"This experience made me ashamed to be a nurse"
About: Luton & Dunstable Hospital Luton & Dunstable Hospital Luton LU4 0DZ
Posted by kquist
I was recently admitted to ward 22 with renal colic and uncontrolled pain and nausea.
I sat for hours in considerable pain with terrible nausea and waited to receive the treatment which the surgical Dr in A&E had discussed with me, only eventually it transpired that it hadn't been prescribed right and therefore I couldn't have the simple treatment of PR diclofenac, anti sickness, IV fluids and laxative I had been promised.
After 8 hours the fluid that had been started in A&E finished and I was told no more was prescribed. I was emotional by that time and began to cry, the nurse asked what was wrong and I told her, "I came in to hospital because I feel so sick I cant take my pain killers or drink and that's causing dehydration and my pain to get worse and worse, now I've been here all day and you have done nothing for my sickness, have prescribed my pain killers wrong so I am getting less than I was at home, and now these fluids are finished - I may as well go home." She shrugged her shoulders and said " You'll have to self discharge" and told me that the doctors wouldn't be round that day but may be round the next (although I had been told in A&E I would see a urologist within an hour or two on the ward) and in the mean time I should sip water.
I stayed because there was nothing else I could do.
Over that night the nurses almost made two drug errors with my simple analgesics that I stopped from happening and I witnessed countless more near misses around the bay (I couldn't help but watch as curtains were never closed.)
The patient in the bed next to me screamed for 4 hours solid in the middle of the night and although they got her a doctor not one nurse offered her a kind word. During the screaming I went out to use the toilet and saw about four members of staff sat around a desk - so they cant even claim they were busy.
When I eventually saw the urologist he was nice, confirmed for me all I already knew to be true and commenced the treatment that I had been promised over 24 hours earlier.
I am a nurse myself and believe that nurses are there to care, to listen to the patient and advocate for them. If a patient doesn't get the care they were expecting, for example, the drug chart is wrong or they need fluids that aren't prescribed, it is not good enough to leave it until a doctor shows up to change it, it is the job of the nurse to make sure the doctor knows he needs to change it and does it, or if he doesn't change it he involves the patient in their own care and that they understand what has happened and reasons why.
My time on ward 22 scares me, I am a young and fit health care professional with the education to protect myself. I don't even want to imagine what the care of the elderly or vulnerable might be like with nurses not well educated enough to be empowered to fully embrace their role and so overworked and overlooked they have forgotten how to care about patients as individuals.