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Friday, March 27, 2009

Call me Nurse Ratchett!!

So, most days at my Real Job (med/surg floor, medium sized hospital, aka "The Ranch") we are busy.  And when I say busy, I mean hit the floor running and don't stop til quittin' time.  Today was no exception to that.  However, some days are better than others.  

Now, before I go any farther with this post, I wanna put some stuff out there just so we're all on the same page here....

1.  Nurses, while in the profession of caring for people, are HUMAN!  Meaning we are imperfect, fallible, and have moods, stress and emotions just like everybody else!

2.  I'm a nurse, not a robot.  I have opinions and feelings.

3.  Just because I feel a certain way does not mean that I don't give all of my patients the best care I am capable of giving.

Now with that said....  Lawd, help me with some of these people!!!  Some days, you just hafta priortize.  I know that doesn't help make anyone's pain any less, doesn't help anyone stop feeling nauseous, or fix that pneumonia.  But trust me, if I'm not at your bedside, it's because there is someone in my team of patients sicker than you.  If everybody is equally as sick, everybody gets equal time.  Now here is a breakdown of how it goes.... A...B....C.....

If a patient cannot maintain an airway, they go straight to the top of the list.  Period.  I don't care who is filling what vessel with how much vomit, the person who can't get air into the lungs is my Priority!!  3 minutes...no air....that equals dang near dead guy.

If a patient cannot breathe well, they go to the top of the list.  That hasta be fixed pronto.  So your migraine has to wait.  I know you hurt.  I'm sorry.  But you will continue to live, tho be miserable.  Again....no air=dang near dead guy.

If a patient is having an irregular heart rhythm, a heart attack, their blood pressure is bottoming out or skyrocketing.... Gotta fix it... they have the potential to become a dang near dead guy.

Everything else will be dealt with in as timely a manner as possible.  I promise, it's not because I don't care.  It's not because I'm "hanging out" in the nurse's station.  In fact, if I'm at the nurse's station, it's probably because I'm checking on lab results, reviewing doctor's orders, talking to a doctor, or completing part of the mountain of paperwork that we still hafta contend with (paperless system, my azz!).  

It does not help to send Uncle Leo up to the nurse's station to stalk me.  It does not help to tell me what a crappy nurse I am because your Demerol is 10 minutes overdue.  It does not help to yell at me across the room while I am assessing your roommate who is, to use nurse slang, tanking on me.  I promise you, I am doing my best.  And as soon as I can I will help you.

But it's a Hospital, not the Hilton.  I am a nurse, not a waitress.  I know you don't feel good, and I'm sorry for that.  However, there is a great big damn difference between feelin' like you wanna die and actually dying, or being about to die or in real danger of dying.  If you don't see a whole lot of me during the day, count your blessings.  There's someone sicker, more critical and more in need than you.

I do my best to be compassionate, caring, and professional.  I try to make a connection with every patient.  I try.  Some days, though, smiling and laughing and cuttin' jokes with my patients has to go by the wayside because there's somebody's life on the line.  

So when I'm Nurse Ratchett, somebody's hearing the angels' wings.  Be glad if it's not you.

It was a not so good day at the Ranch.

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