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View Full Version : Our nurse fell asleep. Arg


Niff
05-05-2009, 08:36 AM
I felt a little uneasy about our nurse last night, but figured it might just be Mommy going into overdrive and being paranoid. I had a feeling she might fall asleep during the shift, and Michelle suggested I set my alarm to wake up and check. Well, the nurse fell asleep. I didn't know what to do so I banged some stuff around in the bathroom and she woke up, and then acted like nothing had ever happened. (She didn't realize I had caught her sleeping.)

I just got off the phone with the nursing agency to tell them what happened and let them know I didn't want her back. She was supposed to be one of our routine nurses, but hopefully they'll find someone else.

Oye. I'm glad nothing happened with Mac. Mac sleeps through the night, but because of her secretions we have to suction her every 2hrs.

kadiera
05-05-2009, 08:53 AM
That is such a pain. I'm totally a believer now in trusting the mommy vibe though, after one of our nurses "broke" the vent changing out the circuit, and had our housekeeper call me to ask for advice.

My husband told them after that he'd be setting up a camera to watch Alexander and the nurses....and then went and figured out how to link the pulse ox to a computer. So if we thought it was an issue, our house would be nanny cam central :)

babybear
05-05-2009, 09:03 AM
Oh no! I'm glad Mac is ok and that nothing serious happened. Out of curiosity, what jobs does the nurse have during the night? I know her primary responsibility is to care for Mac, but if Mac is stable, is there something else she could do to keep her busy and awake?

Kate
05-05-2009, 09:04 AM
I'm sorry, this is so hard to go through. Go with your gut and do what you need to do as the Mommy. HUGS :hug:

Niff
05-05-2009, 09:18 AM
Oh no! I'm glad Mac is ok and that nothing serious happened. Out of curiosity, what jobs does the nurse have during the night? I know her primary responsibility is to care for Mac, but if Mac is stable, is there something else she could do to keep her busy and awake?

Nope, they just watch Mac. I'm definitely going to start having them clean stuff, though.

Baby1107
05-05-2009, 09:38 AM
That sucks! I would have gone & tapped her right on the shoulder and asked her to go home NOW! Glad she will be gone. Sorry she did that, at least Mac is ok. ARGH!!:mad:

faywrayy
05-05-2009, 10:31 AM
That's just unacceptable. When we had nursing, if I caught someone sleeping that would p**s me off, but if they happened to wake up (I used to do what you did) and then pretended like it never happened (or my personal fav, "I must have just dozed off...") i would be completely irate. Thank God nothing happened to Mac. Kate was very stable eventually, and slept through without needing suctioning, but still! I mean really, you don't fall asleep at your job, do you? It's unacceptable and unsafe and you did right getting rid of her now.

kirafaesmom
05-05-2009, 02:01 PM
Ugh.....I'm sorry your Mommy Gut was right; but very glad that you caught her and have since dealt with the agency. I hope you get someone trustworthy soon.

FightingForFaith
05-05-2009, 02:12 PM
Ah, yes. I have caught many-a-night-nurse sleeping in our home. The best is when my husband found one laying in our guest bedroom, lights off, and a pillow - yes you heard correctly- over her head.

Then there was the time I awoke to the sound of the vent. alarming because my child was crawling around in the hall (disconnected) while
our 90 year old nurse was asleep in a rocking chair in the next room. We always joked we needed to put a pulse-ox on her but gosh- I really thought she had passed to the other side that night!

Truth is, it is not funny and extremely upsetting when you trust someone to take care of your child at night and they nod off. We have very limited, random night nursing right now and I sleep with one eye open the entire night...I'm still hoping to find that diamond in the rough (like we did for our day nursing) but night nurses (at least of the home care variety, in our experience) are a strange breed if I do say so myself.

When they do come, I always makes sure that a have a pot of coffee on deck to counteract droopy eyes (but even I know that's not reliable!)

Way to go on your mommy gut!!!!

Mom2TwinsPlus1
05-05-2009, 03:04 PM
Lack of nurses that could stay awake at our house is one reason I no longer have nursing.

Sorry yours feel asleep, good job telling the company right away, stick with your guns, sleeping nurses in my opinion have no business sitting with a trached child

Nate's Ma
05-06-2009, 08:54 AM
I found one of my nurses curled up on her side in our rocker covered with two coats and her glasses set on the laptop desk on the floor. Her feminine hygiene was less than stellar and my rocker cushion was pungent... arrrgghhh.

