I to am a non-working nurse and have had and worked with nurses like the one you described. You did the absolute right thing by contacting the charge or nurse manager. I would work with nurses that quite honestly made me embaressed to be a nurse. They were rude, unkind, and incompetent while "knowing it all". I would inquire to the managers why these nurses could behave so poorly and still be employed. Most of the time the manager would say that because no one says anything or makes a complaint about the nurse, it was "he said, she said". No complaint had ever been formal so it was just the staff and patients grousing about this nurse with the managers hands being tied.
So we should ALL make a formal complaint whenever we are poorly treated. If you run in to a nurse manager or charge nurse who seems uninterested then ask to speak to someone from guest relations. There are so many hospitals nowadays that they are in a "customer/guest relations" race. So if a patient makes a complaint, they will usually listen.
I had a nurse the last day of my last admission who not only was rude but decided to change the amount of pain med I was getting without discussing it with me. I found this out because she came at me with an unmarked syringe after I had asked for something for pain and was not going to tell me what was in it! I asked her what was in the syringe. She literally huffed, said "It's your pain medicine" and then tried to give it. I again said to her, "What is the name and dosage of the medication you are about to put in my body"? She said that it was 2 mg of dilaudid and 4 mg of Zofran. They day before my doc had upped my IV pain med from 2 to 3 to get better pain management but the order read 2-3mg. Therefore she decided, without any input from me, to decrease my dosage. When I asked her why she did this, she told me that i didn't "look" like I was in pain so I didn't need that extra mg of pain med. What part of "PAIN MANAGEMENT" did she not understand! I was infuriated. I told her to get out of my room, to send in someone with the other mg of my med and bring the charge nurse to my room. Here I am an RN, a patient, and I was being treated like this at the very same hospital I had worked at since i was 19 years old. I was so upset.
The good that came out of this story was that not only was that nurse get taken off my case, the head supervisor of the entire floor called me that evening at home to discuss the matter. He apologized profusely and assured me that the nurse had been talked to and had a "write-up". A week later, I received a call from a research company that asked me to give my opinions and recount my experiences as a patient. Just to make sure that the issue with the nurse had truly been handled, I was able to leave a recording in which I specifically named the RN that had behaved so poorly. The company is obligated to submit this to the hospital. My hope in doing this was that she would NEVER treat another patient like she did me.
I forgot to mention the most ridiculous thing she tried to tell me. When I tried to tell her that I had received 3 mg all night shift and had acheived adequate pain relief she told me that the night nurse had been giving me 2 mg all night long. Just as i had done to EVERY nurse that came in to my room with an unmarked syringe, I had asked the night nurse what she was giving me. She had told me that she had brought my pain medicine, 3 mg of dilaudid. So in other words, either the day nurse was lying to me, the night nurse was lying to me or someone besides me was getting and extra mg of pain med. How dumb do they think we are?
Unfortunately, I have known RN's who have given patients (the nonverbal ones) saline while pocketing the narcs and taking them theirselves. I will never forget about a nurse I worked with in the unit who had a tendency to disappear for stretches of time and then show up all of the sudden slurring her words and with her eyes half open. We (the other nurses on the unit) were really starting to worry about her when one night she literally stumbled out of the bathroom, passed out on the floor and was obviously OD'ing. We were all seasoned ICU nurses but we all freaked out pretty hard to see one of our own convulsing and foaming at the mouth. She recovered well, went into rehab and has been clean for 6 years now. But she had gotten so bad that she was shooting anything she could get her hands on. When she was unable to get her hands on meds (verbal patients or not working), she would shoot up Listerine!!! Frightening!
I think another problem that we run in to while in the hospital is that we are treated with a certain built in level of suspension. I believe this is due to the overwhelming amount of pain that we have. Most of us are on pain meds at home (usually the big narcs) but are forced to go to the hospital to receive stronger IV pain meds along with fluid replenishment. That will usually cause health care workers to throw up red flags. So we start our hospital experience at a disadvantage. I have cared for and met people who so come to the hospital/ER looking for narcs. I am ashamed to say the I have an ex-sister-in-law who defines the meaning of doctor/ER hopping. These type of people ruin it for those of us who are truly hurting and are reaching out for help.......sorry to be so wordy. I just get so tired of being treated like some sort of criminal. Even at the pharmacy they give you that sideways glance. Maybe not. Maybe I blow things out of proportion. I have to admit that this issue is my soapbox or cause. Please forgive!
Now that I have spilled my guts and probably sound like a raving maniac, but I was wondering if anyone else has had similar problems or situations regarding their pain meds. Whether it be at the pharmacy, in the hospital of even at the docs office. Thank you Laika for sharing your experience with us. I am very sorry as a nurse and fellow CP'er that you had such an awful experience but I appreciate you sharing. I hope this finds EVERYONE happy, healthy and pain managed!
Love and Hugs,