Can you ask for a different nurse?

How do folk on here feel about challenging the competence of the nursing staff?

I went for chemo 6 yesterday, and was seen by a less trained nurse (paler uniform - always a giveaway at my hosp) who was evidently lacking in confidence and very fumbly. She had flushed my PICC line previously rather inexpertly, and this time was worse - with only one glove on, she took of the dressing, dropped the drip lead on the floor three times (and replaced it on the sterile trolley each time) then fumbled with the PICC and could not get any blood out.

I asked my partner to discreetly ask a more senior nurse to supervise, which he did, but they refused. By this time I was tearful and frightened.

The upshot was a senior nurse had to take over in the end as the first nurse had buggered up the PICC and it had to come out altogether. I had the chemo by injection, which I will now have to have for the remainder of the treatment as they cannot put a PICC line back in.

I know people have got to train, but I feel that if my first request for supervision had not been ignored, I might still have my PICC in and not be worrying now about numerous blood tests and injections.

Has anyone else faced anything similar?

What a nightmare Flyright… I would have expected them to respect your request for some supervision of the junior nurse. Maybe it’s worth mentioning it to your oncologist and see if they can do something about it. I guess I was lucky as I had the same nurse most of the time, but didn’t have any problems with any of them…I’m sure it will be better for you next time…
Keep smiling :slight_smile:

AliS x

You should be able to request that you do not have that nurse doing your treatment, however most places are short staffed. I had a few trainee chemo nurses doing my treatment on the whole they were good. However one patient flatly refused to let a trainee near her. I could see her point as she had had chemo and was on hercepin and said her veins were awful without a trainee not being able to find a veins. She was actaully very nasty. I think if you are polite its fine.
The nurse you had i have to say sounds totally awful.
I know it makes such a difference to us if we see the same person obviously if it is someone who we have confidence in.

Let us know how you get on.


Thanks eveyone, that is very helpful. I certainly do not want to be treated by the same nurse again and will say so (politely). I really do understand that people have got to train, but I also feel that had this nurse had supervision and help as I had suggested, it might not have ended so badly.

They are not short-staffed in my chemo unit, and there are always several chatting at the nurse station so there is no need in this case for a trainee nurse to struggle on her own.

If the nurse was ‘training’ she should have been supervised.
She should not carry out the procedure until she has the underpinning knowledge, has been shown the procedure, has had enough supervised practice until she feels competent and the person supervising her feels that she is competent to ‘go it alone’.
My concern is the fact that she dropped the line on the floor and then placed it back on the sterile field ready to use putting you at great risk of infection, what was she thinking of!!
The nursing code of conduct states that we should not do any harm to our patients and that includes putting you at risk.
Next time you go, speak to the nurse in charge and explain what happened. Even though I am a senior nurse I say that yes, you should be able to challenge the competence of nurses because if we don’t then we are accepting bad practice.
Best wishes.