I walked in and made noise and she didn't stir, so I finally tapped her and she woke up and yelled as if I startled her. I called the agency and they of course said they were so surprised, she had been with the agency for 13 years and never had any complaints.... blah blah blah.. We switched the agencies after one of our nurses showed up drunk...

The nurses I have now are allowed to bring laptops and I hook them into our wifi. We provide a desk light that allows them to sit in the dark with light illuminating their workarea, while Nate has a dimmed area to sleep. I also provide a laptop desk with a light on it. I set out coffee and creamer for them and encourage them to make a pot if they need it. I put a baby monitor in the kitchen so they can hear Nate if they come down to get a cup of coffee or get something out of the fridge. I also encourage them to bring a DVD player with ear buds. One of my nurses gets 3 movies every night and wears one ear bud. My nurses also clean our 2 suctions each night. I know what it's like to work nights and I hate it...

My experience is that you need to make it easier for them to stay awake. If you insist that the lights must be turned off and keep the room warm the nurse is set up for failure. We keep our house cooler anyway and Nate has the heated humidified trach collar on and he is usually hot anyway.

I'm not insinuating that you are doing any of the situations mentioned above... you may be doing everything right. Just trying to give a little insight from that of a nurse and a mom...

Hope this helps.

bryantem
05-06-2009, 10:29 AM
I would be quite annoyed! if you are paying for someone to sleep, you are better off without it. Maybe next time, leave out a case of red bull!

La Belle-Mere
05-06-2009, 03:28 PM
We had this problem with one of the overnight nurses we used to have. She is no longer working at our house (we have split custody) but since we have two kids on trach/vents we also have two nurses who work together overnight (it has to be one on one care) so they help each other stay up. They also have a list of jobs that are done by the night nurses. Do to the girls' conditions they must have people awake with them 24/7 so I am so grateful we have found two awsome overnight nurses we can always count on.

It is a body's automatic action to want to sleep when it is dark. I love the suggestions above on how to help the nurses stay awake.

rea74
05-06-2009, 06:03 PM
I didn't have to go through the trouble of finding a night nurse. I'm beginning to thank goodness I didn't!

Since I wasn't working, I took 'night duty' with Mikayla after she came home. At that point, she was on a continuous feeding on the pump with medications given every three hours. And with the suctioning needed as well...

We were only approved for 40hrs of nursing a week with our insurance. So, from Mon-Fri, our nurse (And she was a WONDERFUL find, let me tell you! First and only nurse we had!) was there from 8a-4p. During that time, I crawled into bed and slept, if there weren't local doctor appointments or errands that needed to be ran. Husband was at work from 8a-6p.

Weekends, husband handed Mikayla during the day, and I got her at night as usual.

Thank goodness I wasn't working, or as I had originally planned, in school! It would never have worked.

twintotwin
05-06-2009, 06:10 PM
We've caught a few nurses sleeping in the early days. Now they probably sleep anyway, but they're probably more likely to wake up to alarms than either my husband or myself. I know, that's not good enough but we have no other choice.

I have never actually seen my current nurses sleep but I'm sure they probably close their eyes for a bit. We gave them a TV and lots of visual stimulation...plus it helps that our only bathroom is downstairs outside the boys' room and we all end up making a trip during the night.

If you can get them a TV you should. I know it's difficult for most people to stay awake during the day at the most boring of jobs, let alone have no audio/visual stimulation at night. I would definitely have the agency give them some chores such as cleaning, folding laundry and matching socks.


I must admit, although I was just a teenager then, I used to fall asleep when I was a lifeguard...it was so peaceful watching a good swimmer doing laps. (Shhhh! The Y might want their $3.45 an hour back if they find out!)

karma
05-06-2009, 08:28 PM
It depends which way to go.If your instinct says she is a Good Nurse and knows her job well and would be able to take care of any emergency you may wanna show displeasure and warn her.
If you have a single Doubt fire her right away No second chance .

Ainsley's Mom
05-06-2009, 10:04 PM
We had night nursing the entire first year. Had one primary and 4 other nurses during that time. Not a single one ever fell asleep. But we were ideally situated with a living room right off the bedroom. They could watch TV if they wanted to and they all did, the entire time and I think that helped immensely. And they could use the dining room next to that for charting and the kitchen was right there behind that. However, they were all true night nurses and preferred those hours. And I am in agreement that they are a strange breed but thank god for them or I'd never have survived that first year.

