Monday, January 20, 2014

She can't walk a mile in her own shoes

After fixing laboratory orders for two days, I called out one of the night nurses on her alleged "chart check."  I told her that it was obvious that she merely signs the charts every night and does not check that the orders are actually carried out, nevermind correctly.

She proffered, "What if I am by myself?  Then you don't expect me to check all of these orders?"

To which I responded:  "If I can take all these orders and carry them out BY MYSELF, then surely you, BY YOURSELF, can check them, especially without the constant interruptions that I have during the day."

She answered, "Well, I am never by myself.  The other nurse usually yells at me the entire night, so I can't concentrate and check anything."

She is so full of it.  I told her, "I would not sign my name and put my license on the line that some other nurse did something without verifying it myself."

She replied, "Well, I assume that the other nurse carried out the order, and that is why that person signed off on the order.  If the other nurse did not do what she was supposed to do, that has nothing to do with me."

Is she really this stupid?  The entire point of the 24 hour chart check is to catch orders that have been missed or messed up before they are perpetuated.  This is how errors continue for weeks until caught through another net.

You really can't blame her.  She has been operating in this haphazard manner since I started working in this hospital- at least three years.  Nobody above her has ever written her up or otherwise disciplined her for not checking the charts.  There have been serious medication errors and the investigation always blames the day shift nurse- never the night shift for signing that the order was correctly carried out when it was not.

But that little story is not fully illustrative of how far gone this nurse really is.

This is the finishing touch:

She eventually left and then called the ward about half an hour later.  "Did you find any shoes?" she asked.

"Shoes for what?  A patient needed shoes?" I asked.

"No," she replied.  "I got home and am looking at my feet, and I just realized that my shoes are not on my feet.  A patient was making so much noise that he woke me up early and in my confusion I must have forgotten to put on my shoes.  Do you see them anywhere around there?"  She was serious.

I said I did not see her shoes by the desk area, but would ask the staff out on the floor if they saw her shoes.  She replied, "Why would my shoes be all the way out there?  I never go out that far."

She went home without her shoes.  Through the hospital.  Through the parking lot, wet with rain.  Drove a car without shoes, without noticing that the pedals felt different.  Then thought that it would not be bizarre to call her place of employment, looking for her shoes that she just noticed were not on her feet.

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