Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ok, so I knew that eventually I would get around to this point in my blogging life.  I have a REALLY hard time with the fact that we seem to be in a customer service industry.  Now I totally agree that we should treat our patients as best as we can, but the whole 'The customer is always right' mentality that I left behind when I walked out of the fast food industry and entered the nursing field cannot hold true.  While the customer is always right, the patient may not be.  There are times when the nurse does know best.  The patient is given a say but sometimes the nurse has to  make the final decision.  We have the education, experience, and judgement to make desicions based on the information we have access to (namely labs, imaging reports, and consult notes).
AND we may have spoken with the physician.

Another thing that bothers me is how we are expected to cater to patients and families.  When the patient (or the family that is visiting) asks for a soda or a cracker we are expected to drop what we are doing and retrieve this item.  Now if I am not busy and am just doing a patient check round I have no problem with this and am happy to do it. My problem comes in when I am dealing with an emergency in another room and am expected to cater to every whim and wish.  Now some patients are understanding and will patiently wait for a non-essential item.  However there are a select group that will burn the call light up in impatience for their ice cream or graham cracker. I love giving my patients that extra little TLC but there are just times it CANNOT be done.  ( Note the word EXTRA) Nothing irritates me more than when a well meaning family member arrives at the desk demanding this or that happens right this second.  This family may have NO earthly clue what else their loved one's nurse is dealing with that evening.  They simply want their priorities on top and sometimes, there is a life-and-fastly-approaching-death situation going on two doors down.

Bottom line is that I have a real problem with the whole customer service aspect of the job.  I agree that we should (and I think for the most part that we do) treat our patients as best as we can.  And part of that is prioritizing appropriately.  And I have a blood sugar of 45 or a blood pressure that has skyrocketed or someone isn't breathing, that coke or ice cream is not high on my list.

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