November, 2006 Archive

November 3, 2006, 9:12 pm

The Answer Nurse Tour


Yes, once again it is time for The Answer Nurse!

The Matron of Nursing Ettiquette,

The Diva of Divine Ministrations,

The Chief Wearer of the Cap,

The Sultan of Scrubs,

The Queen of the Quick Quip and

The Head of Hedonistic Handwashers has returned to Emergiblog.

Fortunately, unlike JACHO, she continues to announce her presence prior to her actual arrival.

And so, without further ado and with much ado about nothing, let’s say hi to our eloquent elucidator and regale her with our inquisitive questioning.


Question: Why do you feel that using a bedpan is a religious experience?


The Answer Nurse, having personal experience with said device, has learned that one must just “let it go” and then “pray” it hits the pan.

The Answer Nurse is not averse to requesting divine intervention for body fluids.


Question: Yo, Answer Nurse, dude! Can I like, surf, you know, hang ten with these fifty stitches in my face, or what?


The Answer Nurse assures the reader that she is not a “dude”. She is, however, perplexed.

Which part of “Do not get your stitches wet for 24 hours” or “Do not soak your stitches in water” do you fail to comprehend?

The fact that you have fifty stitches on your face leads The Answer Nurse to believe your surfing skills are a “wipe-out”.

The Answer Nurse also believes you may find that “hanging ten” in an English class will greatly increase your ability to find gainful employment.


Question: I came to the ER by ambulance. Why did they make me go to the triage room and then sit in the waiting room?


While The Answer Nurse is not familiar with your particular situation, she regrets your lack of knowledge regarding the term “emergency” and hopes that appropriate patient education was offered to you.

The loss of an acrylic fingernail, while tragic, rarely results in the loss of life.

The Answer Nurse also regrets your belief that coming in by ambulance would result in an immediate bed assignment and understands your disappointment at finding otherwise.

The fact that your use of said ambulance is subsidized, in part, by The Answer Nurse’s salary is also regrettable.

You’re welcome.


Question: Why do you always have to work harder when you pick up an extra shift?


The Answer Nurse firmly believes the old adage that “no good deed goes unpunished”. This means that precisely because you cover a sick call or trade shifts with a co-worker, you will be subjected to a shift that would make Cherry Ames turn in her cap.

However, the converse is also true. On the day you call in sick or ask for a switch, the Emergency Department will see two patients in 24 hours, one of whom will be Mick Jagger and the other Jeff Goldblum. Your co-workers will then regale you with tales about how wonderful it was to meet these icons, HIPAA be damned, and you will dive into a deep depression requiring multiple counseling sessions and a hefty helping of Zoloft.

Of course, The Answer Nurse uses these names only to exaggerate the point she so deftly makes. (Uh…Jeff….call me!)


Question: Why is it the nurse’s job to get a complete list of medications, including doses, schedule and last time taken?


The Answer Nurse cannot presume to speak for hospital administrations. She does, however, believe that anything that must be done and done well becomes the responsibility of the nursing department.

Lest you think The Answer Nurse arrogantly believes that nurses are of superior intellect, said hospital administrations do not think nurses are so wonderful that they can single-handedly deal with the onslaught of increasing paperwork that bogs down their efficiency and impacts the ability to give adequate patient care.

Oh no.

It is the nurses’ job because the doctors will not do it.

With all due respect to her medical colleagues, The Answer Nurse firmly believes that physicians cannot be coerced into doing anything they do not want to do, such as be responsible for filling out the medical reconciliation forms.

Doctors do not protest. Doctors simply “do not do”. The hospital administration therefore turns to those professionals over whom they have jurisdiction.

The nursing staff.

Who will protest and speak up in anger and argue voraciously against the addition of additional documentation responsibilities, only to have lip service paid to their concerns.

In the end, the job gets done and it gets done well because nurses are professionals and yet the hospital administrators scratch their heads and wonder why they can’t keep nurses in the profession.

Oh dear. The Answer Nurse believes she has answered this last question rather cantakerously. She hopes she has not appeared impertinent.

Then again The Answer Nurse has always believed in another old adage.

“Truth hurts.”


Thanks to The Answer Nurse for her willingness to answer our questions today!

I believe she mentioned something about a nice glass of Chianti waiting for her.

