September 8, 2005, 3:41 pm

It’s Everything I Wish I Didn’t Know….

Because I am an emergency nurse, I know:

A full-sized, stainless steel eating utensil can be consumed by an alert, oriented adult patient. By accident.

Death by acetaminophen overdose begins insidiously and ends in tortuous suffering.

A female can be pregnant and not know it until you advise her that, while she indeed has bowel sounds, your stethoscope was just kicked by a tiny foot.

An adult can be perfectly healthy and dead from meningiococcemia in 48 hours.

The urge to void and the time to do so are never concurrent.

An x-ray will show which brand of deodorant, by shape, is residing in a rectum.

Dialysis on a patient who is over 100 years old will be considered.

A child will cling to her nanny while the mother is sitting on the other side of the exam room.

The busier the shift, the more food you should have on the break-room table.

“The flu” can turn out to be internal bleeding three weeks after the intital trauma.

Following the guidelines of regulatory agencies (cough…JACHO….cough) will add three additional pieces of paperwork to your admission packet.

A nurse can count five different species of insect on a homeless patient.

Doctors with the most illegible handwriting are the most appreciative of legible writing on nurses notes.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned.

Because I’m a Nurse.


  • atoep

    September 8, 2005 at 5:04 pm

    My sister works for an ICU unit and the stories she tells are horrifying. Funny stuff.

  • Susan

    September 8, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    How about: The busier the shift, the sicker the patients.

  • Kim

    September 8, 2005 at 6:57 pm

    You’re right, Susan! I totally forgot about that one!

  • Gypsybobocowgirl

    September 9, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    Not only will dialysis be considered for a 100 year old patient, but we will do multiple angioplasties, maybe even bypass surgery’s on the 90+ crowd.

  • Anonymous

    September 9, 2005 at 9:28 pm

    Reversal of a DNR on a 100 year old SNF patient a week prior to his admission to the MICU for pneumonia resulted in his intubation, use of pressors and contemplation of floating a Swan.
    This event the straw that broke the camel’s back and was what got me to leave the ICU.

  • Kim

    September 9, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    I hear that, Anonymous. In my case, it was an 82-year-old daughter who just could not let go. I stated that if they started dialysis on the patient I would quit. They didn’t, thank god.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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