Is the cynicism inevitable?

  1. 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 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 do you keep from becoming cynical and jaded???
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    About lvnlrn

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 55; Likes: 37
    RN; from MT
    Specialty: LTC, MDS, ER


  3. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    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.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    You have to have some coping mechanisms to handle the ER. Cynicism isnt a bad thing in my
  5. by   emtb2rn
    I'm not cynical, I'm pragmatic.
  6. by   IrishErin
    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.
  7. by   psu_213
    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 is almost impossible not to develop cynicism, at least over some situations.
  8. by   That Guy
    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.
  9. by   libran1984
    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. by   Sassy5d
    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.
  11. by   Kencanwin
    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.
  12. by   imintrouble
    I've never met an ER nurse who wasn't cynical/jaded. It comes with the territory.
    However, almost all the med/surg nurses I know with more than 5 yrs experience, are also jaded.
    We get with the program too, it just takes us longer.
  13. by   SNB1014
    the medical field is an odd one.

    a headache could mean brain cancer or meningitis. or it could just be a headache. the very vast majority of the time it is a headache.

    you never ever want to dumb down a symptom only to hear the next morning that night shift indeed called the dr and your pt was transported to icu for the very same symptom you merely mentioned during report.

    at the same time, i have gone gung ho! calling drs, NPs, pa s and whoever over a patient that is complaining that SHE CANNOT BREATHE....PEOPLE ARE YOU LISTENING, SHE IS VERBALLY TELLING ME THAT SHE CAN'T BREATHE! (note the silliness) only to have a PA ask me " um well, have her sit up in the chair and watch her, put her on a venti if you really want to. if she gets worse then call a rapid."

  14. by   Altra
    It's up to you to judge where the line is between *realism* and *cynicism*.