Day #232: Nursing Wisdom

I have been a registered nurse since 2006, when I graduated with an associates degree. I recently graduated with my bachelor's degree and I start grad school this month, in hopes of earning a master's degree in nursing education. I love teaching and hope to do so full-time one day! However, for the past 5 years I have been working in a very busy ER in Saginaw, Michigan.

Have any of you heard of Saginaw? We are mostly known for poverty and crime. So, you can imagine what working in the ER must be like. It can be pretty interesting. 

Let's start with an area called "Triage". Triage is a french word meaning, "to sort". Triage is the first place you'll go, as a patient in the ER. Since I am one of the more experienced nurses, I am in triage A LOT. It's the place where I obtain the patient's chief complaint, vital signs and past medical history.

Triage can be an interesting place to work. You hear all kinds of patient complaints. In addition to the above memes, which I have personally heard spoken, people also complain of passings "clogs" (blood clots) and sneezers (seizures) because he or she forgot to take their peanut butterball (Phenobarbital).

 It also still surprises me the amount of people who come in complaining of abdominal pain, but sit in the waiting room eating chips, drinking pop and/or coffee. Trust me, it happens everyday!

This above meme is very true. It's surprising how good you get at guessing a persons blood alcohol after 5 years of ER experience. The doctors get in on this action too.

I have never done the above confession. I swear. 

Before I leave you, I want to share a couple more nurse confessions that I can relate to.

I can't lie...me and my paramedic/pre-med student husband totally do this. 

If I ever meet anyone of you, you can be certain that at some point I will scope out your hand veins. I can't help it. 

I forget that some people are grossed out by bodily fluids and functions. I usually forget this at family functions until I look up and everyone is looking at me like this:


In all seriousness though, nursing is a great profession. It is frustrating and it sucks all the energy from you. However, the day that you are pinned will be awesome; you will feel fulfilled and relieved. I love helping people. In the ER, I see 85% nonsense, as demonstrated by the memes above. Nonsense being frequent flyers, narcotic seekers, and people who abuse the emergency room. However, the 15% that I see who are ill and actually need my help, totally make up for the nonsense. It's a great profession and I encourage anyone considering it, to just go for it!

Source for the above memes were taken from here.

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  1. I hate going to the ER - and I spent a lot of time there last year.

  2. Angel does not resist at ALL the urge to tell people whether or not they have good veins for IVs. I swear he's done that with every single member of my family. I'll randomly notice him tracing the veins in my arms with his fingers while we're watching tv....

  3. My husband is convinced working at a hospital is like Scrubs haha. And yes, I've heard of Saginaw! :-)

  4. I was in nursing school for awhile but decided to switch majors part of the way through after I noticed an issue that my school had. You would not believe the number of people who were in my class (or even in higher classes) that would go into the bathroom, use the bathroom, and then just walk right on out. Are you kidding me??!! My reaction was "Uh no, not only am I transferring majors but I'm getting the heck out of this state when the nursing students can't even wash their hands correctly."

    That being said my entire Facebook friends list breathed a collective sigh of relief when I switched majors because that meant no more pictures of sheep eyes and brains, deer heart and lungs, and dissections of cats ;)

  5. LOL... Thanks for the good laugh.


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