Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Emergency Nurses Week


This week is Emergency Nurses Week and today specifically is Emergency Nurses Day. I am posting this late in the day because I am just getting home from another fun filled 12 hours in the ER.

As many of you know I am a Registered Nurse in an inner city Emergency Room. I genuinely love my job even though it can be frustrating at times.

I just want to give you some idea of what an ER nurse really does.

We:

Sit with your mother or grandmother when she is confused from being alone in a strange environment.

Get bit, punched, kicked, spit on, swore at, dodge flying fists.

Watch a small child we just made cry from giving a shot to walk out smiling and waving good-bye after we gave them a pop-sicle.

Hold the hand of someone who is terrified of what we are doing or are in horrible pain.

Sit with an infant that has been abandoned.

Have seen sexual abuse cases of children so horrific we can't talk about it outside of work.

Try to talk down a patient that is so manic they cannot control their racing thoughts.

Try to convince a man his children love him when he is so depressed he has overdosed in a suicide attempt.

Spend an hour and a half attempting to resuscitate someone's mother, father, daughter...

Cry when we are unsuccessful, feel wonderful when we are actually successful.

Are tired of seeing young men die from the drug trade.

Work to calmly and quietly get a child away from their parents to do a total body x-ray series to see how many bones the parents have broken.

Pay out of our pocket for a stranded woman to eat on the way back home by bus.

Run out at 4:45 on a Friday night to the pharmacy because a home-bound woman needs an antibiotic from a pharmacy that is closing until Monday and then deliver the antibiotic to the woman's house.

Climb aboard a stretcher and ride through a crowded waiting room performing CPR on a patient who fell out of their car in full arrest.

Deliver a baby in the parking lot, bathroom, waiting room, elevator, etc.

Go to the waiting room and scoop up a gun shot victim delivered by the home-boy ambulance service.

Run 'guess the alcohol level' contests.

Tell a woman she doesn't have to put up with being beaten by her husband/boyfriend.

Sit and talk to a teenager who has been sexually assaulted by 4 men.

Tell a man who smokes that no we are not going to pay for his pain medications.

Have a sick sense of humor.

Are viewed by the rest of the hospital staff as weird.

Feel that we are all part of a large dysfunctional family.

Have a bond among ourselves that only people that have walked through blood together can have.

Have bladders that are freakishly huge because we do not even have time to pee.

Think a bag of chips and a diet Coke at our desk is a meal.

Do not know what hot food tastes like and do not realize that you can actually eat a meal in one sitting instead of quick portions at a time.

Have our rare sit down lunch interrupted by a phone call that there is a man coming in that has been stabbed in the buttocks and help is needed.

Have as the basic requirement for the job be that you are immature and mentally compromised.

Love our job most days.

So, while it is self-serving, hats off to all of those that are emotionally unstable enough to be an ER nurse.

Picture credit

13 comments:

MK said...

A well deserved week Chuck, thank you for what you do and here's to hoping enough of us schmucks have the brains to stay out of your work place so you have an easy week.

DaBlade said...

Here Here! Folks never look forward to your services but are darned glad you're there when they need you. anyway, back to my manic racing blog thoughts...

Chuck said...

MK, thanks. Actually I am a charge nurse now, I don't do much patient care. The credit goes to the nurses who do the hands on stuff.

DaBlade, thanks and funny.

Always On Watch said...

Chuck,
Thank you for doing the job you do!

I see that some of the things you do have a cross-over with what teachers do -- not nearly as intense, of course.

When Mr. AOW was recently in the emergency room, the nurses were saints. Saints, I tell ya!

cube said...

You all deserve kudos for the job that you do.

Childbirth has landed me in the hospital on two occasions and the nurses were saints. OK, there was one exception, but there are bad apples in all professions.

Chuck said...

AOW, thanks. I think teaching is insane. I have helped out in my kid's classes and feel more in control in the ER. I did think about you and Mr AOW as I was writing this, hope he is progressing

Cube, we do have some bad nurses, I am not very tolerant of that.

Randy said...

Tip of the hat to you too Chuck and all your co-workers.

I'm working on a blog post about my trip to the ER last week with my 88 year old mother-in-law. Mst of the nurses were exemplary, one went way beyond the call. One was mediocre (but still not bad).

Be looking for it in a few days...

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

When my father was in the emergency room several years ago, shortly before he passed away, I couldn't believe the patience and genuine tenderness the nurses showed him, even when he went into a bit of dilerium (or something like that), began yelling and smacked one of the nurses very hard on the shoulder. Instead of tying him down or yelling back, they soothed him. It was remarkable. I applaud all of you.

Chuck said...

Randy, thanks. I am actually quite a demanding person when it comes to nurses. I hold myself to a high standard and do the same for others. Mediocre is not a good level IMHO.

PCC, we do get confused patients that do this. Confused we work with. Their safety, along with the safety of our staff is important.

Drunk and disorderly is a different matter. This gets you the special attention you do not want. I advocate a zero tolerance policy in our ER. If someone gets physically abusive with our staff because they are drunk, they get me and our beefy security guards. We have yet to lose this little battle.

When they are sober they go to jail.

I am a very understanding person when someone cannot help what they are doing, we want them to be safe. If they are an idiot, we can deal with that too.

For decades this behavior was accepted and a lot of ER staff has been injured. I refuse to allow this. Our staff does not come to work to get beat up by some dumb ass.

DaBlade said...

By the way, THAT is a very funny picture on this post. The ER looks like a drive through McDonalds, and every other patient in line appears to be inflicted with a gunshot wound. Definitely a modern-day Norman Rockwell!

Chuck said...

DaBlade, I got it from the ENA (Emergency Nurses Association) site. It is interesting and obviously staged. Looks a little like a pic out of a zombie movie.

Randy said...

"Mediocre is not a good level IMHO."

I can't be that hard on this nurse. She did her job. She was busy when we got there and she had been on duty for several hours. Never stopped moving. Admission is always a confusing time.

Her attitude might have been better if we had gotten there early in the day or she had been less busy.

It wasn't negative, but it just wasn't positive.

Brenda Jean said...

He forgot to mention that sometimes he gets cookies. ER nurses LOVE sweet stuff.

I have to say I'm amazed that Chuck can keep his stories to a minimum at home. He knows I can't handle any sad kid stories, or anything involving maggots. I just can't go there.

ER nurses are the best:)