Saturday, 14 March 2009
Not all that long ago I was working a shift as one of two RN's. It was a day shift and we had just had a cardiac arrest.
Another patient on the ward was probably going to arrest. The other RN was at her side with a team of doctors who were fighting to save her.
She was there and I attended and nursed the first patient who arrested and died. Because we were both tied up the cadets and the care assistant were caring for the other patients themselves. They were getting on great with the bed baths and the basic care. But many of those patients were also desperate for medications, interventions, and assessments that can only be done by the nurse.
But we were both tied up.
After the first cardiac arrest the crash trolley was in a hell of a state. If it is not well stocked and organised and an arrest occurs we are totally screwed. I knew that my colleagues patient was about to go.
A few months prior to this on another ward there was a cardiac arrest. The trolley had not been stocked up properly. The patient had a bad outcome. The police took the the list of RN's who were on duty during that shift and the ones prior, ever since the last time it should have been stocked. This trolley is checked over every day by an RN now, much to the chagrin of patients who don't understand what we are doing and think that they are being ignored. It is actually very time consuming.
I knew my colleagues patient was going downhill. I knew the trolley was in a hell of a state and missing vital equipment. I was 10 hours into a shift with no break. I was behind on the work which meant that I was going to have to stay over unpaid to protect my license to practice. The HCA's cannot help me with any of this, other than answering call lights and providing urinals.
AS soon as I dealt with the fallout from my patient who arrested (family etc). My very first job was to sort that crash trolley. My colleague's patient had very seriously started to circle the drain at this point.
There were more call bells ringing than there were people answering them at this point. I tuned that out and went on with stocking the crash trolley.
I was standing in front of the crash trolley figuring out what supplies I needed and was replacing the ambu bag and making sure everything was working when a patient that was watching me decided to put her two cents in.
"In my day, nurses didn't ignore patients and they washed the windows when they had down time" she said.
I didn't have time to reply to her because I heard my colleague shout for the crash trolley. Off to another arrest. Lucky for us there was already a team of doctors and critical care nurses on the ward. I just had to make sure that they had everything that they needed. Seconds count in an arrest situation.
As I was running with the crash trolley to the bedside of the dying patient the patient in the next bed chimed in with her take on the situation.
"I have been here for 2 weeks and never got that kind of attention. I don't think these nurses like me".
When my colleague shouted for the crash trolley I ran to her and the team with it. I had only just got most of it stocked and ready and had to run like Forest Gump to grab items. What I did do is I left some garbage on a table next to the trolley...the wrappers for the supplies etc. I was going to throw them away but then the cardiac arrest call went and I went running with the trolley.
One of the care assistants overheard the first patient comment on that:
"In my day a nurse would have never left a mess like that! Where is the Matron to knock these people into line? In my day matron would have clipped her ear. And look at all these unmade beds. Bring back matron I say".
Hmmm. Maybe I should have washed the windows and made the beds and thrown away the mask packaging before I assisted the crash team.
This is all true. I wish it wasn't.
Does anyone want to speculate on just what the hell is the matter with these people?
The sad thing is, this is the usual attitude of the patients.