You've been a community nurse too long when...

  1. You know the streets in your territory well enough to moonlight as a taxi cab driver.

    You have mastered the skill of talking on your car phone and perusing your Perly's Street Guide while driving through heavy traffic.

    Your idea of fine dining is a chance to sit down in Tim Horton's rather than going to the takeout window.

    A nice, relaxed, easy day is one where you actually get to stop the car while you eat, instead of wolfing yor sandwich while driving.

    You think coffee should be available in I.V. form.

    You think that working 14 ours a day and only getting paid for 8 is perfectly normal.

    You best freind has four wheels. It is your moblie office/hospital/cafeteria. The only thing it really lacks is a washroom. That's okay, because if you;'ve been a nurse for any length of time, you already have the bladder capacity of five people.

    You prefer that passengers in your car sit in the back seat, as if they sat in front, you would have to rearrange your portable office, and you wouldn't be able to find anything for the next three days.

    You always carry groceries, etc. in the back seat and not the trunk, as your trunk is so full of dressing, I.V. supplies and odds and ends of paperwork, that there's no room for anything else.

    If you don't have a cell phone, you know the location of every indoor payphone in your district. You even have a special "blacklist" of the ones that have been vandalized and don't work.

    You sleep with your pager as often as you do with your husband.

    You suffer from phantom pager syndrome: you think your pager is going off even when you're not wearing it.

    You spend your spare time filling out discharge reports, service logs, and mileage and expense reports.

    Your idea of a good time is an I.V. restart party at team meeting.

    You find yourself looking at well-built guys and thinking, "Wow! Great veins!"

    You could set up and/or troubleshoot a CADD pump (portable I.V. infusion pump) in your sleep, and frequently have.

    You refer to Friday as "Hospital Dump Day."

    You not only have the local number for the Community Care Access Centre memorized, you know the extensions for each of the case managers, as well as their names, their husband's/childrens'/pets' names, plus all their individual quirks. (For U.S. readers, in Ontario, the CCAC is the government body which administers home care.)

    You would love to have a word with the idiots who make up the dressing supply kits to be sent home with patients from the hospital, the ones that do such intelligent things as sending home a Foley catheter and insertion kit, but no urine drainage bag. These individuals seem to be incapable of reading doctor's orders. For instance, if the order reads: "Cleanse wound with 2x2's soaked in normal saline, pack with 1/4 in. ribbon gauze, then cover with Jelonet," the 2x2's/ribbon gauze/Jelonet/normal saline will be missing. Imagine trying to do a dressing on a fresh skin graft without Jelonet!! (And they wonder why I carry so much stuff in my car!)

    Your idea of a really exciting evening is a cardiac patient in A-fib, with a pulse of 130, who's been shunted back and forth from hospital three times already this week. Her M.D. is gone for the weekend, and has not left the number of a doctor on call.

    You are on a first-name basis with most of the fire and ambulance/paramedic crews in your area (see above!)

    You have ever seriously considered (i) throwing your pager out the window, or (ii) flushing it down the toilet.

    I made most of these up, after reading similar items on the net. Let's see if any of the other community nurses out there can come up with some more good ones! It's a great way of relieving the stress of being overworked and underpaid!
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