Can I ask for another nurse?
August 12, 2014 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Do I have the right to request another nurse?

I'm spending a couple of night in the hospital for an infection I developed post-surgery. My morning nurse just sucks. She is abrupt, and is being mean. I have to coordinate care for my 3 kids under 6 years old (one of whom is autistic. ) yes I also have to rest but I cannot until I figure it out. She's stressing me out with her attitude. Can I request another nurse? If so who do I make the request to? She's here for another 4 hours and I can't stand it any more. About to check myself out AMA if I am not allowed to figure out who's going to watch my kids.
posted by ramix to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ask for a supervisor. If one isn't forthcoming, go ahead and attempt to leave AMA, because that'll get someone to show up.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:44 PM on August 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yes, absolutely it is your right to request another nurse. Do it. Find a supervisor, or if you can't, ask any other nurse or doctor you can find.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:45 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, you absolutely have that right. If you're in a US hospital, the nursing supervisor you should ask is called the "charge nurse" - you should ask to speak to them and make the request.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:46 PM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes you can. Ask for the Charge Nurse and ban her from your room. You might experience some pay back later from other staff but a bad nurse is a nightmare when you are sick enough to be in the hospital.
posted by cairnoflore at 12:47 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you can't get anybody to come to you, find the phone number for patient services and raise some hell. They know people, they can make things happen.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:47 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ask to speak to the charge nurse

Respectfully say, "I am not working well with my nurse. Could we please switch to another as soon as possible" If there is something specific and brief that your nurse did, you can say that too.

Know that some people will be very put out about the switch. Whoever takes you as your nurse will have changed her assignment which is annoying. It could also potentially put this person a little behind schedule. So be respectful toward the new nurse.

If this is ineffective, ask to speak to the nurse manager for your unit.

Good luck, sounds like a hard situation.

- A Nurse
posted by latkes at 1:06 PM on August 12, 2014 [15 favorites]

That's absolutely your right. I had a terrible nurse who was snippy with me and willfully ignored my neighbor who would spend hours howling in pain (kidney cancer) while the nurse texted endlessly from the nurse's station. I had to ask an orderly to bring in the nurse's supervisor.

I talked to a supervisor and explained why I was unhappy with my level of care, wrote a formal complaint, and had a new nurse immediately. Never saw her again. No repercussions. (I heard another nurse later complain that the original nurse wore Juicy yoga pants instead of scrubs!)
posted by mochapickle at 1:36 PM on August 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hi I'm a Charge Nurse. Do what latkes says, ask for the Charge and make a request. Do not threaten to leave AMA. Some places will simply let you because a problem that walks out the door is no longer a problem. Plus you may create issues with your insurance refusing to pay for hospital care where you acted Against Medical Advice.

Ask the Charge or your new nurse if there is a Patient Advocate or a Social Worker that can assist you with your child care, or they can talk with you about what to expect as part of your care and how best to navigate this particular facility.

Please consider that while you are in a hospital it is a misconception that you are there to rest. You are there to get over an infection. You will be woken to receive medications, get blood drawn or have vital signs taken around the clock. You may be strongly encouraged to get out of bed and walk when you really do not want to. You will be expected to do as much as possible for yourself because that's how you continue to be able to do these things. That is part of how you get better. Yes rest is a great thing, but it is not the primary goal when aggressively trying to get you healthy again.

Nurses are professionals. It is not personal the swap patients. Most do not have time or energy for 'payback.' Often what seems abrasive is aggressive care. Concentrate on what you need to get back on your own two feet and try not to waste precious energy on being angry at staff. Be angry at your illness, utilize this facility to the max to get well again.

Hope you're feeling better soon.
posted by dog food sugar at 1:39 PM on August 12, 2014 [30 favorites]

Thank you all. I called for the charge nurse. Asked her for a hug and bawled on the poor woman. She was like "not a problem" and gave me her number to call fer directly. Then she gave me tissues and a chocolate chip cookie and told me to so what I needed to do. So all is well (as can be). Thanks everyone.
posted by ramix at 2:59 PM on August 12, 2014 [51 favorites]

Whoa! A cookie? Best possible outcome!

Get well soon...
posted by latkes at 3:08 PM on August 12, 2014 [22 favorites]

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