Just saw a tweet about someone pooping on the floor (hellz yeah that's Twitter, baby: and I laughed!), and it reminded me about a long-ago epitome-of-nursing-frustration story. I had a finger-painting patient. For those of you outside the medical field, that means my patient would dip his fingers in his poo and paint with it. But it's not as fun as it sounds. He also had C diff. My night was awesome. The way our pods were set out, I could not chart and have him in my line of sight, but I checked on him a lot, and he was snoring softly ("pt resting quietly with eyes closed, respirations even and unlabored," right, nurses?), so I started checking some orders.
Next thing I know a colleague came up and said, "Your patient exploded everywhere." Indeed. It was about 0600 at this point, so I called housekeeping, gowned and gloved up, and started scrubbing down the patient and the walls. But the next shift arrived shortly, so I had to go give report, and I was expecting housekeeping any minute; my patient, at least, was squeaky clean. And in bed with three, not four, side rails up.
Housekeeping did show up during report. Four of them, freshly pressed (unlike me, with splatters of poo everywhere, including flecked in my hair I'm sure), with their yellow cart sprouting handy cleaning implements and strong chemicals.
"Who call for housekeeping?" asked one with a strong Hispanic lilt. "I did. It's room xxx." "Eees-a poo-poo?" "Yes, the patient was incontinent of bowel." (I think that phrase sounds professional.) "Qué?" "Yes, it's poo-poo." "Ah. We no do poo-poo."
Needless to say, I was not in the mood for this crap. Literally. Turned out, housekeeping would clean the room, but only after I cleaned it. I'm not lazy and don't think I'm too good to scrub a toilet or anything else, obviously, but it's a bit much to expect an RN to be a nurse, aide, sitter, and janitor all in one shift. And yet, I ended up my shift with mop.
I'm pleased to report that at my current job, housekeeping actually cleans messes up side by side with nurses and not AFTER the nurses are done tidying up. If you work in a hospital and aren't wearing a suit, YOU DO POO POO.