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To report this nurse?

(189 Posts)
TheDonOfWinterville Tue 18-Oct-16 15:30:23

Went to visit elderly relative in hospital this afternoon and on the same ward another elderly lady was in bed. She rang her buzzer and I heard one of the care assistants say to a colleague "ignore it, she's been doing it all day, attention seeking" 😳 So the buzzer was ringing for another 10 minutes or so. Eventually the care assistant came and snapped "what do you want this time becAuse we're busy". The lady replied that she needed to make a call but couldn't reach her phone so the caret passed her her phone and walked out. A while later the lady pressed her buzzer again and a nurse came in and said "is it important because we're very busy" 😲 The lady said something about wanting her socks putting on which the nurse begrudgingly did for her. Just before we left the lady pressed her buzzer and the first carer came charging back in, turned off the buzzer, snapped "sorry, we're busy now" and walked out!!!!
So anyway as I left I spoke to the qualified nurse and said I felt the lady had been treated unfairly and it worries me that my relative may be reluctant to ask for her if this is the way patients are treated so the nurse sAid "I'm sorry but when you have buzzers going off in every room, the phone ringing and patients in genuine need of assistance it does get irritating when someone presses their buzzer every 5 minutes just to ask you to pick up bits of tissue or tell you that their coffee is cold. " she went on to hand me a pals leaflet and told me to complain about the lack of staff!! Aibu to actually complain about the staff that WERE on duty?

tonsiltennis Tue 18-Oct-16 15:32:59

YANBU. If that's the attitude they're showing in full view of visitors, imagine when no one is looking.sad

Raise hell.

RedHelenB Tue 18-Oct-16 15:35:15

But they are not there as her personal assistant either, the staffing levels arent high enough. Help to go to the loo yes, other things could wait.

tonsiltennis Tue 18-Oct-16 15:35:45

An elderly relative of mine was treated like this in a bupa care home. The buzzer left out of reach, the telly in full on the gospel channel and the remote on the other side of the room, bells not answered. It was disgraceful.

tonsiltennis Tue 18-Oct-16 15:37:06

RedHelen if they're not asking what's wrong or snapping, they've no idea if the patient needs to go to the toilet or what.

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 18-Oct-16 15:37:27

Their attitude wasn't the best but otoh it doesn't sound as though the patient needed urgent assistance with anything. ime staff are always popping in and out of bays so the patient could have waited until a member of staff was in the room and then asked for help. Also, if you were close enough to hear everything then she could have asked you to pass her her phone.
I've always thought buzzers were for emergencies rather than non-urgent requests. I wouldn't report the nurse.

Allthewaves Tue 18-Oct-16 15:37:46

Staffing levels are rubbish. Nurses don't get breaks or over worked = tired, grumpy, worn down.

Soubriquet Tue 18-Oct-16 15:39:08

I can see why they are frustrated.

If this lady buzzes every 5 mins for very little silly things it must be extremely annoying

But at the same time, how do they know that the one time she buzzes and they ignore, is when she really needs them?

Pickanameanyoldname Tue 18-Oct-16 15:39:38

Regardless of how irritated the staff are feeling and how understaffed the department is, to act in such an intimidating and aggressive manner towards a vulnerable patient is fucking disgusting.

And if this is how they behave when you were present on the ward, I would see how much worse it gets when relatives aren't around.

I would report them.

tonsiltennis Tue 18-Oct-16 15:39:43

There is NO excuse for ignoring buzzers. None.

reddotmum Tue 18-Oct-16 15:42:01

I'm sorry you are being unreasonable to complain about the staff YES u should complain about short staff. I'm an ICU nurse so we are in a different position but I know from colleagues in the ward that they are
Pushed to breaking point. Many wards are being over crowded with patients who could be cared for in the community and the staff then are unable to give the ill patients the time they need. As well as answering phones and doing a mountain of paperwork. I totally feel for the staff in that ward. I know it's so fustrating when you have sick patients and you r constantly being interrupted by someone who feels lonely or in need of cOmpany and attention. The things you mention are not emergencies. The lady could wait until staff come to check the area. I might also add. This "attention buzzing" often happens at visiting time when the patient feels lonely the most.

JinkxMonsoon Tue 18-Oct-16 15:42:35

I think the nurse's answer was very honest. Lack of staff IS the issue. Sadly I doubt a PALS complaint will change anything.

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 18-Oct-16 15:44:14

But they didn't ignore the buzzer. The OP said they came every time. Yes, they might have waited the first time but I doubt they waited because they couldn't be bothered but rather because they were prioritising something else. That's standard too. If all the buzzers are going at the same time, and its a ward round or a handover then they have to prioritise their responses.

FleurThomas Tue 18-Oct-16 15:44:46

YABU. You should volunteer at a hospital, see what it's like day in day out. Nurses and carers deserve fucking medals.

harderandharder2breathe Tue 18-Oct-16 15:44:57

They should have a different system for urgent requests (e.g. Toilet, feeling unwell, water if they can't get it themselves) and for nonurgent (e.g. Fetching things from across the room, phone calls) to help staff prioritise.

