Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Healing the Walking Wounded on Boxing Day

In order to get New Year’s off, I had to compromise and agree to work the week of Christmas. I was preparing for the worst on Christmas eve and day. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. Working on Christmas was actually quite lovely. The department was calm, the staff was happy and the patients who did come were incredibly thankful and nice. However, the next day, Boxing Day – well that was a different story. Boxing Day can be thought of as the American equivalent of Black Friday – a perfect storm of drastically reduced prices and injuries. Weather permitting (or not), shoppers line up as early as 0100 to score a great bargain, and I suspect to get a little bit of a break from the family togetherness of Christmas.

I was assigned to work in fast track and well, that was a complete bloodbath. Battle weary men and women limped in one by one, and then ten by ten with their swollen and sprained ankles while clutching their loot for dear life. A potentially major kerfluffle broke out when three patients confused their shopping bags and started to walk away with each others’ merchandise. A little old lady called a younger woman a shameless floozy after having discovered that the younger woman had managed to buy the last 52” Sony Bravia television available. Even some of the staff took extended breaks to scour the malls for some deals. Most came back shell shocked – one came back after having spent $3500 on some serious electronics and clothes. Minor lacerations were the theme of the evening when people started to dig into their merchandise with a great deal of fan fare and sharp objects. After tensor wrapping sprained ankles, setting up countless suture trays and administering an endless amount of tetanus vaccinations, I did my part for the economy and scoured the aisles for offers I could not refuse. But not before having taken a substantial shower and a long sleep.

Happy holidays and a very happy new year to everyone :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Emerging Dazed and Confused from the Land of Night Shifters

“Dude! I thought you were like dead or married or something! Where have you been?”

Thus I was greeted by one of my more colourful friends when I ventured out in the afternoon for lunch after working 7 nights in 9 days. How do I feel after this (mostly) self inflicted torture? Let’s just say, off. Usually I like to work nights but this time it has been particularly vile because I have been denied my nap during breaks. Due to ongoing construction, the ER nursing lounge is inaccessible, which means that the lousy nap chairs from yester-year are also inaccessible. Without a nap I’m a terrible nurse. I can’t get IVs in, I can’t collect blood samples, the thought of having to catheterize a little old broken hip lady induces terrible sobs of anguish and people asking me ‘how much longer until I see the doctor?’ makes me seethe with uncontrollable, mouth foaming, profanity hurling, stretcher kicking rage. In a moment of shocking desperation, I think I actually fell asleep while trying to get a history from a psych patient. Perhaps Santa will reward us lowly nurses with a decent lounge and some spare stretchers or couches? Unbloody likely.

In any case, I learned that after waking up entirely disoriented and slightly scared at having seen sunlight for the first time in a week, it is best not to acclimatize to the day time world by trolling in a mall full of herds of bewilderbeasts frantically looking for presents. At least lunch was delicious and fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life Lessons Learned and the the Abundance of Pooh

In yet another teaching shift, I got assigned to a new grad nurse who was quick on her feet and even quicker in her thinking. She told me that she was really looking forward to learning about the indications for using different kinds of antibiotics. However, she got a lesson in pooh (really, aren’t all lessons about pooh?). She learned that it is far better to collect blood and urine samples before giving a massive tap water enema to a little old bunged up lady who is just confused enough to crap all over the room and then stand in the middle of the carnage with a smile on her face. Some lessons can only be learned through experience no matter how far in advance a warning is given.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One of Those Days

17 year old female, c/c – “got my cherry popped at my doctor’s office with a q-tip and some metal. Can you fix it?
Have a seat.

37 year old man, c/c – “Some ho did something to my junk she didn’t get paid to do”
Have a seat.

17 year old male, c/c – “I’m really high, I got the munchies and I heard the nurses here are really hot”
Have a seat.

26 year old female, c/c – “I think I was pregnant a year ago. Can you tell me if I actually was?”
Have a seat.

34 year old male, c/c – “My fern tried to strangle me when I slept and now I’m going to kill my brother all of you and the fucking fern”

44 year old male from home via EMS – Allergies x1 year.
The current wait time is 9 hours – give or take. Have a seat.

Unkempt male of undetermined age – “Where my Percocet bitches!!?!”

29 year old male, c/c – “I haven’t had a shit in 3 days and I want…”
Patient was interrupted by his own very loud and putrid flatulence.
“Never mind, I feel better now”.
What the hell??

19 year old male – “Do you guys prescribe medical marijuana?”
“Uh… well… I have cancer”.
“You should be ashamed of yourself”.

I helped to save many lives, and left a lasting impression on many more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dos and Don’ts of a Staff Party

It’s that time of the year when the crisp winter air is filled with festive joy, store windows are decorated with Christmas scenes, there’s an extra sparkle in children’s eyes and all steadily employed people are filled with varying degrees of dread, apathy, anxiety and yes, even excitement about the annual Christmas party. Socializing with one’s coworkers while not scrub clad can be somewhat daunting because when removed from the hospital setting, there aren’t any psychotic, belligerent, needy, disrespectful, bitchy, douchbagy, moronic and/or idiotic patients/staff to deal with. As such, engaging in small-talk can be awkward, if not outright impossible. Parties are also a social minefield because as unbelievable as it sounds, a vast majority of the staff have lives outside of work. Sometimes, those lives include dating each other, breaking up, working together uncomfortably for a while before a new normal is established.*Lastly, staff parties are an extremely weird combination of coworkers, bosses, alcohol, food and 80s dance music which can make effective and fun socializing all that much more difficult.

Since staff parties are a better dressed, tressed and fed extension of work, it’s important to remember to maintain a certain amount of decorum and reserve. With this in mind, here is my list of dos and don’ts of a staff party loosely based on this year’s party mishaps.

Do try to be civil to each other no matter how much you wish your foe was under a bus.

Don’t tell your foe that you were ardently hoping for them to be under a bus.

Do enjoy the catered food and open bar.

Don’t enjoy the open bar to the point of which you start to loudly vomit in the ladies room and end up being dragged home by another staff member while your boyfriend stays behind to pay the manager off for the damages incurred.

Do compliment your ex on his/her educational/professional achievements.

Don’t berate them for their weight changes, poor sartorial decisions and even poorer choices in mates.

Do make an effort to introduce your partner/date/family member to the rest of the staff so they don’t feel left out.

Don’t let your companion be in a foul mood at one of your past transgressions, especially if their revenge plot is to out how you want to take over someone else’ job and forever taint you as a treacherous corporate climbing snake.

Do show of your fancy footwork when kickass 80s anthems are blasted, especially if you’re the chief of medical staff.

Don’t dirty dance with the nursing manager and end up with your tie lost and your shirt buttons undone, especially if you’re the chief of medical staff.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but merely guidelines that one should try to follow in order to have a successful staff party experience! Please share your dos and don’ts and keep the hilarity going!

*HR neither condones nor endorses this behaviour.