In response to Jean DerGurahian's Joint Commission issues alert on unprofessional behavior:
Bravo, Joint Commission, for sitting at your conference tables and dreaming up yet another hoop for already overworked and overstressed nurses and staff to jump through. I agree that rude language and threatening behavior by staff are unprofessional. However, we do not need you to tell us that! Nor do we need yet another standard to have to follow. You dictate on everything from pain-rating scales, blood-glucose meter monitoring, patient restraints to whats in our refrigerators. Have you ever once considered making standards that benefit the ones actually taking care of our nations sick? You seem to now be blaming us for behavior issues without once considering the possible issues that could be behind the behavior.
I work in a 12-bed combined cardiac-care unit/intensive-care unit at my hospital. We take all kinds of patients including overflow from the other units. We are the rapid response team for the hospital, and respond to all Code Blue situations on every unit and every shift. We have very limited ancillary staff which usually includes only a CNAif were lucky. We take time to deal with difficult docs, patients and family members, have no clue what a break is, and rarely have time to eat a meal without getting up in the middle of itif we get it at allto answer a call light or get interrupted by a patients family member or the phone. We work 12-hour shifts, get mandated for four more hours and also pick up overtime shifts on our days off.
With all of that, we act as professionally as humanly possible. There are days when weve had all we can take. We run on little sleep and are almost always stressed with the kind of patients and families were taking care of. It is definitely possible to lose your professionalism at times when a patient, family member or doc is abusing you. But isnt that true with any job? Why is it we are held to a higher standard than any other worker? Should we take abuse? Should we never say or do anything to defend ourselves? I want to know which of the Joint Commission staff has ever been physically or verbally battered or assaulted by one of the staff members of the facilities they go into to evaluate. I would bet the number is zero!
Take time to consider the work you add with every standard. The time it takes to jump through yet another Joint Commission hoop means less time to take care of our patients in a timely, less-stressed manner. Take time to research why these things are happening in our healthcare facilities rather than just using your power to mandate people to behave themselves better.
Terri Walker, R.N.Intensive-care unitFairmont General HospitalFairmont, W.Va.
To submit a letter to the Modern Physician Reader Blog, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown.