September 18, 2005, 5:59 pm

You Can Be An Emergency Nurse, Too!

How would I look in this uniform? Wonderful, if I was seven feet tall with the proportions of Barbie. Bruck’s Nurses Outfitting Company also made the old nurses’ capes. I checked to see if they were still in business but found nothing. Check out the $5.95 price tag! LOL! What was the nursing salary back then? One hundred dollars a month? I wonder what the nurses of the 1940s would think if they could see us now in our SpongeBob Squarepants and Betty Boop scrubs. Not that I wear those. Okay, I do pull out my “SpongeBob ScaredyPants” scrub top for Halloween and my Peanuts Baseball print in the Spring. I also have a Nurse Tweety Bird top with Tweety in a nurses’ cap. I always thought Tweety was a guy!

For those of you interested in changing your career or working in a new specialty, you can be an ER nurse, too! In this exciting specialty you can:

  • Have a verbally abusive 80-year-old flip you off behind your back as you gently guide his companion to a room. You will know about it from the ten people at the nursing station who witnessed it. You will have no clue what you did that prompted the gesture.
  • Confirm the physiological link between pulmonary edema and the need for a bowel movement. Oxygen can’t wait. Neither will stool. You’ll learn to slap on the non-rebreather on the face and get ready to put the bedpan under the other end.
  • Get smacked on the arm by a confused 102-year-old who does not appreciate the necessity for a blood pressure. Then again, that may be appropriate behavior for a 102- year-old who is spunky enough to protest a BP.
  • Play the “pain is what the patient says it is” game with repeat migraine patients as they lay totally relaxed, speech slurred after a trillion milligrams of Narcotic-of-Choice by IV, but their pain is still at a 9.9 out of 10 on a 0-10 scale. They know they are playing the system and you know they are playing the system and they know-that-you-know and you know-that-they-know-you-know.
  • Interact with a man who will not acknowledge women. He will not look at them and lord knows he will not talk to them. You’ll wonder if it is a cultural issue, but then you will realize it is an obnoxiousness issue.
  • Watch as a parent sweeps their infant off the gurney to the other side of the room because there is NO WAY IN HELL that you are going to take a RECTAL TEMPERATURE on their child. You pervert.
  • Deal with Dr. Snailspace by realizing that the harder you push to mobilize patients the slower the doctor will move. Deliberately. Run interference with said patients as they express their frustrations at you, the nurse. No one ever yells at “The Doctor”.
  • Answer phone calls from potential patients who want to know how busy your ER is at that moment. Realize that anyone who can shop-by-phone for the ER with the shortest waiting time doesn’t really need to be in an ER at all.
  • Learn that when a particular surgeon writes for everything to be done “STAT” on his appendectomy patient has no intention on taking that patient to surgery until the next morning. Learn this by letting the surgeon know the patient is “ready” after running for 90 minutes to get everything done “STAT” as ordered.
  • Realize that enemas are more of an emergency department function than you would have thought. Learn to be assertive as you let your internet-surfing-laid-back colleague know that he is expected to do the next one.

The stories you have just read are true. Just about everything has been changed to protect the innocent. But you get the picture.

8 Comments

  • Gerald Ford
    Gerald Ford

    September 18, 2005 at 11:07 pm

    I always wondered about that “stat” thing and if it was just Hollywood blarney or not. I guess some doctors use it, albeit incorrectly. :p

    As for your adventures in nursing, I can only tip my hat to you. 🙂


  • Julie
    Julie

    September 18, 2005 at 11:15 pm

    What a fun time you have Kim, I am almost wishing I was back at the bedside. I think I’ll restrict my fun to here and ER.


  • kenju
    kenju

    September 19, 2005 at 12:00 pm

    Gee, Kim, why don’t you talk about some of the downsides to nursing? This is funny to me, but I suspect it isn’t to you! LOL


  • Kim
    Kim

    September 19, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    I actually see the humor in most of this…especially the 102-year-old. She was a doll. So sweet, until you touched her. She called me a crab! LOL! I told her I was born in July and that was my sign!


  • kenju
    kenju

    September 19, 2005 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Kim! I’m glad you found it funny – but I guess we’ll have to get you a splash guard so you won’t spit coffee into your keyboard again!


  • unicorn
    unicorn

    September 19, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    I love your blog, even added it to my “recommendations”
    I’m a nurse myself, studied nursing in Germany and than moved to FL.
    It’s fun to see that some things really do not change, no matter where you are XD
    Thought I would miss my “beloved” patients, but somehow they managed to be here, too o____O
    it’s a conspiracy !!!

    greetings
    unicorn


  • Gypsybobocowgirl
    Gypsybobocowgirl

    September 19, 2005 at 8:34 pm

    As long as you don’t get the re-breather and the bedpan switched everything is cool.

    Your ER is going to be swamped with new applicants–you make it so exciting.


  • Heather
    Heather

    September 22, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    I had a flash pulmonary edema patient soil the bed once as we tried to stabilize her. The physician, whom we had been paging for 2 hours, curled his lip and told me to get her cleaned up. He came this close to meeting his Maker over that comment!


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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