Being an ER patient makes you a better ER nurse

  1. I just wanted to share.. I'm not one to be the best patient. I'm healthy, I go for a check up maybe once a year.
    I don't go to the ER. It took everything in me to take myself there today.
    I was mortified at the idea.

    I nicked myself shaving. Um. Somewhere really embarrassing.

    All I could think about was how some practitioners make jokes about 'vaginal problems'.. I explained to triage nurse that I had nicked myself, and instead of healing up nicely, it quickly turned into a cellulitis/abscess disaster.

    So first, instead of asking me what was going on, I had one nurse ask if I had 'a little rash'.. The doctor came in and asked me 'if I had a little discharge'

    Moral of the story, even though the entire right side of my neither region was hot to touch, red and swollen, the infection was not only tunneling and spreading, I didn't need anything for the pain.

    The doctor came back in, mind you, I'm in a double room with another pt, who just got morphine and zofran.. And told me 'how miserable' I was going to be because it was in such a sensitive area..

    She proceeded to inject lidocaine into my infection and immediately start lancing.. Not even giving the joke of a numbing agent time to work.

    The moral, don't assume. Always ask our patients what's going on. Just because I'm not crying, you can see the raging swelling in a tender area, I'm in pain.

    This horrific experience, later explained to me by my nurse that they get so many abscesses daily, they just cut them and send them away.. Was a great reminder on how to treat my patients.
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    About Sassy5d

    Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 572; Likes: 701
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 11 year(s) of experience


  3. by   douxmusique
    My kids get abscesses and the same thing happened to my 7 year old, though his was on his bottom. I asked for some sort of tranquilizer because I know how intensely he reacts and they laughed. Then the dr came in alone had me hold him down myself and proceeded with fhe lancing. My son screamed and kicked and was almost stabbed with the tool on his calf because the dr laid it on the bed.

    Im a new nursing student and that experience changed my thinking as well. Maybe its just an abscess thing? We dont go to the er for an earache so I dont have much experience with that.

    Hope youre healing up and getting back to normal.
  4. by   Sassy5d
    If it would have been an abscess anywhere else, I would have gone to my work.
    I've done conscious sedation for less.

    I just can't get over the fact that my impression, I was being treated like I'm dirty.. Like I didn't deserve to be comfortable.
  5. by   douxmusique
    I would have felt the same way.
  6. by   danggirl
    I hear what you are saying that being on the other side of the table makes one examine their own practice more closely. Since last January I have been in the ER more times than I can count, had 3 surgeries, a few procedures and several hospitalizations all as a result of adhesions. I had recurrent small bowel obstructions and a blocked bile duct. I've been a nurse for 18 years with the past 5 years spent in the ED. God knows I am not a perfect nurse but after these past hospitalizations, I was so shocked and appalled at the "nursing care" that I felt compelled to file a formal complaint with the hospital.
    In the ER, my partner went to talk to the physician and the physician told her they were not there to treat "chronic pain issues". My partner tried to explain my history...that when there was no pathology there was no pain. The doctor was irritated and said my CT was fine (she actually had never even looked at it) but that she'd check with the radiologist "again". Next I know she is apologizing all over and offering me pain medication (they had refused to give me any before) because my CT showed TWO areas of small bowel obstruction and colitis in 75% of my colon! Also in the triage area and the ER room, you could hear everything being said to the other patients and amongst the about HIPPA violations.
    Inpatient wise, I kept telling them my NG tube was putting painful pressure on the edge of my one would check it! Finally after 3 days my partner came in (also a nurse) helped me out of bed, untaped the tube and guess what we found? A blister and a 1 cm pressure ulcer from the tube eroding into my skin - a permanent scar on my face all because no one would listen! I have been called a drug seeker multiple times because after 1 1/2 years on opiates I had developed quite a tolerance to them....after surgery - I had a 7 inch laparotomy incision - I believe I was in hell. The regular doses were not working and the nurses refused to call the doctor. When my NG got plugged and I was vomiting around it, the nurses refused to call the doctor nor would they flush it. Thank goodness my doctor was rounding...I had to walk her through how to flush it and re-attach the suction. She told me actually just to page her directly for any problems! That's how bad it was!
    Anyway, my point is and what I have had reinforced least for me....patients are not textbooks, everyone does not respond or present the same given similar conditions. And, if we take the extra 2 seconds to listen to what our patients are actually saying, everyone's life would be easier. I look at it this way now...if the patient has a complaint, request, etc and I can do something about it I'm going to do it. There is no need for power what purpose??? Like the OP's person could be crying hysterically and be fine getting a shot of Toradol whereas the next person could be sitting there calmly but be in excruciating pain with a need for a stronger opiate medication. ASK your patients, convey caring (whether you do or not), be respectful, LISTEN to what they are saying and address the problem....not as you think but according to the orders and evidenced based nursing practice guidelines!!!
  7. by   cannolis
    This happened to me once.. Except they didn't do anything for it or prescribe anything for it. I had to read on the internet to do warm compresses ...I was still sent a 600 dollar bill. For what? For just walking into the ER room and have the doctor look at my vagina.

    You live and learn!
  8. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    I had a pt with a bad femur fx. I was able to get great pain mgt orders (Fentanyl, 25-300, q5 min PRN & Dilaudid, 0.5-2, q1 hr prn) and keep on top of his pain when the orthopods came to reduce it and pin him.

    Long ago I had a compound tib fx involving the tibial plateau... I know real pain (and how poorly some folks control it...). The ortho folks are just brutal and don't give/take the time to manage pt comfort so if we're sans orders from the trauma docs, the pt is screwed. Been there, done that... and really try to spare my patients the same.

    Appreciate a doc who gives broad latitude for pain control and trusts the nurses enough to know we won't kill the patient.