Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Oh Crap.

If my managers ran air traffic control.

Even the angry militant types get a bit nervous from time time.

I'm freaking out a bit here about what the next few days at work are going to be like. You can bet your ass that I am going to spend Friday getting screamed at by consultant surgeons and their registrar and SHO henchmen. Yep that's right...surgeons. But isn't Anne a medical ward nurse you ask?

Let me give you some background. Two weeks or so ago my acute medical mixed ward was shut down with no warning. Literally came into work and the doors were locked.

This was done because of financial problems but we were told that they were going to clean the bays. They moved half of the staff including me onto a new ward in a totally different specialty and the other half god knows where. Our new ward continues to be half their original speciality and some overflow medical as there are massive problems in A&E getting beds for medical patients. WE didn't have enough beds before my ward was shut. It's always been a huge problem. It has been chaos since the minute is shut and now.

The nurses on our new ward are a bit upset to put it mildly about taking our patients and our staff. The staff from my old ward (myself included) have no experience in this new specialty at all. I didn't even do any kind of training in this area in nursing school. The medical patients should not be near any of their patients for many reasons. But we have no choice to have them altogether as they are so short of beds we just put them where we can.

We have not been given nor will we be given any kind of orientation or training in our new area. The day after our ward closed and we were put onto the new one our staff and the staff on the new ward were left to it. So we divided the ward into medical patients and nurses and new specialty nurses and their patients and acted like 2 teams. We thought that this would be the best way to go. We had no guidance from the powers that be. We just decided to let the medical nurses and medical patients make one team and the speciality patients and their nurses make another team, and we tried to keep them physically separate.

The powers that be came down and said oh no you guys must integrate none of this separation shit and then they abandoned us to our fate. They were really very nasty actually. You would think that the matron for the new specialty (and our old one) would have been around to guide us or something. None one has been around providing any leadership really. Just band 5 staff trying to do their best. Matrons are like ghosts. We all know they exist but have never seen one.

The staffing has been horrendous. Only my hospital could combine 2 wards and have worse ratios with less beds. How the fuck does that happen. We have actually been working with worse numbers than what we usually have. The first week down there was nuts because we couldn't actually find anything. No one showed us around. For the most part we are getting along with the staff down there and are trying to stick together but we are all so overwhelmed. No one has any time to teach the other about their speciality. Mistakes are happening and the complaints are flooding in.

It is working out that a lot of the medical nurses are having to take bays of patients that are mostly from the new specialty with no one to help. It is working out that there are many shifts when nurses from the original specialty on this ward are not there at all so the medical nurses are fumbling along trying to figure it all out as they go. This is happening a lot and I have no idea why.

I am on the next 2 late shifts. It will be just myself and a newish grad who doesn't speak much english from my old medical ward as well as an HCA from my old ward. There won't be any matrons from this speciality around. Nurse manager is off. 20 of the 30 beds are the speciality patients rather than medical patients. I am bricking it. I have no experience in this area and it looks like I am in charge. I hope someone high up gets a clue before tomorrow and does something. People who have tried to make a case for why this is bad bad bad have been labeled complainers and trouble makers.

So I will be possibly in charge of an area I am not familiar with. Same thing happened to one of my medical colleagues last week. All hell broke loose because the ward was totally staffed by medical nurses who didn't have any training or experience in the new speciality. Chaos ensued when patients were coming back from theatre with epidurals etc. Where is the leadership? They promise to send more help and it never happens. Last week I was on a dayshift with all medical nurses and I asked for help....and guess who they sent me....a medical nurse from another ward! What the fuck? She refused to do it and pissed off back to her relevant experience.

Later on the sent me an RN from another ward similiar to this specialty and he saved our asses. I have to say that I love that nurse. However he swore that he would never come back to this chaos and disorganised mess. Not only are most of the nurses unfamiliar with this specialty but they are so short staffed that they can barely catch their breath. The ward is too short for anyone to go off for any kind of training. No one who values their pin number wants to step foot in this place. Remember my earlier posts? If anything happens it will be the nurse that gets busted rather than the management. That is how the law regarding this stuff works.

How does this shit happen? Where are the highly paid matrons? Why aren't we allowed to have any staff? Why did the managers think that this little stunt would work? What are these people smoking and can I have some please?

First of all the powers that be are like everyone else. They think that nursing is a simple little job where one makes beds and hands out pills. If one can do that on a medical ward they can do that on another specialty ward right? WRONG. This is what I was getting at in my "which one is the nurse and does it matter" post. Stupid ignorant ass fucktarded attitudes and ancient nurse stereotypes cause mega problems that affect patients very badly.

I am freaking out big time. Someone say something positive to make me feel better please. Maybe I'm just a total wuss but I am truly upset about this. There is lots of stuff I can't go into detail about. If I am a sissy we all are because my colleagues aren't in a very good place emotionally either right now.

This bullshit is happening all over this country and it is going to get worse. Lots of wards/beds are being closed and staff shuffled about. I have friends in other trusts who have told me similiar stories that would scare the shit out of you but they have asked me not to write about them.

I live about 2 minutes from an airport. Who thinks I should just grab the next flight out of the country? I may actually look into the airline stewardess thing after all. I bet they would like to have an RN on board right? I wouldn't have to commute as far to work. I'll go away and have a think.


DBA Dude said...

You are going to make my head explode for the second time today!

Your "fuckwits nominally in charge" do not have a clue? Their medical knowledge would not fill an egg cup.

I cannot think of anything that you could do in the short term apart from going the airport route or checking out nursing opportuntuies in New Zealand/Australia.

I would recommend that you and your colleagues email your MPs highlighting these problems and especially the fecked up situation where managers who fail to provide adequate staff to cover wards are not held responsible!

MPs email contacts can be found here.
In the meantime I will try to think positive thoughts for you!

Steph said...

Don't leave - we love you - honest!

Sounds to me like you just got promoted to being Militant Medical/Surgical Nurse! You have my total sympathy and understanding. I worry for the patients too though. Be ready to give those surgeons as good you get on Friday! As for the managers - Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Regards, Steph

DBA Dude said...

Just thought of something else you could try, contact Channel 4 New and lay out your case (esp compare and contrast with latest bullshit MRSA announcement).

It worked for Crippen with the MTAS "lack of security" website debacle.

And if they do pick up on it, would give you another stick with which to bash your MP's head(s).

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