Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's always the nurse

gonna get on my soap box.
And though this is a medical-y thing, I think that I want to respond here for a few reasons.
One is because you, the "customers" of health care and hospitals, are getting bombarded with news stories this week about how unsafe care is
and the other is because all the medical people who read First Do No Harm already realize what I am about to say.

Lets start with yesterdays study. The one that claims that one in 15 children in the hospital will come to harm.
This is bullshit. The fact of that study is, they did it in Los Angeles, at 14 hospitals there.
Since when does Los Angeles constitute all the hospitals in the United States? And to add more insult to injury, over and over again on the news, (which was on in the lounge I was waiting for my Jeep in) Doctors were interviewed, and they ALL threw the nurses under the bus. It seems that this is all our fault. NOT the MD's who order things, NOT the drug companies who put lethal doses of drugs in packages that look JUST LIKE other, non lethal doses. Its the Nurse's fault.
Now I will say, any smart, observant nurse, ESPECIALLY with pediatric patients, is VERY VERY careful about what he/she is giving them. We have a policy, at my Podunk, that 2 nurses check EVERY medication given to a kid. And that even means calculating the dose of what we are giving to ensure it is correct for their age and weight. Have mistakes been made? Only one that I can think of. (and thank God I wasn't part of it.)
That kid is fine, btw.
Today, I had a second screen up, scanning the news, because I was searching for blog fodder. And lo!
Another article about people in hospitals. This time, it says that nurses are failing to notice when their patients are having complications that could/do lead to their death. They figured this out by going through the records of Medicare patients
one thing they leave out is that most of the states o this union do not have a safe nurse to patient ratio. (California does). Many of these nurses are caring for up to 15 patients at a time!
And, complications arise practically instantaneously, swiftly, and without warning. We do our best to notice everything around us. And, how old is the average Medicare patient? Truthfully? Elderly. And they die. Of complications. That we DO notice. If someone is going to die, and it is their time, I can stand on my head whistling Dixie while ten others around me do the hokey pokey and it won't make a difference in the outcome. DEATH HAPPENS. We can't live forever.
I am not claiming hospitals are the safest places on earth, nor that every nurse in this world is a perfect little robot who never makes mistakes.
What I am saying, though, is that it as not as bad as the media is portraying this week.
And if I see one more picture of Dennis Quaid on TV, I am going to start throwing rotten tomato's at it....
ok. Rant over.


Marcus said...

Thank you for doing what you do Mie. The people that do those studies and write those articles have no clue about the reality of patient care. On top of the fact that they know very little about doing for other people, much less devoting a career to doing for other people. You need a raise =D

mielikki said...

Thanks marcus.
Those people are clueless, but what I really worry about are all the laypeople in this country who will be afraid to come to hospitals now, or to bring their loved ones to one, just because the media is being stupid.

sybil law said...

I have always said nurses do most of the work - doctors mostly piss me off and bark orders. I am a huge supporter of nurses!
I hope my aunt isn't seeing or buying into it all, though (the news, I mean). My uncle went in and was treated for kidney stuff (he has kidney issues), and then went back 2 days later and had a stroke. Scary, but hardly even something that could be blamed on anyone. No one treated him for anything but kidney stuff, though. She wasn't blaming anyone, but still.
You know what else pisses me off? I hate all those exorbitant lawsuits, anyway, even if a doctor DID screw up, say... I mean, doctors are fricking HUMAN. They make mistakes! Does it suck? Yes! But man - they make mistakes! Just like nurses! I mean, obviously a drunk doctor would have some explainin' to do, but you know what I mean....
Okay. Anyway, I agree with you!

Bubblewench said...

Thanks for bringing reality to a media frenzy. Gotta blame someone.. very sorry it's the nurses, they're the ones doing all the work.

MM said...

This still doesn't deter me from wanting to become a nurse.

mielikki said...

mm you will be an awesome nurse.
BW you are welcome, and you are so right
Syb thanks! and yeah, someone always has to take the blame, and we are human...

holly said...

wait wait wait, i don't get it. you're saying the media is giving us bad information. yeah, like i'm going to believe that. like the media ever gets it wrong.

sarc over -
when i was working at a shipyard, the union made us all walk over to where the company was having "talks" with a customer. we were supposed to be making a point about something. 2000 of us. all at the holiday inn. it was on the news. the story? COMPLETELY wrong. i can't remember what the spin was, but it was certainly not what we were protesting about.

so i stopped watching the news. i figured if they couldn't get that simple thing right (even though i can't now remember it - it was 10 years ago), what else are they telling us that's wrong.


Jo Beaufoix said...

I'm with Holl. My sister-in-law is a nurse and she is amazing. She puts up with so much crap and still works hard and cares. Nursing is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and in my experience, I tend to favour the nurses to the doctors as they seem to see individuals, not cases.