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    50 Secrets Your Nurse Wont Tell You

.50 Secrets Your Nurse Wont Tell You


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: 17-05-2009
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50 Secrets Your Nurse Wont Tell You

20-12-2013 01:51 PM

1. Were not going to tell you your doctor is incompetent, but if I
say, You have the right to a second opinion, that can be code for I
dont like your doctor or I dont trust your doctor. Linda Bell,
RN, clinical practice specialist at the American Association of
Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, California

2. When a patient is terminally ill, sometimes the doctor wont order
enough pain medication. If the patient is suffering, well sometimes
give more than what the doctor said and ask him later to change the
order. People will probably howl now that Ive said it out loud, but you
have to take care of your patient. A longtime nurse in Texas

3. Feel free to tell us about your personal life, but know that were
here for 12 hours with nothing to talk about. So the stuff you tell us
will probably get repeated. A nurse in St. Petersburg, Florida

4. A lot of my patients are incontinent, and Im supposed to just use a
wet washcloth to clean them. But if its a patient whos been really
nice and appreciative, Ill go all the way to intensive care to get some
of the heated wet wipes, which are a lot more gentle. Somebody whos
constantly yelling at me? I just use the washcloth. A nurse in St.
Petersburg, Florida

5. Ive had people blow out arteries in front of me, where I know the
patient could bleed to death within minutes. Ive had people with brains
literally coming out of their head. No matter how worried I am, Ill
say calmly, Hmmm, let me give the doctor a call and have him come look
at that. A longtime nurse in Texas

6. Id never tell a patient that hes a moron for waiting a week for
his stroke symptoms to improve before coming to the hospital. Although
Id like to. Especially if his wife then complains that were not doing
anything for the guy. A longtime nurse

7. If youre happily texting and laughing with your friends until the
second you spot me walking into your room, Im not going to believe that
your pain is a ten out of ten. A nurse in New York City

8. When you tell me how much you drink or smoke or how often you do
drugs, I automatically double or triple it. A longtime nurse in Texas

9. Your life is in our hands literally. We question physicians
orders more often than you might think. Some of the mistakes Ive headed
off: a physician who forgot to order a medication that the patient was
taking at home, a doctor who ordered the incorrect diet for a diabetic,
and one who tried to perform a treatment on the wrong patient. A
nurse from Pennsylvania

10. These days, you cant get admitted unless youre really sick, and
youll probably get sent home before youre really ready. So we dont
get any easy ones anymore. Kathy Stephens Williams, RN, staff
development educator for critical care at St. Anthonys Medical Center
in St. Louis, Missouri

11. People have no idea of the amount of red tape and charting we have
to deal with every day. We spend hours at the computer just clicking
boxes. They tell us, If it wasnt charted, it didnt happen. So I
always chart with a jury in the back of my mind. An intensive-care
nurse in California

12. Despite nurses best efforts, hospitals are still filthy and full
of drug-resistant germs. I dont even bring my shoes into the house when
I get home. Gina, a nurse who blogs at codeblog.com

13. The No. 1 thing you should never say to me: Youre too smart to be
a nurse. I went to nursing school because I wanted to be a nurse, not
because I wanted to be a doctor and didnt make it. A longtime nurse
in Texas

14. Greys Anatomy? We watch it and laugh. Ninety percent of the things
doctors do on the show are things that nurses do in real life. Plus,
theres no time to sit in patients rooms like that. Kathy Stephens
Williams, RN

15. The sicker you are, the less you complain. Ill have a dying
patient with horrible chest pain who says nothing, because he doesnt
want to bother me. But the guy with the infected toe he cant leave me
alone. An intensive-care nurse in California

16. No matter how many times you use your call light, even if its
every ten minutes, I will come into your room with a smile. However, if
you dont really need help, I will go back to the nurses station and
complain, and this may affect how the nurses on the next shift take care
of you. A cardiac nurse in San Jose, California

