Many relatives of hospitalized patients like to tell nurses how to do their jobs. Lord Have Mercy Hospital has found a way to meet these very knowledgeable and anxious people halfway.
Last month, the hospital kicked off a program called Try It On Others! If Aunt Betsy wants to supervise her nephew’s nurses, she will first have to do a few shifts caring for total strangers. Once she has shown a sufficient level of nursing skill, then she can determine the way her nephew is positioned, or suctioned, or has his PICC inserted. A purple badge will identify her as a trained Guest Nurse.
The first family member to take LHM Hospital up on the program was Harriet Sewell, a hair stylist. She immediately went through a trial-by-fire when the aortic valve replacement patient she was given woke up confused and started to pull out his chest tubes. “It looked like they were hurting him,” Ms. Sewell told GomerBlog. “He was pulling on them with all his might.”
She helped him yank out every tube. The surgeon was not amused. An administrator familiar with Try It On Others! was called to intervene. Nurse Sewell was reassigned to the floor. Her next patient’s medications included some kind of drops, but his eyes did not look infected, so she added a few drops of Mr. Stricker’s glaucoma beta-blocker to his iced tea. The error was discovered when the patient asked his RN about the drops.
After she tried for twenty minutes to help an elderly patient get seated in a chair before noticing that the woman had undergone below-the-knee amputation of both legs, she was given a pat on the back and told to resume her duties as the family member of a patient.
The Try It On Others! experience taught Harriet Sewell to be more humble and appreciative of her brother’s nurse’s abilities. But her father, a retired blackjack dealer, expressed great interest in putting in a shift as a neurosurgeon.
Be sure to check out Neverkidd’s book, True Tales from a Physician Assistant on Amazon.com