I know I have said it before, but, it takes an amazing person to be a nurse in general, and an L&D nurse in particular. This week, as I sat at the computer behind the nurse's station, back to the counter, signing off charts and awaiting an epidural to be placed in one of my labor patients, I got a small glimpse into what ridiculous requests the nurses (trained and skilled professional people) had to stop their work and fulfill with a smile.
This day was fairly busy, 3/4 of the rooms on the floor were full (LDRP and post surg beds). There were 3 in labor, several postpartum ladies with babies, and a few post-op patients, triage was steady in and out, oh, and there were only 4 RNs. The deluge started with about 4 family members standing shoulder to shoulder at the front counter, not saying a word, but not moving, either. After about a minute of silent staring at the back of my head, I turned and asked if I could help them. They replied that they needed a nurse in room 10 (laboring patient). I checked the board, found the nurse hanging medications in another room, and let her know that the patient needed something. I went back to signing charts. Moments later, room 10's nurse came back out of the room, obviously flustered. When I asked what had happened, she sighed and said the patient was fine, but room 10's family needed some cokes. She handled it far more gracefully than I would have, because I would have been inclined to tell them where to stick their drink order. From there it just got better. As I sat/observed for that hour or so I heard requests of the nurses for:
~ socks for a postpartum patient (who had a scheduled induction and should have packed her own fragging socks)
~ cups of ice for kids to *play* with
~ pieces of paper and pens
~ putty to hang up a sign (um, WTF?)
~ a request from a visitor to a different floor for a *free* binky, since they forgot to bring their own for their child
~ extra diapers and a *case* of formula *to take home*
~ for the nurse to launder some one's own personal baby blanket that got a teeny bit of spit up on it
~ directions to the hospital from another state
~ a phone book
~ 7 cokes and 4 cups of coffee
~ a toothbrush
~ for the nurse to "re-do" a baby girl's hair because mom didn't like the *bow* color
~ for a nurse to take out a patient's garbage
~ and (the kicker) the snide comment to a nurse sitting to feed a "boarder baby" whose parents were sleeping, "Oh, I'd love to do what you do! Sit and hold babies all day!" GAH!
Not to mention beeping IVs, meds, labor checks, and other, more legit responsibilities. It was like I was observing a full service concierge desk at the Hilton instead of a hospital. As if being a responsible medical professional was not enough, they must be the waitress, janitor, Wal.Mart, Goog.le maps, Off.ice Depot, hairdresser, and babysitter. The worst thing, though, was that I don't think that I heard, in any of the above requests, a "please" or a "thank you." Unbelievable. So, remember to thank your nurses, people, and maybe, just maybe, go get your own damn coke.