If she mentions fava beans, I ‘m not asking her back….)

Please feel free to send any questions you may have for The Answer Nurse to the comments section of this post.

(Nice questions, please. The Answer Nurse turns up her nose at inquiries of questionable taste.)

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7:56 pm

Meanwhile, As the ER Is Busy Saving Lives…


Oh dear.

This is wrong on so many levels!

First of all, you can bet your sweet bippy that the physicians in this facility aren’t sitting in a break room like this!

Where are the feng shui police when you need them?

Next, these poor women look scared to death!

Maybe they were traumatized by a “Code Brown” (If you know what that is, nothing more need be said. If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself among the fortunate!)

Then we have the cap issue. These women are wearing their caps in the “low occipital placement” style.

This is not appropriate.

One must wear the cap resting lightly over the crown of the head, with the sides gently sloping over the parietal regions.

Geeze, even I know that.

This is a 2/10 on the Emergiblog Cap Rating Scale (the ECRS).

And don’t even get me started on the fact that the nurse by the window has her hand resting on the thigh of the nurse to her right, who doesn’t seem to mind one bit!

I feel a Very Special Episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” coming on…..


Most of us, when we think of hospitals conjure up images of dramatic, life altering events.

And this is a correct assumption.

But there is another world in the hospital universe.

A world of classes, luncheons, the annual Benefit Fair. Scrumptious visits by the candy-totin’ drug reps.

A world that has nothing to do with nursing, emergency departments or the night shift as a whole.

A world where there is time for…

A freakin’ costume contest.


Oh, yes!

While the nurses and doctors are hauling their derrieres off on the upper floors and in the emergency department, working hard saving the lives of those who seek our care…

…there are those who work amongst us who have the time to participate in a Costume Contest.

And a Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Excuse my language but W- freakin’-T-F?

We are in a hospital, people! People are dying, or trying to, on a regular basis.

Now I know that you worked hard on the Jack Skelington suit, the Superman cape you made yourself, and the groovy Chiquita Banana costume you’re sporting that looks more like a yellow male appendage.

Tres cool.

But not in the hospital. Not when patients and families can see you walking in the hallways.

I don’t know about you all, but we have…how shall I put this….WORK to do on the other shifts.

How wonderful for you that you have the time for frivolity and fun in all those other departments.


Now I hear what you’re saying:

Why Kim, you are an old fogey curmudgeon! Why can’t we have a little fun in our jobs?

Fun? You want fun?

True story: I once worked with a nurse who came to work in an ER on Halloween in a total, complete duck costume. I’m talking head, complete with beak, orange legs, big ol’ honkin’ duck feet…

And feathers!

This is professional?

Now I’m all for decking the halls and putting up appropriate decorations.

One of my current co-workers has a beautiful knack for decorating our ER for every season. I know when a holiday is on the way because she does such a subtle, elegant job of creating a seasonal mood at the nurses’ station for the staff and patients.

And I’ll admit to wearing a SpongeBob ScaredyPants scrub top during Halloween.

And a Charlie Brown Baseball scrub top during baseball season.

Okay, okay. I have a set of Notre Dame scrubs that I wear on Game Day.

But I look and act professionally.

I hope.


I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m a party pooper.

I’m really not.

It’s just hard for me to justify blatant frivolity in a facility so fraught with life-threatening events and anxiety ridden patients and family.


Someone asked if I was going to wear all white and my nursing cap on Halloween.

You know, come as a “nurse”?

I said no.

That uniform is not a “costume”. It should be a sign of respect for, and engender respect from, my patients and their families.

I actually gave up a chance to wear my cap without incurring the ridicule of my peers.


I don’t know. Maybe I am an old fogey.

I do like to have fun and spread humor at work. I’m not all business and solemnity as a I deal with my patients.

There are just some things that aren’t appropriate.

Dressing up like a Chiquita Banana is one of them.

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November 1, 2006, 11:09 pm

Change of Shift: Volume One, Number Ten


…is up over at Disappearing John, RN this week!

He did a great job, so be sure to check out Change of Shift, Volume One, Number Ten!

On November 16th, CoS will be hosted by Julie at Life In the NHS. You can send your submissions to Julie via Blog Carnival or to lifeinthenhs at btinternet dot com.


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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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