This post can fit in a variety of places, however I decided to link it Stories from the Heart since we tend to want to do the right thing because we care. Sometimes doing the right thing is painful and can hurt others. Sometimes doing the right thing for the patient can end the career of another.
Sometimes doing the right thing for your patients involves someone getting fired. I know this sounds cold and hurtful, especially if that person is supporting a family and is the bread winner. Saying "Your Fired" can just save a patient from harm. I'm sure one of you out there has worked with someone and thought "why the hell are they in healthcare?"
In order to protect both patient and worker, most of the details have been changed, however the content remains similar in order to prove my point on doing the right thing.
Unfortunately in my career I have a few too many of these experiences where I had to settle my internal anger and agitation towards a co-worker based on what I witnessed.
It is always difficult to prove negligence or harm, especially when it's he said/she said, followed by excuses and a convoluted explanation that lacks accountability or an apology. It's one thing to investigate, take statements, read nursing notes, and look at past issues, but another when you actually witness an event.
I was rounding on one the units I supervised late in afternoon. Staff were in decent moods and it was an ordinary shift. Of course there is nothing ordinary about any shift, so lets say nothing earth shattering going on. I was doing my usual chit chatting with the staff, "how is school going?" or "who's off this weekend and doing anything fun?' talk. As I chatted I couldn't help but over hear a conversation between a couple of the staff. As they discussed how they "were sick of how she treated the patients and no one does anything", I couldn't help to wonder why I had no clue of who they were talking about. Of course I asked and was told, "oh nobody really."
I continued rounding on the unit for a few minutes and was called to the ER. After a few hours I popped back up to the same unit to walk around and "see" what I might hear this time. As I walked around I found a nurse standing outside of a patient room. She had a look on her face that said "I'm disgusted!"
The nurse tried to tell me what she over heard while in the patient's room, however she didn't need to say anymore.
"Oh m god your disgusting! I have better things to do than clean up after you. Your so gross, I hate you!"
I had a hard time believing my ears and had to pause a few seconds. My heart was racing and I felt very angry. I needed a chance to regain my emotional intelligence in order to act professionally around the team.
Walking in the room, I looked around and gave this person wearing a hospital badge a look I hope she never forgets. She had her hand holding the patient, now pressed up against the side rail, face in the mattress, arm tucked under his body. I asked the nurse outside the room to come in and take over. I then asked the owner of the voice I heard to please wash her hands and meet me in the break room.
I've never been on the receiving end of this type of conversation, but you can only imagine what must have been going thru her mind. This is what I always hope, of course if she wasn't going to own up then maybe she had no clue why I pulled her from the room. The break room was thankfully empty as we walked in. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to start the conversation, however as soon as we entered it just blurted out of my mouth.
"Get your things and leave the property. I am making sure you never work here again."
I was waiting for some sort of discussion, argument, yelling, or pleading. What I received was tears, a confession, and an apology. This followed with a confession about being angry towards people and not knowing how to control it.
After a lengthy conversation I convinced this person that healthcare was not right for her. Some people learn to deal with things they have to see and do and some just will never be able to tolerated it. Helping someone to understand that may just save hundreds of patients freedom from some form of verbal or even physical abuse.
I wondered why it had to come to this? Was she the one I overheard the staff talking about earlier. As you could only guess the answer to that was, yes! Later on the staff told me this has been going on for a while. I was sad it took so long, yet glad I could make an example and send a message to others.
Yelling, screaming, and being abusive to a patient will not be tolerated!
I hope you agree that doing the right thing can save patients from harm. To some its just a job or a paycheck, to many it is a calling. Please never turn your head when patient's need you the most.
photo credit: google images