Sunday, September 30, 2007


I have a question for any nurses that happen to read this. How much is it okay to ask a patient's relatives to do? Here's the reason I ask:

This morning shortly after I got to the hospital to visit Donny his CNA came in and he asked her for a cup of coffee. She said she'd get it and showed me where it's at. She let me know that it's okay for me to get him what he wants out of the pantry.

A little while later his RN came in. He was concerned about the need to monitor Donny's intake and output. I was asked to keep track of the beverages that I got for him for this purpose. All of this seemed reasonable and I was glad to help.

That's when the RN started talking about the fact that Donny needed to use the urinal that had been provided so that they could measure his output. Again, that's a reasonable request.

And then we enter the field of annoying me. The nurse turns and looks at me and gives me directions about needing to measure the output and write down the time. He went on to tell me that half the CNAs had been laid off and so our CNA had a whole unit by herself. So even though I was annoyed, I didn't complain.

A little later my husband wanted to shower and get clean linens on his bed. He was grossed out by the blood on the linens he had and wanted to start fresh. (Let me say here that it wasn't huge amounts of blood. No pools or anything like that, just enough to bother him.) I asked his RN for towels so that I could shower Donny and let the RN know that Donny's linens needed changed. He brought everything that was needed for both jobs into the room and left.

I showered my husband (assuming that somebody would come change his bed while we were in there) and put clean clothes on him. I volunteered to do this because I knew that Donny would be more comfortable with me helping him than with anybody else.

We came out of the bathroom to find that nothing had been done about his bed. At this point I decided that it would be easier to deal with things myself than to try and get help. As I was getting started a member of housekeeping staff happened to walk by and see what I was about to do. She stopped me and did it herself. She let me know that even though she's not supposed to change the linens in a room that's occupied she didn't mind helping this nurse out since she thought he was a nice guy.

A little later the RN (who's name we never found out) came in and made an offhand comment that he had assumed that I'd change the linens. That's when Donny pointed out that I had surgery on my hand a few weeks ago and still wasn't supposed to be doing things like that. The RN said something about how we hadn't told him that. In my opinion that's not the point. I never should have been expected to do the nursing staff's job.

I really don't know how I should handle this. My mom says that I need to bring it up to the head of nursing, especially since I'm now uncomfortable leaving him there for too long without a family member there to care for him. Tonight his RN has a student with her, so I know that everything will be by the book, but what about after that? I don't want the nurses to take it out on him that I said something, but I feel like I shouldn't just let it go.

The other problem that I have in regards to confidence in the nurses is because of that RN. His mannerisms combined with his severe case of the sniffles leave a person with the impression that he's having issues with an illegal substance. Now I really think that it's an unfortunate case of an oncoming cold and natural jitteriness, but it leaves that niggling doubt. That was his day nurse, but it still makes me uncomfortable. Especially when combined with his comments about liking to give patients drugs and him instructing my husband how to get the maximum pain reliever prescribed. It just all really bothers me. I don't know what I'll do. I guess that I just need to sleep on it.

1 comment:

mielikki said...

um, Jamie?
NONE of that is okay. No matter how many CNA's are on the floor. Odd's are, the CNA's are gone because the nurse to patient ratio has changed. That nurse probably didn't have more than 5 patients, max, and should be able to do those things. The shower, I understand, even the coffee thing,because, frankly, he will get it faster with you finding it for him. But that nurse? Lazy. And not wanting to help his patients.
Some nurses do tell patients things like how to maximize pain meds and stuff, and it doesn't make it right. Your husband should not be in pain, but he doesn't need to live the rest of his life 'gorked out'. Many of those pain meds are metabolized by the LIVER and the kidneys, and the last thing your husband needs is to go into kidney failure related to pain medication he might not have needed.
You have a few options, you can ignore this, and roll with it. You can ask the charge nurse to have a different nurse assigned to your husband, and just say that you didn't feel he was very therapeutic for your husband, and, you can fill out the survey that every hospital sends out after his hospital stay. (Or, they may call). You can also ask to talk to the Charge nurse, or the Nurse Manager of the floor, to voice your concerns.
That nurse is there to provide care to your husband. It includes things like output, intake, and, even changing sheets.
If you want to contact me by email, it's
I obviously have a strong opinion about this!