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Curious: I had a not-so-great hospital experience. Am I too picky?


Alicia64
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Oh, I'm not going to complain about the male helper. There was actual bad things happening. I could go on and on. It was almost a comedy of errors except it could kill somebody.

 

The male helper was meant to help me out of bed, hold my gown-thing closed so my tush didn't hang out and assist me to the potty. Then he waits -- hopefully w/ the door closed -- not all female staff bothered closing the door for some privacy. Then he walks me back to bed.

 

I assume he helps people wipe who need it. I didn't.

 

My grandma would have been mortified.A

 

Alley

Meh. You need to let it go. And I seriously doubt you noticed anything that would kill someone. If you did I am not sure why you are asking if you should complain.

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You guys have been awesome. Thank you for thinking me through this. Someday I have to just list out everything this hospital did. It was nuts. At one point the nurse call button simply stopped working. Not just mine. The entire buildings.

 

When it finally was repaired they didn't -- as I tell my boys -- close the circle and let anyone know.

 

I found out the button was back on in another way. Just bizarre.

 

I took notes b/c -- based on what you've told me -- I will go to the hospital advocate. . .? Is that right?

 

THANK YOU!!

 

Alley

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Meh. You need to let it go. And I seriously doubt you noticed anything that would kill someone. If you did I am not sure why you are asking if you should complain.

 

Okay, "meh" isn't nice. I don't think we should talk to each other like that on here.

 

I didn't ask if I should complain about this situation. I asked for feedback. I also asked for kindness . . .directed at folks in the meh-club.

 

Alley

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This man might have been an LVN and I don't know their training. My mom was an RN so I know all that an RN has to go through.

 

At the nursing school I went to (it's still the same), pre-reqs before being admitted to the school of nursing take 2 years (4 semesters).  RNs then take an additional 2 years (4 semesters) of clinicals.  Those becoming LPN/LVNs had one additional year, including the summer (3 semesters).  The RN graduates then take the NCLEX-RN while the LPN graduates then take the NCLEX-PN.  (Interestingly, all of the LPN students that joined the RN students my first year, got their licenses that summer, got jobs working at nursing homes, and then joined us for the last year and got their RN licenses the next summer.)  For the difference in pay and the difference in scope of practice, the LPNs who graduate from the school I went to really go through more schooling than it seems like they should.  (Note that the first year of clinicals the RN and LPN students were all together for lectures and clinicals which is why the LPN students could keep right on going with us the last two semesters.  The requirements to apply to the school of nursing are identical regardless of which program you choose.)

Edited by Butter
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Well, I think biology is real, and maleness and femaleness are real and even intrinsic.

 

But, I think if this was as significant an issue as you are suggesting, we would already have a practice of having male caregivers for men, and female for women. That hasn't been the practice in our culture for quite a long time, it is only recently that it has been more common to have male nurses at all, or female doctors to do things like pelvic exams.

 

Did our traditional, pre-feminist practice, require men to deny their masculinity? I don't really think so. The only difference I really see with the introduction of male nurses is that we are more comfortable with the idea that men can be in caring roles, and that it is newer so more likely to feel weird to people.

 

ETA - in general, most people feel queer about someone helping them with intimate tasks. Usually it gets better once you do it because people act professionally, and you see that it is not a sexual thing to do that work. I don't think gender is actually much different in that scenario - it feels odd at first for similar reasons that having someone wipe your butt feels odd at all, but it turns out to be fairly unimportant.

We didn't have a practice of offering male caregivers for men and female for women because women weren't allowed to practice at all [as doctors and men were almost never allowed to be nurses.]

 

To suggest that therefore there isn't any significant reason for it seems contrary to me. *When given the option* many people DO make that decision and are glad for it. That they never had the option before doesn't mean it wasn't significant. It means the significance was not given consideration.

 

I suspect many women didn't seek medical care or get proper care bc they felt uncomfortable with male providers and also felt they couldn't really voice that opinion. Goodness, this very board, which is not exactly the most prude of home school boards, had several woman say they'd just disregard the order if it meant a male nurse and feeling uncomfortable. Risking a serious injury no less. It wouldn't surprise me if men quietly do the same thing. I've seen this wrt to my dh's elderly grandfather in the assisted living home. He needs a female nurse to go with him to the restroom or shower until his blood pressure meds are worked out, but he finds this degrading and humiliating but he doesn't want to admit that a female nurse who is otherwise quite nice and professional makes him feel that way - so he doesn't ring for help before getting up. And sure enough. He has had a fall. His wife was a respected CNA for decades! He KNOWS how this is. But it doesn't change how he FEELs about it.

Edited by Murphy101
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I can only speak for my state.

CNA: Certified Nursing Assistant, six week class. They "assist" with things like bathroom duty, cleaning up the patients, taking vitals, and patient care/comfort. Other than vitals, which are done on a machine, they have no medical duties.

