"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Call Me if You Need Me

Hey Everyone! Its been a pretty insane week, I just pulled through 3 twelve hour's, one night off (last night) and have three more to go starting tonight. Yay! And I just started the inevitable daunting night shift this week, as well... So, I'm tired. But anyway, my hospital is starting a new approach to patient satisfaction, hourly rounding and reducing number of call bells. As many nurses do and all nurses should be doing anyway, hourly rounding is supposedly the key to making patients and nurses happy. As nurses, we naturally are in the room almost hourly anyway, but our new approach is to make it obvious with our wording, and say "Hi, I am doing my hourly rounding, Can I get you anything? I have some time." I think this is great. It does make the patients happier and they don't feel like they are bothering you if they do ask for something, especially with the "I have some time" thrown in there at the end.

At the end of our interaction at hourly rounding, we are supposed to say, "I will be back in a couple of hours to round on you again." We are not supposed to say "Call me if you need me", even if we tack it on to the above said phrase. Supposedly if we say this, it invites patients to call if they need something in the middle of the rounding cycle, and therefore there are more callbells to be answered. Whereas if we don't say it, Patients are more likely to group all their requests together and wait until we come back for rounding to have all their requests completed and questions answered. This is supposed to give nurses more time for attending to more complicated patients, emergencies, charting, etc.

Now, I have been trying really really hard to adapt to these phrases our hospital wants us to use. I try to work them into my interactions with patients without sounding like an automated nurse robot. However, I cannot seem to not say "Call me if you need me." I try, i do try to not say it, but somehow to me It just feels so wrong. Although yes I see the benefits for the nurse, I feel like my patient would feel like they cannot call me, and they must wait for hourly rounds to get something from me. I want patients to feel comfortable and call me if they need anything at all. I think hourly rounding is highly beneficial as well, and I don't want to ONLY say "call me if you need me" because then that dips the patient on the other side of the spectrum and they feel like they are alone and will never see you if they don't call for something. Then they call for every tiny request because they are subconsciously checking to make sure you are even still on the floor with them, especially overnight when not as many people are walking through the halls continuously. No one wants to feel alone while in the hospital.

So basically, I am happy saying to patients, "I will be checking in with you hourly throughout my shift but feel free to call me if you need anything in the meantime". It may not be fitting with my hospital policy, but it is fitting to my personal morals. I feel like the above said phrase lets patients know that I will be checking in hourly, and that they are not alone, but also gives them comfort that I am only a call button away.

There is a high possibility that I am wrong about this. I am a brand new nurse and still have a LOT to learn, not just skill but in communication. Maybe in even just five years I will look back on this post and think, hourly rounding is better without throwing in the "call if you need me part". Maybe I will see the true time saving benefits of doing so. Who knows. Fellow nurses out there, what are your hospital policies for rounding or key phrases? Do you agree or disagree with not saying "Call if you need me?". I just can't seem to not say it!  :-\

Sincerely, a Writer in a Nurses Body


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