Nurse Concern

Last night at the hospital I ran into a concern with the nurse assigned to Griffin and Kate for the overnight shift (7 pm to 7 am).

The nurse was a very nice and friendly older lady, but was clumsy and not thoughtful when handling my babies. She had worked with them the last couple of nights, and I had noticed sloppiness but not enough to do anything about it till last night. What I saw then was:

  • The worst thing was partially pulling out Griffin’s feeding tube through clumsiness
  • Setting Griffin down too hard on the scale
  • Not paying attention to him during his change. He usually doesn’t cry a lot, but was very upset and crying and she just pushed his pacifier all the way into his mouth and didn’t react when he started to have a blood oxygen desaturation (he has these when he is uncomfortable or in a bad position or pooping sometimes).
  • Rolling Kate over to swaddle her by just pulling her up by a leg
  • Putting the babies feeding machines back behind them on the counter rather than on the little pullout shelf closer. This caused their feeding lines to be stretched tight and risk pulling out.

We had a couple of options:

  1. Try to gently talk to the nurse about being more careful. However, this is a nurse with 30 years experience and would probably brush things off and do what she wanted once I left for the night. Trying to be more aggressive would risk her getting mad and taking it out on the babies.
  2. Do nothing and hope for the best. Not a great option as our babies had to be in her care for the night.
  3. Talk to the nurse coordinator and ask for a new nurse. Risk here as well is that she could get mad and try taking it out on the babies.

Laurel and I discussed these options and weren’t sure. Laurel said I should decide as I was the one there who saw what happened. I decided to go with option 3 and request a new nurse.

The process for this at Long Beach Memorial Hospital NICU is that you are supposed to go out to the secretary and ask to see the nurse coordinator. I did that, but the nurse coordinator was doing her rounds and asked to see me after. I agreed. I went back in and held Kate for the rest of her feeding time and eventually the nurse coordinator stopped by and quietly mentioned I could meet her outside. So I put Kate back to bed, then went with the nurse coordinator to an outside room to discuss the issues above. The nurse coordinator said she hears these issues from time to time and it’s perfectly acceptable for me to bring them up. She said the nurse would be transferred and would be professional and would not take any adverse action against the babies as nurses are trained for this sort of thing. I’m not so sure about that, humans are humans. Anyways, she agreed to transfer the nurse off the babies tonight and not leave the babies alone with her. In the future, that nurse will not be assigned to the hallway my babies are on.

It’ll probably be a little awkward as I’ll run into that nurse on the night shift again, but babies come first. I did like the nurse as a person, I just didn’t like the way she handled the babies. Hopefully this was the right decision.

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Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

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