LPN: 9-12 month program, limited nursing duties like basic assessments and passing non narcotics meds. None of the hospitals here will have them working on a floor; generally they are employed at doctor's offices and nursing homes.

RN: Either a 2 or a 4 year degreed and licensed professionals. On a floor they are in charge of patient care, including medication administration, charting, and implementing care plans and MD orders. Generally, they are too busy to do the basic patient care that the CNAs do. Often at night on a hospital floor you will only have 2 RNs and several CNAs.

NP--nurse practitioner. This is at least a master's degree and they can prescribe medications and tests, and have limited MD rights. They won't be doing direct patient care on a floor.

 

It is very common to have male nurses and CNAs. I have never had one on an OB floor but have usually had a male caring for me or my child at least once on a regular or pediatric unit. Quite honestly the nurses have way too much to do and would likely become extremely annoyed if I requested a female CNA when the floor was staffed with primarily males. In the ER I frequent most often with patients, they have ER techs who perform the CNA duties, including bathroom help, and they are overwhelmingly male. The RNs in that ER are probably 50/50 female/male as well. I have actually seen shifts where there may be only one female working and the rest of the RNs and techs are male. This is a 33 bed ER. It would not be possible in that situation for someone to request a specific gender caregiver.

 

On the flip side, I have seen notes in nursing home resident's orders that they are not to have any male CNAs. A friend who works there told me those patients pay extra, because they have to make sure a female CNA is always working on that unit. As more and more males move into healthcare positions, I suspect it will become more normal and less of an issue.

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I did not get to read all of the responses, but I wanted to add that at no time should someone be rude to you.  I understand that people are overworked because of staffing issues, but that does not give anyone that right to be rude especially to someone that is vulnerable after surgery.  My little guy had an overnight stay at our local hospital recently (he's completely fine now), and everyone went above and beyond to be kind.  It made it much easier to be there.  I agree that you should file a complaint with the patient advocacy department.

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After my first c-section, I had pretty bad postpartum care.  I was basically ignored for long periods of time.  I was pretty heavily medicated, but I had the baby in the bed with me, because I couldn't reach him in the bassinet.  After a long labor, my mom and dh had gone home and left me alone. 

 

Everyone was *shocked* when I wanted to go home after 36 hours.  I was ready to get out of there.  At least at home, I could be ignored in my own house.  :)

 

I changed hospitals for the next 3 c-sections and a gallbladder/pancreatitis hospitlization in the middle.  It was worth it.  The new hospital had amazing nursing care, and it was a completely different experience.  I don't think every hospital is understaffed in the same way.

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You guys have been awesome. Thank you for thinking me through this. Someday I have to just list out everything this hospital did. It was nuts. At one point the nurse call button simply stopped working. Not just mine. The entire buildings.

 

When it finally was repaired they didn't -- as I tell my boys -- close the circle and let anyone know.

 

I found out the button was back on in another way. Just bizarre.

 

I took notes b/c -- based on what you've told me -- I will go to the hospital advocate. . .? Is that right?

 

THANK YOU!!

 

Alley

 

Patient Ombudsman is usually the one to mediate situations while you are in the hospital. They should be able to give you the name of the people best to receive your feedback.

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If it matters, I wouldn't file a complaint over this one incident of a nurse being rude.

 

Mostly bc my range of personal situations is such that as long as I didn't get who I was uncomfortable with again, I wouldn't care.

 

I completely agree with you. And thank you for detailing out the various medical titles. I never exactly knew besides an RN. My mom sweated bullets to become an RN and still talks about how hard statistics was for her.

 

Interesting that you can pay for a female CMA; I didn't know. Next time, I'm taking a helper. :)

 

It truly wasn't one thing. It was a long list of things.

 

If a patient puts in a request, what happens to the staff person? (Also, it wasn't one staff person: it was many. The OT and PT: fine. The food people: very sweet. The Xray people: no problem. But the nurses and their helpers were curt and cranky and snappy. Not friendly at all.)

 

Here's an example. My phone fell. I can't reach or twist or get up. I called the help desk and said, "no rush, but my phone fell. Could someone pick it up? I'd love to order breakfast. (I'd barely eaten anything in three days.)

 

The lady curtly told me that "anyway nobody will answer b/c the food group doesn't open until 7 a.m.)

 

Politely I said, "I'm pretty sure it opens at 6:30 and I'm starving -- haha."

 

Again, she said 7. So I said thank you and good bye, checked the brochure that said 6:30. I called her back and super politely said, "well, it says 6:30."

 

Keep in mind that it can take food 45 mins. to an hour to arrive so you have to get that order in. Up until then, I'd been living on Saltines.

 

Then the RN rushes in saying, "She didn't know!" She was kind of yelling and defensive.

