Tuesday, June 14, 2011

THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY: Part 2 of the Lengthy "Back Story"

April of 2010 was an awesome month for me. I finally achieved what I had wanted since my workplace injury on November 2007. (For anyone that does not wish to read older posts, I was injured trying to catheterize a 500-pound woman). After a couple of months of working on getting my pain medication to an optimal level, I was ready, willing and able to return to work. Frankly, I had long ago resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to function well at all, never mind returning to work. But, I did. I was literally more excited than a small child on Christmas Eve…

My employer, Bayshore Home Health, decided that I would be ‘buddied’ up with another nurse to ensure that I was able to carry out the tasks of the job. It had been 3 years and so I thought that was quite a reasonable plan. I knew I was atrophied and would need to build up my strength. It would afford me the opportunity to slowly work my way up to becoming independent again. Good plan right? I was told that this was only a temporary measure, that once I was able to build up my stamina I would be given my own caseload to take care of as I had done for years.

After a couple of months travelling along with my fellow nurse, I was doing great and had not encountered anything in the community nursing environment that I was unable to do. Both my colleague and I reported to our manager that I was doing well and was more than ready to be out in the community on my own. Every week or so, we reported the same thing and always received the same reply from the manager: “Just a little while longer until your doctor and head office says you can be on your own.” So, I shut my mouth, continued to work Monday through Friday without a problem. None whatsoever!

In hopes of removing my need for a ‘babysitter’ my physician filled out a report stating that I could see patients on my own. However, because of my injury, she stated that I should only see patients requiring lighter type care. For example task such as: changing dressings, taking blood pressures, giving injections. Unfortunately, my employer was apparently thinking that my physician was going to clear me for any and all possible patient care. Anyone with a lick of sense would realize that after an injury that incapacitated me for 3 years, a doctor would never give full clearance. After all that had happened, she would have been a fool to say, “Yes, you have free reign, go do whatever they ask you to.” They expected me to be able to jump back in and provide nursing care to anyone even 500 pound patients. Just a tad bit unreasonable?

The very sad part about it all is that my employer was warned that this particular patient situation was an accident waiting to happen. I had my manager come into the home to assess it for herself and after promising to get more assistance, she ended up just telling me to “Be careful.” All of the other nurses had already refused to nurse this patient due to the risk, yet I, feeling guilty that she would be left without care could not say no…A nurse with a heart, working for a company that could care less about their employees. Am I a fool or what?

Please stay tuned as part 3 is to be posted today as well.

Take care and stay well,

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