April 25, 2007, 4:36 pm

Global Warming: An Inconvenient Hot Flash


Poor Nurse Nancy!

Good thing she got this Unguentine gig.

She never was able to master Rock-Paper-Scissors in elementary school.

Couldn’t really master rectal exams in clinical, either.

But she can measure cervical dilation like nobody’s business!

From the doorway!

Go figure!


The issue of global warming is stirring up controversy throughout our great country.

There are those who pooh-pooh the notion and those who are stockpiling tank tops and shorts in December.

Despite all the debates, there is one cause of global warming that has not been addressed.



Think about it.

There are 2.4 million nurses in the United States

Ninety-two percent (92%) of these nurses are women.

The average age of a registered nurse in the United States is 47 and rising.

Do the math.


I bring this up because the issue of global warming has already hit my emergency department.

It’s The War of the Thermostat!

One nurse will turn up the heat because her tiny little petite self (no envy here folks, move along…) doesn’t have enough body fat to keep her warm.

The minute she leaves the nurse’s station, the other staff member, in the throes of an acute attack of personal global warming (aka: the hot flash) runs over and turns it down.

But that’s not the end!

Another staff member throws open the ambulance doors in the pouring rainstorm with winds at 86 knots, then places herself squarely amid three separate fans at her desk. There’s no denying global warming with this one!

Undaunted, a fourth nurse throws a warm blanket around her wee self like a toga and runs around the department bearing an uncanny resemblance to a skinny Bluto from “Animal House”.


And me? I have yet to experience the spontaneous emissions of heat so endemic to my age group.

Instead, I have a repetitive stress injury from taking off, and the putting on, and then taking off my scrub jacket.

Stop the madness!

Instead of pitying those poor polar bears surfing on their miniscule blocks of melting ice, why not donate to the research behind aerosol estrogen?

Before I go insane between bouts of hyperthermia and can’t-defibrillate-me-I’m-so-cold.

And before I join the legion of fan-worshiping, thermostat-hiking door openers!


  • Peggikaye

    April 25, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Just wait till the first one hits … it’ll surprise the fire out of you … literally!

    Just hope you’re where you can get the excess coverings off decently … 😉

    My first one … hit at 9:47 pm on a Friday night … I will never ever forget it. I was freezing cold, could not get warm to save my life. I had on a turtleneck sweater, sweat pants, and socks, and a robe, then slippers (this is my normal winter garb … I’m cold constantly)
    We were watching a movie as a family and suddenly I got hot and I got HOTTTTT … and I threw my blanket off, kicked my slippers off and then started to yell at my 15 year old to get my socks off while I was yanking my robe off and pulling up the sleeves of my turtle neck …
    I was yelling at who turned up the heater …and someone to turn on the ceiling fan!

    My poor family (husband and two teenaged SONS) could not move fast enough to help me get cool … we were all rather alarmed. After about 5 minutes, I was ok, and my breathing settled down and I started to cool down. About 15 minutes later I looked at my husband and said “you don’t suppose it was … ”

    He said “what? a hot flash? Ya think? duh!”

    At that point, I assigned my family “hot flash duties”

  • beth

    April 26, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Sounds JUST like my unit. And, yes, the thermostat turner uppers are always too damn skinny.

  • nursemanager

    April 26, 2007 at 7:17 am

    The la lina has hit us here in the tropics too and its really really wierd…hot rains and even hotter days

  • may

    April 26, 2007 at 11:38 am

    why do we have experience all the “good stuff”? just wondering…

  • emmy

    April 26, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    My oncologist apologised when he told me that the chemo would put me instantly in menopause. I looked at him and told him I’d been waiting for it since I was 12. The skinny ones should invest in sweaters, the rest of you should invest in fans. You will all live through it and someday those thin little things will be having flashes of their own.

  • Andrew

    April 28, 2007 at 5:09 am

    And the ER techs are stuck in the middle. What shall we ever do?

  • Rhea

    April 29, 2007 at 11:53 am

    You make me laugh!! Of course, it’s easy for me to laugh. I, too, haven’t entered the whole menopause phase yet.

  • […] women in varying stages of personal temperature variation: in other words, menopause! Thanks to Emergiblog, the ever-entertaining blog of an emergency room […]

  • futureformerheatupturner

    April 29, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    That was so hilarious!

  • EDNurse

    May 1, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Interesting article. I do have hot flashes, but cannot describe it the way other do. Can’t say specifically when it started and often can’t tell if it is a flash or if the place is just warm. The only time I remember it being an issue is one day in class with my nursing staff. I asked them to open the window because it was hot and stuffy. They laughed at me and made it clear that I was “flashing.” Some of them were wearing their coats in the class because they felt it was cold.

  • BabsRN

    May 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Oooh, I’m already there….EMS coming in with a routine nonemergency frequent flyer and I’m hanging over a FAN in a complete diaphoretic fit of “hot flash”. EMT asks what’s wrong, I look up at him and say, “Hot flash” and return my forehead to the nice cool metal fan…and what does he do? HUGS me! Bless his heart but that’s not HELPING….I have been known to stick as much of my upper body into a freezer as I could get in there during one…and you haven’t started them yet? Lucky 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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