What a dirty *!?$@

Ugh. Sometimes, families are the worst part of nursing.
Let me explain- I know that sounds bad. But really, I mean it.

I’m at work today in the PICU and there is this one family member that is slowly sucking out all the bubbly energy I walked in here with. First off, she has been on that call bell ALL DAY LONG. No exaggeration.
Here’s a little excerpt of my day.

1145: call bell rings.
– “Hi, this is Laney. How can I help you?”

1147: I stop in room to offer my assistance.
– “Hello ma’am. Did you need something?”
“(instant attitude with eyerolling while ticking things off on fingers) um, yeah. like a gown, sheets, towel. (rolls head around and clucks tongue while staring at me like I am an idiot)”
“Uh-huh. Alright then, I’ll let your nurse know.”

1800: call bell rings.
– “Hi, this is Laney. How can I help you?”
“I need my nurse.”
“Sure! Can I let her know what you need?”
“Ice water.”
“Oh, alright. Well I’ll be happy to get that for you.”

1802: bring in ice water and hand it to family member.
– “Um, (bobs head from front to back like a chicken) I want some ice and ginger ale.”

[ Sidenote: Can I get a thank you? A please? You know, that’s not so important. It’s the tone of voice and bobbing of the head that really irks me. How can you be so rude?! Especially to people who are trying to help you take care of your kid?? I mean, this isn’t just a random irritation. This has been ongoing for the past 10 and a half hours. Not just rude to me either. The nurses and doctors as well.
Let’s continue.]

1804: bring in ginger ale and ice.
– “Here you go ma’am.”
“Mmhmm. (rolls head and clucks tongue)”
-I walk out.

1810: Call bell rings

1811: I answer call bell.
– “This is Laney, how can I help you?”
“Ma’am, how can I help you?”

Alright now she’s ignoring me. I see how it is.

1813: I poke my head into room.
– “Hi there. What did you need?”
“(rolls eyes) My nurse.”
[sidenote: nurse is extremely busy with patient next door and can’t get her work done with call bell going off every few minutes.]
“Can I tell her what you need?”
“(shakes head no while simultaneously managing to roll eyes, cluck tongue, and bob head) No. I want my nurse.”

What a dirty bitch. I am just at my wit’s end.

I realize that sounds horrible. But honestly.

[photo cred here.]

    • Mom
    • January 3rd, 2010

    Ya see? This is one of the many reasons why I work in the OR. Sorry you had a tough night, kiddo! xoxoxo

  1. … sad, huh? (whispered) – Don’t change employment-units to avoid. It won’t matter where you end up. This patient gets discharged and that family-visitor goes around the hospital and comes back through the ER to be admitted with a different patient, to another unit, another floor, another service with a different name, new look and totally different illness/injury…but the same exact ‘tude. darn it all.

    Hang in there! I’m a cheerleading, stethoscope-waving fan. You’re doing great.

    • It’s good to hear that you can’t avoid it just by switching units. I’m guilty of thinking the “grass-is-greener” sometimes.
      Thanks so much! That was something I needed to hear today.

  2. On the other side of this is the patient who presses the call button and asks for help to go to the bathroom. After waiting 30 minutes, patient repeats request. After another 30 minutes, patient decides that her choice is peeing in the bed or trying for the bathroom on her own… even though she’s been warned to not try to get up and walk without assistance.

    Patient falls. She cannot reach call button, but tries yelling for help. Still no one answers. After lying on the floor for two hours, someone comes in to empty the trash in her room and successfully calls for help.

    It goes both ways…

    • I totally agree with you. There are nurses who don’t answer call bells and incidents like what you mention happen. And in those cases, the patient has every right to be angry. However, that would be comparing apples to oranges.

      In this case, the call bell was answered all day. Mostly by myself. And not only did I answer it, but I happily tried to oblige to any and all of her requests that I could within my job limits. She was being rude just to be rude and it was unnecessary. For her, calling on the call bell for extra ginger ale and ice for herself (mind you, she isn’t even the patient and is perfectly capable of ambulating) which was not even for the patient, less than two minutes after I had just come in to answer a previous request, and then rolling her eyes while snatching it out of my hands without so much as a thank you- that is a 100% completely different scenario.

  3. Oh there are some shifts in which I want to do nothing but strangle the call bell light abusers!! I feel ya.

  4. Laney, The Muse, RN is right. This type of visitor/family member is not unique to peds. Just remember, it’s not about you. Try to make a game out of it so its fun for you and for the love of Propofol set limits and boundaries to behavior!

  1. January 25th, 2010

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