17. When your provider asks for a list of the medications youre
taking, make sure you include over-the-counter drugs and herbals. People
think that if an herb is all natural and organic, its not a
medication. But thats not true. Herbals can interact with other
medications and can cause serious complications. Kristin Baird, RN, a
health-care consultant in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin

18. This is a hospital, not a hotel. Im sorry the food isnt the best,
and no, your boyfriend cant sleep in the bed with you. A nurse in
New York City

19. I know you asked for mashed potatoes, but that sound you hear is my
other patients ventilator going off. A nurse in New York City

20. If you ask me if your biopsy results have come back yet, I may say
no even if they have, because the doctor is really the best person to
tell you. He can answer all your questions. Gina, a nurse who blogs
at codeblog.com

21. When you ask me, Have you ever done this before? Ill always say yes.Even if I havent. A nurse in New York City

22. In my first nursing job, some of the more senior nurses on the
floor refused to help me when I really needed it, and they corrected my
inevitable mistakes loudly and in public. Its a very stressful job, so
we take it out on each other. Theresa Brown, RN, an oncology nurse
and the author of Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and
Everything in Between

23. It can be intimidating when you see a physician who is known for
being a real ogre make a mistake. Yes, you want to protect your patient,
but theres always a worry: Am I asking for a verbal slap in the face?
Linda Bell, RN

24. Every nurse has had a doctor blame her in front of a patient for
something that is not her fault. Theyre basically telling the patient,
You cant trust your nurse. Theresa Brown, RN

25. If you have a really great nurse, a note to her nurse manager that
says So-and-so was exceptional for this reason will go a long way.
Those things come out in her evaluation its huge. Linda Bell, RN

26. If youve been a patient in a unit for a long time, come back and
visit.Well remember you, and wed love to see you healthy. An
intensive-care nurse in California

27. I once took care of a child who had been in a coma for more than a
week. The odds that he would wake up were declining, but I had read that
the sense of smell was the last thing to go. So I told his mom, Put
your perfume on a diaper and hold it up by his nose to see if it will
trigger something. The child woke up three hours later. It was probably
a coincidence, but it was one of my best moments as a nurse. Barbara
Dehn, RN, a nurse-practitioner in Silicon Valley who blogs at

28. Now that medical records are computerized, a lot of nurses or
doctors read the screen while youre trying to talk to them. If you feel
like youre not being heard, say, I need your undivided attention for a
moment. Kristin Baird, RN

29. Never talk to a nurse while shes getting your medications ready.
The more conversation there is, the more potential there is for error.
Linda Bell, RN

30. Some jobs are physically demanding. Some are mentally demanding.
Some are emotionally demanding. Nursing is all three. If you have a
problem with a nurse or with your care, ask to speak to the charge nurse
(the one who oversees the shift). If it isnt resolved at that level,
ask for the hospital supervisor. Nancy Brown, RN, a longtime nurse in

31. If the person drawing your blood misses your vein the first time,
ask for someone else. Ive seen one person stick someone three times.
They need to practice, but it shouldnt be on you! Karon White
Gibson, RN, producer-host of Outspoken with Karon, a Chicago cable TV

32. Never let your pain get out of control. Using a scale of zero to
ten, with ten being the worst pain you can imagine, start asking for
medication when your pain gets to a four. If you let it get really bad,
its more difficult to get it under control. Nancy Beck, RN, a nurse
at a Missouri hospital

33. Ask the nurse to wet your bandage or dressing before removal it wont hurt as much. Karon White Gibson, RN

34. If youre going to get blood drawn, drink two or three glasses of
water beforehand. If youre dehydrated, its a lot harder for us to find
a vein, which means more poking with the needle. 

