A particularly venomous migraine that defied all oral medications landed My Beloved in the hospital where attempts are being made to tame the beast with IV drugs. My Beloved, despite her robust appearance is a fragile flower so she has had many hospital and medical adventures. Actually, I should say “we” since where she goes, I go. I function as a combination patient advocate, practical nurse and security blanket. By now, I’ve gotten so good at the nursing aspect that I’ve been asked by hospital staff members if that’s what I do for living. “No” I tell them, I have just had lots of experience – and I have a strong stomach!
I noticed that most of the nurses in the Houston hospitals are either African American or imported from a certain third world country. The Anglo nurses tend, at least in Houston to end up in Doctor’s offices or day surgery units. I suspect hospital ward duty is harder and the hours must be horrid so perhaps that explains the division.
The African American nurses we’ve meet are a delight. Chipper, cheerful, accommodating and friendly. No matter what I ask, they are happy to comply and they seem to be grateful that I’m taking over some of the nursing duties. They always have a smile, a quip and a joke.
Not so the nurses from the third world country which shall remain nameless. The ones we have encountered are competent in a detached sort of way but bedside manner is not their strong point. They are brusk to the point of rudeness and seem to consider patients a necessary evil. They are also firmly convinced that they know best and resent any suggestions or advice. My Beloved has bad veins and it’s hard to get a good stick. We both know this; we warn them but they go ahead and jab anyway. The African American nurses, on the other hand take one look, listen to what I have to say and call in “the expert” – the one person in the hospital who can always hit a bad vein on the first try.
This “I’m always right” attitude spills into their relations with the other staff members too. Last night we were privy to some rather loud altercations between staff members, one of which cumulated in the slamming of a door. Hospital room walls are thin.
I’m not sure where this post is going and realize that some it comes across as very prejudicial and judgmental. It’s not meant to be, but I wonder if some of the bad press the hospital system receives isn’t the result of culture clash between the expectations of American patients and the nurse training that is prevalent in the third world country that shall remain nameless.
Hospitals who recruit from there might do well to insist on a class in Beside Manner 101 once their nurses are stateside.