Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Policeman's Answering Machine applied to Nursing.


I am feeling a little silly today.  We need one of these answering machines for Staff Nurses.  Especially considering we never get to answer the phone. Disclaimer:  This post is meant for a laugh.  I know that the stress of having a loved one in hospital will make the most respectable person lose it and lash out.  It's okay.  Really.  Unless you hit me.

Police Department Answering Machine

Here is the Nurse version.  All said in a highly annoying customer service type  generic computer generated North American accent. A voice that is just way too happy and joyful.

Thank you for calling Godhelpus Hospital.  We are unable to answer the phone right now because management won't pay for a ward clerk and the horrifying low numbers of nurses have patients so sick that we cannot leave them to answer the phone.   There is one working ward phone and it is a long way away from the patient area. Please select from one of the following options.

If you would like to complain about a nurse with 20 patients not giving your father one to one care or being there everytime he kicks off a slipper or needs the toilet Press One.

If you want to yell and say things to the nurses such as "I pay your wages with my taxes" whilst ignoring the fact that nurses also pay taxes and work a hell of a lot of unpaid hours which helps save the hospital money and they get the same level of care  then Press 2 now.

If you want to call an ambulance to bring you into A&E to fix your sore toe and then scream at the short staffed a&e staff, all 3 of whom  are working their tits off trying to save a 9 year old with multiple stab wounds and complain about "being made to wait by uncaring staff" Press 3

If you want to disregard the laws and rules that forbid nursing staff to give information to anyone over the phone except designated next of kin and demand information about your friend and then accuse the nursing staff of being a bunch of worthless whores who want to withold information just to upset you off Press 4.

If you think that being someone's neighbour for 20 years, their brother, or their best friend automatically allows you to designate yourself the next of kin over the phone despite the fact that the patient's wife is the designated next of kin  Press 5.  And don't forget to call the nurses miserable cows from hell because they couldn't (for legal reasons and ehtical reasons) tell you the results of your mate's scan.


If you want to complain about the fact that there are never any nurses in sight except at the nurses station, and then complain about the fact that the one nurse to multiple patients with no ward clerk to help isn't always answering the phone quickly  when you and everyone's else's relatives call Press 6.  I can either be at the station answering hundreds of phones calls or chasing up info to answer your questions OR I can be down there with the patients.

If you want to call the nurses lazy and uncaring because your 102 year old grandmother had a massive stroke, is now unable to walk, talk, and swallow and has to go into a nursing home because she cannot be rehabilitated Press 7. Don't forget to remind us that if only we had bothered with her she would have recovered.  We did bother.

If you want to ask questions we cannot possibly answer  in an area as complex and chaotic as general medicine such as "when is the doctor coming to do his rounds" and "When will Gramps be discharged" and "When will he have his scan" Press 8.

If you think that nurses and doctors are immune to becoming ill, do not understand what it is like to have elderly relatives in and out of hospital, children with disabilities, spouses dying of cancer, cancer ourselves, etc etc and want to accuse us of not understanding the other side Press 9 now.  Don't forget to call us lazy, uncaring, ignorant bitches.

If your best friend/brother/neighbour/inlaw etc is on the Hospital Board of directors and you want our names so that he can sort us out press 10.

If you want to threaten me with a lawsuit for not ignoring our other, sicker patients to be your relative's personal servant Press *1.


For all other queries, stay on the line.  And be prepared to stay there for until flying cars and vacations to the moon are the norm .
.

Yeah, they pretty much sums up the 45 minutes out of every hour I spend running to the ringing phone and getting pimped by family members.  Maybe once in awhile we will get a polite genuine person asking a question.

Ahh I almost forgot. 

If you are social services, pharmacy, the discharge managers, a person who carries a clipboard, a retired nurse who last worked in 1983 and wants to give us a talking to,  a district nurse or  ambulance liason don't press any buttons and don't stay on the line.  Please hang up.

Thank you for calling  Holyshit Ward at Godhelpus Hospital. Have a great day and enjoy your health care journey.

38 comments:

capgrass said...

i work on such a ward: this is my survival stratergy. people kept ringing "just to send my love". sometimes whole family trees ring.........despite the fact that i ask them to create a "telephone tree" and pass the message on.
my two coping stratergies are 1)unplug the outside line, 2) allow all patients to use their mobiles ( i love to see a 90 year old with an i-phone............and they do know how to use it and it warms my heart to see them texting away. although i suppose equally they could be vidoeing me........but i love it when you hear they are on face book and stuff: meeting such people makes me remember why i still sometimes love nursing. 3) get the doctors mobile number and give him mine.........so we can comminicate independantly. and 4) ignore the phone.
However Anne is bang on as usual. i love her writing. wish we could launch a NATIONAL CAMPAIGN like the "go to work on an egg" campaign. methinks we need a celebrity to start this up. why not ask Dr Crippen?

Nurse Anne said...

I allow the mobiles as well. I just tell the patients not to get caught!!

It is a worry that they will film someone with dementia hanging out of bed to accuse the staff of neglect.

The kind of patient that no matter what you do or how much time you spend with them they will be hanging out of bed shouting help.

And even if you go to them and get them toileted and clean and comfortable in the bed and give them paid meds every 5 minutes of every hour they will still be hanging out of the bed screaming for help. That is dementia. They will not remember what they were told 5 minutes ago. They won't even remember that they were shouting for help and deny that they did. They cannot remember or make sense out of anything you are telling them. No matter what you, that person will hang out of the bed screaming for "Bobby" and "Help". They cannot make sense of their world and it is traumatic.

There is absolutely nothing the nurse can do with a patient such as this. But people will film it and whinge on about shitty nurses."Oh how could they leave her like that?"

But I still allow the mobiles. I would get real upset if I couldn't have mine with me if I were a patient.

Nurse Anne said...

My vote goes for George Michael. He has shown support for nurses in the past. But if you contact celebrities they just think you want money so pointless there.

Nurse Anne said...

Oh and Capgrass one late shift when we had one nurse and one HCA and two fullblown medical emergencies as well as NO other staff we got disciplined for not answering the phone. A family member complained that "no one could be bothered to answer the phone or tell her anything".

Hogday said...

Is the NHS recruiting senior managers from the same pool as the police? Perhaps there was actually a sort of `day of the triffids` moment when, one night, a fuse blew somewhere and the next day we woke up to a world of pillocks. I watched the common sense `leaders` rapidly vanish throughout the 80's. Oh how I haven't missed them these past few years of my `life, part 2`. And if you haven't had the chance to watch the new series, "Nurse Jackie", record it. `Thank you` to you and your colleagues.

How is my Uncle Ernie? said...

I came across your blog because a relative of mine is in hospital and I want to know how he's doing so I thought I'd ask you. Just kidding, sorry. I haven't called, and will not. I'm just glad someone is writing about this kind of thing. Sounds like juggling soup with a blindfold on. Now I'm off to read the other posts...

Nurse Anne said...

Hi There,

LOL. We don't mind people asking questions. When my loved one is in hospital my first instinct is to ring their ward.

Hospital management should be coming up with ways to deal with enquiries effectively so that the nurse can make better use of her time. It can be done.

murse said...

Yo Anne - off topic, what do you think to Nurse Jackie? Just discovered on BBCHD & quite like it...

Nurse Anne said...

I haven't seen much Nurse Jackie yet but have read about it. I think they are missing the boat really. They are going to "promote" nursing by making out that drug addict nurse Jackie is smarter than the doctors. How lame.

Why can't they just promote nursing for being nursing and not depicting it as either a doctors handmaiden or a doctors boss?

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