Daily Archives

April 20, 2016

But are you satisfied with your care?

By | Nursing | One Comment

Having worked in ER and ICU for the majority of my nursing career, I am used to being around some pretty sick people. It’s my happy place. My security blanket, if you will.  When I mentioned taking a desk job not too long ago, my husband’s mouth dropped open in shock.  His statement? “Janie, you will DIE OF BOREDOM if you are not around someone who could drop dead any second” .

care2I hope I don’t give off that vibe. 🙂

Quite some time ago, in a hospital far, far away a nurse took care of a patient in septic shock.  The patient arrested in the department right in front of her, and she can recall the snapping of ribs on her first chest compression.  Naturally, she winced a little, however, it is one of those necessary evils when saving a life sometimes.  Studies show that up to 97% of patients sustain rib fractures with CPR. They rarely cause any internal damage, and are usually completely uncomplicated.

There was a complication this time.  

The complication was that the patient was absolutely livid that her ribs were broken during CPR.  She completely recovered, by the way.  It wasn’t even a terribly long hospital admission.  She did REALLY well.  However, according to Nurses in the unit she transferred to, she had frequent complaints about how ‘That person doing CPR’ manhandled her and broke her ribs. She complained about not being treated ‘gently’.  She actually wanted to “Write a letter about how that person needs better training”. Luckily, a couple of the nurses and docs made sure she understood she was lucky to be alive.


As we all know, slow, gentle chest compressions are useless. The nurse’s chest compressions (and those of her coworkers) were properly fast and effective.  The patient lived. So why was she fixated on her broken ribs?

Because it HURT..  She was scared about what happened and fixated on the broken ribs. I get it.

And she did eventually (a few days)  stop complaining, laugh at herself, and realize that she had not been gently handled because it was not possible.

My question is….. what do you think she said on her patient satisfaction survey?

I guess it doesn’t matter, because she lived, so the goal was achieved. But it could financially matter to the hospital.  Satisfied patients are not necessarily the ones who got the best care.  This patient had no idea that broken ribs were a normal side effect of CPR.  She had to be educated repeatedly about it.  And she also expected to have a hospital experience with absolutely no pain.  NONE.

I think we might need to get better about educating the public that medical procedures are rarely completely painless. care





Share this post with friends!
Want More? Click below to follow us!