View Full Version : Nurses

Chihuahua Mama
05-24-2008, 03:17 PM
My sister is very sick, she has lung cancer and is in a hospital in Dallas/Ft. Worth area; one of many hospital stays she has had. The big difference this time is she is on some very, very strong pain meds. She needs them.

I talked to her recently and she wanted to warn me about my upcoming hospital stay. She said, "don't ever piss the nurses off, and asking for pain meds before they are due will do just that..they will make you wait longer the next time, and sometimes into the next shift".

That made me mad, and it took some constraint to not call the nurses station and raise hell, then I remembered that she sometimes doesn't have the best recollection of events because of those meds. Also, it seems like that would simply be inhumane for a nurse in an oncology ward to make a patient wait.

Some of you have had some horror stories about hospital care (I still shudder when I think of poor Janet who had to call 911 in a rehab hospital) and another who demanded to see the anesthesiologist on staff. I do intend to discuss the pain management program with my doctor to prevent any problems in advance but I'm wondering just how common this is? My jaded self is thinking it happens more than it should.

05-24-2008, 03:38 PM
I think having an advocate there who knows the score as much as possible is the answer to many/most issues that come up. You will not necessarily be in any condition to advocate for yourself. I often had to get a nurse or find out what was happening when during my daughter's hospital stay. Just having information often calmed my daughter even when nothing else changed.

I can't imagine not having anyone there at all times. I was there most of the time but my husband was there when I went home to take a shower for a few hours each day.

When my father was dying of cancer, I stayed at the hospital also, just going home to take a show during the final three days. I scored the necessary morphine dosages that let those last three days be better than they might have been otherwise. I didn't need to stand on anyone's desk but I have to make the case very forcefully. I needed to do far more advocating in that circumstance than with my daughter.

Good luck.

Chihuahua Mama
05-24-2008, 03:55 PM
I can't imagine not having anyone there at all times. I was there most of the time but my husband was there when I went home to take a shower for a few hours each day.

That's impossible for me. My kids will be there during my surgery and one of them will check in on me at least once a day, but that's it.

Another good reason to talk to my doctor about meds, but I'll pretty much be at the mercy of the nurses.

05-24-2008, 04:03 PM
See if one of your kids can stay overnight the first night...that was my worst night and I could really have used a family member there to make sure I got the ice chips I so desperately needed. My nurse had two patients and was "too busy" to come make sure I had ice chips. I made sure that the charge nurse heard about that one and that nurse was never responsible for my care the rest of the time.

05-24-2008, 04:05 PM
Chi-Mama, I'm sorry your sister is having to go through this. The issue of nurses is a tough one.

Rather than worry about it, I think it just makes sense to make sure you have someone by your side at all times for at least the first 5-6 days when you're going into a surgery this big. I had my husband for a couple of days, then a very pushy/assertive friend, then a private night nurse. By the second week I was okay by myself during the day. Even the best nurses are not going to come running every tine you push the call button -- and when you are in pain, 5 minutes feels like an hour. The night nurse made sure I got my meds on schedule so that I didn't wake up in too much pain. She was also someone I could talk to when I couldn't sleep -- something the other nurses just don't have time to do.

05-24-2008, 06:35 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your sister too. And I sure hope that some nurses don't have that kind of mentality to "get back" at a patient in their care, but there are so many different kinds of people out there that it is believable.

I don't have any memories of nurses (or other staff) not meeting my basic needs like pain medication or other necessary attention. It seemed like they were always checking, always pretty attentive, and almost always very concerned, encouraging, and caring. My husband was there with me at first, but didn't stay in my room non-stop or anything. And then after a few days he would drive home for half a day or maybe even a whole day, to work and get some real sleep, etc. It was about a 5 hour round-trip for him. I was fine when he was gone. My only gripe with a couple of nurses (maybe only one???) was an attitude (matter of fact, just a job type thing). When I rang for a nurse, I don't think I ever waited more than 5 minutes. Sometimes they push you to do more than you want to, but that is because they are helping you, even though at the time you don't want that kind of help!!! -- like with toileting (back to that! :rolleyes: ) -- making you learn how to do things yourself, walk farther, etc. Not all hospitals have nightmare stories about their staff. I liked mine (spinal surgery wing) well enough to send them a nice big Fannie May candy assortment at Christmas. They were, almost all of them, just great. I left there feeling that I had made friends. Maybe I'm weird. (OK, you guys, lay off!) Or maybe it was the drugs... ;)

05-24-2008, 07:13 PM
My mom stayed with me the first night, but honestly, it was more of a worry to me (she *hovers*, won't stay seated, and she herself is off-balance from inner ear issues and osteoarthritic hips and knees).

My brother took her home the next morning, and I stayed the remaining 5 days solo (with friend drop ins who made me rubber chicken - LOL, out of rubber gloves - warm packs for my sore ribs).

The best thing you can do is line out a plan for post-op pain mgmt and med dosage, and explain your concerns to your surgeon - especially WHY you're concerned - pre-op.

The PCA will handle most of your pain, but yes ... you may need oral meds for breakthrough.

Most, if not all, hospitals do have patient advocates (although I think most are 8-5 types), but introduce yourself before surgery - and tell them you're solo. Ask them to check on you daily.

I'd say go as far as meet the head nurse, and explain the situation. The more people that are aware of your concerns, the better.


05-24-2008, 11:17 PM
Oh boy...nurses :mad: . I had my surgery at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills, CA. Where "the celebrities" go. One would think that you would get the best of care there... NOT. The nurses were so bad there and I did not have anyone there to be with me. Well, I was so upset with the care that I was not getting that I ended up hiring a private nurse. I had to pay $180.00 a day (12 hours) which I hadn't planned on financially but, let me tell you. It was worth every last dime.
The last 8 days were in rehab where the nurses there were very nice. My PN was there for me like no one else. Every little noise that I made she would jump to see if I was OK or needed anything. So there you have my story on nurses. If you are able, I would inquire about PN !!!