I'm sure it is annoying if one person is constantly buzzing for trivial reasons, but she could have memory problems, no visiting friends or family, etc that make her more difficult to care for. And she still has urgent reasons to buzz such as needing the toilet, so she shouldn't be ignored

Nurses are hugely under pressure due to under funding. However the attitude displayed here is not acceptable. Asking someone to wait for something minor is fine, but you can do so politely.

Sunshineonacloudyday Tue 18-Oct-16 15:45:18

In the care home that I worked in the buzzer was only for emergencies. If it was pressed for those reasons then the resident would need to be spoken to about it. What if some one had fallen or was having a stroke and they cant get through on their buzzer because some one cant reach a tissue.

Pseudonym99 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:46:01

Perhaps they should sack the nurse so those that are left can be even more overworked and stressed.

44PumpLane Tue 18-Oct-16 15:47:33

I understand that it may have looked shocking but what if that lady had been on the ward for several days already and literally was pressing her buzzer every 5 minutes to get someone to move her phone, refresh her coffee etc etc
The staffing levels in NHS hospitals are at breaking point, and she could have been spoken to on several occasions already about the proper use of the buzzer and ignored the nurses pleas to use it for medical assistance only.

The nurse giving you the PALS number clearly wants you to complain, it would be in their best interests if additional staff were put on ward.

I don't know what the answer is to this. I'm sure you'd be equally appalled if your relative wasn't treated promptly enough as someone else on the ward was constantly using the buzzer and taking up resources for things like "move my phone" which she should have asked you to help with perhaps?

I don't know..... it's difficult, I can see where you're coming from but I also imagine the nurses were probably at the end of their tether.

Blue2014 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:49:39

There is no need for her to be so snappy and rude though is there?! I can't believe people are accepting of this, I don't care how over worked you are, respect costs nothing.

OP I've seen such behaviour too, and as it happens the staff weren't that busy (4 were stood around talking about their night out and no, they weren't on a break - and yes I would know, I'm also an NHS professional)

ElspethFlashman Tue 18-Oct-16 15:51:11

What nurse are you complaining about? The one who gave you the leaflet? The other one was a care assistant, not a nurse.

The lady probably was buzzing all day. And it probably was for trivial things that she could have asked nearby people for (like you). And there could have been a patient dying in the next room for all you know.

Blue2014 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:51:47

Also, yes we should sack people who deserve it. It actually loads easier to do your job when not having to work alongside/manage a member of staff who isn't that helpful. That just creates extra work. I'm not saying this woman should been sacked but if just tolerate poor behaviour that doesn't solve the problem either

arabhorsesarebest Tue 18-Oct-16 15:55:01

A PALS compliant will result in negative feed back being given to the nurses on the ward, a possible investigation and an instruction to improve which technically ward managers have to implenement and audit its successful implementation at least it would in my trust. We are regularly are audited on how quickly we answer busters and have to meet targets. There is nothing more demoralising than complaints when you are pushed to your absolute maximum already, the NHS is haemorrhaging nurses at a terrifying rate. I frequently work 13+ hour shifts with no break, often I don't even get to the loo. 30+ years as a qualified nurse and I've never seen it this bad and I work in a area one of the few areas where the guildlines drawn up by the CQC on staff to patient ratios are rigidly implemented we simply shut beds if we don't have the right/enough staff.
But I don't like to see patients spoken to like this you are right to be concerned. Someone needs to step back and see the whole picture, perhaps if you see overworked staff, tired and who've not had a break all shift please raise this with PALS as well although I doubt it will make nay difference.

putputput Tue 18-Oct-16 15:56:25

This is what happens when a ward doesn't have enough staff and the ones there feel overworked and unappreciated. The attitude is not ok though.
Wards I've worked on I would not tolerate a HCP removing the buzzer or having an attitude.
I will tell patients to wait though, sometimes quite firmly. I am not going to stop my drug round to pick up your tissues. I want my HCA to finish giving a patient a wash before coming over to you to take away your rubbish. I will not lose a staff member for 15minutes to send them down to the kitchen because you're not happy with your meal.
Call me heartless - I wish we could provide a 5* service but when staffing's as shit as it often is I will prioritize the things that will keep my patients alive.

chelseafan123 Tue 18-Oct-16 15:58:35

YANBU a little kindness from nursing staff is not too much to expect I'm sorry but that makes my blood boil. These nurses obviously could have spent the same amount of time being kind as the amount of time they spent being twats so being busy doesn't come into it.

EleanorofCastile Tue 18-Oct-16 15:58:47

That's appalling. Asking for the phone and asking for socks to be put on presumably cold feet is perfectly reasonable.

The nurse you spoke to should absolutely have taken your concerns more seriously. I think you need to raise an official complaint - you can do this via PALS but make sure they know you want a response in writing otherwise it may not be properly investigated in line with complaints procedure, and quote the Francis Report. For all they know the 2nd time the women was buzzing she could have needed urgent help or "just" wanted a drink of water. She and other patients are not going to feel they can buzz to ask for a drink with treatment like this going on.

I work at a hospital and this stuff is very high profile where I work, increasingly so since the Francis report (inquiry into failings in Mid Staffs) was published.

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