Monday, 15 June 2009

A Powerful Comment

I believe every word of this comment that I am going to post below. These problems are more common than you think. A young male patient attacked my charge nurse and gave him a fracture and the judge let the lad off the hook. He attacked the charge nurse because it was "taking to long" to get discharged. The nurse was tied up giving IV meds to an unwell patient. What was management's response? "What did you do to make the patient so angry that he needed to do that?" Came from the same people who don't understand about staffing the wards properly. They don't see nurses as human beings....kind of like the members of the general public who walk onto a short staffed ward and start raving about the fact that grampa hasn't had his 8AM antibiotic yet (it is 8:03). "Are you nurses too stupid to understand that drugs need to be given on time?"

This comment was placed on this blog under the Why don't nurses smile? post.

Nurse Nancy said...
I used to work in A&E in a very busy city
centre hospital. (I had 15 years experience of working in A&E.)There used to
be 2 hospitals with A&E depts but it was decided that the city really only
needed one. They therefore closed one down and now all the patients had to go to
one department. Same number of staff on duty though.

Who would have thought that waiting times would get longer, that patient
care would suffer, that the staff turnover would increase as people could not
cope and left and that the general level of violence towards staff (due to long
waits etc)would double. I particularly recall one shift where I was the nurse in
charge with 5 other staff nurses working with me. We had four critically
injurred patients from an RTA each requiring their own individaul nurse and Dr.
This meant that there was just me and another staff nurse and a HCA to care for
all of the walking wounded who now had an even longer wait because all of the
medical staff were tied up in resus with the RTA.

The two if us also had 17 other trolley patients to care for, all of who
were acutely ill or injured, as well as trying to carry out dressings etc for
the walking wounded who actually did get seen. On top of all this we had to try
to get patients to x-ray - some of who were unsafe to be left on their own - eg
patients with dementia who had fallen and fractured things and had no relative
or care home staff with them.

Whilst i was running round the department with a broom up my arse sweeping
the floors as well i was approached by a woman who was concerned that her son
who had been brought in by ambulance had still not been seen by a dr having been
there for 3 hours (he was drunk and agressive). I have to admit that she did not
think that i was taking her concerns very seriously decided that the best course
of action was to shout at me that I was a fucking blonde haired cunt and punched
me in the throat causing me to fall back through a curtained trolley bay onto
the lap of some poor old man. Her and her son decided not to hang around after
that so at least we were one patient down.

I remember standing in the middle of this heaving and chaotic department
and thinking would anyone notice if i just sat in the middle of the floor and
had a nervous breakdown. What happened to the nice lady who assaulted me? She
got a conditional discharge for 6 months (let off in other words) and had to pay
me £50 compensation at a rate of £2 a week. What happened to me. I now
work in the civilised realm of a primary care trust as an advanced nurse
pracitioner for the elderly - nice work if you can get it!!

15 June 2009 06:21


Nurse Nancy said...

Hi Anne
It was a big decision for me to leave A&E. I loved the work and thoroughly enjoyed working with my colleagues - it was a trench war-like camaradarie amongst all the nurses and doctors on the shop floor. When i told the manager that i was thinking of leaving as i could no longer stand the violence i was asked what would make me stay. I said that i thought we would all feel much safer if we had some security in the department (verbal and physical violence was almost an every day occurence)The reply was that they could not justify the cost. They sent me on a self defence/managing violence and aggression course which taught me how to defend myself until i could run away from my attacker (to stick around apparently could leave you being charged with assault on the person attacking you!)I didn't finish the course and decided that my safety and sanity far outweighed any other concerns so I left. Other examples of the violence in the department was a nurse who was hit over the head with a chair, another repeatedly smashed over the head with a telephone and another strangled around the neck until she almost passed out. In another incident a drunken police officer kicked a nurse in the knee for which she required surgery - he wasn't charged by his colleagues as he had documented "drink problems" and was being treated by a psychiatrist. I could go on and on with the examples of violence I have witnessed and been subjected to. Even the verbal aggression wears you down in the end when all you are trying to do against all of the odds is help people. All the managemnt do is put up notices to say that "The Trust will not tolerate violence towards its staff". They don't deal with the route causes and if a case actually does get to court sentencing is a joke and no deterrent. Now i get the occasional pinch or scratch from my patients but they have dementia and don't know what they are doing. Thank God i have found another job that i can enjoy.

Nurse Anne said...

I believe you Nancy. People think we exaggerate. Management doesn't have to deal with this kind of abuse so really they do not care. I love it when they ask the nurses "what have you done to deserve it" types of questions.

I was emailed about a medic pushing a physiotherapist out of his way because she was at the sink washing her hands and he wanted to wash his. She was injured.

He was harshly told off about it and when questioned he said "Sorry, I thought she was a nurse". He was let off the hook.

murse said...

I know you're not joking. It's really really sad that getting the fuck out is the only way for genuinely caring people who actually DO give a damn to stay sane (and their families). Really fucking sad.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I've had an idea. Seeing as nobody believes the shit our patients and we have to put up with, why not take a hidden camera in and document it? Then something will be done! Oh, wait...

Nurse Anne said...

Ha, It would be worse than Jerry Springer.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking more about the fact they strike nurses off the register for daring to break cover and tell it how it is... I am lucky enough to work in a very well staffed specialist surgical icu where the nurses themselves wash the fucking walls between patients. What is scary is how low their expectations are with us being NHS!

Catharine said...

I work in the MICU of a large, busy teaching hospital in the SE US. One night a nurse went on break. After a couple of hours, we were wondering where she was. It turns out she had gone outside and slit her wrists. Although we were horrified, we understood. That's how bad it is sometimes.

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