And Then There’s Joan

Every department has a Joan.* Joan is a very bad nurse. I don’t mean bad, as in is rude to the patients, or leaves full commode chairs for oncoming staff.  (Though she does that too.) I mean bad as in I-just-killed-the-patient bad. Everybody has a Joan story.  She is that incompetent.  She’s the nurse who inflates the catheter balloon when it’s still in the urethra. She’s the one who hung D5W with the blood transfusion — and pushed Ancef at the lower port while the blood was running. She’s the one who who ran the insulin drip by gravity. And piggybacked a KCl bolus (when we still did those) by gravity. She’s the one who thought there was no real issue with the rectal bleed with a pressure of 54/p. And that the Seroquel od didn’t need a cardiac monitor. Or that the obtunded HBD was okay laying flat on his back.

Joan frightens me badly.  I am frightened to work with her.  I am frightened to follow her at shift change. I am frightened for her patients most of all.

We have tried remonstration. We have tried using each of these as colleague-to-colleague teachable moments. We have documented. We have complained to the manager. We done have everything short of calling the College of Nurses of Ontario.** Joan just carries on, oblivious and immovable.


*Of course not her real name, and actually a composite of several “Joan’s” I have known over the years.

**Our fear and loathing of the CNO is obviously greater than our fear and loathing of Joan. Sad, but true.

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  1. #1 by wilomis on Friday 20 November 2009 - 1346

    I just watched a few Joans pass their head to toe assessment in lab this morning. Last I checked the if a person has their tonsils removed, you usually don’t state “tonsils present +1″….. welcome to nursing…

  2. #2 by Maha on Friday 20 November 2009 - 1638

    That scares me very badly because I try my damndest to not miss anything so I don’t lose my job or worse still, kill anyone. And the Joans of the world can still keep on ‘practicing’.

  3. #3 by Nurse K on Saturday 21 November 2009 - 2051

    Joans are like drunks…drunks never die and Joans don’t get fired.

  4. #4 by wilomis on Saturday 28 November 2009 - 2239

    I felt it appropriate to state here, thanks for the support of your recent post.

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