I’ve been reluctant to write this blog simply for the fact that this week on the floor was quite challenging and frustrating.
For starters, I had one patient in particular who was quite the case. This patient was just switched to “DNR” status, which stands for “Do not resuscitate.” This status is reserved for patients that are extremely sick and will not improve. The decision to switch a patient’s status to DNR is made by the patient, their family or caregivers, and a team of physicians. It’s not a simple decision and in fact, it’s a very hard pill to swallow for many people because it indicates that the patient’s condition is deteriorating rapidly. These patient’s are in the hospital so that we can provide comfort care and ensure safety.
I had a lot of empathy for this patient, and I wanted to do my best to care for them. However, due to the complexity of this patient’s situation, much of his care required intervention by a physician. Another nurse and I spent hours contacting physicians on his care team to come to the floor and help this patient out. It took six hours to get the physicians to come and help this patient. Once they did, the patient felt so much better. It was frustrating that this patient was in excruciating pain all morning and afternoon and I could not help him- even pain medications were not effective. I was very frustrated with the way the physicians and nurses communicated that day, and I can imagine the patient and family felt similarly.
Additionally, I spent a shift with the charge nurse on the floor. This nurse is responsible for dealing with lots of little things, making sure the unit runs smoothly, and organizing patient assignments for the other nurses. This is a job that many nurses do not want to do. The charge nurse keeps track of which patients are on the floor, which patients are preparing for discharge, which patients are coming onto the floor, and so much else. The main hospital has patient rooms that semi-private and some that are private. Semi-private rooms must have patients of the same sex, and preferably patients with similar conditions. Ultimately, the job of the charge nurse would be 80% easier if every room in the hospital were a private room. Some patients require private rooms, and the ones that don’t will fight for them.
At the end of the shift, the charge nurse was somehow able to admit four new patients to private rooms, and two to semi-private rooms. This did not seem feasible at the beginning of the shift. This was my first hands-on experience with the charge nurse, and I must admit, I was highly unaware of their role on the unit.
Here’s to another week~