Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Shift, Another Day...

I've been a naughty nurse and haven't posted in a long time. Actually, I have been busy with construction on the house, shuttling kids to and fro and my seemingly endless pursuit of more degrees. Also, I've been just plain ole uninspired to write anything.

I split a shift with another nurse so she could see her kid's baseball game. I thought it would be a nice, quick few hours until I found out she was assigned to triage. Triage, for me, literally sucks the life force and compassion from my body and leaves me a bitter shell screaming inside my mind...."Really? REALLY!!!?"

The amazingly trivial things people come to the ER for is mind blowing.

Once I arrived, I started the cattle call of patients to be triaged: a scraped knee, a cold, a panic attack....pretty much a sea of ESI level 4s that any doctor's office, urgent care clinic, or Mom kissing a boo boo can handle.

The most interesting and serious case was an insect bite.

"Do you take any medications on a daily basis?"

""Just my vitamins""  the patient was 77 yrs old.

"Do you smoke, drink alcohol, or take any illicit drugs?"

""Oh no, no....but I'm thinking perhaps we should all start.""

This brought a smile to my face and the patient turned out to be what I deem "a spunky chick". I enjoyed my short time with this patient and wished I could go back to the rooms and be her nurse. We'd have fun.

About 5 minutes prior to shift change, a registration clerk approached me as I was returning from bedding a patient.
"I tried to get someone from the back to look at this child."

"What's wrong with her?"

"She has a cut and the parents don't speak English."

Okay. I walked out to the registration desk and immediately became alert. The kid was limp, fixed gaze, covered in blood, deep laceration to the head, and with agonal respirations. "A cut" was an understatement of this kid's condition.

I'm wondering why ER registration clerks aren't required to take some basic first aid or perhaps a class on noticing when a person is in a life threatening situation. I'm not blaming the clerk, just wondering how long the family was standing there as I was bedding a patient. I'm sure if the clerk had emphasized the urgency to which this patient should have been seen, the other nurses would have dropped whatever they were doing and re-prioritized. Because they certainly did when I grabbed the kid, yelled for a trauma code and started working the patient in a trauma room.

I'm still praying for that kid - I hope she lived with neurological function intact.
However, after taking a look at the CT with the Docs, I don't think there's much of a chance....

3 comments:

  1. That has got to be a bad part about being a nurse; the dismay of not being able to help ONE patient could easily overwhelm the encouragement that should be fostered by helping dozens. (hugs)

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  2. OMG! What happened?? I mean, how did she "cut" herself in the first place??
    I feel the same way that you do about the first face we see when a scared parent or patient enters the ER...I once made the mistake of driving my son in for croup instead of taking our annual ambulance ride. Of course, I chose one of his worst attacks to do this (even his Prednisolone(?) didn't work)...anyway, I had brought both of my daughters (couldn't leave them home alone at ages 5 and 2) and we were not taken seriously. I got everyone's attention when I screamed at the security guard, "Since no one wants to acknowledge that my son can't breathe here, you are going to watch both of my daughters while I take him outside into the cold air so he can try and catch his breath!" Within seconds, a nurse followed me out and got us back in so he could be treated...ugh..not the care one expects. I'm so glad that there are some hospitals that have people like you with an IQ over 20.

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  3. I like spunky patients...they make the day fun. More so than that uncooperative psychotic screamers, but they have their own sort of charm too.

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