TommysMommy
05-06-2009, 11:09 PM
The very first nurse we got approved for Tommy fell asleep in front of me on my couch in the middle of the day. She also asked me to come in later but clock in with the nursing agency two hours prior. She didn't come back.

norac433
05-06-2009, 11:31 PM
We have three nurses. The nurse that works four nights a week fell asleep one night and my 19 year old daughter told me that the nurse was snoring so loud, my daughter woke up!

It bothered me and I was unsure what to do. We have our foster daughter's room set up with a TV for the nurse to watch and her laptop is hooked into our wifi. The ventilator (she is on the vent from 10 p.m. till 6 a.m.) is very loud and I figured the nurse would wake up if it went off.

I think if it was the nurse that worked only one night a week, I might have called the agency to complain, but this nurse works 4 nights a week and I would hate to loose her. She is always on time and does a good job (other than that one time that I know of). I get the feeling from the agency that nurses trained to care for a child with a trach and on a ventilator are hard to find.
________
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dommyjohn
05-07-2009, 12:06 AM
Our 'carers' have to do hourly observations and record them on a chart as well as keep notes, just as they would in hospital. This is also a good way for us to keep track of what Dommy is doing and whether he is becoming unwell or there are any changes we need to make to his cares. This helps to keep them awake. We are also happy for our carers to watch tv, have the lights on, use the kettle and microwave to make themselves food and drink and even use our wireless internet.

I only mention this because we have heard of some families who make them sit in the dark and basically stare at the wall all night. I've worked night shift myself and always found it easier to do so when stimulated as you are working against the bodies natural rhythms. Dominic also sleeps through the night and some nights are uneventful, then occasionally he'll remind us why he needs to be constantly monitored. I know of many families who don't receive any overnight care and often wonder how they do it. You need to know you can go to bed and trust that the person caring for your child will do the right thing though.

jschug2
05-07-2009, 08:55 PM
I think most of our night nurses sleep. I'm just thankful when they show up.

Livi's_mama
05-07-2009, 09:24 PM
Sorry to those of you having sleeping issues.

We've never had night nursing because it was a fear of mine. I'm a light sleeper so I've done fine. (Also a stay at home mom)

I wouldn't have tolerated sleeping though.

:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

Niff
05-08-2009, 07:58 AM
I found out yesterday that when the nursing manager asked the nurse if she fell asleep, the nurse was honest and said she did. They're keeping her on staff because they've never had a complaint about her, and the nurse talked with the Accounts Manager for a very long time about it. I suppose everyone makes mistakes, but I'm not very forgiving on this front.

KJKK8437
05-08-2009, 08:22 AM
I found out yesterday that when the nursing manager asked the nurse if she fell asleep, the nurse was honest and said she did. They're keeping her on staff because they've never had a complaint about her, and the nurse talked with the Accounts Manager for a very long time about it. I suppose everyone makes mistakes, but I'm not very forgiving on this front.

Wow -- that is something. That kind of honesty is noteworthy, and TBH, it would make me sit up and take notice. We've had nurses fall asleep, and in VA if there is proof of it (not just a parent's word against a nurse), the nurse can lose her license, so our old agency told us. I don't know if it is the same where you are, but if it is, then your nurse knows that.

I didn't tolerate sleepers either, but this admission makes me think she is more responsible than her sleeping might lead you to believe. I told DH about this and his eyebrows hit the ceiling. He said he wishes our nurses had been that honest about their mistakes. It would have given us more faith in what they told us.

Just a thought -- worth what you paid for it.

Niff
05-08-2009, 08:40 AM
Karin - I'm pretty shocked she admitted it too, although it doesn't make it any less dangerous and irresponsible. I think I'm just way too harsh - no one is a saint, but I expect more out of the medical community than any other job. The nurse was very nice, but keeping her on staff is a huge liability and I'm pretty surprised they're willing to take that chance.

Jennifer
08-29-2009, 12:41 AM
I wish I was smart enough to video tape every nurse who slept on the job here. I bet the Board of Nursing would love to look at it. Vent dependent baby with a sleeping nurse. So sad. I'm telling you flat out I would not provide coffee Tv and all those perks to these lazy worthless nurses. That's just my opinion. They are getting paid & it is their job to watch & care for your child. Or Bye Bye! Believe me-the agencies don't care. You are wasting your breath. I reported several & they just feel you are a complainer & send the nurse to another client's house. Agencies have a difficult time finding a nurse & will keep the nurse. I got rid of a nurse for sleeping & running around the house in her barefeet,lying on the floor on her belly reading a book instead of taking care of my child. Well I complained. The agency kept her & sent her elsewhere. She hit a patient & was fired. It goes on & on. How do these nurses get their licenses?

