Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nursing Home Nurse....

I worked in an old, nursing home right out of school for a few years.  To say it was a trip is an understatement.  I wish I could be more professional and label it something else but that is what it was.  I have to emphasize this because in the end I reported the facility to the state for abuse.  I worked night shift and only saw the aftermath of the abuse.  Mostly bruising.  It seemed excessive but every time we would speak with our supervisors we were met with anger and denial.  One coworker called the Sate of Oregon to report that a resident had informed her of abuse by another staff member.  The resident was so scared and when the state investigator questioned her, she denied saying anything.  The abuser was actually promoted and the staff was threatened.  The owner said "if I find out who wrongfully accused this employee of abuse, your employment will be terminated.  We will not stand for gossip and false allegations anyone who engages in this will be let go."   So, the abuse continued.  Then one day a medication aide said "can I talk to you?"  She told me everything.  She had seen most of the abuse but was too frightened to say anything.  I didn't tell my boss, I called the State of Oregon.  The State of Oregon called the State Police and then I spent hours reconstructing the schedules the abuser worked, the sections of the building he worked in, matched nurses notes and incident reports to the days he worked.  At the end of the initial investigation I worked with a forensic investigator.   Then the attorneys for the families.  Even though someone saw the crimes, I was the chief witness because I was the nurse who could pull all of the pieces together into one picture.  During the time of the initial investigation, our bosses removed incident reports out of the building and they asked the receptionist to shred information.  When I found out I called the State Police.  Search warrants were served on their individual residences and the paperwork found.  The facility lost it's license, families won huge lawsuits, the abuser did 3 years of jail time and the abuse stopped.  It was an experience I will never forget.  The strangest thing was folks were angry at me for calling the State Of Oregon.  The other weird thing is the owner to this day believes it was all BS.  The Director Of Nurses went on to teach CNA classes and work in another nursing home.  During the time this was going on I found my way to the place I work now. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

Do No Harm

I promised in my heart when I was going through Nursing School, I would "do no harm". Three words but amazing depth. Harm can be purely negligent or it can be something small. For example walking by a patient/resident quickly because there was a phone call waiting, and not saying "hello". This simple act may have caused the patient to feel sad and unappreciated. To me that is harm.

I talk to our caregivers about a heart to heart connection. I now believe on some level that if people don't have it with our residents, they will not be successful in their job. How do you instill that feeling? How do we open their eyes to the fact that caring for another person is the most precious gift they can give.

I was sitting in church one day. (you rarely find me talking about religion here but bear with me) I was late for work and the service was running over. My mind was wandering and I was probably thinking "hurry up, hurry up". Then the pastor said "you are serving God though your labor". Of course I sat up and paid attention. He spoke about work and how we serve God if we work with our hearts connected to our heads. I thought "wow, he is right". How else better to serve than take care of the meek, the frail and sick?