Thursday, May 20, 2010

Warning: ICU Rant ahead

There is something you must know about me. One of the most important characteristics in people, in my opinion, is work ethic. There are few things that will cause me to automatically lose respect for someone. Being lazy is one of them. I am all for relaxing and taking care of yourself. I'm even all for letting the housework go for a while to enjoy a lazy weekend. One thing I don't understand though is people who just simply don't do their job. Especially in nursing! If you don't like taking care of people, then don't be a bedside nurse.

Last week I was resource for the unit and being on the night shift; one of our duties is to give our patients bed baths and change their linens. If you have two patients, usually you begin around 5:30 am just to make sure you get both patients done with meds given and anything else that needs to be finished before 7:30am report. If you have someone with a lot of dressings changes or other things you start even earlier.

At around 6:15-6:30am, I had finished helping everyone on the unit but one nurse. Traditionally, its an unspoken rule that you clean your patient up as much as possible and then when you need help turning them and changing the linens, you ask for help....from the resource or nursing assistant. It shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes of that person's time because there are a lot of people to help, especially if the unit is full.

Well, by the time I made it around and we had only an hour left, this nurse was sitting at the computer, checking email or doing God knows what. When I ask if she was done already, her response was, "No, I haven't started. You want to start him for me?" and points to one of her rooms. My jaw almost hit the floor, especially considering that one of her patients was the guy I posted about recently...the one who is still a full code but should probably be a DNR. This guy takes at least an hour in the mornings because you have to change all of his multiple dressings.

Come to find out later that this is a common theme with this nurse. Everyone told me that in the future, you either don't ask if she needs help at all, because she will take advantage of you, or you have to blatantly tell her, "I will come back and help you when you are ready to turn your patient."

This isn't the only thing I have noticed either. When watching her patients while she is on break, her vitals usually haven't been charted for hours (we do them hourly on our unit) and her bedside tables and rooms are a complete mess.

Luckily, she is one of the very, very few nurses I work with that are like this. Truly, I work with some amazing, hard-working, smart, compassionate men and women. I am proud to be here and am so thankful to have a job. It just drives me mad when others don't appreciate it the same way.

Ok...End Rant. :)


  1. OMG, Andi! I can't believe that there is even a such thing as a lazy ICU nurse! My experience with unit nurses is that they are all bad ass, fiercely protective of their patients, and thorough with their work with a capital 't'! Lord knows I've encountered my share of less-than-helpful doctors, but I don't know why I thought ICU nurses were, by law, exempt from laziness! LOL!

  2. haha I thought the same thing! ICU nurse and lazy do not mix, but yes there are some. I have also encountered my fair share of less-than-helpful doctors, but I think that comes with the territory in a teaching hospital.