TommysDad
08-29-2009, 05:07 PM
Karin - I'm pretty shocked she admitted it too, although it doesn't make it any less dangerous and irresponsible. I think I'm just way too harsh - no one is a saint, but I expect more out of the medical community than any other job. The nurse was very nice, but keeping her on staff is a huge liability and I'm pretty surprised they're willing to take that chance.

We really wish that there was a registry for nurses that prevented them from working too many hours at multiple agencies. We also wish that there was a registry that kept these bad nurses from working for their current agency or another. Some agencies really do not seem to care about the liability. Our old agency would tell us they could remove the nurse, but then we would be short coverage. Isn't it their job to find nurses to cover, especially when one screws up.

Also, you did the right thing by getting rid of her. We had three chronic sleepers. Each fessed up the first time around. Oh, I was just a little tired tonight, did not get my red bull, etc. They all slept again. Two were fired on the spot, and one we kept way too long because he was the last of the night nurses and it was obvious they were not going to find us anyone else. Our current agency knows better than to send us someone they think might sleep.

Wyatt's mom
08-29-2009, 11:14 PM
Wow -- that is something. That kind of honesty is noteworthy, and TBH, it would make me sit up and take notice. We've had nurses fall asleep, and in VA if there is proof of it (not just a parent's word against a nurse), the nurse can lose her license, so our old agency told us. I don't know if it is the same where you are, but if it is, then your nurse knows that.

I didn't tolerate sleepers either, but this admission makes me think she is more responsible than her sleeping might lead you to believe. I told DH about this and his eyebrows hit the ceiling. He said he wishes our nurses had been that honest about their mistakes. It would have given us more faith in what they told us.

Just a thought -- worth what you paid for it.

I live in NC and I know that the nurse can lose their license if they fall asleep. In the beginning, we had a lot of issues with nurses falling asleep....in fact one lady actual brought a blanket and pillow. REALLY??!! Anyways, we keep a light on in Wyatt's room,allow DVD w/head phones,have wireless internet. Now we have been blessed with great nurses. They ask me for things to do so we they start to get sleepy they have something to do other than normal cleaning suction machines and watching Wyatt. They will do Wyatt's laundry,clean up his dishes,tidy playroom/living room and clean up his bathroom. Good luck!

Lizzykewlness
08-30-2009, 12:06 AM
Sneak in and replace your kiddo with a stuffed animal, then wait until they wake up....

cherienz
08-30-2009, 05:57 AM
Our prob is that even tho Mitch is on a vent, we do not get provided nurses, only carers WHO we train. Staying awake is the number one responsibility and I have faith in 2 out of 5 regulars. Sad isn't it. We have 2 who are on notice for falling asleep once each. Next time out. I know both these ladies are normally responsible and genuinely care - they have lapsed but it is our kids safety that is paramount. I have had others fall asleep and that is it - go home, stay home. Never want to see you again. i detest this part of motherhood, but I genuinely can't stay awake every night. Vent dependent is not a wake up when alarming thing. Also - Mitch has other issues while sleeping with vomiting, and his organs being outside the bodyand precarious to rolling over and sleeping on the tubing.
Regards Cherie

Wyatt's mom
08-30-2009, 09:45 PM
Sneak in and replace your kiddo with a stuffed animal, then wait until they wake up....

:rofl:

suzanne2545
08-30-2009, 10:42 PM
Karin - I'm pretty shocked she admitted it too, although it doesn't make it any less dangerous and irresponsible. I think I'm just way too harsh - no one is a saint, but I expect more out of the medical community than any other job. The nurse was very nice, but keeping her on staff is a huge liability and I'm pretty surprised they're willing to take that chance.

I wouldn't have been happy with a sleeper either BUT as food for thought only, I add this: how many of us do or have taken care of our children at night and slept? Not that it excuses someone sleeping on their job but . . .

Sleeping scared me to death at first too and we just gave free reign to our nurses, they could watch TV, we put Parker in the family room so they could be in the kitchen, make their coffee, whatever, right in sight of him. I always felt that putting a nurse in a dark bedroom was asking for trouble on the sleeping front. Of course, I'm not sure what we would be doing now if we had trach still, it would be harder to have an older child in the living area, but it could be done.

