Sunday, July 17, 2011

But It Just Takes 5 Minutes

Hood Hospital has been running even shittier than usual recently thanks to some genius plan that we needed to remodel and switch to computer charting at the same time. Really dude? Awesome.
So, anyway, stuff is already effed up majorly and we have randomly had crazy high censuses for summer time and a lot of really sick patients, last night being no exception. I lucked out (or so I thought) when I got a little old demented lady from the nursing home who pulled out her PEG tube, probably the easiest thing ever from a nurse perspective- so her daughter shows up and tells me that they don't want to replace it. Sweet. I tell her I'll let the doctor know, that at this point he is currently intubating but he should type them up for discharge when he gets out of the room. After that a whole other trainwreck comes in, the doctor goes to deal with that, and I get a dude on an ambulance who has had an MI before and is currently having chest pains when I get a couple calls that I'm needed in room PEG tube. Well, not right now.
I get out about 10 minutes later to find the daughter of this patient standing in the hall staring-I smile and ask what I can do to help, and apologize for the wait, pushing the EKG machine with blood in hand. She tears into me about why this is taking so long, etc., how ridiculous it is here, the usual stuff. I apologize again and explain to her that the doctor has been tied up with 2 critically ill patients. She becomes even more indignant at that. " I mean, that's really an excuse, is it? How long does it take go write some discharge papers? It takes like 5 minutes! I've got to get home!"
I realize the point is probably moot and go tell the doctor to type up a STAT discharge STAT. I bring the papers in and go through everything with them, and instead of saying all the sarcastic shit I want to say, I take the kindness route. "I'm sorry.", I tell them, "I know it's frustrating to wait when what you need only takes 5 minutes. But the lady who was about to stop breathing and the guy with the gunshot wound who needed to go to surgery didn't have 5 minutes, so the doctor had to take care of them first. Now let's get you guys back home to your comfy beds. Have a great night." Attitude change quite a bit after that. It's incredible what perspective can do.


  1. In this short attention span society everybody wants it now.

    People think the hospital is like checking in and out of a Hotel or hitting a fast-food restaurant. We actually have to prioritize patient care based on needs.

    Although if big business health care companies have their way, it soon will be run like the fast-food industry.

  2. Are you sure you don't want to move to Indiana and out of the ER and onto a cardiology floor? I'll even point out a particularly good one for you? And give a reference?

  3. Great work! Your level-headedness is inspiring.

  4. yup, i will stop pumping the chest of this poor shmuck to get your pain relief pronto! Oh and dont let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!

  5. I hope I don't give across a false vibe of calmness. I'm still a total spazz.
    @NP Odyssey- True that. I'm just waiting for this damn hospital to merge with starbucks so we can finally become one entity.
    @JG- I fear my ADD would make me the world's worst floor nurse. I do love me some cardiology, though.

  6. I loved the comment you made at the end. Very good.

    btw, don't ever move to sis and all three of my nephews just moved away from there and my niece is desperately trying to relocate elsewhere....not a great place to live.

  7. I love reading your blog because it reminds me so much of what I was going through as a new nurse (I still am)and things I miss and do not miss about the ER. So much so that I am going back. Keep it up