Aug 10, 2006

Feeling snuffy and the 5th vital sign

Sorry, I've been MIA lately. These past two weeks have found either me or my daughter with coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so we could NOT rest and needed medicine. (Little Nyquil commercial joke)

Ari has just today become fever free so I think things are back to normal. I really hope I don't catch any flack for missing 4 days of work though. (2 last week for me, 2 this week for Ari)
It sucks really, I need to be working to get that extra dough for my NY trip which is in just 5 weeks.

Work has been good though. Since going off orientation last week, I think I have been handling things ok. I haven't gotten more then 5 patients yet (we can get up to 7 on my unit). I'm hoping they'll hold off on assigning me more then 5 until I'm a little less green.

The last shift I worked I had an unusual patient. He was in for a recently diagnosed stomach age....middle class.....had a job....and a supportive family at the bedside. Really weird. He was my most pleasant patient for the day and pain control was the only issue at hand.

I'm big about that....Pain meds. It's always high on my priorities to get patients pain meds when needed and asap. The older nurses I work with don't see it that way. From what I understand..RN schools have only recently begun teaching the importance of "Believing the patient subjective complaints about pain" over "seeing objective proof of pain". It IS the 5th Vital sign....not only taught in my RN school but also incorporated MULTIPLE times in our assessment charting.

For me, I think a hospital stay and a doctor's order for pain meds is enough proof. It's not my place to get all judgmental over whether someone could be in pain or not.

HOWEVER...I did have another patient on another shift almost put herself in a coma because she was asking for and getting pain meds from us ON TOP of taking from a stash of vicodin she kept hidden in an Motrin bottle in her room. One of our nurses discovered that and promptly tagged it and sent it to our pharmacy to be held for her until discharge. This particular patient didn't really have any diagnosis supporting her pain either....other then COPD...which might cause some breathing discomfort. It's patients like this that disillusion nurses like me, I think....over time.

It's still not up to me though...I would have a chat with the patient and the MD if I thought the pain was not being addressed or being OVERLY addressed.
By the way, check out my new banner to the right.... a link to Change of Shift. This week's edition is out and worth checking out.

Listening to: "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing" By Duke Ellington, Swing Kids Soundtrack


At 12:40, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with ya Jo. I give pain medication whenever the patient requests it, or if the pain level is over 6-7. Doesn't bother me any. The only thing that bothers me is if they take up all of my time with bogus requests for more and more pain meds when they just want to get fucked up.

At 21:13, Blogger Intelinurse said...

Glad you're feeling better!

I am but a student, but I want to make pain mangmt a top priority as well. I cringe when I hear nurses in clincals making snide remarks about seekers when the poor pt just needs a little relief.


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