December 27th, 2013

crossed heart

Examples of Bad Nursing

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

[ETA -- we just switched to a new theme, and the old blog's been momentarily misplaced. It'll be back soon though! ;)]

People who know me (at work, or who have heard me talk about work) know that I tend to like the intubated patients who can’t talk to me and who generally let me sing inside their rooms when my coworkers aren’t near enough to hear me. I get my nurse on for eight hours, I do a good job, things on the whole wind up OK or better than.

But nothing has made me want more intubated patients on our floor recently than the talking patient’s we’ve had. I cannot be trusted to talk to patients, apparently :P.

The other day a patient was listing of their (very short list of) maladies to me and then at the end, asked me in a tremulous voice, in front of their entire extended pre-holiday family: “Am I….am I going to die?”

Reader, I laughed out loud.

I wasn’t laughing at them — although I’m sure it seemed like that, and I feel bad for it now — it was just the preposterousness of it. Generally on my floor, if you’re able to *ask* if you’re dying, you’re not. I didn’t realize until I’d left the room that they were being so over-the-top and manipulative because all their relatives were there and they were hoping for bad news, all the better to pack everyone’s bags for their holiday guilt trip.

But it still was a completely jerky thing of me to do, even if I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I own that. It wasn’t me being my best nursey-self.

And then the other day someone threatened to sue me, dramatically, for not doing what they wanted me to do. Threatened me with, “Consequences…..legal consequences,” like they were Bond, James Bond. To which I chirply replied: “That’s okay. My husband’s a lawyer,” which shut them up, until they could think of another way to try to get me to do what they wanted, which also didn’t work because I’m not a pez dispenser filled with vicodin.
(Why people say they want to sue us and why they think that’s a good idea deserves a post in its own right, at some point in the future perhaps.) Anyhow. There was probably a more tactful way to deal with that, too. The point being that my floor needs more intubated patients. Because the less I talk to people the next week of shifts, the better, heh.