Posts Tagged 'nurse marge in charge'
Dear Nurse Marge,
If they’re SMART PHONES why do they make nurses so DUMB? I am getting so sick of running myself ragged, busting my butt, while my ‘colleagues’ are busy playing Farmville!
If you call them on it, they’ll tell you they’re checking med reactions online or something like that – but this is LTC, and it’s not like there’s a whole variety of new meds being given. Lots of these folks have been on the same medications for years!
I hate to vent but I’m really tired of nurses ‘phoning it in’!
Off the Hook
Dear Off the Hook,
It’s not the phones. Work is hard, and distractions are plentiful. Right now, it’s Farmville – but I’m old enough to remember when phones were dumb. That didn’t stop the calls in (or out!) that would keep nurses from answering the call light or responding to Code Browns!
There’s no limit to human ingenuity, and nothing humans like to do with that ingenuity than find things more entertaining to do than the task at hand. Perhaps there are some nurses now who are phoning it in – but before, they sent telegrams!
And before that, nurses had it really rough: they had to find messengers to run from floor to floor, house to house, saying, “Hey, I need three goats and a chicken for my farm! Can you help me out?” Believe me, it used to be a big deal to send someone three goats and a chicken. Now all we have to do is click the phone. Isn’t progress grand?
So while it’s frustrating, realize that Smart phones are allowing people to waste time more efficiently than ever before. To waste this much time before the iGadget invasion would mean losing ninety to ninety-five percent of the useful time in a shift. Now, people can waste just as much time in eighty-seven percent of the average work day!
Dear Nurse Marge,
I’m a new nurse, with a big problem. I’m assigned to L&D, which I love. Even if we’re not seeing Mom at her finest, there’s something awesome about bringing new life into the world.
But I really screwed up. We had a patient, she delivered a beautiful baby boy. I asked her what she wanted to name him, and with a proud grin, she replied, “Hardcore!”
I totally lost it. “You’ve got to be kidding!” I said. She of course got totally mad, and after I left wrote a letter to the administration talking about how disrespectful of how I was of her, her son, and her culture…I got called on the carpet and told not to ever do that again. How do I manage to keep my mouth shut?
Crushed by Crazy Baby Names
You have to be strong, Crushed. Hardcore is just the tip of the iceberg: countless ‘creative’ names await you. The first time you meet a baby named Chlaymidia will be ten times tougher — not to mention her older sisters, Syphillis, Female, and Placenta!
I used to have limitless faith in humanity’s creative ability. Now, I have limitless faith in humanity’s ability to turn a “No Smoking” sign into a moniker for their offspring.
Toughen up by talking with your fellow L&D nurses about the strangest baby names they’ve ever heard. Repeated exposure to the fact that people do name their children after vehicles, salad dressings, or the liquor they were drinking when the baby was conceived will mitigate the shock you feel the next time a patient tells you they’re naming their baby Zanzibar Hoopenheiser Extreme.
And don’t forget these names — you’ll need them as example stories when you’re ‘breaking in’ the NEXT generation of L&D nurses.
Dear Nurse Marge,
I’m a new nurse. I just had my first review, and was told I need to learn the difference between being assertive and being aggressive. Can you explain this difference for me?
Dear Assertive/Aggressive Anne,
Many people are confused by the difference between assertive and aggressive behavior. This may be because human interaction is a nuanced, delicate affair, where the way we say words, hold our bodies while we’re speaking, or begin and end conversations can dramatically impact the way our message is received.
It may also be because people have an almost infinite capacity to view their own behavior in the best possible light, to such a degree where you find yourself jumping up and down on top of your charge nurse, bludgeoning her around the head and shoulders with your clipboard, screaming, “If I can’t get these visitors escorted out by security now I’m going to throw them out the window myself!” and term that as particularly energetic patient advocacy.
With that in mind, here are a few examples you can use to become clear on the difference between assertive and aggressive:
Assertive: I need you to bring this patient down to Physical Therapy now, please.
Aggressive: I need you to bring this patient down to Physical Therapy now, please, before I am forced to rearrange your bones in such a way that you’ll need PT yourself!
Assertive: It appears that you failed to dispense medications, complete your charting, and help Patient X up from the floor before you left work for the day. This is unacceptable.
Aggressive: Explain to me, in great detail, why the mess you left me yesterday will never, ever, ever happen again. If I like your explanation, I’ll pay off the bagpiper and he’ll stop following you around playing his version of Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie”.
Assertive: Yes, Doctor, it is three am, and yes, you do need to take this call. Here are the changes in patient condition you need to know about…
Aggressive: Knock, knock! Hey, doc, since you have such an attitude on the phone, I figured I’d drive on over and see what you had to say to my face! And look, I brought Patient X’s latest stool samples for your examination and edification!
Hope that helps!
Dear Nurse Marge,
So here’s the story: I work in a LTC facility. I’m helping a patient move from her bed to her chair, and along the way, I stepped in something — I don’t know what, but the floor was slippery — and down I went, bringing the patient along with me.
When we untangled, it turns out that my patient sustained a sprained wrist (it’s a miracle she didn’t break it, she is very fragile) My NM said, after the fact, that had I just let go of the patient, she wouldn’t have fallen. I feel terrible! Yes, I should have let go of her, but I didn’t think of that, what with falling and all.
Now this is eating me up. How do I handle this situation? I’m beginning to think that nursing’s not for me.
Dear Guilt Ridden,
You’re feeling this bad for a sprained wrist? Wait until you try to move that patient and you’re standing on the foley tube and out it comes — bulb inflated! That, dear Guilt Ridden, is guilt.
Well, except for this one patient who got a very strange gleam in his eye and asked me how much he’d be charged if I could only please just do that again…that wasn’t guilt I felt as I foisted him off on a student nurse…I mean, created a learning opportunity for an up and coming professional.
Back to the point here, mistakes happen. Yes, you could have split second timing and super awareness to help you remember to let go of the patient who needed your help to remain upright — but there’s no guarantee she wouldn’t have fallen if you did let go of her. Look at it this way: if we take it as a given that she was going to fall (which is why you were helping her!) then holding on to her was exactly the right thing to do — because you could control the direction and speed of her fall! And you also provided a soft landing pad, by creatively deploying your own body! Florence Nightengale couldn’t have done it better, and you tell your NM I said that.
So dust off your dignity, straighten your spine, and get back in there! You’re not the first nurse to have this happen, and you’re not the last nurse this will happen to. It’s just another moment in the long line of nursing history, part of our proud tradition.
Let the guilt go.
At least until the next time!