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The Emotional Atmosphere At My Unit
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<Jfactor>
posted
Hi,
I'm new to this forum. I've been on dialysis for 5 years now. I'm on the transplant list in Michigan and so far, I've been pretty healthy as I wait for a kidney.
I have been at the same unit for the 5 years and I've noticed that the quality of care in terms of the way a patient is treated by certain dialysis staff, has decreased a great deal. There seems to be a certain hostility in the air amongst the nurses and the techs.
As an observant patient, I can see, sense and feel the tension during the treatment. As you can imagine, it's uncomfortable. I think the problem(s) stem from the manager of our unit. She was promoted to her position and has no management experience.
Under her management, she has fired 4 techs in 4 years and at least 4 (techs) have transferred to other units. I don't believe that dialysis has to be a "prison-like" experience. When a person spends so much time at dialysis, the staff and other patients become friendly and there have been times when you hear laughter between patients and staff. This kind of thing upsets the manager and discipline is then served out.
This all makes for a very tense and hostile environment.
I don't know if I have any options except for leaving my unit. I hate to do that because it is only a mile from my home and I can always get there.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thank you.
 
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<fmc guest>
posted
This is really sad to hear. I'm sorry that you have to go through kidney failure then deal with that as well.

Just so you know we are equipment techs not dialysis techs or PCT's. We do not have much contact with patients although I do enjoy speaking with patients when I see them.

If you are at an FMC clinic you need to file a grievance. If you do not feel comfortable with doing this locally talk to your social worker and have her/him do it for you. I believe all units must have a way that you can let someone know your thoughts without fear of retaliation. There should be a grievance policy and procedure posted in the waiting area or treatment area of your clinic. They also should have went through this when you started and given you the procedures.

If you need more help just ask.
 
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<Jfactor>
posted
Thank you very much for your response. I have thought about filing some kind of complaint and or grievance - I am at an FMC. I'm not quite sure how to explain or describe exactly what I feel in terms of a grievance so any help you could give me would be appreciated.
All I want is to be able to go into my unit and get the treatment with as little anxiety as possible and believe it or not, all my anxiety at this point stems from the atmosphere and not the needles.
 
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As fmc guest said you can file a grievance. All you need to say is the the atmosphere makes you uncomfortable because you can sense that there is tension in the unit. I just had to take a mandatory (yearly test) on the subject of unappropriate behavior. This was new one but it was talking about people who cause a stressful environment. They (healthcare people) are starting to realize that this tension does lead to mistakes because of the stress level. Look for the signs on patient rights and responsibilities, there should be info on how to go about this. Or your social worker can help you. I remember being a biomed student many moons ago and I was observing a surgery in the O.R. when the doc got in he just started going off on everyone. I guess that was normal for him but you could tell the tension level was high. I told myself that I would never want to be in an OR like that getting a procedure done. When the stress level is up so is the potential for mistakes. Hope things work out for you and let us know if it does.
 
Posts: 503 | Location: Ann Arbor, MI | Registered: 16 September 2009Report This Post
<Bad CM>
posted
The Clinic Manager at my Clinic goes through about 10 pct and nurses a year(Not exagerating). No one will do anything about this but look the other way. The patients have to endure all the new staff as well as her loud mouth. My advice to you is to try local management first. If that does not work you must take it higher or you will get nowhere. The sad truth is if you are the only one willing to complain you will not be heard and will be shrugged off as a "problem" patient. As far as one of the previous posts stating talk to your social worker, our social worker is scared to say anything due to being one of the "problem" employees that find themselves without a job. I would give another dialysis company a try if all else fails.
 
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<fmc guest>
posted
Just so you know, FMC has strict policies regarding professional behavior when working with patients. It does tend to fall on the clinic manager to make sure the staff acts appropriately. I would file a grievance and see where that gets you then go above the manager’s head if not satisfied. Managers are required to report on grievances in monthly meetings so something should be done.
 
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<nallaba2>
posted
I am a social worker and I think talking to your social worker will help. They can direct you to who you can file your grievance, but if the social worker is scared like Bad CM mentioned, then skip that and go to the network, the governing body of all dialysis clinics. To find the one for your state go to:
http://www.esrdncc.org/
 
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<Jfactor>
posted
Thank you for your suggestions. I talked to my social worker today about getting information for filing a grievance...she, the social worker, seemed scared about just giving me the information.
I realized today that what is going on at my unit is that the Clinical Manager wants to run it like it's a prison. The PCTs are afraid of her (because she has fired so many of them)and whereas before, there was a very friendly atmosphere between patients & techs...it's very quiet but tension-filled.
FMC is supposed to be about "ultra care" and patient quality. But I don't think they (or at least the manager) cares about the "emotional" part of what the patient goes through. I know that I feel a lot of anxiety and stress just walking in the door there now.
At our unit, the Clinical Manager and the person above her from corporate are very good friends. I know that if I do file a grievance, I won't be able to go to either of them. And if I go above them, I will face retaliation.
 
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Just remember you are the patient and the customer. I wouldn't worry about retaliation. They are not the ones putting needles in you or running you treatment. Those people most likely do care how you feel. You always have other options as well. There are people above both the people you are worried about and there is also groups and agencies that can look into these things if it is getting out of hand all it takes is a compliant to the Joint Commission and they will be scrambling to cover their butts. Wink
 
Posts: 503 | Location: Ann Arbor, MI | Registered: 16 September 2009Report This Post
<RN guest>
posted
I agree that you should try to resolve this issue with your dialysis facility first. However, if you do not see any improvement, you may wish to contact your ESRD Network. You can use this link and simply click on your state to find your Network http://www.esrdncc.org/

It sounds like this manager needs to take some management classes. Nurses rarely get this type of training in nursing school. I hope everything works out for you!
 
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<Guest>
posted
Report this to your doctor. He/she may be able to help.
 
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<Jfactor>
posted
Hi,
I just wanted to check in and let you all know that the situation at my unit has gotten worse. My favorite tech was fired (she had worked there 8 years) and the Clinical Manager knew that the tech and I were also friends outside of the unit. Since the day the tech was fired, the CM has been talking about me to other people. She told one tech that she noticed her talking to me and that she (the tech) should not trust me because I've been in and out of her office, complaining about her. I've never been in the CM's office once.
She also told that same tech that I'm depressed and that I have been since she fired my favorite tech. I'm not depressed and as you know, I was unhappy before she fired the tech.
The environment, for me is very tense. I am not a "problem patient." I have expressed to the social worker and my doctor that I am unhappy. They have both told me that the "Clinical Manager is not going anywhere," so I have to figure out what I can do to make myself feel better.
I don't want to get the tech who told me what was said about me, in trouble, so I can't really report that to anyone. But I don't think the CM should be able to lie and tell a tech not to trust me.
I feel stuck. I know that I have the option to go to another unit but this unit is a mile from my house.
 
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<Jfactor>
posted
Oh and I want to mention that although my CM thinks that I'm upset and "depressed" about her firing my favorite tech, she's wrong. I feel bad that she's not there at the unit anymore but the most important thing for me is that I get a good, life-saving treatment.
 
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<Anonymous RN>
posted
You can find the information for filing a grievance posted in the lobby of your dialysis unit. It is probably on a bulletin board or locked in a glass display case. It is a federal rule to post it there for you, the patient , for the exact reason you wrote about. Good luck. I hope things improve for you at your facility.
 
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