35. Dont hold your breath when you know were about to do something
painful, like remove a tube or take the staples out of an incision.
Doing that will just make it worse. Take a few deep breaths instead.
Mary Pat Aust, RN, clinical practice specialist at American Association
of Critical-Care Nurses in Aliso Viejo, California

36. If you have a choice, dont go into the hospital in July. Thats
when the new crop of residents starts, and theyre pretty clueless. A
nurse supervisor at a New Jersey hospital

37. Doctors dont always tell you everything. Theyll be in the hallway
saying, She has a very poor prognosis. Theres nothing we can do.
Then they dont say that in the room. Sometimes I try to persuade them
to be more up-front, but I dont always succeed. Theresa Brown, RN

38. There are a few doctors at every hospital who just dont think that
they need to wash their hands between seeing patients. Others get
distracted and forget. So always ask anyone who comes into your room,
Have you washed your hands? Kathy Stephens Williams, RN

39. Many doctors seem to have a lack of concern about pain. Ive seen
physicians perform very painful treatments without giving sedatives or
pain medicine in advance, so the patient wakes up in agony. When they do
order pain medicine, theyre so concerned about overdosing, they often
end up underdosing. A nurse supervisor at a New Jersey hospital

40. When youre with someone who is dying, try to get in bed and
snuggle with them. Often they feel very alone and just want to be
touched. Many times my patients will tell me, Im living with cancer
but dying from lack of affection. Barbara Dehn, RN, NP

41. Its the little things that make a difference for people who are
sick. One of the best things you can do is wrap them in a warm blanket
or towel. Throw the towel in the dryer before they are bathed. If
theyre in a hospital, find out where the blanket warmer is. Barbara
Dehn, RN, NP

42. Ill never tell you to change your code status to Do Not
Resuscitate, even though I might cringe at the thought of having to
break your ribs during CPR.With certain patients, however, I may talk to
family members to clarify their goals for the patients care. This
sometimes leads to an elderly person being placed on comfort care rather
than being continually tortured by us with procedures that arent going
to help. A cardiac nurse in San Jose, California

43. Husbands, listen to your wives if they tell you to go to the
hospital. Today a man kept fainting but wouldnt go to the hospital
until his wife forced him. He needed not one, not two, but three units
of blood he was bleeding internally. He could have had a cardiac
arrest. Another man complained to his wife that he didnt feel right.
His wife finally called me to come over to their house. His pulse was
40. He got a pacemaker that evening. Barbara Dehn, RN, NP

44. The doctors dont save you; we do. Were the ones keeping an eye on
your electrolytes, your fluids, whether youre running a fever. Were
often the ones who decide whether you need a feeding tube or a central
line for your IV. And were the ones who yell and screech when something
goes wrong. A longtime nurse in Texas

45. If you do not understand what the doctor is telling you, say so! I
once heard a doctor telling his patient that the tumor was benign, and
the patient thought that benign meant that he had cancer. That patient
was my dad. It was one of the things that inspired me to become a
nurse. Theresa Tomeo, RN, a nurse at the Beth Abraham Center for
Nursing and Rehabilitation in Queens, New York

46. At the end of an appointment, ask yourself: Do I know whats
happening next? If you had blood drawn, find out whos calling who with
the results, and when. People assume that if they havent heard from
anyone, nothing is wrong. But Ive heard horror stories. One positive
biopsy sat under a pile of papers for three weeks. Kristin Baird, RN

47. As a nurse, sometimes you do nothing but run numbers and replenish
fluids. Sometimes youre also the person who reassures the teenager that
everybody gets her period on the day of admission, the person who,
though 30 years younger than the patient, tells that patient without
blushing or stammering that yes, sex is possible even after neck
surgery. Youre the person who knows not only the various ways to save
somebody elses life but also how to comfort those left behind. A
longtime nurse who blogs at head-nurse.blogspot.com

48. I had one patient show up repeatedly to see me after he was
discharged. Another little old man tried to pull me into bed with him.
(He was stronger than he looked.) The general rule is dont ask us on a
date. Were busy. Its unethical. And, really, I already know you better
than I want to. A longtime nurse in Texas

49. Positive attitude is everything. I have seen many people think themselves well. Nancy Beck, RN

50. A simple Thank you can really make my day. A nurse in New York City

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