Hospital security supervisor here. I have some horrific stories about terrible ER staff.
Venting. I have some stories I want to get off my chest. Security supervisor, also an EMT, so I have a working understanding of basic medical procedure, chain of care, patient privacy / rights, handling of sensitive information, UoF procedure, psych holds, etc.
Full disclosure here. A lot of ER staff fucking hate me because I'm not stupid and I know what can and can't be done. ER nursing is an entirely different subset of nursing. In my experience, it's a high stress environment full of bitter, wretched, overly judgemental people who take their frustrations out on each other, patients, other staff, everyone.
They misunderstand what our job is. They think our job involves forcing people to comply. Our job is to ensure no one gets hurt and everyone's rights are respected. We are not ATTACK dogs, we are GUARD dogs. Full stop.
Here's a list of stupid shit I've seen:
A doctor deems a patient has nothing medically wrong with him, orders him discharged, then wanders off. The patient refuses to leave. We arrive and give him a "move it or we call cops" ultimatum. While I'm talking to the patient, two male RNs walk up and GRAB THE GUY UNDER EACH ARM. The patient freaks the fuck out but does not get physical, merely struggles. I immediately order the RNs to stop, and they back off and give me dirty looks. I ask everyone to clear the area except the translator and security, but they ignore me and stay put.
It's clear that the patient knows his rights but wants to be belligerent. Whatever, we've dealt with that before. The charge nurse notified PD (for sure this time). We call anyway to verify because we don't trust the ER not to lie to us again.
Female cop shows up, ten minutes later. Immediately, a female nurse sarcastically whines, "Oh, you're real useful. We were expecting a big, manly, scary cop." The cop says something dismissive and defensive, then gets to work. She immediately orders all hospital staff except security to clear the area. Now they listen. She tells the patient he needs to leave. He's still refusing. She goes to call backup before proceeding.
Another RN asks me why we can't just drag the patient out. I say "He hasn't hurt anybody. He's been verbal so far. He gets a warning regarding trespassing from us, another from police. If he still refuses, he can be fined for trespass. If he continues to refuse, he is then arrested." She then says "Oh, well next time before we call you guys, why not just get him to hit one of us then? We could've skipped this whole process." I thought she was joking at first, but I then overheard her suggesting this to no fewer than two other nurses for the duration of the incident.
The doctor comes back, angrily demanding we remove the patient immediately. He shouts at me, asking why I haven't removed him yet. I say, "We can't touch him, he hasn't done anything wrong." The doctor tells me flat out, verbatim, "You're useless. You're useless to me. Get out of here, there's no reason for you to be here. Leave. NOW." The doctor then dives at the patient and grabs him by the arm. I order him to release the patient. The patient is now panicked, but my reaction relaxes him somewhat because I reach for the doctor. The cop comes around the corner again, orders the doctor to stop, and chews the doctor out for almost escalating a situation to violence unnecessarily.
Two more officers arrive. "Vamanos o encarco," says the new cop, dangling his handcuffs in front of the patient. The patient finally stands up and leaves property under our joint escort. As the police leave, I overhear them complaining to each other about how unprofessional everyone is and how they hate coming to this hospital for any calls. I apologize to them, and thank them for their help. That's about all I can do.
I was asked by an RN to escort a homeless guy out of ER. Nothing medically wrong with him. I verify with the RN. The RN says she already called police. I tell the patient that police are on their way to escort him out. The guy is basically quivering and crying, trying to get us to let him stay. The nurse said he was screaming at her before I showed up. Probably true, my cop-style uniform tends to cow some people like that.
As I'm talking to the guy, the nurse is behind me saying "he's stupid," "he's an idiot," "I already told him this," "he's not smart enough to understand." The only reason she's saying this shit is because I'm basically between her and the patient.
I ask the patient to come outside with me and take a seat so we can discuss his discharge. He listens, goes outside, and immediately starts complaining about how she was rude the moment he walked in. I go back in, I take the nurse aside (who is a charge nurse) and ask her who called police. She outright tells me, "I don't need to tell you that, just drag him out if you have to." I said, "I need to know for my report. I need to know who called, at what time, and what information was given."
She eyerolls, does an übersigh, and says "We didn't call police." Well, now I'm in investigation mode, because now she's lied to me. She says, "Well, I had someone go do it, but then asked her not to." I ask who. This enrages the RN. Her tone turns notably hostile, and she orders a nurse over. She dictates a narrative to the new nurse, and says "tell him that." I abandon the venture because it was clear that she was a control freak and was simply pissed I wanted to make sure I did things right.
The enraged RN then commands me to "get rid of the guy or [your director] will hear about this."
I call PD, PD shows up in three minutes, and escorts the guy off. Done. I document the RN lying to me about incoming PD because I very well could have been standing there waiting for them to show up for upwards of a half hour.
Not really a singular incident, but more a series of trends. Whenever I showed up to any combat code that required restraining a patient, without fail, some dickhole RN stands behind me being useless, insulting and escalating the patient, feeling nice and safe because my team is holding the guy down. This makes my job harder and oftentimes they know it.
I'm holding a guy down, he's actively resisting, tripping balls. A nurse is going through the patient's wallet behind me. He finds a Disney member card. "Oh boy, what have we here? Aren't you fancy? Disney season pass and everything! Aren't you a tough little squirt."
"Thanks man, you're making the security guard actually work for once, heh."
"You're just wasting everyone's time, asshole. We could be helping someone else right now. Worthless leech."
Another discharge. The guy doesn't want to leave. Combative code called. The ER calls PD while we're investigating. PD shows up, they bring the patient outside. The patient is demanding copies of the documents he's signed, and he's entitled to them by law. The charge RN from Story 2 refuses to give him those documents, saying "we don't have to." I jump the chain, get them from another charge nurse (not charge that night), and I go to deliver them to the patient since the second RN was "too busy" to deliver them.
While I was gone, the RN must've remembered that I report her bullshit and abuses. She prints the exact same documents, HANDS THEM TO THE POLICE OFFICER, and has him go deliver them to the patient outside. She then sees me holding the same papers, chews me out about HIPAA (the irony), and orders me to leave. I call my director. He calls her director.
I handled that information in the course of my duties. I wanted to prevent another combative code by eliminating any reason this guy would want to come back later that night. I am bound by signed NDA not to abuse patient information. Patient privacy statutes dictate that we are not to disclose patient information to any government agent except where required by law. To make matters worse, the patient was a narcotics user. By giving those papers to the officer, the RN was effectively disclosing all of that information to the officer, exposing the hospital to risk and liability.
Guess who won that interdepartmental fight? Me.
A nurse calls me and says a patient requested his money go into our safe. I show up, and find her in his room, counting his money without a witness present, a huge fucking no-no. She walks back out and tells me "he's changed his mind." She walks off, smug as fuck. I insist on speaking with him anyway, just to let him know the service is available should he change his mind. I enter the room. I'm halfway through introducing myself when that nurse reenters the room, grabs me under the arm, and starts trying to force me back out into the hallway.
Mind you, I'm in a crowded, busy ER. I was immediately in defensive mode, worried I might've just been jumped by a psych patient from behind.
When I see it's her, I say, "excuse me. Don't put hands on me. If you want to talk to me, tell me." She suddenly flashes this servile little smile, as if I'd suddenly forget she just yanked me from behind. She says, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Let's go outside and talk?" She meant outside the ER, motioning to the back door.
But my history with this woman, like with so many other ER nurses, told me not to trust her. I refused to go anywhere to have any discussion with her without a witness present. She phones my director, infuriated. As is typical (since I do my fucking job right), he sides with me and walks her through why I did the things I did step by step.