 

(Not knowing is fine, but arguing with a patient over picking up a phone?)

 

Since you're in the field, what do you think? There were many, many things like this.

 

Alley

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I had a horrible experience after my twin's unexpected c-section (as an example, 6 hours after being moved to my room, so about 8 hours post-op, DH had left to see to our other kids and I needed help lifting one of the twins from bassinet by my bed to nurse and the nurse actually yelled at me "for ringing for help and why didn't I think of this before my DH left?", gee I guess those twins had better not want to eat tonight! since DH had to go take care of my other 2 and they would not let DH sleep over :glare:). And after, when 1 was in nicu and then later when we needed daily blood tests. Do file a complaint. It's the only way they will know.

 

As far as M/F medical care, yes DH has and does refuse women and I do refuse men. When I had 2 emergency surgeries, well I couldn't control who was there/available to perform the surgery, but after that they did place a sign on my room door "no males admitted other than patient's husband" and the maintenance/cleaning etc all respected it. For my DH it is quite a bit easier as what he has to cover in front of a female is less and he always requests they wear gloves (so no skin contact) and someone else is always in the room. He would prefer a male, but I rarely see male CNAs/LVNs here. He has a procedure he needs coming up, but is trying to confirm that they can schedule him at a time when it will be an all male staff as it is of a more sensitive nature and would require he reveal an area of his body that he would not reveal to another woman. Since it is not an Emergency, we can wait for the accommodation. 

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I completely agree with you. And thank you for detailing out the various medical titles. I never exactly knew besides an RN. My mom sweated bullets to become an RN and still talks about how hard statistics was for her.

 

Interesting that you can pay for a female CMA; I didn't know. Next time, I'm taking a helper. :)

 

It truly wasn't one thing. It was a long list of things.

 

If a patient puts in a request, what happens to the staff person? (Also, it wasn't one staff person: it was many. The OT and PT: fine. The food people: very sweet. The Xray people: no problem. But the nurses and their helpers were curt and cranky and snappy. Not friendly at all.)

 

Here's an example. My phone fell. I can't reach or twist or get up. I called the help desk and said, "no rush, but my phone fell. Could someone pick it up? I'd love to order breakfast. (I'd barely eaten anything in three days.)

 

The lady curtly told me that "anyway nobody will answer b/c the food group doesn't open until 7 a.m.)

 

Politely I said, "I'm pretty sure it opens at 6:30 and I'm starving -- haha."

 

Again, she said 7. So I said thank you and good bye, checked the brochure that said 6:30. I called her back and super politely said, "well, it says 6:30."

 

Keep in mind that it can take food 45 mins. to an hour to arrive so you have to get that order in. Up until then, I'd been living on Saltines.

 

Then the RN rushes in saying, "She didn't know!" She was kind of yelling and defensive.

 

(Not knowing is fine, but arguing with a patient over picking up a phone?)

 

Since you're in the field, what do you think? There were many, many things like this.

 

Alley

I'm not in the field. I think you meant medicmom.

 

ETA: I think if you want to leave a comment it should reflect the stay. Say what was good and say specifically who was not and why with examples.

Edited by Murphy101
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Sparkly: I love you and you're a homeschool mom. Do the research. RNs make great money and go to school for quite awhile.

 

For a reason.

 

Did you read what Zoobie wrote? The guy likely had a GED or high school diploma.

 

Alley

 

But literally the job was probably beneath the RN and hence why she was annoyed with you.  He was surely trained to do that job.

 

Again, I fully 100% support your desire to not have him help you, but you are talking about him like he is just some idiot they randomly pulled off the street to help you in the bathroom. 

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People probably get confused by the designations because a lot of them are newer.  RN training used to include a lot of the things the other types of caregivers do now, and it often wasn't done in a university.  RNs started out doing the more hands on work, and worked their way into different specialties and management positions over time.  Older RNs trained under this system will often argue that it was a better way to train nurses.

 

Anyway, the reason an RN isn't usually the one to do basic care is because they are trained more to be the supervisor/managers and have all that education.  It really doesn't require four years of university to do a good job taking someone to the toilet or changing their bedding or giving them a wash. 

 

That is the whole point of making nursing a university/manangement thing and designating other types of caregivers.  You don't pay for university, or an RNs salary, to wash sick people.

Edited by Bluegoat
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if he was "helping" the rn - he didn't have his own patients. that's a huge difference.

That's not necessarily true. Or even anything to do with his creditials.

 

I've had nurses who were having a devil of a time getting a vein. They took pity on me and called down to pediatrics and got one of those nurses to come do it. They didn't have to do that. And I was impressed they were able and willing to do so. But for sure that pediatric nurse was "helping" my nurse. But they were both equal in creditials. (Elder care nurses and pediatric nurses are THE best at getting veins btw.)

