Friday, January 21, 2011

Patients behaving badly

This morning I was on my usual hospital rounds, working at the nurses station. I absently noticed a patient pushing his IV pole around the hallways, writing on a notepad every now and then.

I dictated a note, moved to the next chart, reviewed some labs, scribbled a bit. The typical patient care stuff went on around me.

Suddenly, all was interrupted by someone loudly clearing his throat. "AHEM!"

We all looked up. Mr. Notepad was standing at the front counter.

Mr. Notepad: "I would like to speak to the nurse in charge."

Nurse Commander: "I'm the charge nurse today. What can I do for you?"

Mr. Notepad: "The decorative pictures in my room are not acceptable. I don't like them."

Nurse Commander: "I'm sorry."

Mr. Notepad: "I have prepared a list." (hands over a piece of paper) "I've written down the names and locations of pictures you have in the hallway that I prefer. I want to have them switched out with the ones in my room."

Long silence.

Nurse Commander: "Sir, this isn't a hotel or art museum" (hands paper back to him). If you're unhappy with the pictures, I suggest you make a donation to the hospital foundation, and send the list to them."


Mr. Notepad stomped back to his room. I went over to Nurse Commander and told her she was awesome.

35 comments:

Packer said...

I have always been partial to
Eric Sloane.

Modern day America, complainers , whiners and as the Gov of Pa says wusses. What the heck is going on, and don't tell me nothin.

Anonymous said...

I've had patients like that...actually I have a mother in law who might do that.

Anonymous said...

and two sisters in law too.

binkRN said...

That patient was clearly ready for discharge. I am betting that the charge nurse made certain his doctor knew that as soon as he hit the floor.
If you can be picky about the art in your room, you need to leave now.

We have an old ED, and it is pretty boring as far as decoration goes. We regularly get patient complaints about how boring the exam room was, nothing to look at, no TV, blah, blah, blah. Don't like it? Well, here is an official complaint form. Maybe we can afford some paint if you complain enough.

Old MD Girl said...

Go Nurse Commander!!

me said...

YAY for her!!!

Definitely ready for discharge!

terri c said...

GO CHARGE NURSE!!! I can't remember what any ED cubicle I've been in looked like. Might be because I was, you know, sick?

Cthulhu Sashimi said...

I think he might appreciate a selection of Damien Hirst's works- "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," "Away from the Flock,," "A Thousand Years," and "For the Love of God" come to mind.

Anonymous said...

BinkRN stated exactly what I was thinking! If you are that well, perhaps it is time to go home?

Maybe it is good that the nice pictures are out in the hallway. Gives people an incentive to leave their room, just like did with this patient.

The Good Cook said...

Perhaps he would have preferred "The Scream"? just saying..

Not House said...

Rockwell.

Nothing but Rockwell.

Kat's Kats said...

I've never complained about pictures in a room, however I have complimented some. There was that one poster on the ceiling at the OB/GYNs...

Anonymous said...

Two words: Thomas Kinkade.

Headstrong said...

Double snicker! Well done Charge Nurse! Somebody get crackin' on that discharge summary!

Anonymous said...

I prefer Nathan Oliveira, an abstract Figurative Expressionist. I saw some of his work at the San Jose Museum of Modern Art, wow what an artist. He passed away last November.

And a small refrigerator to hold my diet coke.

23 Skidoo said...

Perhaps you were on the Psych ward?

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I wasn't.

But my life IS a psych ward.

Kapitano said...

"Nurse Commander"? A much more macho title than "Matron" or "Head Nurse".

I can just see nurses with stripes on their sleeves and gold on their shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Nurse Commander is indeed awesome. And now I'm flashing back to those terrifying clown dolls that hung from the ceiling in my former dentist's office.

Rothase said...

You have no idea how hard I am laughing! Until recently, I worked for a company that supplied the art to hospitals, mostly in the Midwest, but others nationally. I wonder if we did that place? It was probably nature photography or landscapes. People actually have done research that says patients who have scenes of nature in their rooms heal faster. I am not sure how you would research this; how do you set up an art control group? Abstract Expressionism, perhaps? Interestingly, our biggest customer for 'modern' abstracts was a very large regional group of 'senior living facilities,' AKA old folks homes, only expensive. Go figure! Hope Grandpa digs Warhol and Rex Ray!

The Mother said...

We all know that the decor is directly correlated to patient outcome. I think we should go for Degas in every room.

