Posts Tagged ‘LPN’

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In Long-Term Care, What’s Favoritism?

March 31, 2010

By Sheena Jones, an LPN who is in training to be an RN at Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, NY

Birthday Cake/by Eggybird, via Flickr

Is it really fair when we get the favoritism speech from our superiors when we supply residents who have no family or friends with hygiene supplies? When there are two roommates and one has family and friends who visit daily and bring her all that she could need or want and the other has nothing and no one? Am I wrong for getting a couple of supplies from the dollar store for her? We all know that the hygiene supplies in many facilities are watered down and cheap. Am I wrong for buying someone some socks when they have none? We can’t share supplies or clothing between patients, so do I let someone walk around with nothing? If these people were my family or friends I would want someone to make them comfortable. They can’t leave the facility to go shopping with family or friends, and many of them have lost most of their mental capacity and have no one to help them—but that does not mean that they should walk around less put together than someone with a family? Do we just let these residents go without?

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When Devices Do the Thinking for RNs, What Training Still Matters?

March 15, 2010

By Sheena Jones. (Sheena is an LPN in training to be an RN at Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, NY.)

'Technology Then and Now'/iLoveButter, via Flickr

So I’m sitting at home on a rare day off and I get a phone call. It’s the supervisor trying to locate one of the many devices each staff member has to sign in and out at the beginning and end of each shift. The hospital I work for uses bar code scanners, wireless computers, PDAs, and Vocera badges. These things are supposed to reduce errors and in general make the jobs of staff members easier. Once I get to work I feel like I have to put on a utility belt to carry all of these devices.

With all of these machines to think for me, I wonder if all of the schooling I’m enduring to go from my LPN to RN is obsolete. Yes, compassion and empathy can’t be taught or replaced by technology. But sometimes it seems to me that a technology-savvy teenager could do much of this job, as long as she could stomach the visuals at the bedside. I remember studying night and day for an exam about calculating medication dosages, only to discover that the computers give the exact dosage and that drugs come from the pharmacy just as they should be given.

Maybe we are a little bit dependent on technology. You should see the mass panic when there is an electrical surge. Nurses often waste time finding computers on wheels (affectionately known as “COWs”) that have a full battery. If they’re not charged or there’s not enough charge to go around, very few people get any work done until power is restored.

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Is This Teamwork? Learning to Supervise Isn’t Easy

March 4, 2010

By Sheena Jones, who attends Dutchess Community College and lives in Beacon, NY

hourglass 4/graymalkn, via Flickr

So I’m a young nurse, one of the youngest in my facility. I used to be a nurse’s aide; now I’m an LPN in training to be an RN. It’s very difficult when the aides are either the same age as me or old enough to be my grandmother.

What do you tell a 19-year-old aide who just got mandated for a second shift on a Saturday evening and who is texting all shift but getting her work done? Do you tell her to put it away, knowing that you would be doing the same thing if you were still a young aide and had already gone the extra mile to check that all the patients were safe and happy?

What do you tell the 57-year-old aide who is always the last one struggling to finish her assignment because she can’t keep up? She can’t get her two baths done plus get the other eight residents washed and in bed by 10 pm, even though everyone else is done by 8:30 pm. Do you tell her to hurry up and finish? Do you send the frustrated younger aide to finish her assignment, and call it ‘teamwork’? Who wants to do extra work? 

This is the situation I face every couple of weekends. I’ve tried changing the aide assignments to make the older aide’s workload easier, but she just can’t seem to work fast enough no matter what I do. I have a frustrated younger aide who always finishes her own assignment and half of the older woman’s. I even help put some of the older aide’s patients to bed, and then I’m behind on my medication rounds. As a facility, we’re short on help most weekends, snowstorms, and holidays—and everyone is frustrated when they arrive and learn they are mandated by law to stay another shift for the safety of the residents.

As a young nurse, do I tell the 19-year-old who is doing her job to do extra, or do I tell the lady who is old enough to be my grandmother and has been working as an aide longer than I’ve been alive to work harder?

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