Nurses, no matter how toxic a shift is, should always be compassionate and caring for their patients. No matter how petty the complaint is, or how severe the illness is, the nurse should be there to provide the needed care to provide comfort and relief.
Of course, pain is subjective so even nurses and doctors wouldn’t know the extent and severity of a patient’s discomfort. Now a nurse is in hot water after being seen telling a patient to rest on the floor because all the beds are full in an emergency room.
The emergency department is by far the busiest and most packed area in the hospital.
That’s why the nurses and doctors were trained to apply the triage system. However, even if they’re mandated to tend to other patients first, they should at least provide comfort to the others who are in line.
This scenario in Ottawa, Canada is just one example of the many incidents happening across the globe.
Martina Campbell, a retired nurse who worked in a hospital for four decades, became the first-hand witness to the nurse’s unacceptable action in the emergency department.
Martina narrated how she saw the man, pleading for a bed to rest since he can’t tolerate the pain anymore. The still unidentified patient was in an extreme amount of pain when he had slipped on ice and injured his back.
However, since the ER is packed and the queue will take long hours, the man said he might pass out because of the pain. He was already vomiting and crying in pain.
The nurse on duty came by and when he asked to lie down, she pointed to a dirty and high-traffic sport on the floor.
Martina Campbell couldn’t believe what she heard because she is a nurse and the other nurse’s act was inappropriate.
“The waiting room became silent. There were gasps. A few people beside me said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’.”
Campbell said she argued with the nurse that the patient needs a stretcher.
She said she was a former nurse and patients should never lie on the floor. Because of Ms. Campbell’s request, the man was later on given a stretcher.
The Ottawa Hospital released a statement regarding the incident:
“We apologize for any misunderstanding or distress. We have also reached out to the patient to offer that apology, to explain that it was a busy night in our emergency department and that we regret the moment in which this incident took place.”
“Our staff, including the staff member in question, take great care to manage the impacts of high occupancy and other pressures on patients. This moment is an opportunity to learn and improve for all.”
Campbell also said that due to the toxic shifts and the frustrations of the healthcare workers to work with limited resources, compassion is waning.
However, this should not be the case. The mistreatment of the patient in distress who asked for help is like stripping him of his dignity as a human.
What do you think about this? Have you encountered similar incidents?