Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Any Doubts, Keep the Tray Out

on October 7, 2015

To the nurse I yelled at on Sunday night:

We’d been in the OR suite since 0630 that morning. We did five surgery cases before we cleaned OR suite three to pick up your patient. Two of the prior patients were in the oldest beds in the hospital — you yank, twist, and turn to get those kinds of beds on the elevator. One of the patients came down with five family members trailing behind, each with a bag of food from McDonalds. No one had eaten since 6 am.

You told me at 4:30 pm that your patient only had breakfast for his 6 pm surgery. At 5:45 pm, in pre-op, he told our anesthesiologist that he had lunch, not just liquids, rice and beans, at noon.

We couldn’t do surgery until 8 pm. No one lived close enough to go home for a bit.

A staff of seven waited an extra two hours. When all was done, the clock read 10:15 pm.

I know it was unpleasant to have two additional calls following my scathing call to you. And you were doing so well – the patient with the ectopic pregnancy – your pre-op check list – exquisite! But the anesthesiologist, I had to let him rant. He had another 12 hours in OB to manage.

We were tired, some were hungry, and some had to get up at four in the morning the next day.


So…you look about 22, maybe a year out of school. Maybe I’ll come by next week and tell you some of the doozy mistakes I’ve made.

It’ll get better. I promise.

9 responses to “Any Doubts, Keep the Tray Out

  1. I can totally understand why you would yell in a circumstance like that. And I also appreciate how generous you are being.

  2. mreedmccall says:

    It has to be frustrating beyond belief. The general public often knows little (or nothing) about the schedules, responsibilities, and sacrifices made by those who are treating them or their loved ones in the OR, but a fellow medical professional should be more aware. Bless you for your care and commitment to the patients (and families) with whom you work!

    • Susan says:

      Than you so much! I had some empathy for the young nurse, however, I then saw him on the floor later when I took the post op patient back – the defiant look he gave me sucked the remainder away!

      • mreedmccall says:

        The hubris exhibited by some of the younger generation – whether students in my case or young nurses in yours (young/new teachers in my experience don’t fit in this as they are usually very willing to learn and grateful for any support or advice they get) – never fails to astonish me. Of course your situation often includes matters of life and death. I’d likely have very little empathy and rather expect others to offer the best they’ve got or go home…so kudos to you for having any at all!

      • Susan says:

        Ah, thanks! And I turn and tip my hat to the critical care and ER nurses 🙂

    • Susan says:

      But then, you also teach, so I’m sure you’ve inherited students with learning needs and wondered, ‘How did no one not catch this earlier?’

      • mreedmccall says:

        Yes, that does sometimes happen! Also interactions with parents who seem oblivious to or in denial about their child’s needs, abilities (or lack thereof) and areas of concern.

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