Sunday, 30 May 2010

In the know

A typical exchange on the ward. I approach the Sister in Charge. “Excuse me, do you have a patient Charles Watkins (name invented), post op above knee amputation?” She looks up coldly from her clipboard and stops ticking boxes long enough to say “Never heard of him.”

I wander off and find a senior Staff Nurse. She is writing something that no-one will ever read. “Excuse me, do you have a patient Charles Watkins, post op above knee amputation?” “Don’t think so, not my end, try down the other end”

At the other end I find a less senior nurse and ask again. She consults a tatty piece of paper “Maybe but he is not my patient” Is the response

I try the SEN (Yes I know they don’t exist any more). “Yes , but I don’t know where he is.”

Finally I try the auxiliary (OK OK the HCA). “Oh Charlie?’ she says. “Yes that is his bed over there but he is not there, he has just hopped out for a fag. He will be back in 10 minutes cos that is when lunches arrive and it’s fish & chips today which is his favourite.”

I know who to ask first next time.


  1. Sadly the answer is in your post.

    'Sister' - "clipboard and stops ticking boxes"

    Staff nurse - "writing something that no-one will ever read"

    Too much paperwork and not enough hands on, and always remember; paperwork comes before patient care.
    Happens all over and nurses who don't do it get pulled up and bollocked.

  2. Meant to add, always go to the HCA! They know everything.