Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Inter-department incidents

I had 2 inter-department incidents today. One was with a medical/surgical ward and the other with the intensive care unit.


The medical/surgical ward Sister A complained to my ward manager about linen items taken from their shelves without permission yesterday. My ward manager asked me what happened. I was the runner on-duty yesterday with Snr SN R in-charge and SN L and SN O taking teams. There were a sudden influx of adult surgical cases booked into my ward. Since my ward is really for paediatric patients, we have only a few OT gowns (all used up) and no adult pyjamas in our linen cupboard. Snr SN R instructed me to borrow a test-tube rack with test tube from Sister A's ward and SN L instructed me to borrow some OT gowns and 1 pyjamas together. When I arrived at the ward, there was only their ward admin staff on-duty together with a Snr SN B and another SN M, who was seconded to that ward for the shift. The moment I walked to Snr SN B and started saying that "I am from X ward, I would like to borrow...", she rushed away in the direction of the patients' room (without any call-bells sounding), ignoring me. Then I turned to the only other SN in sight, SN M. I told her that I'm here to borrow a test-tube rack and some linen items. SN M replied that she don't know where the items are stored. To which I replied, "I know, can I go help myself?". To which SN M acknowledged. As I was leaving the ward with the test-tubes with rack and 1 pyjamas, 3 OT gowns and 3 kimonos, Snr SN B stopped me. She claimed angrily that she only gave permission to borrow test-tubes with rack and demanded that we cannot borrow their linen. I explained to her that my colleagues have sent me up and they have already sought permission for the items. She claimed angrily that she only gave permission to borrow test-tubes with rack and not the linen items. I informed her that we have an overflow of adult patients for surgery and we have run out of gowns. I also reassured her that I have checked that their linen cupboard is well stocked before I took the items. However, she was unappeased and pressed that the pyjamas have to be billed and we should have called the linen dept for items that we want. I told her ok, I will bill the pyjamas.

After my ward manager heard my story, she laughed. She explained to me that the only billable linen item was the 1 set of pyjamas. She could not believe that the ward people would be so hung up over one billable linen item and other shared linen items. She has arranged with the linen dept to send over to Sister A's ward whatever linen they demanded as "compensation" from my ward. Fortunately I was honest to my ward manager and told her that I had previous run-ins with Sister A's ward while I was a student nurse there. Then my ward manager told me that she understand, she was a student nurse before. Haha, my ward manager was a student nurse almost 30 years ago, yet she still remembers how it was like. The ultimate irony is that when I was a student nurse at Sister A's ward, her staff would send me all over the hospital to borrow linen items without first calling in-advance to seek permission. Now, they twist over and roast me for borrowing items from them. What hypocrisy! Glad that I am at my current ward, and not under Sister A. From my experience as a student at her ward, she is easily swayed by her staff's gossips, not a leader nor a problem solver. Interestingly, Sister A has graduated from my nursing school just over a decade ago, but it seems that she has already forgotten the challenges faced by student and new nurses.


In the early afternoon, I saw an ICU staff wheeling a patient down to my ward into a room unaccompanied. It is not my ward's style to not escort patients to their rooms. I quickly rushed over as I was expecting a patient from ICU who booked that room. However, when I entered the room, I realized that the patient is not the one with the reservations. Then I instructed the ICU staff to call her dept to confirm if the patient is meant for this room while I stay with the patient in the room. She went out of the room to check. After a while, she came back into the room and apologized that it was a mistake, the patient was meant to go to Sister A's ward. About half an hour later, ICU called to complain that I did not let patient enter the room when their staff wheelchair the patient down. Fortunately for me, my in-charge Snr SN Y saw the ICU staff wheeling the patient into the room, so I have a witness. In addition, luckily the patient was nice and did not complain about the moves. In fact, he complimented me to the another ICU staff present when I had to send him back to the ICU for further monitoring as per doctor's orders.


Fortunately my team's workload was not so busy today. In addition, I had help and support from Snr SN Y, SN O, and HCA K. Otherwise I would have been stressed out by multiple incidents near the start of my shift.

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