These are my thoughts only. Not pointing fingers just another POV.

jm875
08-31-2009, 12:43 PM
I am a nurse that works night shift with pediatric trach vent clients. I have read the above posts and while I do sympathize with those of you who have experienced poor nursing care, please consider the following in the future:
1. Is your nurse sitting in a chair that you could sit in for 8 hours?
2. Is your nurse sitting by the bed or is she/he in another room with a baby monitor/tv?
3. If the nurse is in the room, is there adequate lighting for the nurse to write notes, assess the patient, suction, perform trach care?
4. Is there any tv or outlets for the nurse?

I have experienced sitting on phone books in a closet, sitting on a stool, sitting on the floor, and sitting in the hallway. I have had no lights, a night light, a flashlight. I have sat on chairs with no arms, stools...etc...I have had the heat cut off in the room I have sat in because since I "make a lot of money", why do I need heat? I have been denied using the refrigerator for my drink, the microwave, the bathroom, toilet paper, paper towels...etc...I have been asked to sit in rooms with lullaby music playing in the dark. Let me ask all of you if any of you could work in the circumstances that you allow your nurses> yes i am one of those strange breed night shift nurses i suppose> but i am proud to say after twenty years i have not fallen asleep and here is why> i assess the house with orientation and know immediately if the family and i are a match> i have ruined my back from lifting a ninety pound patient because the hoyer lift didn"t look right in the room and since it was my job to do this according to the family i damaged my back>
if any of you can work under the above conditions not with your child but with another child and feel any loyalty or can even stay awake then you can condemn the nurses that take care of your children>

jschug2
08-31-2009, 09:24 PM
I'm happy enough when our night nurses just show up. I choose my battles - I have stopped caring whether or not they're sleeping at night.

norac433
08-31-2009, 09:59 PM
We have our house set up so baby Z is in the family room. There is a 32 inch TV, a bathroom very close by, and a nearby kitchen. We also have wireless internet, that we have let our nurses use. Baby Z sleeps through anything (she was in the hospital so much that she is used to noises at night).

I have told my nurses they can make coffee, use my microwave, stove, whatever it takes to make them comfortable. I have teenagers who come in late, and I always let them know who is out so it won't startle them if someone comes in late or early in the morning.

We have caught one nurse sleeping (my daughter said she was snoring so loud it woke her up) I have caught another nurse not giving baby Z her meds or changing her trach ties.

I approached the subject as tactfully as I could, reminding one nurse that baby Z's mom notices if she does not have clean trach ties, and can tell if she does not get her med's because she will cough more.

The sleeping nurse isn't here anymore; she moved on to another job. I just trusted that the nurse would wake up if/when the alarm sounded.

My son and son-in-law are both nurses. My 19 year old daughter is going to school to be a nurse. We respect the profession and know that there are many, many great nurses out there.

twintotwin
08-31-2009, 10:07 PM
Sneak in and replace your kiddo with a stuffed animal, then wait until they wake up....

hahaha! or a freaky ventriloquist dummy

Big Al
09-01-2009, 03:44 AM
I always found that the houses that are easiest to stay awake in are the ones where a family member is dealing drugs, lots of people in and out and yelling. Other than that enviroment is a big thing, good light, a not so easy chair, and a plug for the laptop. If you sit me in a dark room on an overstuffed chair with nothing to do you might as well give me a blanket and a cup of herbal tea
I'm also a strange breed of nurse that loves working overnight but no matter how much I like staying up my body wants to sleep sometimes. That being said if your nurse is a chronic sleeper you do have a problem and it needs solved, I think getting rid of an otherwise fine nurse because you caught tem asleep once is a little knee jerk you should consider working with them to change the enviroment decrease hours worked or increase there chore list so they have something to do. Check often and randomly and if they are still sleeping then get rid of them. And for the record geting paid "lots of money" dosn't make you immune to the sleepies, if it did Bill Gates would have been awake for most of his adult life. Also a working fridge, toilet paper, heat, and not hiding the supplies that I need are plusses for me working at your house.
And to the person who used the phrase "useless lazy nurses" I'm sure they love you to. as a non a lazy generaly useful nurse if I got that vibe from you on a shift you would never see me again. The vibe you send and the environment you create is directly related to the type of nurse you will attract.

Mom2TwinsPlus1
09-01-2009, 09:53 AM
What gets me is that we had sooooo many nurses go to sleep. Yet, they were in a totally lit room, with a tv, access to computer, phone if they needed (most had cells), access to my kitchen for caffiene and we told them many times if you really feel tired and don't think you can stay awake, then wake us up.