 

I've also seen nurses who were far more familiar with a different wing/floor in the hospital get roped in to helping a short staffed one that they don't know the routine and needs of very well. So of course the smart thing for them to do is follow the lead of the veterans on the floor in many aspects.

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We didn't have a practice of offering male caregivers for men and female for women because women weren't allowed to practice at all [as doctors and men were almost never allowed to be nurses.]

 

To suggest that therefore there isn't any significant reason for it seems contrary to me. *When given the option* many people DO make that decision and are glad for it. That they never had the option before doesn't mean it wasn't significant. It means the significance was not given consideration.

 

I suspect many women didn't seek medical care or get proper care bc they felt uncomfortable with male providers and also felt they couldn't really voice that opinion. Goodness, this very board, which is not exactly the most prude of home school boards, had several woman say they'd just disregard the order if it meant a male nurse and feeling uncomfortable. Risking a serious injury no less. It wouldn't surprise me if men quietly do the same thing. I've seen this wrt to my dh's elderly grandfather in the assisted living home. He needs a female nurse to go with him to the restroom or shower until his blood pressure meds are worked out, but he finds this degrading and humiliating but he doesn't want to admit that a female nurse who is otherwise quite nice and professional makes him feel that way - so he doesn't ring for help before getting up. And sure enough. He has had a fall. His wife was a respected CNA for decades! He KNOWS how this is. But it doesn't change how he FEELs about it.

 

It's possible, but its also possible that it isn't so sigificant, but learned.  Sex differences can be real without every cultural manifestation being objective.  Veiling women is one manifestation of sex differences, but it isn't therefore not culturally determined, in that case almost entirely.

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The guy I dated prior to meeting my now husband was a CNA.  He often was rejected to help because he was a guy.  Basically his entire job was stuff that was related to bodily functions.  That is what CNAs essentially deal with.  The other CNAs loved him though because he was strong.  He could much more easily lift people. 

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It's possible, but its also possible that it isn't so sigificant, but learned. Sex differences can be real without every cultural manifestation being objective. Veiling women is one manifestation of sex differences, but it isn't therefore not culturally determined, in that case almost entirely.

Not only is it possible, I think it more probable.

 

I would not be so quick to just assume they are ignorant people we should just tell to get over it.

 

It's really rather insulting to suggest if we don't feel the same way it must just mean we need to be taught to get over it. (It tending to be our unacceptable to society prudish ways, ignorance/disagreement, or misplaced piety.)

 

If nothing else, if we beleive the statistic that 25% of women are sexually assaulted at some point, most of which never report, you'd think the medical profession would get a clue and treat women with a bit more consideration when it is possible.

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Not only is it possible, I think it more probable.

 

I would not be so quick to just assume they are ignorant people we should just tell to get over it.

 

It's really rather insulting to suggest if we don't feel the same way it must just mean we need to be taught to get over it. (It tending to be our unacceptable to society prudish ways, ignorance/disagreement, or misplaced piety.)

 

If nothing else, if we beleive the statistic that 25% of women are sexually assaulted at some point, most of which never report, you'd think the medical profession would get a clue and treat women with a bit more consideration when it is possible.

 

There is a huge difference between being ignorant, and just being used to something different.  Any time social practices change significantly, many of those who are used to something different will find it to some extent, disconcerting, or even awful.  People who grow up with the changes typically don't have similar feelings.  Public breastfeeding is a good example, people used to find it normal, then they found it abnormal, and now it is becoming more normalized. 

 

Generally when these changes are happening it means people need to be mindful of each others sense of propriety.  But that doesn't tell us much about whether the change is a good or bad idea.

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The guy I dated prior to meeting my now husband was a CNA. He often was rejected to help because he was a guy. Basically his entire job was stuff that was related to bodily functions. That is what CNAs essentially deal with. The other CNAs loved him though because he was strong. He could much more easily lift people.

I've only ever had one male nurse/CNA I didn't like. It was like the guy was out to prove something as a male nurse, but alas all he proved was he was an ass. I've had a couple female doctors I felt the same about. Like they have some chip on their shoulder and it meant they had to out-do men in being misogynist to women.

 

Usually I really like the male nurses and CNAs. They tend to be very aware of the need to make their patients, or at least this female one, comfortable with them. For example, I've never had a female nurse ask me permission before she started to do whatever and they tend to get really cranky when I stop them and say no, I don't want that. Male nurses have always been very careful to ask before they do any little thing and they don't get their feathers ruffled if I say no for some reason. Frankly, I wish female nurses would take note but usually what I see is them telling him he can't do that bc it's a waste of time. I have watched nurses adamently insist and coach males that they must be "assertive" and not ask permission bc it just "confuses" patients and makes the job take longer.😒 I'm sure that's true, I just don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.

