Insiders will tell you that the quality of a hospital is determined in a major way by the quality of the nursing staff practicing in that hospital. Cordial, concerned, competent, and caring nurses are a boon to both the physicians working with them and the patients they are taking care of. Patients should do everything they can to form an alliance with their nurses.
One thing I have noticed that bothers virtually all floor nurses is when visitors get in bed with the patient. The most typical scenario is when the patient is a young male and the visitor is the wife or more usually the girlfriend. As one irritated nurse once remarked to me after finding a young couple giggling in bed “… this is not a spa, or a living room, and we are not poolside. This is a hospital!”
I think nurses get upset because they have the overall responsibility for the minute-to-minute care of the patient and having a visitor in bed with the patient makes this much harder. Doctors buzz in and out of patient rooms, but the nurses are there 8 or 12 hours a day. Nurses are responsible for making sure drains, tubes, and IV lines don’t get pulled out, that sequential compression devices stay on, and that wounds are not contaminated by visitors (or more ominously for the cohabitant of the bed that infected wounds do not contaminate visitors).
I think most nurses would tell you there are the exceptions to this desire for no visitors in bed with the patient. Certainly a parent cradling a small child or a visitor holding a loved one in the last moments of life would not cause any raised eyebrows.
But, short of these few situations, I really would counsel visitors – two feet on the floor.
Copyright 2006 Insidesurgery.com