Monday, June 6, 2011

Maybe tomorrow will be different

(written last Thursday)
Today was another busy one in the ED. I won't go into details but one of my patients had to be flown to Hartford and another had to go to the OR for emergency surgery.
We have a 33 bed main ED and what I like to call "pseudo beds". The pseudo beds have names like 6a, 8a, hall 3, hall 10, etc. They are every nook and crannie of the ED that a stretcher will fit into. They were all in use today. That means that at no time did I have less than 5 patients. Every other nurse was in the same predicament, so expecting help was unreasonable.
Now, 5 patients might not seem overwhelming but you have to remember that they arrive with symptoms, not a diagnosis. They need IV lines, blood draws, EKGs, X Rays, etc. On days like this the doctors are backed up with work so we need to use our clinical judgment to initiate protocols and order tests and meds we deem appropriate.
That autonomy is one of the things that makes the practice of ED nursing so rewarding, but it also makes it tiring.
At the end of a day like this one I'm both exhausted and satisfied, in that I know I made a difference.

A day like today is also not highly unusual, which is also both tiring and satisfying.

All the same, I hope tomorrow is easier.
(ps Friday was not better)


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