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.”


Putting things where they ought to be

Every day, after clocking in, I walk past a three foot high by eight foot long banner that boasts the number of robotic surgeries our department has done in the last twelve months.

Every day when I clock out, I head in the opposite direction toward the side stairs and pass our Patient satisfaction survey scores (posted the same way they are received) on an 8 x 11.5 inch piece of paper. They are under a clear plastic plaque. Next to it are three additional sheets with the questions and coordinating score breakdown for each.

We have a history of high patient satisfaction scores.

The hallway toward the pre-op area, where the patients change, get IV’s, etc…That’s the Robotic surgery banner hallway.

When people get the randomly sent survey, I don’t think they care how many robotic surgeries we have done.

And the surveys, well really, the importance of quality patient care, in my opinion, far exceeds technology.

Maybe I’ll go in some evening, late in the evening, bring a step stool, some big tacks, and switch this up…

But then I like my job, so I’ll find something else to battle about.






We call them ‘Add-ons.’

It was a robotic cholecystectomy for a seventy- eight year old floor patient, called over to us from the OR charge nurse at 12:25. Our surgical transport person, Tony, was en route to us already  with a  prescheduled patient from one of the medical floors.

He arrived at 1235.

I gave him my patient’s name, room number, and a brief report. ( I had gotten report from the floor nurse. Tony deserved assurance that there were no isolation precautions or Oxygen needs)

He returned at 1248. Before he arrived, a coworker offered to jump in and get the monitors on and lung sounds.

The OR team approached  our Bay at 1303.

” Patient ready?”

I responded. ” Need just two more minutes.”

I pulled an extra medicine, Solucortef, ordered by the anesthesiologist.

The OR team returned two minutes later and left with the patient at 1305.

My coworker raised her hand to give a me a ‘high-five’ for the in and out service in seventeen minutes. She called it  a ‘Drive – By’.

It didn’t feel good or bad.

Being fast only counts if you are measuring how long it takes you to get a defibrillator to the bedside of someone in cardiac arrest. Or cautery equipment to a surgery patient bleeding out. Or Vasopressin to ….

You get it.

Compassion is often the first thing lost when ‘speediness’ is given unnecessary accolades.


What a Silly Idea !


It started with a text I received at 0500: Calling out sick

Me: Get better.

Response: Remember, Suzann’s also off.


Next text to me: You’re in charge.

In my head I screamed Noooooooo! I want to stay in my bubble with my patients.

I was going to stay in my bubble with my patients.

There would be no charge person today. I would pretend for about ten minutes after clocking in — stand at the desk and look over the schedule with an authoritative air, ask the other a.m. nurses how they were doing. (They’re both older than me, been nurses longer. That’s how this duty should be designated! Years of duty, not time on the unit 🙂 )

My sick little coworker must have been light-headed when she wrote the last text.

So anyway, I thought as I drove…

Every time a surgeon came in, I was going to flip my head in the direction of the desk and grunt, hoping they’d understand my eloquent expression to mean “the bay numbers are next to your patients’ names on the schedule.” When the phone rang, I was going to exaggerate my movement, make it seem like I was incredibly busy. If an OR nurse came over, I was going to get that Oh my God, I’m so busy look. (They’ll either offer to help or hold up their hands and reassure me they can come back later).

Now, I’m not promoting anarchy here — call it a culture of independence, hehe.

My patients will be taken care of.

The place won’t fall apart.

And when the manager calls to check in around 0630, I won’t blatantly admit any anxiety, I’ll just let a little slip out in the tone of my voice.

…Fast forward

She came in early.

We were fine.

The trauma of being in charge for seventy-five minutes didn’t leave too many scars.

I went back to my bubble 🙂



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