Sometimes things get a little hectic at the hospital. I just concentrate on my patients and ensure they are well taken care of. Most of my coworkers are wonderful, intelligent people that truly enjoy the work that they do. Once in awhile I encounter a nurse that makes me wonder how they ever made it through nursing school without a dunce cap on their heads. And then I write a blog about it.
One night I came into a patient's room because their oxygen levels were dropping. I was surprised to find their nasal cannula on and a simple mask set tightly over their mouth and nose. The nasal cannula was set at 4 liters of oxygen (which from a nasal cannula feels like sticking an airbrush up your nose) and the mask wasn't even hooked up to an oxygen tank. I turned the cannula back down to 1 liter (all the patient was cleared for/needed) and hid the mask in the bedside drawer. Then I went in search of answers.
Me: So I found my patient with both a nasal cannula and a mask on.
Nurse: I put the mask on over the cannula.
Me: What? Why?
Nurse: Well, she was breathing with her mouth open and I wanted her to keep it closed.
Me: You know we aren't supposed to do that, just move the cannula down to the mouth so they still get oxygen.
Nurse: I do this all the time, it usually works.