Story time no. 9

So I need to vent just a hint, ok? Ok.

Tuesday I worked in MRI. There was an ICU patient that needed an MRI of a few areas, after a trauma. No big deal, we do ICU patients all the time.

I do what I normally do, I first look through the chart and then I call and speak to the nurse to see if it is safe to bring the patient down.

The patient is freshly extubated, off sedation, agitated, already pulling out lines, and non-English speaking.

Let us take a moment to remember: this is MRI. You have to be able to hold still for 20 minutes or more so the images are readable. MRI’s typically take a long time. The scans they have ordered for this patient add up to about an hour… An hour that the patient will need to hold still…

Nah, this one shouldn’t be coming down here. Nurse knows this. I know this. Doctors don’t seem to understand this. They want to “give it a try”.

So, this poor nurse packs up the patient, gets all the way down to us and as we make eye contact we both know this is a complete waste of time. The patient is in restraints and quite unhappy about this trip.

I don’t see this going well.

We decide we are going to give it the old college try and attempt to move him to the MRI table.

Oh, this ain’t happening!

The patient starts kicking and trying to remove everything as we attempt to move them over. Needless to say, the MRI tech decided it wasn’t safe.

All of this… The nurse and MRI had to go through all of this because the doctors just don’t seem to be able to wrap their heads around the fact that the nurse knows her patient well enough to know what will and won’t work.

Irritating to say the least… Why waste the time of the nurse and the radiology department when we all know damn well this wasn’t going to work?!

 

 

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“Do you have any allergies?”

How often do you ask your patients about their allergies? Better yet, do you clarify and ask about medication and any other allergies?

We get in the habit of trusting our doctors who order the meds and the pharmacy that verifies the meds. However, we may need to get into the habit of asking about food, medication, and “any other” allergies on admission.

When doing the admission database I used to always ask whether the patient was allergic to any medications. That’s all I figured I needed to know… until a patient was negatively affected.

Way back when I was a Med-Surg nurse there was a patient that needed a CT scan. No big deal, he tolerated the scan fine but his kidneys, however, did not. We started noticing his BUN and creatinine creeping up, his urine output decreasing, all for no apparent reason. He just didn’t look as good as he should. He said he has had a CT scan before and never had any trouble. He had no known allergies. He was not a renal patient. It didn’t make sense! One of our nurses happened to be in the room giving him a saline bolus to see if we could get his urine output to pick back up. He was questioned about his previous CT scans again and this time he mentions that one time they “put something in his IV “and it “made him sick and put him in the hospital” but “that was years ago.”

Oh really?

Well, guess who had a CT scan with IV contrast… Mind you, he said he had no allergies. Turns out because of his education level he only considered medications to be the pills he took at home so the IV contrast allergy didn’t register with him. I don’t think he even understood that his reaction was an actual allergy.  He didn’t really know what IV contrast was and since we only asked about meds, he didn’t see a reason to mention it.

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Looks like we found our problem guys.

Needless to say, that changed how I asked about allergies. I try to keep my patient’s education level in mind when asking questions. I want to make sure they understand what I am asking them. It is my job to keep them safe. As the nurse, we are often the last safety check before something reaches the patient. We block all the foolishness from getting to our patients because we are awesome.

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