Monday, June 14, 2004

This is why I was grumpy.

This is hard to talk about

I work with a nurse's aide who is a very sweet person. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, unfortunately, but very sweet.

We've been having problems with vital signs being made up or not taken, input and output numbers being very, very wrong (this is a problem on a unit where I&O is a huge part of watching for trouble), baths not getting done for days...

...and, a couple of weeks ago, a situation that happened with a patient of mine that put them in danger. The aide did something that I had talked to her about a number of times before that's absolutely inexcusable. And this time, it hurt somebody, and I had to pick up the pieces.

We talked about it yesterday. I had finally snapped and sat down and vented about the problem with my coworkers over lunch. One of the other aides offered to speak to this particular person, and did, but (I suspect) did it in a not-very-graceful way.

So she came to me and we talked about what had happened.

She protested that a) she'd found the personal sitter with the patient doing the same thing, and b) that this wasn't something that was worth getting upset about.

My response, with my voice soaring higher and higher and my temper becoming evident, was that a) I don't give a damn what an untrained sitter does, *you* don't do the same thing, b) I'd talked to you about this very thing multiple times before, and even taken it to the supervisor, and c) if a patient nearly coding wasn't enough to get upset about, then what was?

I want to cry out of frustration and anger and disbelief every time I review that conversation in my head. This is not the first time we've had this talk, nor is it the first time that some of this stuff has been brought to her attention. I've talked to the supervisor about it, and our supervisor has said, "Well...I'll talk to her. We'll work on that."

Unfortunately, talking doesn't seem to be working. And it's gotten to the point now that I don't feel I can trust her--after comparing notes with the other nurses--to even take vitals or write down proper intake and output.

Not that I'm perfect by any means. Paperwork is my thorn bush, and sometimes I forget to put things down, too...but at least I don't make shit up.

And I simply don't have time most days to either do this stuff myself or to check her every move.

So I don't know what to do. Aside from keeping a written record of every time I notice something wrong or off and presenting it to the supe, I mean. And like every other person in a tight working environment, I don't want to look like a troublemaker.

Actually, I wouldn't mind looking like a troublemaker or like I'm targeting this person (because, frankly, I am) *if it meant that something would get done about her.* The problem is that I don't trust the supervisor to make a tough call. That would mean that I'd launched some sort of Safety Jihad with no real results.


This will require much thought and a lot of fast footwork to keep up with her for the next several months.

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