Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things that really will not help your case in triage

I am spending a lot of time in the punishment booth lately as I seem to have become one of the only nurses where I work who was dumb enough to sit through this 2 hour triage class where they teach you how to appropriately rate the severity of all the STD exposures and dental pains we see everyday. Anyway. I've been exposed to dangerous levels of foolishness lately, and let me just say there are a few things you can do up there that will erase any guilt I may have had for sending you back out in the waiting room:
-Having a pseudoseizure- Well, obviously. But people still do it. I mean, why you would voluntarily get on the floor of the most ghetto hospital in the county is beyond me. But if you're feeling well enough to do the worm or whatever that motion is in my triage room then you are well enough to wait behind a couple of other people who aren't acting like that.
-Letting someone else give your triage information when you are perfectly capable of talking- For some reason this was the weapon of choice last night. All dudes having their wives or girlfriends give their complaint, their medical history, even the pain scale. Really man? There is no way she can know that. Use your big boy words and tell me your own medications, for real.
-Using a wheelchair when there is nothing wrong with your legs- Why does abdominal pain always require a wheelchair? No, I mean, I'm really asking.
-Bonus complaints- So I know you're here for lady problems and this may seem like it's an excellent time to tell me that you also may or may not have bed bugs, but it really isn't. Now I have another phantom itch, so thanks for that.
-Being crazy loud- There are a few good reasons for me to hear you from the waiting room, but not many. If I can hear you eating, chewing your gum, or wretching before I can see you, it's generally not a good sign.
-And while we're on the subject, eating- Yeah, if I'm getting interference on the oximeter from the cheeto dust on your fingers then I'm gonna go ahead and assume your airway is intact, next please.
-Talking on the phone- Yeah, if it isn't life threatening enough for you to stop your conversation for the three minutes it takes me to triage you it probably isn't really an emergency.
-Yelling at me- The ultimate. Yeah, if I'm opening the door to get someone else to triage, posting yourself in front of the door and screaming at me about why you're not getting a room for the dental pain you've left untreated for months is not going to get you back to a room or get you yet another prescription for Vicodin any faster. If I was in charge of who goes back to a room when, I would award you 200 douchebag points and let you think about your life choices in the waiting room for a little longer, but since I'm not, there is really no reason to raise your voice.
Am I forgetting anything?


  1. Ironically, when I cracked a tooth and had pretty severe pain from it (and it was after business hours on a Friday evening), I drove myself to the drug store and bought a temporary dental filling kit. Used it. Then left a voicemail for my dentist requesting a Saturday emergency visit in the office to get said tooth fixed.

    No ER trip needed.

    No, I didn't eat or drink much while I waited for Saturday to come around, but I survived.

    Geeze Louise people! Dental pain is NOT an emergency room worthy visit!!

  2. These are good, I like! Esp the pseudoseizure. It is especially good if, when you ask the patient, "What's going on," the patient replies, "I'm having a seizure," with or without saying "DUH!!!"

  3. When I have adominal pain, I do feel much better sitting down than standing up. A wheelchair means you don't have to stand up at all, when going from place to place in the ER. Entitled logic, but at least it makes some sense. I wouldn't use a wheelchair, myself, though.

  4. Loud is bad? Last time I went to the ER they could hear me breathing, or making the attempt, anyway, from out in the parking lot, and took me right in. Never been in the room with all the fancy equipment and machines that go ping before. That was a fun evening. :-P

  5. Yeah, Anonymous, that sounds pretty bad.

  6. haha. well at least we share the same life. I almost got bitch slapped by a man in triage when we finally brought his 9 year old daughter back for a "sore throat." The patient's father screamed at me saying, " I have seen other people go back there before my daughter and I know we were ******* here first. I said sir, the two people that went in front of your daughter were traumas and had severe life-threatening which he replied, well it still should be first come, first serve. I wanted to serve his ass a cab ride out of my area.

  7. Once upon a time, I wandered into the hospital (no clue where the ER part of the hospital was) with a gallstone attack. Seriously hurts. The volunteer took one look at me and asked if I wanted a wheel chair. No...just directions to the ER. Abd pain does not have to equal wheelchair.

  8. Once I had severe abdominal pain and left ovarian pain and I was sitting in the ER. I could barely walk and they offered me a wheelchair and I think I still walked back there. Turns out the abdominal pain was a ruptured appendix.