Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor


“Why are you not married?”

He was having a hernia repair.

The question caught me off guard. I’d said nothing about my personal statistics; asked him how he slept last night being that he had to arrive at our center at 7:00 am, reminded him he’d have lifting restrictions after surgery until cleared by his surgeon.

IV port wiped with an alcohol pad and Zofran given, I stepped back.

One of those rare moments I don’t have a response for a patient. Choices…

“I don’t know.”

I won’t settle.”

Life is too short to chase people.”

I’m busy living large.”

It’s not in my hands.”

They’re all good answers.

But it’s not about me.

When your on the clock it’s not about you.

But still, he deserved a reply. To not answer would be rude.

“Brad’s in the middle of making a movie. It’s delaying the courtship.”


Ka – Pow!

Taking One for the Team

Have you ever taken one for the team? You know, been the person who, walking down the street saw a baseball on the sidewalk next to the broken window and picked it up only to have a police officer come up behind you and put you in cuffs.
I wasn’t put in cuffs last week, but the feeling of frustration was similar, and my cop was one of the nicest anesthesiologist on our unit. Now, I don’t know how to act around him.
In my defense, I present the backstory:
I’m off the unit for two hours helping in Radiology. I finish up, return to pre-op and begin to set up a bay for a patient coming from the floor. Staff is minimal. It’s midday. Some are at lunch.
As I leave the bay, two OR staff members (a nurse and a nurse anesthetist) are at the other end in Bay 5.
“Susan, is this your patient? We’re ready to go.”
I stride over to the schedule at the desk. In OR time, ready to go means READY TO GO.
“No. But I got the name here. Let me find that nurse.”
I see her in the last bay with another nurse. They are both gloved. Supplies for accessing a port are scattered on the bed. Accessing a port is a one nurse job — this must be a difficult one. I walk over to the nurse on the left side of the bed.
“They’re here for your patient.”
She whips her head around. “Oh shoot, I didn’t pull meds. He needs Ancef, Versed and Zofran.”
I’m caught up with my work and available to help. “Hey, I’ll get them.” And off I go.
Two minutes later I am standing next to the two OR staff reaching to check the chart for accuracy of the meds I pulled. The anesthetist says to me, “The AIC hasn’t seen this patient.”
* AIC is Anesthesiologist in charge
I place a call to the “AIC” and quickly explain what I need. I then tell the patient “… this is a measure to ensure everything is double checked.”
Five minutes after the patient departed, the AIC, in front of passing family members and staff that included my manager, gives me a five minute lecture about calling him in a timelier manner and goes on to tell me that the patient in question had been there for almost two hours. He ignores me when I try to explain that I stepped in to help the assigned nurse. I see a couple of nurses look up then away.
He finishes with a comment on how I have presented his group in a poor fashion.
I hadn’t stopped moving since I arrived at 0545 and the dual role of working Radiology and Pre–Op is already taxing without being the unwitting recipient of a lecture that should have been reserved for the other nurse, the one who had over an hour to get that patient ready.
He got to me.
I couldn’t stop my eyes from swelling up, and the lump in my throat got bigger and bigger. It took everything I had to stop myself from saying “But, that wasn’t my patient.”
Between his admonishments, this anesthesiologist was saying “Don’t take it personally.”
I chose to be a grown up about it.
I wish he had also.


Chen Song Ping

Cancer, Mental Health, Women, Nurse


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