Monday, July 23, 2007

Sucking Pond Water

Every so often we plan a potluck buffet on our weekends on in the ER. It seems that every time we do this we have a hellacious day and we don't even get a chance to take a break anyway. Well, this weekend was no different. It started busy and got busier. At one point we were on diversion, but that didn't stop the codes coming in.

I had several admissions but the floors were trying to hold off on taking them, not for the patients sakes, but for the nurses who were busy too. We fax report to the floors and give them 20 minutes before we bring the patients up. Which is a lot more than the report we get from ambulances who are '3-5 minutes out with patient having crushing chest pain, hypotension, ekg showing ST elevation and runs of V-tach'. Well, everytime I brought a patient upstairs yesterday not only was the bed not turned down, but the nurses were not coming to accept the patient, and giving me a hard time about having to take the patient. Meanwhile down in the ER I am getting other patients put into the rooms where my admissions just left.

The LNA on Tele had the nerve to say to me, 'OH, you ER people always act like you are so busy.' This was 4pm, I had been working since 0630 and we hadn't even had lunch. So, I asked her....'Have you guys had lunch, cause we haven't.' She came right out and called me a liar, and said she had seen us all in the cafeteria. I told her she was hallucinating. God, that pisses me off. My feet still hurt today, we never did get lunch and I don't get paid for working through lunch because 'state law says they have to give us a break so we can't pay you for it' even though we work through it pretty often!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Working in the ER

I have always wanted to be a nurse, since I was a child. Before I could read I would sit with the encyclopedia open to the pages with the transparencies of the anatomy of man. Turning one page would remove the skin and show all the muscles, under that the internal organs, and the last page was the bones. I had my little nurses bag with a plastic stethoscope, syringes, hammer for reflexes, etc when I was a kid. And when I was older I was a candy striper, CNA, LPN, now an RN. Nursing is all I have ever wanted to do.

I recently reflected on what my nursing career is compared to what I expected it to be. In nursing school my ICU rotation felt like coming home. I loved the atmosphere of the ICU, the monitors, ventilators, different meds and opportunities to learn. I started in med/surg. I think all nurses should start in med/surg or tele. There you really learn to prioritize, see a variety of things, hone your assessment skills, etc.

Working in the ICU was great. I became really interested in cardiology and imagined one day working in a cardiology unit with patients after bypass. I floated over to the ER a few times and was surprised to love that too. I think it was the variety of cases you could see. The almost instant gratification of helping someone who is critically hurt or ill. The nurses, medics, doctors and physician assistants were a team.

One time when I floated to the ER the medics brought in a patient that was in V-Tach. The ER staff worked like a machine. Everyone assuming a different task, few words passed but things were done very efficiently. It was like it was almost choreographed. When the patient was stabilized and moved to the ICU I was amazed at how they continued to care for all the other people that were in the ER that day. I wanted to be a part of that. And, eventually I got a job in the ER. I have worked there a few years now and it is the hardest and best job I have ever had. Many days are a challenge and almost every day is a reward.

This is my blog about my life in the ER.