Dos and Don’ts for nurses from “that parent”
1. Leave caps, alcohol pad wrappers etc. in the patients bed or on the floor
2. Judge: while it is a nice concept that parents should keep a normal routine for their child in the hospital it isn’t that easy when aides are coming in every 4 hours for vital signs (day and night), nurses and doctors are coming in around the clock, volunteers and staff that get to know and love your child come in at 10:30 p.m. to visit and wind up your child and the many machines that beep for different reason’s around the clock as well. Really—how do you suggest I make a normal routine out of this?
3. Make inappropriate comments, especially when parents/visitors can hear. I listened to an RN making fun of a parent who was bringing her child for a walk in a wagon early in the morning about how the parents hair was messy and out of place and how she would never be seen in public like that—hmmm try spending a month with your child in the hospital. Would you really care how you looked??? I also heard a few nurses complaining about a child that was noncompliant and didn’t want his TPN
4. Turn off the call light without responding to it. Nothing ticks me off more than pressing the call light and having it be turned off 10 mins later w/o anyone checking what we need. I turn it right back on and it is turned off again after 5+ minutes. I don’t call for assistance often, and when I do- it’s not for my entertainment or to be waited on. If you are busy, kindly send in an aid, the huc, another nurse—anybody!! (or simply ask what is needed over the intercom).
5. Please don’t assume you know my child or a loved one more than you do. He is probably feeling blah/blah/blah—Well, no, actually he is having nerve pain. How do I know this you ask? It comes from years of learning what every facial expression, movement and sound mean, not to mention the in depth research I have done to understand the disease process that my son is experiencing.
6. DON’T give meds when you don’t know what they are or what they do!!!! And don’t respond to a parent,”I’m not sure actually” after a parent asks what the medicine was for that you just administered!
7. Assume anything!!! EVER!! Not with doctors, patients, parents—ANYBODY!! Get clarification. Me: “Can you please empty my son’s G-tube content into his feed this afternoon (per doctor’s order) and I will do the one tonight? My Mom will be watching him for several hours so that I can have a break. Nurse: “sure.” Several hours later, I returned to find out the nurse in fact didn’t do it and reported to the next nurse that, “his mother didn’t want him to become upset when his grandma was watching him, so she wanted to wait until she got back.”
8. Don’t expect your aide to always know what you expect. I have had to tell several aides at shift change to record my sons’ diaper output separately from the output from his continuous vent drainage from his G Tube (which also goes into a diaper , so it’s understandably overlooked, but could have big consequences)
1. Answer call lights in a timely manner (not 15-20 minutes later) As a parent it isn’t fun holding your very sick child who has vomited all over their clothes and bedding while they cry and shiver when all you can do is cry with them and call over and over for help.
2. Say hello & good bye at the beginning and end of shift (unless they are sleeping of course).
3. Your job, don’t expect parents to do it. Yes, parents need to learn how to take care of their kids when they go home, but really, it isn’t necessary to wake a parent who hasn’t slept well for months to change a diaper or skip collecting stomach content to replace in a gJ feed because they don’t want the child to be upset when their Grandma is relieving Mama for a few hours for
a much needed nap (while forgetting to unclamp the tube that is supposed to be on continuous draining).
4. Be truthful in a professional manner if you do not know the answer to something. Something like, that’s a good question, I don’t want to misinform you so let me go find out and I will get back to you as soon as I know!” (Make sure to keep your word and get back to the parent!)
5. SMILE J
6. Try to relate to parents and talk to us. We get stir crazy being in the hospital!
7. Point out how cute and adorable our kid is—well, if you have to reach on some kiddos (not mine of course) make a comment on the child’s strength. It is always nice to hear a compliment and parents with medically fragile children often hear nothing but negative news.
8. Set all the machines so they won’t beep at different times around the clock! Several nurses do this for us. It can be done!!! (Don’t ask me how though).
9. Educate parents on all the possibilities to help their child. Learn as many little tricks as you can! We have struggled for almost a month in the hospital to brush our sons’ teeth every day. I have asked for any ideas many times. A few days ago, an awesome nurse gave the suggestion to use the oral care attachment for the suction machine!! It’s working wonders!!