Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Coming Down to Earth

on January 18, 2018


“Remember this patient yesterday? Say’s there’s $10 missing from their wallet.”


“Well, yeah, I remember her. She was a total knee replacement case – had several family members here with her. They took her belonging bags…”

I’m not perfect when it comes to having families fill out and sign the personal belongings sheet. It’s not a high priority thing to me on a busy day. It’s a piece of paper in the back third of the chart behind consents, lab results, the patient history, etc…

“They asked for the manager. She’ll be in shortly.”

Sh*t! Did I fill out the belongings list? Yesterday was a blur. Oh, man…

I was riding high on recently learning my abstract on a Process Improvement project was accepted the National ASPAN conference. Now I’m free falling off my cloud into a counseling session about remembering to complete ALL the paperwork.

An hour later, my manager came back from visiting the floor where the accuser (on day two from her knee surgery) was recovering.

“Was the belonging list completed?” I tried not to sound stressed.

“Yes, it was. But I still want to spend a few minutes with everyone.”


I’m only partially relieved.

Ten minutes later, she came out of her office and prefaced her critique by letting us know that the patient’s family had asked the concierge in the waiting room to watch the bags while they went to lunch. This morning, being uncertain about the amount of money she thought she had in her wallet, left the concierge, and me, in the vulnerable position of being considered possible thieves in the eyes of the patient.

“So, you all need to have the patients check the amount of money in their wallets and write it down on the belonging list.”

Listening to the lungs, reviewing lab results, checking blood sugars, and checking medications for any that should have been stopped or might interact poorly with anesthetics – Well ! Have to stop doing one of these silly things!

Seriously. What a way to dumb down nurses roles. I had one of those rare why am I doing this? moments.

12 responses to “Coming Down to Earth

  1. Christy says:

    So, I’ve been complaining a LOT about all the paper work I have to fill out every time I see a client. That’s not why I went into this field of work and I resent having to do so much admin. After reading this I feel a little ashamed to be complaining. And I feel that I really don’t have it so bad with my requirements. I just detest admin work! That’s a lot to put on you staff to remember when you’re focusing on a person’s immediate physical needs. Way to go on the abstract!! Congrats! Celebrate it!

  2. Yahhh I hated doing that when I was admitting a patient on the floor! I needed to start an IV, hang antibiotics, hook them up to telemetry, get an on arrival ekg, vitals, the crazy admission paperwork… AND count the money in their wallet… I too felt like having to do that (although important for the security of their belongings) did not seem like it fit into the nursing role.

  3. Beth says:

    Notice all the illnesses that follow someone who is alone in the world. I have wondered if you meet people like this who are genuinely sick because of loneliness. How can you or any other medical person possibly take care of so much documentation and still do what you studied to do? Have we, as a nation, forgotten our real purpose?

    Another nurse I know told me that “code and no code” is decided on the basis of family or no family. Pity help the ones who are truly alone.

    • Susan says:

      There are many factors to determining code status and it is driven by first, the patient, then , if they are not orientated anymore and there is no family, a court appointed guardian gets involved, and the hospital board of physicians determines of what can be done will increase the patients health. It becomes very complicated when there is no family. I’ve worked at the same hospital for over 20 years and my experience is , well, it’s a really big deal.

  4. joey says:

    I think my eyes rolled into Ohio. We all have to do some petty stuff at work, but goodness, you’re in the life-savin, health-preservin business!

  5. Jim says:

    you don’t even want to now what I think of most people but it seems that’s some admin weenie’s job instead of having a nurse do it. But I suppose that would cost money and that would more than likely never be given any kind of consideration.

  6. Emdagny says:

    What a frustrating moment and that the result was more documentation…isn’t great. I know a major reason for special needs teachers leaving the profession is huge paperwork. I have friends who are social workers and they feel they have to spend more time justifying certain evaluations or assessments than the time it actually takes to do the assessment or evaluation. I suspect we’ve already crossed that barrier with certain medical tests and procedures.

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