Blog spotlight: Calming the hysterical

Nurse Leader Insider, October 27, 2008

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This week, expert Deanna R. Miller, RN, MSN/Ed, HCE, gives us an inside look at the assistance and relief nurse managers can offer staff during hectic situations:

The other day I was spending much of my time out on my medical surgical unit because of an increase in census and acuity. As I was walking down the hallway one of my seasoned RNs approached me with her eyes bugging from her head and the fear of the unknown on her face. Before she could say a word, I asked her what was wrong. As she wiped the beads of sweat from her brow she stated, "I have been trying to get that PCA pump to work for the past half hour and I just can't get it to infuse." She was frustrated, agitated, and I knew that the patient had to observe this during her entire time of troubleshooting that darn PCA pump.

I asked the RN to remove the pump from the room and bring it to the medication room so we could troubleshoot together. She obtained the pump and we did work it out. My words of wisdom were these: If you are having difficulty with a piece of technical equipment in a patient's room and are unable to resolve the problem quickly, sometimes it is good judgment to remove the equipment from the room. Then, work on it in another area. Reason being your frustration may be perceived by the patient as hostility or a lack of knowledge. You can also take a minute and get a cold beverage. . . .

Have any of you experienced similar situations? How did you calm your staff?

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