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I've only ever had one male nurse/CNA I didn't like. It was like the guy was out to prove something as a male nurse, but alas all he proved was he was an ass. I've had a couple female doctors I felt the same about. Like they have some chip on their shoulder and it meant they had to out-do men in being misogynist to women.

 

Usually I really like the male nurses and CNAs. They tend to be very aware of the need to make their patients, or at least this female one, comfortable with them. For example, I've never had a female nurse ask me permission before she started to do whatever and they tend to get really cranky when I stop them and say no, I don't want that. Male nurses have always been very careful to ask before they do any little thing and they don't get their feathers ruffled if I say no for some reason. Frankly, I wish female nurses would take note but usually what I see is them telling him he can't do that bc it's a waste of time. I have watched nurses adamently insist and coach males that they must be "assertive" and not ask permission bc it just "confuses" patients and makes the job take longer.😒 I'm sure that's true, I just don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.

 

Yeah he ended up quitting.  He didn't care for the job.  It's a very hard job.  Physically...emotionally....

 

I don't think I've ever had a male nurse for anything.  One of my kids has mentioned possibly being a nurse.  I think he'd be a good nurse, but I do think he'd deal with discrimination.  Which kinda stinks. 

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Sparkly: I love you and you're a homeschool mom. Do the research. RNs make great money and go to school for quite awhile.

 

For a reason.

 

Did you read what Zoobie wrote? The guy likely had a GED or high school diploma.

 

Alley

 

I'm so confused by this. Are you saying if he had a degree you would have been okay with him helping you?  :huh:

 

And btw, I know a Nurse Practitioner who went to school for four years to get her degree, and an RN who went for two. I don't know all the differences between the programs, but many people do become RNs fairly quickly.

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I'm so confused by this. Are you saying if he had a degree you would have been okay with him helping you?  :huh:

 

And btw, I know a Nurse Practitioner who went to school for four years to get her degree, and an RN who went for two. I don't know all the differences between the programs, but many people do become RNs fairly quickly.

 

Yeah and I know of different programs that let an LPN become an RN in about a year.  I don't think the differences are huge.  But I suspect the biggest difference is that the LPNs do more of the grunt work than the RNs.  Either way these are both medical professionals. 

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Do you have someone checking in on you? Staying with you during the day? Four days alone in a hospital is a long time.

 

A relative's mother had friends and family staying with her during the day and at night, her daughter slept there after work.

 

It sounds like the hospital is understaffed (the CNA being the only assistant and no one able to pick up the phone right away). I really think you need someone with you. 

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I am a giant advocate of "no one should be alone in the hospital if at all possible." I've ruffled some feathers on this board before because of my stance.  Hospitals are dangerous places. Especially if you are unable to fully advocate for yourself, are in pain, are on pain medications, are not in full command of your faculties (i.e. if you are hospitalized).  This is doubly, or triply true for people over the age of 75. A person with mild or moderate dementia can become full-blown demented, combative, become completely disoriented, etc. after a mere 24 hours in the hospital. 

 

I have spent so much time in hospitals, that I am routinely asked if I am a nurse. I'm not.  I just speak enough of the language and know how and when and where to push back. When I'm with my grandmother, I don't wait for the CNA to bring a bed pan, I put on gloves and put one under her. When I was getting my grandfather into hospice, I told the CNA that under no circumstances were they to take his blood pressure or draw blood (both were very painful to him) and that if anyone did, I'd file complaints for assault.  I said it kindly, not aggressively, and the CNA said, "hey, I like you!" 

 

When my grandmother had broken her hip, they were about to take her for X-rays, but her pain medication hadn't arrived yet.  I refused until they got her some pain meds. You can do this without being a "problem" family/patient, but it's a fine line. And if I had a rude nurse, I wouldn't hesitate for one second to ask for someone else.

 

I'm respectful, but I push. I never raise my voice, never call names, but I also don't take any sh!t. 

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I can understand why the nurse was annoyed. Taking time out of dealing with people who have needs that only she can attend to to help someone who refuses the help of the person hired and qualified to do the job means that she has even less time to do the billion things she is supposed to be doing. My mom is a nurse. They hire people with less training to do things that require less training for a reason. No, she should not have been snappish with you, but believe me, nurses have to deal with things like what you wrote about so often. It really can get in the way of them effectively doing their jobs. If you had a medical need that was not responded to in a timely manner, would you be placated knowing that your nurse wasn't able to respond because she was performing a CNA's or an LPN's job instead of her job?

 

Also, you seem to be very condescending about what level of education that man who came to help you may or may not have had. He was qualified to do his job. It doesn't take a master's degree to help a patient pee.

 

I would probably mention to the hospital that the nursing staff was not very friendly, but I would not complain about having a man come to assist you. The hospital can't anticipate everyone's preferences and schedule so that every patient sees exactly who they want to see. They staff qualified people, and for the most part, I think patients just have to accept that.