I am very sorry to hear of your sisters illness.
God Bless

05-25-2008, 01:17 PM
Susan, Make sure your Dr. puts in your chart to switch around your pain meds if what they start you on isn't working for you and to contact him immediately if any problems. One of the nurses mentioned it really helped to see that in writing rather then you telling them. I stayed 8 days in the hospital alone and was fine. My husband brought the kids in the evening and visited during the day as well. My step-mom and friends also stopped by during the day to check on me. I did learn if I needed a nurse I needed to plan ahead as it took 20 min usually to see one. I was nice but firm and did fine alone at night. There are people everywhere who feel they didn't get good treatment in the hospital. You don't hear about the ones who did.... Like a root canal, you only hear about the bad ones!! Best wishes, Suzy

2/22/06 T10-L4 @ age 43
49* lumbar now 8*

Chihuahua Mama
05-25-2008, 07:47 PM
Thanks for all your responses, and especially for the best wishes for my sister. I am going to look into private nursing but I am quite sure it's going to be a stretch financially. Up until this point I have been supporting my son who's just (finally) graduated from school, so there isn't a whole lot extra there, but we'll see.

And I will talk to the doctor and call the hospital's head nurse... After reading TNGirls' post about her nurses...yeah, I'm going to take every precaution I can. That just makes me angry that a young girl was pushed to the point of fainting. If that happens to me, I'll make sure one of them is underneath me to cushion my fall.

Debbie - one of the reasons I am NOT having surgery at Cedars was because of yours and others experience with those nurses. Even one of surgeon's back office nurses said there were problems the staff at Cedars.

The hospital I've picked was one that President Reagan was treated at (speaking of celebrity) and seems to overall have a very good reputation, but it's good to know anything that I can do to mitigate any problems at the hospital.

05-25-2008, 08:12 PM
Chihuahua Mom, my experinece with nurses was both good and bad. My two nurses on my first night were excellent and very attentive to my needs especially assuring that my pain needs were being met. Many times I didn't use the PCA as often as expected because I have a very high tolerance for pain and they always made sure that I was comfortable. My other nurses were also attentive. I stayed in the hospital 4 nights. I stayed an unexpected night due to a spike in my blood pressure tha tneeded to be controlled. I had a wonderful friend (my son's godmother) who travelled from NJ to be with me the first week I was home. She stayed overnight with me two nights and some of the nurses understood why she was there (she is a PN visiting nurse by profession) but I did have one experience by one of the nurses whom I called at the wee hours of the morning to help me get to the bathroom and by the time she arrived my friend was helping me get up and the nurse commented "is she going to help you or do you need me" she was very gruff to say the least. However, overall I think my experience with the nurses was good. I might suggest if you can try to have someone wiht you as much as possible. This was my third fusion and I found this time to be the most challenging because I am very independent and always the caretaker for others. I am a single mother and caretaker of my disabled mom who has MS, so to have to have others care for me because you mean I can't do that on my own, was and continues to be somewhat challenging, but having my friend available was a true Godsend for me.

The most important thing to remember is to take this ONE DAY AT A TIME!


Chihuahua Mama
05-25-2008, 08:24 PM
I was just talking to my son (WARNING him actually...poor thing) and telling him about the Nursing-Caution-While-In-The-Hospital.

He said, "Mom! What website are you on....Kill Nurses dot Com"??? Isn't there ANY positive advice your taking from this website??"

Hm. Methinks I need to tone down the negative stuff I'm telling my son to look out for...sheesh.....Kill Nurses dot Com indeed.


and thanks LJ...One Day at a Time is good advice.

05-25-2008, 09:35 PM
Hi Susan,

After reading the posts about horrible nurses I'd thought I chime in to share that my experience related to my daughter's surgery was completely the opposite. I was extremely impressed with how wonderful the nursing staff was with her; they were very attentive and were very patient with her. I always let them know about her autism diagnosis and they were completely unfazed with having to deal with any additional behavioral issues (which only happened maybe three times). I cannot think of anything negative to say about the nursing staff.

Another thing that set the hospital apart was when Kim was admitted, I told them that she was diagnosed with autism and would probably need to have her hands restrained so she wouldn't pull out the IVs. Apparently they do not like to use restraints, so they assigned a "sitter" to be with her all the time. Usually it was someone who was working towards their nursing degree and they were absolutely great. Having these sitters there also allowed me to take breaks. Since home was about 1 1/2 hours away, I stayed in a nearby hotel for the first two nights after her surgery then I stayed in her hospital room on a foldout bed for the last three nights.

Here's the ironic part of the story: All this started because I thought Kim would yank out her IVs and she never even attempted it. She charmed all of the staff because she was pretty sweet in the hospital. Then again, put me on morphine and I'd probably be pretty nice too!

I do think it is really important to have someone advocate for you while you are in the hospital. I lucked out that I was able to be there for Kim almost 24/7 plus she had those wonderful sitters. If you have concerns about the nursing staff, I would encourage you to call on friends, family and/or hire a private nurse to be with you in the hospital. It will only be for a limited time and you're worth it!

Best wishes to you,

05-25-2008, 11:38 PM
Hm. Methinks I need to tone down the negative stuff I'm telling my son to look out for...sheesh.....Kill Nurses dot Com indeed.

Methinks, YES! ... and no (they bring the meds! :))

Chill, baby. Gonna be fine.