After all the stressful nonsense our family was put through the past couple of days, I thought the timing was ideal for my story of my one, and only, night with a bad nurse.
Before I write about that particular night, I need to set this up. We have 2 regular nurses that carry the bulk of the nights. We love them both. They do a great job with Ryan. Well, one of these nurses had to take a month off to tend to a sick family member in Africa. The nursing agency sent in someone they just brought on to go through orientation. As I always do, I watched her closely without trying to let on I was.
Almost immediately she started off on my wrong-side. I hear her talking to the other nurse that she doesn’t know why she has to go through this three hour orientation. “I’ve been a nurse for 17 years”, she says. I chime in that “the orientation is more directed at Ryan, and not general nursing”. She groans and mumbles something unintelligible.
Next up. The nurse who is making her familiar with Ryan tells her that the parents insist that Ryan’s head never be below 20 degrees, and never below 30 degrees while being fed since Ryan is a high aspiration risk. She is clearly not pleased with this. She is quick to point out that this makes things rougher on her when bathing, repositioning, and cleaning his bottom. I remain silent. She has no idea what rough is… or is going to be.
As they bathe Ryan, I see she is not taking the time with his toes (a common place for fungal infections for non-mobile people). “I’ll need to circle back on this” I think, “and show her how I expected it done”. No need. The other nurse also picks up on this and asks her “did you get between his toes?”. To my amazement, she claims she did. The nurse asks her again, clearly concerned. The bad nurse becomes angry and lies again.
The next morning I call the nursing agency and tell them to look into providing us with someone else. I tell them I’m not feeling it with this nurse they sent over.
Fast forward to last Monday night.
It’s a battle from the second she walks through the door. I give her my iPhone to call in to the automated system to begin her shift. When she hands it back, she tells me she programmed this into my cell phone. Grrrrrrr! I can’t stand people messing with my iPhone. Even so, to me it seems rather bold to do this. I delete it immediately.
On to the medications. Bad Nurse is livid about having to provide the vast quantity of medications. She begins questioning the reason behind each. I begin to explain how many are used “off-label”, but she is too impatient to really listen. Fed up, I hand her the holy bible of medicine “Davis Drug Guide” and tell her to look it up on her own.
Now the story gets interesting.
As most know, I don’t sleep well. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I’m sure Bad Nurse wasn’t expecting me to be so restless, because it led to her eventual downfall.
Like every night, I am occupying my time researching. Around 3:00 AM I finally doze off. Shortly before 4:00AM, the monitoring equipment begins to alarm. I pop up to investigate. No concern, the pulsox fell off his toe. I clip it back on and the alarm goes quiet. I hear the fan on in the bathroom and figure that Bad Nurse is occupied. No big deal. I doze off again.
Sometime just after 5:00 AM I wake again. Was I just dreaming about smoking cigarettes? That’s weird. But, hey, I’ve been having some crazy dreams lately. Without another thought I drift back off.
Ryan’s alarm is sounding again! It’s 5:45 AM. I fix the pulsox one more time and sit on the side of the bed. Wait! Is that the bathroom fan running again? Is Bad Nurse sick and battling diarrhea? I grow concerned that she might be exposing Ryan to her illness. I fall asleep in a seated position waiting for her to finish.
At 6:15 AM I stir back to life. Bad Nurse is hovering over Ryan at the foot of the bed. What is that odor I detect? I get to my feet and approach her. She seems nervous. Then it hits me. I believe I smell cigarettes. Bad Nurse is talking to me, but I’m not listening. I tell her to hold that thought and go into the bathroom. Same odor. She was using the exhaust to draw the smell out. Guess what was about to hit the fan now!
I could see it in her eyes. She knew I knew. Bad Nurse was going to be in a boat load of trouble. Secondhand smoke is bad enough. Especially with Ryan just home from a respiratory illness. But, we have pure oxygen in the house! In big red letters on signs throughout the house it clearly says “No Smoking or Open Flames”. Her shift ends around the time I finish letting her have it. She is not invited back.
In a preemptive strike, Bad Nurse actually beat me in calling the agency and said that the commute was too much for her and she wouldn’t be keeping Ryan as a case! Oh, Bad Nurse! Naughty Nurse! Well, let me give my side of the story.
I hear she is no longer employed with this nursing agency…
ok she was a bad nurse but she was probably a good person inside no need to hate
Andrea LaVigne says
We have had many “bad nurses” over the years, but there were 2 that dealt with smoking. One lady was sneaking her head out of the door at night to puff puff puff, but the house’s air to air exhaust was right there and it sucked all of the smoke back in. The other one was busted when I started to see a brown mark on his screen- yep- smoke.
Jo Hobbs says
Can non/nurse spell EXPLOSION or FIRE! She sounds suicidal! This person should be fired and never allowed to practice nursing (?) again. There is no excuse for her ignorance. I question whether her documents are legit. I can’t even think about what could have happened — OMG! There are many injuries and deaths attributed directly to smoking around oxygen. Obviously, non/nurse doesn’t keep up with the news either. Praying that Ryan now has a good, qualified nurse.
Way Too Tired says
Boy do I ever feel your pain! We hire nursing assistants to care for my mother, a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic, and my father, who died last year from Parkinsons. My parents have lived with us at our home here in Morgantown since 2002 (Mom still does).