 

I'm sorry you found your stay uncomfortable.

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I can understand why the nurse was annoyed. Taking time out of dealing with people who have needs that only she can attend to to help someone who refuses the help of the person hired and qualified to do the job means that she has even less time to do the billion things she is supposed to be doing. My mom is a nurse. They hire people with less training to do things that require less training for a reason. No, she should not have been snappish with you, but believe me, nurses have to deal with things like what you wrote about so often. It really can get in the way of them effectively doing their jobs. If you had a medical need that was not responded to in a timely manner, would you be placated knowing that your nurse wasn't able to respond because she was performing a CNA's or an LPN's job instead of her job?

 

Also, you seem to be very condescending about what level of education that man who came to help you may or may not have had. He was qualified to do his job. It doesn't take a master's degree to help a patient pee.

 

I would probably mention to the hospital that the nursing staff was not very friendly, but I would not complain about having a man come to assist you. The hospital can't anticipate everyone's preferences and schedule so that every patient sees exactly who they want to see. They staff qualified people, and for the most part, I think patients just have to accept that.

 

I'm sorry you found your stay uncomfortable.

 

A number of people said basically what I would say, and I wasn't sure how to word my reply. The above pretty much covers it. 

 

I'm sorry you dealt with rudeness - That is something you should have been spared. Patients, either because they're in pain, still groggy, or just plain scared, can make requests (sometimes demands) that frustrate the staff. Professionals in a hospital setting are trained to understand this and respond accordingly. It sounds like the RN forgot her training when talking with you. That should not have happened, but it's the only legitimate complaint I think you have.

 

The part about the male nurse really isn't a valid complaint. He was a professional (regardless of his education level he obvious met the qualifications for the position) and he was trying to do his job.

 

We have a number of nurses in both my and dh's extended family. In our immediate family, ddil is a nurse in a hospital and dss is actually going to leave the firefighting/paramedic field and become a nurse practitioner (he started taking classes), so I'm probably biased towards the health care professionals. Still, I don't think complaining about the gender of the health care professional who was appropriately meeting your needs is worth your time.

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A charge nurse can and should change the nurse when a patient complains about their care, be it their physical care or their social/emotional care. This can be done while at the same time balancing nursing case loads as best as possible (not always possible, but it is often possible). 

Nurse A has seven patients, numbers 1 - 7.

Nurse B has seven patients, numbers 8-14. 

Nurse A has a crappy attitude towards patient #6 and patient complains to the charge nurse.

The charge nurse takes patient #6 off from nurse A gives them to Nurse B. The charge nurse then takes Patient #8 (who has similar care needs as patient #6) from nurse B and gives them to patient A. 

Nurse A has seven patients, numbers 1-5, 7,8

Nurse B has seven patients, numbers 6, 9-14.

 

As far as unrealistic expectations go - well, if I ask a nurse if my mom can have pain medicine, that's not an unrealistic expectation. If I ask a nurse how to care for my mother when she gets home, that's not an unrealistic expectation. If I ask for room service for my lunch, that's an unrealistic explanation. Again, I live in an area with excellent medical care. Maybe that, and competition between hospitals, ramps up the level of care, I don't know. I can only tell you of my experiences with nurses who go above and beyond what is called for in taking care of both the patient and their families. 

 

Adequate staffing is another issue entirely. If a hospital is so inadequately staffed that their patient care is below par, the problem is likely systemic and there is no easy fix. 

 

I agree with you that all those expectations are and should be realistic. But what we were talking about before wasn't getting pain meds and advice. I am an RN in ICU and I am a very good nurse. I go above and beyond every day. And for that reason I am often at least 30 minutes, if not more, late leaving because I can not put paper work/charting over giving good care to my patients. My point is that units are usually staffed with the absolute minimum number of staff they can get away with. We do change assignments when people request them, and sometimes it is easy to do. But it is not always in the best interest of the other patients. If I have spent half the shift caring for a patient, and have built up a rapport with them, and familiarized myself with all aspects of their care, then it is not always in their best interest for me to be switched away from them with another nurse. I'm merely saying that, in my experience, a lot of the problems with providing the best possible individualized care are because of very low levels of staffing. Being realistic about expectations with regards to the staffing levels is what I was talking about.

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I agree staffing is a major problem.

 

But I also think if patients don't speak up and demand better, it will continue to be a worsening problem.

 

So report the actual problem.

 

In the case of the OP it is only partly bc she didn't want a man to be with her while she was on the toilet. A big part of it was they didn't have adequate staffing.

 

There's not enough staff to bring a phone.

There's not enough staff to accommodate sex/gender issues. (While it's all well to some to just chide her for being silly- would it change if she was a rape survivor? Should women have to declare their previous sexual encounters and the level or lack of discomfort before having their need to have a say in their bodies?)

