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.)


  • Melissa

    November 4, 2006 at 12:26 am

    Great post. Lol. I especially liked the medical reconciliation answer.

  • Julie

    November 4, 2006 at 1:49 am

    Fantastic post Kim, as we have said before life on either side of the pond is not so different.

    Some of the brit docs complaining about ‘dumbing down’ and ‘nurse quacktitioners’ would be well placed to look at the medication question and answer nurse’s answer!

  • d

    November 4, 2006 at 6:45 am

    I’ve been looking forward to an Answer Nurse post, because I’ve had this one simmering for a while. What do you do when, despite everything you’ve tried, you find a patient who is so cantankerous and unpleasant she complains to your supervisor (and her supervisor, as well), even after insulting you to your face? And that the thing she is complaining about is that she did not follow (not that she did not recieve) the directions for her procedure?

    Not that I have any specific situation in mind for this one … completely hypothetical, I assure you …

    *glances around the room suspiciously*

  • apgaRN

    November 4, 2006 at 7:43 am


    You crack me up, girlfriend!

    Almost makes me want to come work in the ER.

    Key word, ALMOST.

    That’ll teach you for doing a good deed.

  • Hannah

    November 8, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    So good.

    SOOOO good.

    I rotate through ER next week…I’m thinking of you!


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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