10 June 2006

Way #7,698 to make me annoyed

Good nurses are worth their weight in precious metals. Bad nurses would serve patients better by just not showing up. While picking up a patient today, "her" nurse was out at lunch so one of the other nurses on the unit was covering. When we arrived, I asked for a signature on the paperwork I have to write (the patient care report or PCR) and a brief report. I really don't need to know everything there is to know about the patient, but it is good to be treated like a fellow medical professional and advised of important information on the patient I'm about to be in sole care of. The covering nurse laughed at me and told me that she would sign but she didn't know anything about the patient.

For any patient admitted with a pain complaint, I've learned to ask when the last dose of pain medication was given, whether the patient is due for more, whether the pain is adequately controlled, and then all the other usual questions about major medical history, vital signs, etc. All relevant questions if you're going to bounce someone down the pot-holed local roads in the back of an ambulance on a barely padded stretcher. Again, I get the laugh and then an annoyed sigh when she realizes I'm serious despite having just been joking with another staff member on the unit about patient's complaining when they are in pain. She gives me the eye roll as she digs out the patient's chart and tells me her last dose was at midnight (it is 1300). Another sigh when I ask for the last set of vital signs. When I ask whether the pain is under control she replies with, "Not my patient, not my problem." Pretty crappy attitude to have about someone you're caring for, even if only for an hour. I'm only caring for the patient for usually 15-20 minutes and I care, how hard is it to have empathy for another human being in pain? In defense of the good nurses out there, I've had them see the stretcher rolling on to the unit and immediately head toward the patient, pain meds in hand, to make sure they're dosed with enough time for maximum efficacy before transport.

Apparently, this patient's pain had been controlled because she had been sitting upright and still for the last four or so hours. Once we got her moving, she was distinctly in distress. At the nursing home, she was in enough pain that she was gasping for breath. All because some stupid beyotch nurse couldn't be bothered to giver her some pain meds, that there were already orders written for, before the ride.

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