There's not enough staff to....

 

I see nothing wrong with pointing this out. Minimum staffing is dangerous imo

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Catching up on reading this and all I can really say is I'm thankful I can't recall a single time when I had a nurse who was rude or snippy.  I admire them for the jobs they've done.

 

My grandmother in her nursing home had oodles of rude & uncaring nurses, unfortunately.  I thought they went hand in hand with nursing homes.

 

I'm left wondering if a big part of it is their work atmosphere, pay, expectations, and similar.

 

Our new neighbor is a male RN working in an ICU/ER nearby.  Considering my lack of love for most things medical, he and I have an ongoing fun (truly fun, not sarcastic) discussion of how long it will be before he's assigned to my room.  TBH, I'd have no problem with it (other than not wanting to be there).  I suspect he does his job very well and it's obvious he cares about his patients - even those who are strung out on drugs and are quite aggressive.  From his stories, nurses put up with an awful lot of rudeness from (some) patients.

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So the guy was to walk you to the bathroom (to make sure you didn't fall) wait, walk you back to the bed.

 

I wouldn't need a female staff member to do that and I wouldn't need an RN to do that. In fact if he is assigned to the RN he's probably doing that stuff all night long so the RN can get the more technical stuff monitored and done.

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Patient Ombudsman is usually the one to mediate situations while you are in the hospital. They should be able to give you the name of the people best to receive your feedback.

Nope. An ombudsman works for the state in either a paid position or a volunteer position, depending on the state. They answer any type of question by phone and then they get involved with hospital visits when there is fraud, negligence or gross misconduct. Legally, you have access to an ombudsman 24/7 - the hospital cannot deny them entrance into your room no matter what type of room you are in (ICU, Isolation, ED, anywhere). Use an ombudsman if you aren't getting results at the hospital level.

 

At the hospital level, you need to speak with a patient advocate. If the hospital accepts Medicare payments they are required by law to have at least one person in this position to act as an intermediary between patients/families and the staff. A patient or family member can ask to speak to one at any time and the request must be granted in a reasonable amount of time.

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I want to point out that the orders I have seen for no male CNAs have been while in the nursing home only. Once the patient is in the hospital that does not apply. Truthfully, hospitals simply do not have the staff to assure that.

 

It does come down to staffing. Hospitals are woefully understaffed, nurses here are in short supply, and the CNAs do much of what nursing care used to be. My grandmother became an RN in 1957 and my mother in 1980. They were trained in hands on patient care and expected to do so. My friends who are graduating from nursing school now are taught to manage a patient, develop a care plan and pass meds. The vitals, the turning in bed, the assisting to the bathroom--none of that is done by your RN anymore.

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I have no problem with deciding who I want care from based on their actual creditials.

 

And I now know to ask.

 

Yes, I know students in training have to practice on someone. And sometimes I'm fine with that and sometimes I'm not.

 

When I'm not, I state upfront, I do not want __ to do this. I want an actual ___ please. Thank you.

 

I try to say it nicely and light heartedly, but I'm very serious.

 

And iirc, legally if I say that, they are required by law to do so. I have the right to decide whether I want to be someone's Guinea pig or not. And if I don't, I sure as heck should have that right.

 

Only twice has it been an issue due to that. In theory, who the staff is and their level of training should be clearly apparent in their dress and in their badge, but most patients don't know what is what. In both cases where I demanded only the qualified of a certain level do the job it was bc I could tell the staff was very short and had reached a point of having people very under qualified do things that were clearly not in their skills toolbox.

I requested no residents or interns at childbirth. I forgot to say student nurses, though. I just didn't want so many people checking my dilation, etc.. My request was granted without a blink. Yes, in an emergency, all bets are off, but my childbir wasn't an emergency.

 

When ds was in the hospital he had residents involved in his care from the beginning. He also had three highly qualified attending physicians that we saw at least twice a day. Everything worked out great and he received excellent care from everyone.

 

I'm not sure if they are required by law to accommodate a request for no residents/interns/students, but it might open them up from a liability standpoint if something were to go wrong. In any case, competent patients can always refuse care and leave AMA.

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I don't think you were out of line in requesting a same-gender assistant, but regardless, that is no reason for the hospital staff to label you a difficult patient and exact their vengeance.  I was listening to a podcast recently (an episode of Strangers, perhaps?) in which a woman was telling the story of falling 25' out of a tree, crushing her spine and becoming paraplegic.  She was transferred after a few days from the regular hospital to a rehabilitation hospital, and she mentions the humiliation of having a male nurse (of some sort) attend to her intimate needs the first night she was there.  Interestingly, she noted that assigning a man to do this job was contrary to the hospital's policy, but they were short-staffed, or there was a mix-up or something like that.  Would the procedure still have been humiliating if she'd had a female nurse?  Maybe, but the point is that the hospital's own policy was to assign same-gender attendants for such matters.  

