I will preface this story by stating if I was drinking (which after the work day I had I should be) the following tale would be under the whiskey pages. But alas, I am not so what follows is a typical sober stint of complaining.
As many of you faithful readers know (notice the bit of butt kissing) I do a bit of acting but most of my time is spent in the arena of nursing. It is about the later that my story pertains to.
This week I was subjected to one of the worst days I have ever experienced in my career at this facility I've been employed with for slightly over two years. OK, enough of the preliminaries, I will get down to business and begin.
I had gotten my assignment and was initially happy to note I was placed on the same unit for the two eight hour shifts I was about to forge through. At the same time I was slightly concerned that the unit I was assigned to was a large one (41 patients to one nurse) and many of these patients were prone to screaming and being generally disruptive due to their dementia. But, I figured it wasn't too big of a deal and I had worked it before with no problems (or at least as few as possible).
I realized I was in trouble after seeing the look of "THANK GOD YOU'RE HERE AND GET ME OUT OF THIS GOD FOR SAKEN PLACE" from the day nurse who was about to give me report. After listening to all the particulars I too felt that look creeping on my face. Not only did I have one very sick patient on my hands who had tubes coming out of most orifices in her body, but I had a new admission expected to arrive in the next thirty minutes. Keep in mind that my job includes passing out medication for all 41 patients (both the evening and night pass), rendering treatments (including simple applications of cream to dressing large wounds) for those that needed it (and for some odd reason everyone seemed to need something) and making sure I crossed all my ts and dotted every i when it came to time to chart on each of them.
I figured panicking at that moment and joining in the shouting match that was ensuing between several demented residents in the hall would only add to my troubles, so I took a few deep breaths and smiled and took off down the hall with the medication cart. I think I may have gotten to about a dozen of so patients when I noticed my new admission being wheeled in on a stretcher and heading for the empty room. I quickly wrapped up what I was doing and assisted the man into bed with the attendants help and took his vital signs with the hope of getting back later on in the evening to do the admission paperwork and all the assessments. Assured that he was OK and didn't need my immediate assistance I left to resume the task of pushing pills. At some point the patient who was not doing so well when I started the shift decided to projectile vomit on her private companion and family in her room. Racing to her room with the tools of the trade in tow (BP cuff, thermometer, pulse oximeter, etc) I quickly assessed her and told her not to worry things would be OK (I hoped) and I was going to call her doctor and see if we could get something for the nausea and hinted that an IV was probably not too far behind.
As I approached the nurse's station to call the MD I caught a glimpse of a patient hitting the deck after attempting to get out of her wheelchair and walk (mind you, she doesn't EVER walk secondary to her weak condition).
OK, so now I am about ready to cry, scream, or eat a pint of Ben&Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. I placed a call to my supervisor and told her I needed help ASAP and I was in the middle of putting out many fires. Her brilliant response was to ask me if I could be more specific about my needs. To this I replied come down to my unit now and you can pick from the numerous tasks I am trying to juggle and not getting anywhere with. I would like to say my authorative tone made her appear promptly, but the truth is by the time she sauntered down to see me I was in the process of sending the really sick patient out to the ER to be evaluated. And so this goes on and I will not bother you with any more details. Suffice to say, I was lucky I was on the same unit for the next eight hour shift because it took at least a couple of hours of it to catch up from the previous one. And thankfully every patient was taken care of and most of their needs (at least the important ones) were met during the course of the evening.
So what is all this bitching about? Well, in some way I feel better now that I was able to get it off my chest and make you poor readers subject to my stress.
But mostly, it's a plea to all supervisors out there to get there acts together and learn to get your hands dirty with ordinary work if you need to. I was once and important person in a nursing facility (seems like a life time ago) and I know how busy administrative work can be, but let's get our priorities straight. Without the direct patient care there would be no facility to supervise.
So dear reader, thank you for letting me vent and wish me luck this week when I work another sixteen hours on that same unit.