The latest instalment of Nurses Behaving Badly featured the night charge and the day charge (i.e. me) getting a status asthmaticus organized in Resus 1 a few minutes after shift change. It’s probably reasonable to wonder why the two Resus Room nurses weren’t attending (and attentive to) the situation, especially after we paged the physician and the RT in quick succession for a possible intubation, and especially since both of them were less than twenty feet from where we were working.
We thought at first they were getting report on the only other patient in Resus, but after 10 minutes or so we began to wonder how long it actually takes to give report on a stable, routine, admitted, pain-free NonSTEMI.
Meanwhile we got the patient on high-flow oxygen, assessed, drew blood, did an ECG, set up stacked Ventolin treatments, placed two large bore IVs, hooked the patient up to the cardiac monitor and generally got organized to tube the patient.
Turns out they were looking at a jewellery catalogue, drinking coffee, texting, socializing, what have you.
Grrrr. And when the night charge asked our two colleagues to cease and desist from shopping and tweeting and trading bon mots and actually do some, you know, nursing, we got the “whatever” look: face squinched up, hands up in the air, eyes rolled. The look that manages to convey a dishful of entitlement and irritation, with a light sauce of fuck you to complete.
By the time I gave my report, it was nearly an hour after shift change. But what goes around comes around. There is cosmic retribution and it is just. That night Nurse Tweedledee and Nurse Tweedledum received, in addition to the now intubated status asthmaticus:
A cursing psychotic patient in four point restraints
A cursing drunken 20-year-old who managed to pee and puke all over herself all at once
A non-compliant insulin dependant diabetic in DKA
And just before shift change, a fulminating CHFer, which required them to stay long after their shift was over.
In short, they had a craptacular night. The complaints, the bitterness, I am told, from the pair was tremendous. They needed to leave. They had child care issues. Husbands needed vehicles — and one of them was written up for being late. They were tired as no nurse in the history of the universe was tired. Why are we so afflicted? they moaned. What did we do to deserve this?
Karma, baby, karma.
The cosmic lesson being simple, work starts promptly on the hour. Not after fifteen or twenty minutes of “social” time. Be considerate of your colleagues. They’ve been working for twelve hours and want to go home. Many, many, bonus points if you come in ten minutes before to get report so the nurse you’re relieving can get out on time.
To say I had any sympathy for either of them would be a bald lie. Can you say schadenfreude?
*VSA = Vital signs absent.