Give Me a Break

Give Me a Break

Blabber Nurse

February 27, 2008

Recently, our ICU beds are always full. Cardiac, Surgical and most especially our Medical ICU, where I work.

In MICU, it’s not very new to have full bed capacity because of our chronic bedridden patients. They fill up the place. Problem is, we don’t have the extended care facility that they should be in so I guess you can say that instead of working in a critical unit, I’m basically working in an extended care facility or nursing home!

The frustration doesn’t stop there, mind you.

In this place, relatives are the ones making decisions instead of the doctors!

Yes, I know that the relatives should have a say on what the MD’s are doing to their patients but I also think that they should trust the MD’s and the RN’s taking care of the patient!

We have this particular family in the unit who is such a pain in the ass! I’ve not been assigned to take care of the patient, (thank goodness!) but according to the stories of other RN’s they can really stress you out to the point of making you want to pull your hair out!

There’s this particular incident that one of the daughters (who incidentally is also a doctor) asked the RN not to give Vancomycin because she thinks it’s not helping her father, but she also told the RN not to tell the MD in charge that she told her not to give it because she doesn’t want the MD to know that she’s interfering with the treatment!

Another RN said that while she was doing her work in the nurse’s station, they called her and told her to remove the hand splint because they think that their father’s hand is getting more stiff with it. The splint has only been put on for a few minutes.

While she was removing the splints, another daughter was asking about the vent settings, another one was pointing at the cardiac monitor and another one was asking her something. All family members are professional by the way. Most of them are in the medical field.

We don’t mind being asked questions. It’s part of the job. It’s also our way of updating the family about the progress of the patients.

But please.

Sometimes, let us breath!

What do you do when patient relatives try to overrule your decision making? Sound off in the related discussion thread.



  • 033_max50


    about 7 years ago


    It is a difficult problem....We have alot of the same problems.....I work in a very small hospital and it seems like we are turning into a nursing home....In our hospital almost everyone including patients are related....We just keep remembering 'THIS TO SHALL PASS'....LOL

  • Nana_and_grandkids_minus_noah_max50


    about 7 years ago


    It's especially hard for nurses when the ones caring for the patient (family) can't get along and try to over ride each others' wishes. It's hard on the patient too. Some decisions should defer to family but not all of them. Patients and family members in the medical field are especially hard to deal with . And they are not objective when dealing with a loved one. I know-been there/done that. In this case-the family should have been told that the splint needed to stay on to see if it helps(hadn't been on long enough to know). If family members continue to be an issue-the patients' MD needs to sit down with the family and get everyone on the same page. Sometimes, with the families-it's just the not knowing what's going on that's frightening to them. They want to be included in the decision making process. They feel they have no control over the situation and this is their way of having some control. (they feel helpless) Some people , whether in the medical field or not, just want to be the big cheese. It's a tough call for the nurses, that's why the MD needs to step in and take control.

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