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I want to point out that the orders I have seen for no male CNAs have been while in the nursing home only. Once the patient is in the hospital that does not apply. Truthfully, hospitals simply do not have the staff to assure that.

 

It does come down to staffing. Hospitals are woefully understaffed, nurses here are in short supply, and the CNAs do much of what nursing care used to be. My grandmother became an RN in 1957 and my mother in 1980. They were trained in hands on patient care and expected to do so. My friends who are graduating from nursing school now are taught to manage a patient, develop a care plan and pass meds. The vitals, the turning in bed, the assisting to the bathroom--none of that is done by your RN anymore.

It does somewhat depend on what is going on with the patient, though. When ds was in PICU, his RN provided all of his care. When we made it to the floor, they utilized CNA's. After reading all of these stories I think I might live in some kind of medical wonderland. I hope I don't have to move!

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It does somewhat depend on what is going on with the patient, though. When ds was in PICU, his RN provided all of his care. When we made it to the floor, they utilized CNA's. After reading all of these stories I think I might live in some kind of medical wonderland. I hope I don't have to move!

It is really dependent. For instance our Nicu has no CNAs, everything is done by an RN. Our PICU however has CNAs who do most of the care, minus medication administration. Adult ICU is the same way. In the PICU my infant actually had a male CNA that I didn't like and that was vastly incompetent. It had nothing to do with gender. However he was the only CNA assigned to the floor that shift since they had a low census at the moment, so I didn't have a choice.

 

It was frustrating, but I also knew they weren't going to reassign him to a unit he didn't usually work on just because I complained.

Edited by MedicMom
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I would have been uncomfortable as well. I would have found out about the wait time and said that I could wait (if I could). I don't know why the other nurse was so snippy, but I imagine they felt rushed to get from room A to room B and maybe were supposed to stop somewhere else instead. Mainly I think it sounds like you didn't communicate very effectively in your foggy state and just said no? Perhaps saying, "I would feel more comfortable with a female nurse" would have helped. Using "I" statements sometimes helps. No one can argue with "I feel." They might not like it of course. I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just suggesting that maybe they didn't really know why you refused the male nurse's help.

 

My mother needs help using the bathroom and is very picky about who helps her. She has someone that comes to the home a couple times a week and I'm pretty sure if the company tried to send a male she would not be very comfortable with that arrangement.

 

I don't know if it's true that when you call an OBGYN place they ask male or female. I personally seek out the females, but that's just me. With pediatricians, they didn't ask male or female. I did switch from the one they assigned us to the one I requested once she was available (because I knew she was a breastfeeding mom and it made more sense to me to seek out feedback from her vs the male dr who obviously had not BTDT. Now if he had been an IBCLC male dr that might have been a different story). 

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I can sympathize with you being uncomfortable, but I think male nurses are something that we need to become accustomed to. It is unfair to ask for someone of a different gender for a time sensitive need because the hospital only has so many people working. My DD had back surgery and was in the hospital for a week and she had to deal with a male nurse taking her to the bathroom too. Actually, he was helpful because there was no way I could lift DD comfortably and I think most female nurses wouldn't have had equal strength. She wasn't heavy, but the nature of her surgery made every move painful and the male nurse moved her more smoothly than the female ones.

 

I've never had anyone ask me if I prefer a male or female nurse with my OB and Gyn appointments.

 

I did have a male lactation consultant offer to help me once. I declined and was really baffled and all WTF?? when he showed up. I had a hard time understanding why he wanted to be a LC, and how he could help if he'd never nursed, had no breasts, couldn't understand what letdown felt like, and had never felt like his breasts were going off like a sprinkler on high! It wasn't my first baby either, so I thought I probably had more experience than him since I'd nursed DS for 18months! I think my feelings about it are unfair and sexist, but it's still my feelings. I think I was extra uncomfortable because it was so unexpected and if I run into the same situation again, I'd be more accepting.

The leading lactation consultant in Canada is male.... I read his books.

 

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Yeah I don't know if it is intrinsic or not. I suspect a bit of both really.

 

Interestingly, my mother was icked out by the idea of having a female OBGYN. She would say stuff like why would a woman want to see women naked, is she a lesbian. Silly in my mind, but I have always preferred to have a female OBGYN mostly because it seemed to me that a woman would understand better what I'm going through. I find it odd that men would want to be OBGYNs. Whether or not this is right, fair, or nice doesn't matter. People feel how they feel.

When I was younger I used to get very sick periodically, if you get what I mean. Sick, horribly bad cramps, etc. While at University I often had to go to the student clinic. I learned very quickly I wanted a male doctor because they believed me. Women doctors did not unless they had similar experiences. If I got someone with a 28 day cycle with no or light cramps and no problems it was pretty much a wasted trip.

 

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