Nope, not a Halloween reference!
One of my grandmothers wound up in the hospital last week. Most of my immediate family was on vacation in Florida so I had to jump in. I spent 11 hours in the emergency room that day. And it made me wonder what the everyday shift of an ER nurse looks like.
Let’s be clear – it’s not the job for me.
There were a few times that I stepped in to help the ER nurses with my grandma. Here are some things that I did, heard or saw during my time in the ER with her.
Big complicated words. Like synchronous diaphragmatic flutter. In layman’s terms it means hiccup. How do nurses remember all these?
In contrast, abbreviations/acronyms. There seems to be one for just about every medical term.
Nonstop questions. As a nurse, you get asked a lot of questions by patient families. Sometimes you don’t have the answer. At other times you can’t release certain information because it’s the doctor’s call. But that won’t stop concerned family members from asking.
Unappealing smells. Did they bring an elephant into the hospital? Nope, one of your patients had a bowel movement in their bed.
Involuntary workouts. Patients have to be moved and readjusted from time to time, bringing strain to your upper body. By the end of shift a nurse’s arms can feel like Jell-O.
Wiping drool. Sometimes patients are weak and can’t perform regular tasks themselves.
Apply chap stick. To the patient’s lips, not yours. This is especially true if the patient is suffering from dehydration.
Exercise compassion and gentleness. At all times, not matter what.
This only scratches the surface of what nurses really go through in a day on the job. Thank you to all healthcare workers for everything that you do for your patients. Extra special thanks to those that go above and beyond when no one is even looking! You all are so appreciated.