Two weddings in six weeks and we are all still sane.
This is a photo of my son Kendall and new daughter-in-law, Kristin.
The wedding went off yesterday without a hitch.
Well, okay, there were two hitches.
One, the priest called my son “Kelly”.
You could pass it off as a slip of the tongue, except the priest is Kendall’s uncle!
Then, (it was a Catholic wedding mass) after “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, my little four-year-old nephew loudly proclaimed…
Already debating theology at the age of four…
This summer encompassed three family weddings, a funeral and a milestone birthday.
It was a summer of multiple sudden changes.
In wracking my brain for a topic to cover this week’s Grand Rounds theme of “sudden change”, I realized that I deal with it every single day.
What does the child who suddenly spikes a fever have in common with the thirty-four year old who blows a cerebral aneurysm while standing in the mall? How is the sixty-year-old who develops chest pain on the golf course related to the twenty-four year old who lacerates their left index finger slicing a tomato?
They are all experiencing a health-related crisis.
Emergent or non-urgent, all are precipitated by a sudden onset or event.
A sudden change.
The majority of patients who present to the emergency department do so for one of two reasons:
- They are experiencing a sudden onset of “not feeling well. Even if their symptoms have been going on for days, something changed that made them decide to seek care.
- They have a chronic illness but experience a sudden exacerbation of symptoms. Diabetes. Chronic pain. COPD. Ulcerative colitis. The patients handle their symptoms on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes the intensity of the symptoms will suddenly overwhelm their ability to cope (or become critical) and they, too will utilize the ER.
Something has suddenly changed.
Emergency nursing is based on helping these patients cope with these sudden symptoms through assessing both their physical and emotional status and identifying patient needs. We collaborate with the emergency physicians to meet those needs by facilitating the medical plan of care, executing appropriate nursing interventions and evaluating the patient’s responses to the those interventions.
We can take it one step farther and say that emergency nurses are responsible not only for helping patients deal with the sudden change that brought them to the emergency department, but need to be astute observers to head off those sudden changes in patients’ conditions that occur while they are in the department.
Suddenly I see that emergency nursing is based on helping/supporting people through those sudden changes – through the unexpected events that bring them to our front door.
Not all of our interventions bring sudden resolution.
When patients are better able to cope – when their coping mechanisms are strengthened and supported or when they find new ways of coping with pre-exisiting conditions, we know they will do better in the long run.
And we know that we have made a difference.