Saturday, November 8, 2008

Swinging the lamp while I adjust my cap and hear you rate your pain on a scale of one through 10

I started this blog as a creative lark and when I was considering some of the things I could blather on about, my calling was one of them. I could write about being a nurse! And I love being a nurse! I am proud to be a nurse!. . .Yay! . . .er…um…no. To begin with HIPPA makes nurse blogging tricky and I‘m too lazy for smoke and mirrors. Besides that, there is so much more to me than RN. But this week I have decided to put on my cap because a new set of flaming hoops of fire regulations are in town and they are shaking my confidence a bit. I’ve been a nurse for a long time and it takes a lot to shake my self confidence but every so often it happens. My latest dose of humility is this list: The Twenty-Eight Never Events or things that should never happen to a patient. And if they happen, the government and insurance companies can refuse to pay. Mind you, the majority of events on the list are heinous events and breathtaking in their degree of neglect and--dare I say--malpractice it would take for them to even occur. The list scares me, not because I’m afraid of perpetrating one of these events but rather what if I forget to record the measures taken to prevent the event and it happens anyhow? ( Nosocomial infections and falls are the two that freak me out) I do believe this list of events will only make facilities better and nurses will rise to the occasion and become even more efficient in the delivery of safe care. However, I think it is time for the patient to take some responsibility and I have designed a list of twenty-eight things that should never happen to me again or never happen to me in the first place, while I’m on duty. I haven’t decided what the penalty. A begrudging reluctance to take care of the offending party or parties will serve as the penalty.

Never Events According To Edgy June Cleaver* **

1. Laying in your hospital bed, call light in hand , screaming at me as I walk down the hall: “Nurse! Nurse! Nurse!” The more grievous version of this is “Girl! Girl! Girl!”
2. Referring to me as “my girl” or “my little helper.” (is this how you speak to your attorney, accountant or doctor?) I’m almost 50 years old, I haven’t been a girl in a long time.
3. Calling me ugly names because I won’t give you pain medicine more than 15 minutes before they are due.
4. Threatening to have me fired or sued or bought before the state board because I won’t violate HIPPA laws and explain to you over the phone what‘s wrong with your best friend since the third grade.
5. Visitors asking me for “some of the good stuff you just gave him, you know that Dilaudid stuff”
6. Patients or visitors calling me hot and are then upset I don’t think it’s funny or sweet or an enticing invitation.
7. Asking me to baby sit your children, in your hospital room.
8. Asking me to listen to your loved ones heart, lungs, or examine that big growth on the side of their leg . Please don’t embarrass yourself with an angry and insulted response when I suggest a trip to a healthcare provider.
9. Patients or visitors who hit, punch or slap me. Or even attempt it for that matter. You will get to meet a nice police officer if this happens.
10. Patients or visitors touching me in a sexually inappropriate manner. Again, you get to meet a nice police officer.
11. Proclaiming I am a bad nurse because I do not--off the top of my head--know the results of your procedures or tests. Chances are I do know the results but am not a liberty to give you bad news.
12. Calling me--again--three minutes after calling me for pain meds to remind me it‘s time for your pain meds. I’m in the med room getting them for you because I don’t make it a habit of carrying vials of dilaudid in my pockets.
13. Patients or visitors who become angry and don’t understand the necessity of keeping my back and my coworkers back’s safe when we seek help from others to move or reposition them.
14. Patients or visitors who bring their dogs onto the unit. If I had my way everyone could bring their dog to the hospital for a visit. For that matter Kipper would come to work every day.
15. Calling 911 from your room because your nurse is late with your meds.
16. Husbands/boyfriends who ask the labor nurse when their wife/girlfriend is “gonna be able to fuck again” while the obstetrician is repairing a fourth degree tear.
17. Do not balk at my gloves when I must touch you. It is an unfortunate and necessary evil.
18. Unless you are under the age of 15 you may never call your father “Daddy” in my presence. This squicks me out more than sputum.
19. Insist on toileting your 80 year old mother and you are a 60 year old son. This is next to sputum and just before Daddy in the squick department.
20. Threaten to sue me because I won’t give you q2H meds every hour.
21. Calling me a bitch under any circumstances. I may be one but you don’t own the special privilege of calling me by this pet name.
22. Constantly reminding me you have a husband/wife/cousin/uncle/father/sister/brother/aunt/mother whatever who is an important politician/business leader/attorney/judge in town.
23. Throw things at me: particularly full urinals or full water pitchers.
24. Accusing me of being forgetful or stupid if I check your armband every time I give you medicine or perform a treatment.
25. Bringing your booze from home. I realize our palliative hooch isn’t as good as yours but I can’t let you have it. But it beats the Hell out of DT’s.
26. Bringing your hunting knife of pepper spray with you to the hospital. It unnerves me to find them when I change your bed linens.
27. Asking me to not make rounds at 0200 because your husband is sleeping on the cot and he gets grumpy if he is awakened. (I’ll speak to your baby about this in the nursery.)
28. Shouting at me for any reason unless you are deaf and can’t hear yourself or are bereft and angry after hearing dire news.

*I have been a nurse for 25 years and some of these things have happened to me and some of them were witnessed. Please know this list is half tongue-in-cheek and I am not some sort of uncompassionate battle ax who needs to retire.

**If you are demented, these Never Events do not apply to you.
Cloris Leachman's brilliant Nurse Diesel comes to me by way of Thank you!

1 comment:

Nicola O. said...

Hey, 28 reasons to add to the list of why I'm not a nurse!

Tops though, is the fact that I don't really like sick people. Eww.