Negligence makes me sad

What an incompetent nurse must look like to a non-commucating, bedridden, patient.

I’ve finally run into a nurse that is a shining example of incompetence, gross negligence, and complete lack of caring bordering on the criminal.  In short, a nurse that should be fired and told to never return.

I found this Saturday when I came in to take care of the patient I had been caring for the previous two days.

This patient is a 30-something young man who is bedridden because of medical negligence, near as I can tell reading the charts.  He came in for a minor surgical procedure, coded on the surgical table for 15-minutes, and when revived left the surgical suite as a vegetable.  Needless to say, the family is suing the pants off the hospital.

This patient is on a feeding tube, has a tracheostomy, and is laying in his bed in a semi-vegetative state.  He needs competent care, not “I can’t be bothered to do my job” care.  Which is what I walked into Saturday morning.

The first thing I do when starting my day is to review the charts to see if any changes have been made by doctors to the care my patients are to receive.  I make sure that their medications are available, the materials I need to treat them are available, etc.  While doing the document review Saturday morning, I found very interesting things noted by the nurse that was ready to depart.  The first red flag was reading something called a fall-risk assessment score that turned up as a score of one when previously it had been a four.  The nurse in question marked that this patient could “ambulate on their own without a gait disturbance” but in the next box marked “Patient is comatose and/or non-responsive”.  Which the only conclusion I came to is this must have been some sort of miraculous recovery or the patient has somehow started sleepwalking, which would also be a significant change, yet none of that was noted in the charting.

As I continued reading it got much worse.  I went to the page where we note a basic assessment of the patients condition and their requirements for care where the other nurse noted that the patient needed a diabetic blood sugar check on a regular basis (they don’t) and that this patient had an IV line (they don’t).

To which I conclude that the nurse who made these “observations” actually didn’t do any assessment but simply filled out the paperwork.

After all this I was able to visit the patient in his room, where I found his feeding tube syringe submerged in a container of water, secretions all over his tracheostomy site, the wrappers from sterile gauze pads left in the bed with the patient, and no wrist band identifying the patient.  In short a horrible situation made worse by a filthy nurse.

I shouldn’t be walking into this and noting this as a student nurse that only has a few months of education in the field.  It’s downright shameful that a Registered Nurse, who is licensed by the state, can continue to retain a license after an 8-hour shift that seriously downgraded the care that a particular patient received previous.

I had to spend half my shift cleaning up the mess this idiot made.

The nurse who came in before me should be fired.  It’s as simple as that.

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4 Responses to “Negligence makes me sad”

  1. There is nothing worse than incompetent care. It drives me up the wall. I’ve seen many times where RNs don’t actually do a head to toe assessment and yet they chart that they did (which usually results in incorrect charting). Do they not understand that, when you chart, you are legally and ethically responsible for charting what you DID and that it is CORRECT?? When I’ve been a sitter for my job…I’ve had RNs not come in at all to check on their patient. I’m not allowed to leave their room. And I never saw them come in once, but they’ve charted an assessment. I’ve had them ask me to do it…and in my state, it is out of my scope of practice to do an assessment as a SNE (well, I can do them…I just cannot chart them or use any language to say that I’ve done one. I don’t feel that I’m doing my job if I don’t check out the patient I’m caring for. I can do them as a student but not as an employee student). I’ve found caps, wrappers, flushes, etc in the bed—even worse, UNDER the patient giving them a gross sore. Once I get my assessments done…I do food, bath, then I pick up the room. I cannot stand clutter.

    I will also say, depending on how fresh the trach is…it can be gross in the matter of minutes. I had a pt a couple of weeks ago that I swear was a slimy mess. I had to do neuro checks Q1H and I cleaned and suctioned her trach every time. It was ooooogggy.

    Sounds like a really bad day. One thing I can say…that probably isn’t a floor you want to work on when you’re a big boy nurse. The nurse could have had a really busy patient load/bad day and her care could have been less due to that. But, she could have asked for help from other nurses on the floor. I’ve had insane days, but other nurses are always stepping up to make sure everyone is taken care of. It’s something to keep an eye out for. There are floors that I swear I’d rather saw off my leg than work there. And that says a lot…jobs around here are hard to come by and I’m just not willing to work on some floors.

    I’ve been meaning to ask…when are you done with school??

  2. Since the patient is suing the pants off the hospital one would think they would take great care to prevent any further harm. You will be a great nurse with a caring attitude, something very rare today. If I get sick I want you at my bedside. Is it time for my sponge bath? Ted

  3. @Koko: I’m done in mid-November and can sit for the NCLEX-PN hopefully in January. The last class that graduated has a 100% pass rate so far.

  4. UGH! I hate sh*t like that. But, I do love the picture.

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