March 14, 2018

Special Treatment

Sometimes patients are overt in their desire for privileged treatment. Sometimes coworkers want to convey a desire for exceptional care for certain people. But in many circumstances, the lines are a little blurry.
October 3, 2017

Self Maintenance

How effective can we be if we don’t take care of ourselves? And the worst of it is, I’m cutting a piece of myself every day hoping that sacrificing myself today will somehow make tomorrow better. And every day my patient reminds me that there is no bigger lie.
May 24, 2017

My First: Sometimes It’s Out Of Our Hands

I looked down at my admission slip and saw written "35-year-old male, high potassium, and low platelets.” Humm...okay. I already began to plan out in my mind all my interventions even before calling to get report. I'll never forget that report...even to this day, it seems like I can so clearly hear the sadness in the ER nurse's voice. The first words out of her mouth were "Oh man, this is a sad one.”
May 22, 2017

My First Smile: How I Choose To Comfort Amidst The Chaos

We learned slowly that the only power we had to comfort people in pain as they entered a complex system of care was the softest power at all: tenderness. There were no promises we could make, and people often lied to us to protect themselves. So we smiled.
May 19, 2017

Our Bodies Are Amazing: Witnessing The Power Of Medicine For The First Time

They gave her a heart shaped pillow that has the anatomy of the blood vessels and a heart on it. The surgeons signed the pillow with a sharpie and drew on the arteries that had been grafted. Her job is to hug this pillow when she moves, or when she coughs or sneezes. She wraps the pillow, we have the nurse, the PT, a respiratory therapist, another nurse and me, the newbie aide to use a slide board to move her to the chair. The PT reminds me to watch all the lines and go slow. I was on high alert and we slide her over.
May 17, 2017

Wrestling With Death

I went from feeling like the guardian angel, to feeling like the grim-reaper himself. I knew we were doing everything right. I knew we followed the protocols correctly. I knew we worked with good crews and good hospitals. What I didn't know, were the statistics.
April 19, 2017

Service And Boundaries

I work in a rural hospital that is not a trauma center. Sure, traumas come in, but it is our job to stabilize patients and send them to a facility with trauma teams and surgeons. We call the cavalry, which is usually a helicopter, while we stabilize.
April 7, 2017

It’s Not Okay To Not Be Okay

Nobody wants to appear weak, or be looked down on for not being a salty ol' pro who just muscles their way through the day. You have to be a machine and not a human being with emotions and a gag reflex.
March 27, 2017

Running A Little Late

Then the pager goes off. Highland. OR 6. I kegel, pound the rest of the latte, and start the car. OR 6 is where the big stuff happens – the stuff you see on the news. Many very bad traumas go in and few come out.
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