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terri c said...

We call the head of the Palliative Care service "The Commander" since he's the chief and also a US Navy veteran. It's grand fun--as chaplain I am only required to salute him the first time I see him each day. He's a great guy--maybe we'll have to try "Nurse Commander" for some or all of the charge nurses...

Anonymous said...

If I'm ever in your hospital, I'm going to make damned sure I stay on friendly terms with Nurse Commander - she's awesome! And that patient needed to be shown the door ASAP!

guidetomedschool said...

I love your blog. It reminds me that one day I'll finally get out from behind these books and get to marvel at human nature...hehe...

lovinmyjob said...

What the heck was in his IV? Maybe he was hallucinating. He definitely had delusions of grandeur.

Anonymous said...

Heh, reminds me of going to the hospital to have an induction and being put in a room with a landscape picture on the wall. It was a scene of mountains and a river, and I'm sure it was intended to be relaxing, but the picture was so old and faded that the entire scene was in shades of pink. Pink mountains and rivers are not actually all that relaxing. It looked like it should be titled "Last view of the world as the sun turns into a Red Giant."

pharmacy chick said...

WTF?? Since when do hospital rooms have ART? I guess the last time I was in the hospital I was 16 and had my tonsils out. I suppose he also expected the hospital chef to present him with an evening dessert tray also. Perhaps some Perrier with a slice of lime?

PS..Jeff Adams sounds very spammy

Anonymous said...

i've been in the hospital many, many times. i can't recall any art except when i'm doing one-day surgery and the landscapes there.
if my icu room had art ... i honestly don't remember ... i remember seeing get well cards.
art? i would rather the hospital spend the money and pay "nurse commander" better wages. i've had a lot of nurses like her and healed faster because of the care.
go nurse commander!

Anonymous said...

ummm..... i empathize with this guy. i used to switch the hall art with the on call room art to get the best stuff where it would be the most appreciated.

Anonymous said...

To the other Anonymous who suggested Thomas Kinkade, that is just sadistic!!
Seriously, Kinkade pictures agitate me because they typically feature cute little houses just up a gentle slope from sweetly-flowing streams. Why doesn't he ever paint what happens to the cute little houses when the streams do what streams will do, and FLOOD? He could travel to Queensland, Australia, right now to get some inspiration...

stutefish said...

I dunno.

Being maimed, violently ill, or otherwise incapacitated, and stuck in a hospital room (not a place usually known for comforting or appealing decor), I'd imagine things like the art on the wall becomes pretty important.

After all, it's all you have to look at, besides the beige ceiling and the screws that secure the curtain-rail to the wall.

I think I'm going to side with the patient on this one. I don't know that his response was appropriate, or that his proposed solution was realistic, but my sympathies lie with him regardless.

Dr. Grumpy can walk out of a hospital room, go home, and relax in surroundings he's chosen himself to suit his tastes. Not so the patient.

Anonymous said...

Definately switch with some Egon Schiele.

Anonymous said...

Give him some paper and some crayons, and let him create his own art.

Tzipora said...

Dr. Grumpy, I wish I was making this up and also that this was a newer post so others could comment on this but... At the University of Michigan Hospital they SERIOUSLY have a program where you get to pick the art in your room! We're talking Degas, Monet, anything and everything. The art program people love me and actually have sent me a special collection to choose from knowing I have an art background. Oh and this program is SO integral (they claim in their brochure patients heal better... Eh, really? ) that they even have special people come into isolation rooms. They will gown up and even wait for that one minute that say they C. Diff patient is actually off the toilet to bring "the art cart" in. I'm not even making this up! Now they also have some art project kits and adult coloring books that are fun if you're stuck there for a long time as I've been but even after weeks in the place, I never did feel healed by my art on the wall... And they'll even try to do special projects with art inclined patients which is nice but after a point you're exhausted because you're you know, actually sick and in a hospital, and need a break and don't care anymore. I'd have happily traded my nice art print for a more comfortable bed or even an IV pole with multiple channels so I could actually push it or one that wasn't so old that it couldn't be unplugged longer than five minutes without the battery dying... That few minutes from day 12 that you're picking a new picture might be a nice escape but somewhere in there are priorities.... And hey, U of MI are the ones who have done the studies that show patients with chronic conditions who don't believe there's hope of getting better are actually happier than those who think there is more to do for them, so why being me art anyhow? Last ditch cure attempt before acceptance?

 
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