Update to the downward spiral of my ER:
To my knowledge the last of the nurse resignations happened a few weeks ago. We had two mass movements of resignations, so we are extremely short in the nursing department. The admin decided to fill in with agency nurses for the time being. Last week, 2 new nurses were fired for legitimate reasons and our brand new director was also canned. She since has been replaced with a newer director. Also, our hospital chaplain retired because according to him "he saw the writing on the wall" and knew he would be laid off next. Unfortunately, he won't be replaced. He provided an invaluable service to our patients and families during critical times and codes.
I was begged to work the other day because they only had 3 nurses on shift for the whole ER for all of day shift. I agreed to work because I felt bad for my coworkers stuck in the schedule and I knew it would be a horrendous day regardless of how busy it was for them. Well, it was a terrible day. As I triaged patient after patient in the little triage room without a break (I managed to leave once to use the restroom), I became angrier with all the bullshit reasons coming into my triage area. I had to take a little mental break because I wouldn't be able to finish the day without yelling at someone. Everyone felt like they had an emergency or that their problem was the most important of the day. People had to wait, a long, long time and they got angry about that. A patient actually called ahead of time to make an appointment which we told her she couldn't do.
I was able to get quick rooms for the truly emergent patients, thank goodness. Those who had to wait for trivial things such as not wanting to buy tylenol for their kid or decided that today would be the day to take care of a problem they had for over a year sat in the lobby. After hours of hearing the snide remarks, the yelling and the insults - I stopped caring about catering to their whims and complaints. We did not have the nurses to open more rooms, their problems were not emergencies and simply put - they would have to wait.