Is the cynicism inevitable?

  1. 0
    I'm sure this topic has been hashed and beaten to death, but it's new to me, and definitely not something i can vent about to Facebook or even my family (non-medical)...I started working in the ER setting in January, in the "Minor Care/Fast Track" area. ESL 4's and 5's and "soft 3's" are ours to deal with. Loving the kids, but sometimes their parents/guardians/whatever blow me away. The lady who insisted I give their kid ibuprofen before they left because she had none at home and couldn't afford any. Of course I got the order and gave it to the patient, but in the back of my mind I'm thinking resentfully, "$5+ for that pack of cigarettes you were out smoking when they called your daughter's name in the waiting room but you can't afford $3 generic Tylenol?" I try to put myself in their shoes, but sometimes it gets difficult to understand how a parent's priorities can get so out of order. At least she brought her daughter in, though...

    Obviously working in the ER you see, hear and deal with a lot of things you wouldn't otherwise be exposed to...how do you deal with these situations in your mind? The example I gave is nothing compared to what I'm sure a lot of you have dealt with...how do you keep from becoming cynical and jaded???
  2. 30 Comments so far...

  3. 11
    Quote from lvnlrn
    how do you keep from becoming cynical and jaded???
    I don't... Six months in and I was already jaded.

    To keep myself in the game, though, I go the extra mile for the 'real' patients, challenge myself to be perfect on my skills and knowledge (which means an endless cycle of self-improvement since perfection is unattainable), enjoy working with the MDs, enjoy my paycheck, and never let myself say what I'm actually thinking about the turkeys... most of whom seem to like me.

    But I am jaded and cynical as all get-out.
    jrsRN07, canoehead, mybrowneyedgirl, and 8 others like this.
  4. 7
    You have to have some coping mechanisms to handle the ER. Cynicism isnt a bad thing in my book....lol.
    jrsRN07, canoehead, nuangel1, and 4 others like this.
  5. 5
    I'm not cynical, I'm pragmatic.
    jrsRN07, VICEDRN, NurseDirtyBird, and 2 others like this.
  6. 10
    It's hard not to be every once in a while. Especially when you ate dealing with the least critical patients who always seem to be the most entitled, impatient jerks.
    Had someone scream at me last week for having to wait over an hour to be seen for his complaint of "back pain for 10 years". Even after I explained that the doctor was busy with someone who had just been in a brutal car accident, his only response was, "well isn't that convenient?".
    People are jerks, and the ones that are not that sick are almost always the ones that think they need the most attention.
    jrsRN07, canoehead, sabrn2006, and 7 others like this.
  7. 4
    Just the other day I was helping a nurse settle/triage a medic who came in by ambulance for a sore throat. The other nurse comments to the pt "I really like your glasses." Pt states "thanks their [unintelligible] frames. The cost 500 bucks." But I still have to pay for the ambulance ride to the ER.

    To answer your question...it is almost impossible not to develop cynicism, at least over some situations.
  8. 8
    Wait, someone who works in the ER that isnt jaded? I must meet them!

    Seriously, it is really hard. It gets to me to when I work certain zones. Then you get that trauma/code/septic/critical pt that reminds you why you are there.
    dpcRN, jrsRN07, jtsRN, and 5 others like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from That Guy
    Seriously, it is really hard. It gets to me to when I work certain zones. Then you get that trauma/code/septic/critical pt that reminds you why you are there.

    Totally agree
  10. 1
    I had the most emotionally exhausting day at work yesterday. None of the pt's were 'sick'.. Not saying that I believed they were completely bogus on their reports, but nothing that would have caused them great bodily harm if they didn't see me.

    12 hours of footy socks, blankets, feed me. Listening to family members complain about length of time to be seen, criticizing everything.
    Had 1 tape recording the conversations and throwing 'I'm reporting you all to the state'. I flat out asked her what she wanted, she said pain medication. I come back and she's tripping 'cuz it wasn't dialaudid.

    I realized last night that although I enjoy many shifts in ER, I can't imagine doing this full time for the rest of my life.

    It's obvious that the pt demographic is trying on all, and even though coworkers got your back for legit trauma's, the behind the scenes coworker splitting is becoming a real issue where I work.
    jrsRN07 likes this.
  11. 1
    All of my Nurse friends ( I'm a student) have told me that when I'm done to get into ER if i can. But I agree it is a department where one can become jaded and cynical very quickly. I also know that when real ER patients come in it can be a real " adrenaline rush". So get excited about those and take care of the fakers, the not as sick as the claim to bes, etc.
    jrsRN07 likes this.


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