Crohn's Disease Forum » Surgery » Dealing with Nurses

04-22-2017, 08:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2014
Dealing with Nurses

Hi all,
I need some help in learning how others of you advocate for yourself when you are dealing with a less than stellar nurse.

Long story short, I underwent a colon resection 4 weeks ago. I have been hospitalized three times (and am still in the hospital currently) for complications. My main issue is a severe, persistent pain in my abdomen that they are struggling to control. We are not sure whether it is related to the small abscess I have in my colon, an ovarian cyst (a new discovery), pelvic fluid, or inflammation in my colon and around the surgical site. I am here until further notice doing bowel rest, IV antibiotics, and perhaps TPN if they can't reintroduce food. The main goal in the short-term has been to keep this pain under control and to rest the bowel. That means I'm a pretty simple patient in that I can't eat or drink. All i really need is pain meds regularly and the occasional heating pack.

While most of you with chronic hospital stays understand, some (actually, most) nurses are angels on earth. However, others are less than responsive, have no idea about the pain associated with Crohn's, and lack any bedside manner. How do I deal with the nurse who does not come for 30+ minutes after I call, doesn't even look at me when she's assessing me, and generally disregards my needs much less try to anticipate them? I feel like I am getting a nurse like this at least every couple shifts or so and I can't deal. I am at a large state research-oriented hospital that is incredibly busy. The last time my husband was with me and he got the charge nurse involved but the nurse blew up and yelled. It was terrible and it made things worse. Right now I am by myself and sometimes when the pain is so bad, I am incapacitated and I suck at doing anything except crying. At this time, I feel like I am just not a good advocate for myself.

Can anyone give me some tips on how to deal with this? (a) If the nurse shows up and I can tell its gonna be rough, what proactive things should I try? and (b) Once I have a poor nurse do I just go over her head or do I stick it out?

Thanks for your advice,
04-22-2017, 08:52 PM   #2
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ronroush7's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: vienna, Virginia

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No one should be treated like that. I would recommend going over her.
Diagnosed in 1990. On Humira, Imuran, Gabapentin, Colestipol, Synthroid, Lialda. Resection in April of 2010. Allergic to Remicade, Penicillin, Flagyl, Doxycycline. Thyroid issues and psoriasis and neuropathy and mild cerebral palsy. Mild arthritis in my lower back.
04-22-2017, 08:56 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2014
Thanks Ron,
I'm curious if you or others have had this experience.

Let's say, for example, I do have someone (like tonight) who is not necessarily unkind but just not proactive, doesn't anticipate needs, and take FOREVER to come. When I brought up how long it took, I got a bunch of excuses. Still go over her head?
04-22-2017, 11:56 PM   #4
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Trysha's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009

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Nurses have the upper hand and usually stick together....
I have always found that there is a shift t with a less than stellar nurse.(s)...just one of those things.
I have been hospitalized numerous times and there is always one less than stellar shift....happens in every hospital.People are human ...
Best to ignore them and try to manage where possible.....usually the next shift I have found to be better.
If there is a serious omission then it must be dealt with and then I would be asking for the senior nurse to sort it out.
When we are stuck for weeks or months....had them both...then it becomes more important to tolerate as much as possible..never could beat the system
04-23-2017, 01:05 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Abilene, Texas

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I have dealt with this before. In fact, I've dealt with this a lot. I recommend asking for the charge nurse and talking to her. If this continues to happen go above the charge nurse. I think it's called the nurse manager. And continue going up. You can also asked for another nurse. I have fired nurses after talking to charge nurses. But here's the caveat, you must be respectful and calm. Getting angry or being disrespectful will get you nowhere. Explain your situation and they should accommodate you. I hope this helps.

04-23-2017, 09:02 AM   #6
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Kentucky

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The only time I have had a horrid experience was back in the fall with my third surgery in a matter of weeks. I had two CNA's that were supposed to come help me to the restroom - with a nerve block I had both bladder & colon incontinence. One of the CNA's was very helpful, the other cursed at me, dropping the foulest of words. I was already experiencing horrible physical pain, severe difficulty with the anesthia, along with the humility of not being able to control bodily functions. To be cursed at just simply topped it off. I asked them to leave and called for my nurse. The charge nurse got involved as well. I believe the young lady was fired for her actions. This being said, I will never bash that nursing staff as they are the ones who have the best interest in patients, and are generally the most compassionate. I guess I have been really blessed with some of the best where I receive my medical care.
My daughter is in her third year as a nursing student and it is by far one of the most difficult professions to prepare for and they do bring home their concerns & worry for their patients. Some 'may' try to separate their emotions to focus on the physical care, not the emotional well-being forgetting that patientcare is a whole package not just the part of us that is physically hurting. There are bad apples in every profession; maybe if they aren't short staffed, requesting a different nurse will take care of some of the problems. So sorry that you are receiving not the best of care...when you feel horrible, kindness goes a long way. God Bless.
04-23-2017, 09:07 PM   #7
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Aparrish, I'm so sorry to hear you have been treated so poorly. These substandard nurses give the rest of us a bad name. These nurses obviously have no compassion, haven't been through health issues themselves and frankly should find another profession. Yes, you can reach out to the charge nurse, but I suggest you have a discussion with the Nurse Manager on the unit first. If you don't feel well enough to discuss, have a close family member do it for you. You can also ask to speak to the CNO (Chief Nursing Officer). You will have to go to the hospitals administration office. I guarantee you will get some action and results. This kind of behavior is not tolerated. At the Medical Center where I work, this stuff is taken very seriously and heads would roll. Take care and best of health and care to you!

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