Like the saying goes “When it rains, it pours”, yesterday I went on duty without a buddy nurse to help me out. I had six patients to watch over and in an intensive care unit, that is not a good nurse-patient ratio.
At around 8pm, the operating room called to endorse a post esophagectomy patient. Usually, post operative patients have to stay at a post anesthesia care unit for two hours before they get transferred to us for close monitoring. It just so happened that the surgeon in charge wanted the patient endorsed immediately to the ICU. I had no choice but to receive the endorsement. When the patient arrived, I immediately did all the necessary documents and procedures for a post operative patients.
At around 8:30 pm, the emergency room called and was so in a hurry to endorse a stroke patient. I asked him to call me back because I was still on the process of going over my new patient’s chart. I thought that from there, he would have a clue that I cannot accommodate another admission just yet because I just received a post operative patient, instead he asked me if how many more minutes before he can call me back. I got a little bit irritated because I felt like he doesn’t really care for as long as he gets to endorse a patient just to lessen his load, at my expense and the patient’s as well. Because I didn’t want any issues, I called the supervisor to inform her of my situation. Good thing the supervisor on duty understood my reason.
As nurses, we too have our limitations in terms of patient close monitoring. We can only do so much, that’s why learning to be assertive is a very useful skill in nursing. Like what they emphasized on the seminar on “Caring for the Care Givers”, it’s ok to say “No”. Because by doing so, we protect ourselves from possible unfortunate instances in terms of patient care. Not just that, we can also give maximum quality care to our patients.
It’s not really easy to go solo on an intensive care unit where all the patients are on close monitoring. If that happens, you just have to pray hard that God will be with every decision you make. Godspeed!!