the way out I saw a few of the people I'd been dealing with during my stay; various transportation people, patient care techs, house keepers, etc. We waved goodbye and had a few laughs ("hope I don't see you again!"). The check out lady commented that it seemed I'd made a few friends while I was here!

I try to treat everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of what their job may be. Now, I admit, I'm not always the happy, cheerful person, but that side of me doesn't usually come out until I'm out of earshot of whomever may be riling me up.

Many years ago I was at a horse show. I was, as usual, very tense and nervous. Someone told me to just smile, even if I didn't really feel like it. I pasted a smile on my face as my horse and I entered the ring and guess what? I actually did start to relax and the smile became real as my horse and I started working nicely together. I learned something from that experience.

It may sound corny but it doesn't take much to put a smile on your face. You may be surprised at what happens afterwards. I think the good nurses know this little secret. The good nurses can be inspiring to a patient's recovery.

Thank you for letting me vent!


Anonymous said...

T, sorry you had that experience. You should write a letter to the hospital about that one...lunch?...hello! What an idiot. I hope you got her name.

Glad you got out and are home recovering. Nothing beats your own bed, anyway.

Love, LC

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I agree with LC 100%
You need to write a letter to the hospital (and put
cc: Bakersfield Tribune) just to scare 'em a bit! You don't actually have to send the cc, but that is not
acceptable for anyone, I just hope she gets that same experience one day!!!
Hope your feeling better

~M~ said...

Wow, I just now got caught up again. I have been MIA the last few weeks since my internet has been hit and miss. I cannot believe what I have missed!

What a brave woman you are, and to have two surgeries in succession? Oh my! I hope things continue to get better for you (and the husband, poor guy, I can only imagine the stress he went through too!)

I am glad your able to keep down your pain medication and have been able to get out and do some walking. Fresh air should be good for you.

Stay positive, your a strong woman!!


Anonymous said...

Sorry you had to go through that. I work in nursing as a nurse's aide and when I started out I loved my career. 11 yrs. later and I'm retraining in another field. I can no longer work where there are so many mean cranky nurses on a power trip. Maybe in the hospitals where all the nurses are registered staff and on a level playing field, but here in the nursing home we are the low man on the 'totem pole' and are looked down upon, someone to order around. Not all the nurses are like this, many are kind and just great to be around. But it only takes a few in positions of power over us girls to ruin it, basically ruin my career. Good luck to those who stay in it and I hope anyone interested in nursing goes all the way and becomes an R.N. Anything less is not a good idea.