Monday, May 5, 2008

Glamorous

Mine is not the most glamorous job on the planet. In fact, it can be down right distasteful at times and always, always a challenge. When I was just a young thing, I honed my future skills at nursing by waitressing. I worked in bars and in a variety of restaurants from a Waffle House to an upscale seafood joint. Still, nothing prepared me for what I thought would be a bright and shiny career in caring for the sick.


In a given day, I usually care for 'only' 2 patients and assist my colleagues with the needs of their patients too. I hang and manage various intravenous drips (at times, I have 3 to 4 triple pumps going; 9 to 12 drips at a time.) This isn't always the easiest thing in the world since there is usually a limited amount of IV access. Therefore, I am part chemist. I absolutely must make sure that each drip plays well with others. I have access to information which tells me that they do or they don't, therefore, I am part librarian.


Sometimes, patients are so sick and their families are distraught to the point that I must provide care for them too (we've all sent patient's loved ones to the ER for chest pain on occasion.) Therefore, I am part spiritual care provider. And, I am still a full time waitress. I fetch chaplains, tissues, waste bags, coffee, water, juice, meals, telephones, phone books and whatever else visitors may need. I squeeze these tasks in between turning, bathing, drawing blood, neuro checks, physical assessments, charting vitals, traveling for a cat scan, measuring outputs, cleaning mouths, changing dressings, pushing narcotics, hourly blood sugar checks, passing meds, identifying changes in trends, drug titration, notifying gift of life of impending deaths, rounding with each specialist, coordinating care with other departments, updating supervisors and calling the pharmacy for drip refills. Times two. It's no wonder I don't have time to pee let alone take a break.


So, to another nurse's patient visitor: I know your psychosocial needs are huge right now, but, so are my patient's. Stopping what I am doing to find your allegedly "stolen" computer generated picture of your dogs that you brought for your loved one to gaze at is not high on my list of priorities. In fact, it isn't a priority at all. Changing the chest tube drainage system and chest tube dressing for MY patient is. I am too old seasoned to give much credence to the fact that you will call my supervisor to report my failure to give a shit care about your picture. I really don't care and your tirade is eating up my time. Valuable time. I care about pneumothorax. I care about pain. I care about getting the hell out of here on time so I can get home to sleep fast in order to come back here refreshed and ready to do it all over again.

12 comments:

Rositta said...

Gotta tell you Rudee, you are like no nurse I ever met. They used to be like that (the caring part) maybe 20 years ago but not any longer. The worst ones here are the ones taking care of the elderly especially if there is a bit of a language problem. I saw too much practically living at the hospital for 7 weeks with my Mom. ...ciao

Rudee said...

Ahhh Rositta, my caring is dwindling. I need another vacation (already.)

Mrs. G. said...

I would love a nurse like you looking out for me. I think if you wore that sexy outfit, your cure rate for men would, well, raise significantly.

Rudee said...

Yes Mrs G, it would. But then, you've not seen our typical men folk patients. I wouldn't even consider shaving my legs for 99.9% of them-let alone wearing the sexy waitress outfit. No Johnny Depp look alikes where I work.

Nobody Puts Baby In a Corner said...

sounds like it's time for another extern :)

Rudee said...

You're so right Baby but my last nurse extern spoiled me for others! There won't be another like her!

The Rotten Correspondent said...

You go, sister! Let 'em have it!

I could feel my muscles clench reading your job description, as my old job came flooding right back to me. And the words "chest tube drainage system" make me feel a little lightheaded still.

ICU nurses have the toughest, most mentally challenging jobs in the hospital. I'm absolutely positive of it.

And that dog picture? Bite me.

Jo said...

If patients and their families had any idea how hard it really is to do your job...

Anonymous said...

I too work in an ICU. I take care of the stress by drinking. I know it isn't right, but when I make mistakes, I don't seem to care as much as when I am sober.

Anonymous said...

Those are nice socks. However, it appears that the blend may contain too much cotton. You need to use more polyester in the weave. That way the socks will stay up over time, and not bunch up in your shoe.

Anonymous said...

Your job may not be glamarous, but you certainly are.

You have an uncanny resemblence to a gal I met north of Detroit about 23 years ago. I heard that girl ended up marrying an incredibly handsome and intelligent man. I think he was a star quarterback at Bowling Green. Could not compete with that.

Rudee said...

Dear Anon: I don't drink at work but take care of LOTS of people who drink and wind up where I work. They are tons of fun. I am sure you jest here so I won't lecture. Save the cocktails for your night off lest you become one of my patients in four point restraints and gorked out of your ever lovin mind on Ativan and haldol (and suddenly unemployed.) Jeeze, I think that was a mini-lecture after all.