A Frustrated Dialysis Nurse due to Lack of Support

I am dialysis nurse. What is dialysis? Well it is basically a process that involves hooking your body up to a machine through an artificially created access post so that your blood can flow into a tube and through the dialysis machine where the wastes in your bloodstream are cleaned. (What your kidneys usually do).

Anyway that is not the point. But I think you get the picture, as a nurse monitoring the dialysis on a patient, you pretty much have to be in the room with the patient all of the time. I work in an enormous teaching hospital, and was assigned to dialyze a patient in one of the cancer care units. I did my pre dialysis assessment, and started the lady’s dialysis. The son comes in the room, and says: “I think my mom’s tongue is swollen.” She stuck out her tongue, it did not seem swollen to me, but her mouth seemed a bit dry. She told me she had just received a painkiller and I remember from looking up in her chart that she had been prescribed morphine. Well I called for the floor nurse on the call bell and of course, no one answered. The son got a doctor to look at his mother, who said: “Well, it looks like a reaction to the morphine.”

Her blood pressure was dropping, so I went to the unit’s nursing desk and tried to page the Dialysis doctor, but he did not call back. I called my dialysis unit to see if there was someone else that I could call to advise me whether or not to take the lady off dialysis. No answer on my unit either (they were too busy to pick up the phone). After 40 minutes of not hearing from anyone in my team. I took the patient off dialysis.

I am so stressed out about the lack of support. This is a large reputable medical centre, but you can’t get the doctor to answer the fucking phone. I can not wait to get a 9 to 5 job, in some clinic, an easy job. Hospitals may pay really well in Canada, but the responsibility and stress is bullshit.