A day in the life of an ED nurse

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    When people learn I'm an ED nurse theyoften say “wow that must be stressful” or “I don't know how youdo it”. They have no idea what it's like on a day to day basis. No one can ever know except those of us in the trenches. This iswhat we have to deal with every single day that we go in.
    • The female patient who tells me “youdon't know what it's like to have my pain” while sneaking Doritosand coke while waiting for her abdominal CT.
    • The man who demands a taxi voucherafter taking an ambulance in for a toothache and then tells me“you're such a *****, you shouldn't be a nurse.”
    • The wife of the patient I just met whoinforms me that “no one has been in here for two hours, I don'tknow what you people are doing out there”.
    • The ICU nurse of the burn patient wejust stabilized who gripes “you ED nurses never do the dressingsdown there, we always have to do everything.”
    • The chronic back ache who tells me “thedoctor told me he was giving me pain meds an hour ago, what have youbeen doing all this time?”
    • The family member who gets in my faceand angrily says “my mother has been in pain for 3 hours and hasn'tseen a doctor. This is ********, you need to get someone in hereright now and give her some medication.”
    • The 35 year old woman with a tummy achewho tells me she wants a new nurse because I won't give her a bedpanand get angry after she spits on my floor saying “you're not doingyour job, you're supposed to take care of me and be nice.”
    • The psych patient who informs me at she“eats ******* like you for dinner. Come at me **** and I'll showyou who's boss around here”.
    • The doctor who snaps “I have a lotmore patients than you, I'll get to it when I get to it” when askedabout a discharge for a family that has been waiting for almost 2hours at 5am.
    • The inmate who swallowed razor bladesand wants pain medication, after I explain to him that he put himselfhere, and swallowing razor blades is gonna hurt “you're notcompassionate at all.”
    • The patient on bath salts who saysnothing at all but swings at us, and bites and kicks and spits.
    These are my patients. These are thepeople that I take care of, run for, go hungry for, work my back andfeet and hands to the bone for. No, that's not true. These are thepeople who PREVENT me from caring for those who are really sick, theseptic cancer patient with no BP, the woman with CHF who can'tbreathe, the kid with DKA. These people are the reason your ER waittime is 3 hours and your bill is $3000. These people are the reasonthat your nurses and doctors are sometimes grumpy and rushed andfrustrated. These people are what keeps me from loving my job.
    Savvy20RN likes this.

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  2. 4 Comments...

  3. 0
    Well said! And awesome ending.
  4. 0
    Well said..Reminds me how much I hate my job.
  5. 0
    A effing men
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    ER nurses tend to get desensitized. The hospital should rotate them. I floated to ER from med/surg. Not sure how your ER is run, but this ER worked as a team. The stress level was not the same as the floor. The patients were seen as rooms and hallways emptied.

    I once heard an ER nurse say to me about a patient yelling in pain, "Just ignore it." If you have ever been in pain, real pain! You would not say that, I thought. I have and I was ignored and almost died in the ER.

    There are a lot of disfunctional people in ER, because it is the place people go when they don't have health insurance or live in the street or need a fix. Understand this and it will make being an ER nurse easier. People tend to mirror their judgement of others. Remember that the next time you work. Try to wear these people's shoes for a while. It is not a personal attack on you. In my years of nursing, I have had very few truely mean or intolerable patients/families. But when I have, they are definitely hard to take. I do understand this. But most of the time, it is just people with dis-ease.


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