The Secrets Nurses Keep: 2/2

In the November, 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest— there was an article entitled 50 Secrets Nurses Won’t Tell You. I mean, of course, I am going to read this. As a nurse, as an author, and as a blog editor– I’m going to see what it has to say. Please, take some time to check out the full article.

I thought I’d give my thoughts here on whether or not I agree with the trueness of these statements. I’m not sure that’s truly a word– so don’t use it in Scrabble or anything. The items are taken directly from the article– so credit is given to Reader’s Digest for these.

You can read about my first post here.

Item Four: “When a patient is terminally ill, sometimes the doctor won’t order enough pain medication. If the patient is suffering, we’ll sometimes give more than what the doctor said and ask him later to change the order. People will probably howl now that I’ve said it out loud, but you have to take care of your patient.” A longtime nurse in Texas.

Hmmm…. this one is painful– no pun intended. First, let me say that I understand where this nurse is coming from. I’ve been in situations where the patient has needed more pain medication than the physician is willing to order and it is really frustrating because you’re the one whom the patient is staring at, begging for relief.

However, the nurse is right about the howling part. Put simply, this is illegal. A nurse who chooses to do this is operating outside her scope of practice. She would be giving a narcotic without an order. An uber-big no-no. She is at risk for losing her license.

Personally, I would not choose to do this. I’ve never done it nor has it even crossed my mind. What I have done is called the doctor relentlessly and summoned the physician to do a bedside exam so they can SEE exactly what I’m talking about.

Item Five: “Every nurse has had a doctor blame her in front of a patient for something that is not her fault. They’re basically telling the patient, ‘You can’t trust your nurse.'” Theresa Brown, RN.

Sadly true. I’ve had this happen. I spoke a little bit about this in the last post. A nurse would get in a lot of trouble for doing the same of a physician so there is a double standard. All corrective conversation should never be done in front of a patient, at the nurse’s station, etc— only a private room with reasonable discussion.

Item Six: “Never talk to a nurse while she’s getting your medications ready. The more conversation there is, the more potential there is for error.” Linda Bell, RN

True…true…true. In fact, this is becoming part of training videos for fellow staff– to not talk to your co-workers when they are calculating and drawing up meds. It is fine to ask medication questions– in fact, you should. But wait until you have your nurse’s undivided attention.

What do you think of these items?


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