Sunday, 26 April 2009

More fun with the kids part 2

If you don't know what I mean about "kids" go here.

So it's Nurse Anne and Tara the Kid on duty for approximately 13 patients.

Tara is about 17 and thought she wanted to be a nurse. Two days on the ward made her realise that nursing in real life is not like Holby City. After her second or third day she decided that everything was either too disgusting or upsetting and she refused to do anything involving patient care. Management was immediately made aware of the situation and surprisingly they came through for us fairly quickly and got rid of this little Tara.

But there were a few days where things got so bad that we tried to send her home in the middle of the shift.

1. Tara refused to do anything.

2. As long as Tara was on the ward counted in with the numbers the bed manager could not justify sending us another set of hands.

3.Tara would not leave because she wanted a paycheck.

The day I nearly lost it was a double shift. My wonderful health care assistant started vomiting and I immediately sent her home. This left Tara and me to care for 13 patients. As usual I was over run with all the stuff that I go on about in every other post on here. I tried to think of something that Tara would do to help. I showed her how to do mouth care and asked her if she could help the patients with that while I was tied up on the drug round, with doctors, orders, and relatives. I explained that when people are nil by mouth and unable to see to their own hygiene that their mouths get dry and uncomfortable. A little thing like good mouth care to moisten and clean their mouths is lovely for them and if it is not done, they suffer. Nurse Anne is a stickler for mouth care.

"Oh that is disgusting, I am not doing that."

Well why don't you go home you little bitch thinks Nurse Anne. Actually I said something to that effect, although nicer, but the hospital wouldn't have it. They had no one else to send and I thought maybe I could coax Tara into being useful somehow. They did give her a firm lecture. Repeatedly.

At one point I was inserting an NG tube into a patient with an obstruction and the person in the next bed asked for a commode. Tara was standing outside the bay. I asked her really nicely if she would help the patient. She walked away. I firmly told her about it and her response was "this is all too depressing for me and my mum told me that if anything makes me uncomfortable I don't have to do it, it's all the nurses job anyway".

True true Tara. It is the nurse's job. But if the nurse is tied up with inserting an NG tube (and everything else) into a patient going downhill with an obstruction, then you can help get someone a commode. It is why you are here and what you are paid for. I am one RN to 13 patients and I really need help so we can give them the best care possible. You little bitch, and by the way your mum is a dumbass who should stop babying you.

This went on and on. I tried to coax Tara into doing something, but anything that involved going near a patient caused her to bolt. Any nurse will tell you that if she has too many patients without a good care assistant or another nurse helping out she is up shit's creek without a paddle. Big time. If the nurse is up shit's creek, so are the patients. So are the doctors because if the stuff they are ordering is not getting implemented then........

Things had not improved by evening time and deteriorated rapidly after the meal as I had feed my patients rather than deal with the drugs. That is bad. A good nurse would have prioritized the meds etc over the feeds. It sounds mean but they expect us to prioritise for a reason. I fed the patients that were near the obstruction patient so I could monitor him. 20 minutes later my obstruction patient was going downhill and I had surgeons barking orders for me. I had people who needed insulin. The drug round due at that time was not happening and people needed pain killers. Tara doesn't like to feed people. Obviously she cannot deal with all the drugs and other things either.

In the middle of doing a million things for my now deteriorating patient and getting him ready for the surgeons, panicking about the pain meds and the insulins, and panicking about all the other shit that was not getting done something happened.

A woman walked up to me and asked me to make her loved one a cup of tea.

Aha!!! That is something Tara can help me with!! It doesn't involve actual patient care. So as I was heading back down to my "holy fuck he looks like he is going to die" obstruction patient I asked Tara nicely if she could get the woman's loved one a cup of tea.

"Okay"....says Tara.

And she made the patient a really nice cup of tea.

And 5 minutes later the tea patient's relative hunted me down and came out with a nice little gem of a statement.

She looks at me, as if I am a piece of dog shit and she says " Well, maybe you couldn't be bothered to get my loved one a simple cup of tea, but at least that nice nurse over there (points to Tara) managed to find the time".

Yep. True Story. But you know what? Nurses are used to this kind of shit.

Tara was kicked off the next shift she was on and told to never come back with the complete support of management. Can't tell you what specifically happened but it went beyond refusing to do anyway work.

Thank god most of the kids are hardworking and do their best. I would have hung myself by now if that wasn't the case. It's fun to watch the ones who want to be nurses really taking it all in and learning the ropes. Hopefully we won't get any more Taras. A few of our apprentice types are now care assistants and they are quite good!! I know it sounds like I have a chip on shoulder regarding unqualified staff but really, I don't. I just have a chip on my shoulder towards life in general.


Anonymous said...

Why are some of these family members so hateful to the nurses? I just don't get it! Did the woman asking for a cup of tea NOT understand you had an emergency? And you made sure she got the tea so what was up with all that? UK family members, if you are looking at these posts, you should be ashamed of the way nurses are treated in your country! These courageous people are working in deplorable conditions for hours on end without any break at all.They are actually putting their own means of making a livelihood at risk to keep coming to work for you! They are doing this for probably not a lot of money. Please do not subject them to verbal abuse, too. I know it is hard to have a sick family member, but you need to hold administration accountable and not browbeat fellow victims of your system. Nurses are actually the ones in your corner. I thought it was bad in the States, but this absolutely blows my mind! I'm so sorry, Anne. The people of the UK are lucky to have any dedicated nurses at all if this kind of treatment is the norm. You are a brave person. And if there are members of the British media looking at this, stop doing "too posh to wash" stories! It is not a fact that nurses don't want to do basic care. They have too much to do out on the floor. They HAVE to prioritize. Nurses would rather have dirty patients than dead ones. If they have to choose between bathing and transfusing, it's a no-brainer. The transfusion wins. Sorry I got on this soapbox. I just want to take up for the nurses out there. God knows they need it!

Happy1 said...

"And 5 minutes later the tea patient's relative hunted me down and came out with a nice little gem of a statement...."

I knew that was coming as I was reading..a classic scenario of a relative having NO CLUE WHAT-SO-EVER.

Its just too easy to read the shit in the media, and believe.

You can just see them coming...the facial expressions, the snidy comments before they've even walked through the door..

Nurse Anne said...

OMG Happy I was actually going to type that very line about the snide looks etc but I deleted it out!!

SSS said...

"Yes, that's right. I asked her to get your loved one a cup of tea. That's why you got it. You're quite welcome. Now fuck off out of my face."

Okay, so not the last line. But definately the rest of it.

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