Doctors Need To Have Patience With The Patients

, , | Healthy | January 12, 2018

(I am a student in a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program doing rotations in a nursing home shadowing a CNA working there. This patient is not part of our assigned rooms but is screaming for help. I ignore it at first, as I’m literally surrounded by medical professionals and figure her CNA or nurse will be in soon. Instead it carries on.)

Me: “Shouldn’t we check in on her?”

CNA: “She’s not ours, and she’s always like this. She just wants attention.”

Me: “Okay.”

(Ten minutes later, she is still screaming for help. Nobody is paying attention, and my CNA goes to do something without me. So since I have a 15-minute break without anyone to shadow, I decide to check on the woman. If she just wants attention, no harm done, I can talk a few minutes.)

Me: “Hi, I’m a student. Can I help?”

Patient: “My stomach.”

Me: *picks up chart* “How does your stomach feel?” *I look at the page detailing all she has ate and drank and any output, or waste, that day, thinking it’s an upset stomach*

Patient: “It’s exploding.”

Me: “That’s awful.”

(Then I notice she’s on a catheter, but no urine output has been recorded on her otherwise detailed chart. I look at her cath bag, and there is no urine in it. For those who don’t know much about caths there is always something. The body is constantly producing urine, and with a cath it drains straight off. This seems dangerous to me.)

Me: “I’m going to get you some help.”

(To the nurse at the station.)

Me: “The patient who has been screaming, I just checked in with her.”

Nurse: “She wants attention. Ignore it.”

(I find my teacher.)

Me: “This patient isn’t mine, but she’s been screaming. I keep getting told she’s attention seeking, but she has a cath and no output.”

Teacher: “I’ll check her.”

(I go about my day, and right before the students meet with the teacher for end of the day, I check in with the patient and she starts crying and thanking me profusely, saying nobody else listens, and I helped, and now she is ok. I note there is urine output in the bag. I go on to meet my class, and my teacher starts our reporting. As her final note:)

Teacher: “Oh, and [My Name] saved a woman’s life today!”

Me: “I did?”

Teacher: “Her catheter was misplaced. She had no urine output. You noticed while everyone else ignored her. When I placed her catheter correctly, the bag overflowed. Her bladder was close to bursting, which could have been serious or even killed her. Let this be a lesson, class: don’t ignore a patient just because they aren’t yours or want attention.”

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