Thursday, December 31, 2009

Today I got the punishment for something that was not my fault.

I got a patient yesterday from ICU. Meningitis, had a rough time of it but was pulling through. Very sweet lady who was an L&D nurse for over 20 years. Her family was at the bedside, a little anxious but generally kind and friendly. I joked around with her sons, we made each other laugh. They even gave me a recommendation for a local Middle Eastern restaurant with excellent food and low prices. Things were going swimmingly.

I was excited to have her as a patient again today. But there should have been alarm bells early on in the shift when the pt and her friend (another retired RN) asked when she was going to be moved to the other unit.

Now, I hadn't heard anything in report about a downgrade to Med/Surg, or an upgrade to Stepdown, so I said "I don't think you're going anywhere." Then I got busy enough with the start of shift that I pushed it to the side for a little while.

Then at about 1630 I got a phone call from the manager of our sister unit, who is covering for our manager while she's on vacation. She said that my pt was going to be transferred to her unit as part of a "customer service recovery" issue.

I couldn't get many details, but the gist was that the family was unhappy with her care on our unit during the NOC and AM shifts. The AM shift RN told me that one of the sons was grumpy with her, but I didn't think much of it since he has sort of a sarcastic sense of humour.

I can't imagine anyone being so upset that they request a whole new unit. Plenty of people request not to have certain RNs again, and we're very accommodating to that. But to change floors?

The manager of the other unit said "The family is happy with you. Don't worry about it too much" but wouldn't give me more than that.

So a little time passed, and the family showed up to help the pt get to the other unit. I knew it was bad when the manager was personally escorting the patient. Her son asked if he could fill out one of our "above and beyond" cards about me (we'll see if it happens; it'd be my first one!), and said that he emailed people saying that he was glad to have my care. He even asked if I could get transferred with the pt or if she could stay through the end of my shift.

So one of my best patients gets taken away from me for something other people did/didn't do. It sucked, and I was furious. But my anger doubled when about 15 min later I learned that since I now had an opening (the only free spot), I was getting a new admission from ER.

Luckily it was a pretty easy pneumonia case, walky-talky A&Ox4. Sweet older guy. Thank god.

The worst part about all this is that our unit looks bad. We've spent a lot of energy trying to get the unit's reputation out of the mud, and this is just one more stone weighing us down. "Look at Tele! People are begging to get transferred out!" When our manager comes back, we won't hear the end of it for awhile.

I hope the patient continues to recover well, and that something like this never happens again.

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