Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Survey says…

on July 11, 2017

A lot of surveys should be landing in my parents’ mailbox over the next week or so. Between the two of them, in the last four weeks, there have been two ER visits (one that turned into an admission), one outpatient surgery, at least one diagnostic test, and I’m sure they’ve had labs done at a facility owned by the area hospital they’re frequenting. One of these visits will not garner a positive survey.

After my Dad’s outpatient surgery, while in recovery, his blood pressure kept climbing.

I observed the nurse get an order, put the smallest dose anti-hypertensive medicine possible in the tubing port of my father’s practically bone dry IV, not bother to flush the medicine with 10 cc of normal saline, and then not hang another IV bag and open it up some. She retook his B/P in under three minutes.

I remember starting to clench my jaw, but then she repeated the dose. (She had an order.)


The medicine never reached his vein.

At this point I was struggling to have that ‘we nurse stick together’ comradery.

The evening call nurse came over seconds later. It was 7:00 pm. (Call staff takes over at this time.)

She disconnects the long IV tubing, leaving his IV, with a short section of tubing, in.

So there’s his medicine, in the tubing.

They take my Dad’s pressure again.


The second nurse tells him he needs to relax. She tells him that he is tensing up. They take his pressure again.


They take it again a minute later. 205/105. He’s going to have a stroke and I’ll need to kill a nurse.

I tell nurse #2 I need to speak with her privately. She complies. I tell her, with my jaw clenched tight, exactly where I think that B/P medicine is and why. She returns and re-doses my Dad and flushes the medicine in with syringes filled with normal saline.

Two minutes go by.

B/P 168/95.

He’s home and fine. That’s the most important thing. I’m still debating whether to write a letter to the hospital or wait and see if he gets a survey.

Either way, it’s not good. Someone’s coming down a notch.

10 responses to “Survey says…

  1. DM says:

    Dang. It is a good thing you were there. Since you are a nurse yourself, and you know how this stuff works, I’m guessing there won’t be any circling of the wagons….keep us posted.

  2. Christy says:

    I can’t imagine being a nurse and watching that and knowing what is happening. Good for you, speaking up. Most of us would not have caught it and would be freaking out. Glad your dad is okay

  3. I’m glad that you spoke up. It can be difficult trying to be the patient (or patient’s kid) when you have medical knowledge. You don’t want to embarrass or undermine or appear like a know it all to the medical staff. Its a fine line, but you handled it well. Kudos.

  4. BETH says:

    The key word here is care. Do the caretakers care enough to be careful? What if they were in someone’s care who did not care?

  5. thefastingnurse says:

    That is sad and scary. Glad you were there to handle the situation. This is definitely evidence that basic nursing skills need to be stressed and practiced, as they often make the most difference in patient care.

  6. I would so write the letter. I have, in fact, to the chief of staff. Makes me livid.
    Your blog is not connected to your avatar on the comment board, btw.

    • Susan says:

      I’ve been thinking about doing that – and thanks, I’m going to get someone to look at my site and help me get the kinks out.

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