HASTINGS, CA – Jenny Pasternak, an ICU nurse, was “very worried” about her shift tonight. “I have been working as a nurse for 14 years and every day I come to work clueless, just faking it,” Jenny said. “It was such a relief tonight because as soon as I entered the room, I was directed on nursing care by a well-informed family member in the room.”
“You need to be checking her blood pressure on her right arm,” the family member told RN Pasternak.
“Why is that?” Jenny mistakenly questioned. “Does she have an AV fistula on the left, or a previous mastectomy?”
“No, because she’s right handed; that is where the blood pressure is at,” remarked the educated family member who didn’t buy all Jenny’s big medical jargon talk.
“You shouldn’t give her normal saline! She is on a low sodium diet,” the family member later instructed her.
“Oh no, Mom’s flat-lining, call a Code Blue!” Jenny reacted to the outburst by simply placing the pulse oximeter back on the talking patient’s finger.
“That was a close call!” the vigilant family member said while holding her hand over her mouth. “Good thing I was here to notice it. What would this hospital do without me here to notice and watch my relative?”
When speaking about the patient’s ultrasound, the family member’s medical knowledge started to truly flow out. “Ah [excuse me], nurse? When Mom was having her ultrasound I saw gallstones but the radiologist said he didn’t see anything!” Jenny stared at her with utter confusion.
“I want to fire that radiologist and get a new one. Have the new one look again,” demanded the ultrasonographer expert, who seemed to have a Google degree from patient doctor school in San Jose.
The family member also requested a more natural approach: “If she needs her gallbladder out, we want just the stones removed not the gallbladder, she wants to keep all her organs. It’s more natural.”
“Why is there an air bubble in the IV line? You know air can kill somebody. Stop that IV from flowing,” persisted the hawk-eyed family member.
Jenny was floored by this family member’s vast knowledge and just had to ask, “Are you in health care or something?”
“No, but my aunt is a nurse. She is a CNA in Chicago.”