Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"You ought to be kinder."

That was the ultimate line of an email I got this weekend, from somebody who'd read the blog but hadn't commented.

The gripe the correspondent had was that I, apparently, am not kind enough on my blog--that I bitch and rant and moan and generally take people to task here.

Hm. Let's see why. In the last seven working days, I have:

*Been physically assaulted (thankfully not injured) by a demented patient whose family stood by as he lifted me by one arm and tossed me around...

*Been threatened with shooting by a young man who thought we were being mean to his father by not letting Dad smoke in his room, with his oxygen mask on. (For those keeping score, this now makes three-of-three in terms of times I've been threatened with shooting in healthcare settings.)

*Had to have a little heart-to-heart with a tempermental attending, revisiting points I've made before, such as the concept that calling a nurse a "stupid bitch" isn't going to win friends and influence people...

*Had to mention legal terminology in order to get action on a personnel issue; no further details until later...

*Dealt with a patient who left AMA after it was revealed to him that no, he wasn't going to get any more narcotics...

*Done the work of two people after a nurses' aide simply wandered off the floor in the middle of the shift and couldn't be found for two hours...

*Scoured the hospital complex for a confused patient who was allowed to leave the floor in a wheelchair despite orders to the contrary...

*And was verbally abused by a family member claiming to be a nurse who couldn't understand why we might actually enforce isolation rules.

In between I clarified orders written by residents who don't understand the concept of "PRN means *for* something specific" and "legible handwriting makes the difference between digoxin and Demerol", moved patients up in bed, out of bed, from one bed to another, handled countless bedpans, showered a few people, gave pain meds, passed dinner trays, answered the phone approximately 10 to the 23rd time, comforted the sister of a patient on life support, and bathed and bagged one dead body.

During all of that, except for the bit about being blown away with a shotgun, I managed somehow to keep a cheerful expression on my face and not give in to the temptation to strangle somebody. I didn't yell, I didn't call anybody names; I even threw a few jokes in there now and then. I managed to do a few nice, kind things for a few people that were not included in the daily plan of care. And I made at least one person feel better.

I think I'm kind enough at work, thanks.

15 comments:

threadingwater said...

Good Lord, you ought to be bitchier! I know I'm biased because I come from a family of health care professionals, but where do people get off treating anyone, much less a helping professional, the way you describe.

One would think that at least one positive byproduct of the religious right's dominance in our country might be a heightened sense of civility, if not outright kindness.

Anonymous said...

So nurses *do* bathe and bag bodies, then, I take it. If they work in an understaffed hospital. With too much else to do. Do I have that right, Anonymous?

Kate said...

Good Lord. Not only are you a magnet for stupidity, it's the tedious kind.

Susan said...

'Anonymous' is synonymous with 'talking-out-yer-ass'. But your post explains vividly why I am no longer a floor nurse.

You must really love what you do.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jo said...

Anon, I love all my posters.

Even the ones who insult my Beloved Sister.

In *my* hospital, it works like this: the person who cared for the patient who died bathes and bags their body, as a last gesture of respect and, I might say, even love.

So I bathe and bag bodies on a fairly regular basis, simply because I feel that this is the last, valuable service I can do for my patients.

We're not understaffed. I'm not lying. And yes, we have orderlies (or as we call them, patient care techs) to do the "dirty" work...but most of us prefer to do our own.

I didn't go to school to bag a body. It's not something I trained for, either.

It's something I do because I respect my patients and, after I get to know them, I might even love them.

No BS about it.

And don't you ever, *ever* call my sister a cunt again.

Jo

Rosey said...

What is wrong with some people? Why get so narky about something so bloody trivial?! I couldn't help but smile as I read Jo's response to "nurses don't bathe bodies".

"Anonymous" is just plain rude nad needs to find something important to do with their time.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate said...

Oooh, Anonymous, oo is all mad! You must be terrified too, or you wouldn't be hassling her from behind a shield.

What did she ever do to you?

Oh, wait. I bet I know.

Kate said...

Yo Jo. I saw that. you're really cool.

Claus said...

Jo, who are you responding to when you say that you do bathe and bag bodies?

Anonymous said...

Jo, we don't know who you referring to when you say that you bathe and bag people.

Anonymous said...

'Scuse me. Did I have a massive brain fart? I backtracked several posts & can find no reason for all this vitriol. Nor name calling of family members. Your sister doesn't sound like Brizilla, so I have no clue what's been flying here.

Girl you don't have to try to be kinder. Methinks you're doing just fine. For those not in the medical family - news flash - this is how we talk. If we didn't give a damn, the idiocy wouldn't make us so mad.

V

Tiberia said...

It's quite simple, really - it's your blog, Nurse Jo, so you can do whatever you dang well please ;)

shrimplate said...

When "anonymous" is hospitalized, most likely for trauma or poisoning suffered at the hand of close family members, I want to be their nurse.

ALL hospitals are understaffed. About 11% of all full-time RN positions in U.S. are open, and in some urban areas (such as the one I live and work in,) that percentage is 16%.

And if "anonymous" is so concerned about bagging and tagging, then he can wash and wrap his own mother/sister/brother/spouse when they keel over the edge of existence.

We could use their help.

And help is the key word here. If it, whatever "it" is, doen't help me as a nurse, then I have no use for it, do I?