We’ve had some lovely people — secular saints, my husband calls them — but others were frighteningly bad. One particular aide was wonderful at first, but as my father became more impaired and the job more difficult, she became less able to handle it. Finally, she drugged my father (on purpose) and gave my mother second degree burns on both thighs from a hot rice pad (accidentally). We fired her. She applied for unemployment. We appealed. She won. So now our rates have been raised and we’re paying hundreds, if not thousands, of extra dollars in unemployment taxes while she pulls in a paycheck under the table.
If you want to swap more Caregiver War Stories, I could tell about the aide who stole the gift cards, the one who falsified her time sheets and ventilator records, the missing Xanax, the stolen champagne, and the false claims of injury. I used to think I was a pretty good judge of character. Now, on top of all the other pressures (physical, emotional, financial), I have to question my judgment and feel guilty for not being good enough, strong enough, insightful enough.
When it’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep for the worry and stress, I think of you, Ken, and all the other caregivers I know are out there inhabiting their own little islands of fatigue, desperation, and hurt. I’m sending you (and your family) love and psychic strength.
Paula Yocom says
God bless you, you are an extraordinary human being, and I’m not sure even that statement covers how I feel about people like you and Ken.
Carla Liberty says
Glad Nurse Ratched is long gone. And her mangy little cigarettes too! (Woops, I think I combined two movies here). The noive!
What an awful, disrespectful, rude, stupid, dangerous and crazy nurse. She exemplifies the awful belief that many people think about the medical world… that medical personnel are out for themselves and only want to make the good money but not put forth the greatest effort of all… to provide the BEST care for the patient. I’m in a medical profession and it grosses me to hear these kinds of stories. I pray for Ryan and the whole family every day and I think about you all every day. May the awesome great nurses return for his care and you be able to relax a little during this time.
Love goes out to you,
I would be calling the state nursing board and put in a complaint. If she works with agencies, she probably goes from one job to the next until she is “caught”. This will not stop her from practicing, she needs to be stopped, she is an embarrasment to the nursing profession! The nursing board might do something about removing her before she harms someone.
Right on Anna. I hope the family does this. It needs to be taken many steps further so she does not stay licensed.
Keith (From Morgantown) says
I don’t blame you one bit I would have layed into her also. Smoking in someones house smoking is bad enough but when noone else does and with Ryan knowing he shouldnt be around that is unbeleavable. I would not let her step in that house again. And for her saying about the 17 yrs of experience each patient has different needs and from the sound of things she wasn’t doing what she should be doing. Im glad that you took care of that. I wouldnt take anyone in to work for you all unless you feel that shes doing 100% of good work. God Bless and Hope you get someone that you can trust!
The Colangelis says
Sorry you had the bad experience with poor quality nurse. Fortunately, you are situated close by and able to pick up on poor performing help very quickly.
Miranda Yocom says
Ahhh, that is not good!! >:O Such a bad nurse, I’m glad you were able to get rid of her…and also, you are such a good writer Mr. Diviney, if you wrote a book I would definently read it 😀
Evelyn Boxley says
Ken, this s entertaining, extremely. I am sorry it is at your expense and Ryan’s but you do have a gift(another one , besides being the bet father). When Ryan wakes and is well you need to write. OMG and I’m afraid it will be at the expense of BAD medical personnel.
Still with you
Elizabeth, Morgantown says
I am so sorry to hear that, and good for you for standing up for your son! That is crazy that she would do something like that!
Wow, what an unbelievable story. That’s not just a bad nurse, that’s a very bad, dangerous nurse. (And she’s been in her profession for 17 years??) Thank God such bad nurses are a rare breed, and thank God this one is no longer employed by the agency you use. (And thank God sometimes for your insomnia, Ken. I’m sure that Ryan has benefited from your super-vigilance more than we’ll ever know.) Boy, did this woman get assigned to the wrong case… Good riddance to her, and kudos to you for maintaining “law & order” in your home as well a healthy sense of humor for all of us 🙂
Paula Yocom says
Goodness, Ken — I am bewildered that any person would ignore the dangers of pure oxygen, especially a medical professional who should definitely know better. Wow. And smoking around a person who has had pneumonia? I can only shake my head, because sometimes, I just don’t have the right words to express my dismay. I’m going to end this message on a positive note — I think you and Sue are awesome people, phenomenal parents, and heroes to me. Love you guys — Paula
Bravo to you, Ken for picking up on all of her bad habits and lack of professionalism. Now that she is out of the picture you and Ryan can move forward. Don’t let her get to you, you and Ryan will never see her again.
Crystal DeRouen says
Im sorry to hear about this terrible nurse ! I am a nurse and see these people “bad nurses” from time to time. There are two types of nurses…..the ones like myself who have chosen this career to touch peoples lives and give our patients the love , respect, and care that every human deserves ! I LOVE being a NUrse ! Then there are the others that are only concerned with a paycheck ! These people have the presious lives of our loved ones in there hands ! It takes one second for something to go wrong !!!!! Again Im sorry that you and Ryan had to deal with this, I would just like to add when you have a great and caring nurse PLEASE show your appreciation and hold on to them !!!! because its not easy to find people these days who are nurses because they truely love what they do……………still praying…….Crystal