A typical exchange on the ward. I approach the Sister in Charge. “Excuse me, do you have a patient Charles Watkins (name invented), post op above knee amputation?” She looks up coldly from her clipboard and stops ticking boxes long enough to say “Never heard of him.”
I wander off and find a senior Staff Nurse. She is writing something that no-one will ever read. “Excuse me, do you have a patient Charles Watkins, post op above knee amputation?” “Don’t think so, not my end, try down the other end”
At the other end I find a less senior nurse and ask again. She consults a tatty piece of paper “Maybe but he is not my patient” Is the response
I try the SEN (Yes I know they don’t exist any more). “Yes , but I don’t know where he is.”
Finally I try the auxiliary (OK OK the HCA). “Oh Charlie?’ she says. “Yes that is his bed over there but he is not there, he has just hopped out for a fag. He will be back in 10 minutes cos that is when lunches arrive and it’s fish & chips today which is his favourite.”
I know who to ask first next time.