So, just in case anyone is wondering, it is 10:00pm my time, and normally I wouldn't even be awake now, even on the weekend because I am boring. But, I am awake, and I'll tell you why: I am a nurse, and every Saturday I am on call from 8 am til 8 am on Sundays. Today has been the most spectacularly awful call day I have taken since I started this job 2 months ago.
Normally, even though I am on call, I have piano lessons from 12-1:00 on Saturdays. Today however, since I have been sick for the last 2 days, I canceled my lesson so as to not disseminate my germs to my totally talented teacher. That's when karma stepped in and said "Hey! I see you have these extra couple of hours you don't normally have! Let me fill the void, 'cause I'd hate to see you get bored or anything today!
So I left my house at 9 am for the first call, and I saw my home again at 5 pm. My dogs thought I had left forever and there would be no dinner ever again.
Now, I think that y'all should know that my work is closed on the weekends, but we have people that might have emergencies during off times. So our nurses are on call after hours 5 days a week, and all weekend. Did I mention that we are there for EMERGENCIES? There seems to be confusion over this word. And while driving all over Delta county today, I started thinking of the things I would like to say to the general public on behalf of nurses everywhere. Here they are:
1) What seems to be an emergency to you might not actually be an emergency to anyone else. Are you bleeding to death on the floor? Having chest pain? Or are you calling for a paper cut? There are emergencies, and EMERGENCIES, and there is a definite difference in the two: one has a huge potential to leave you dead, the other is temporarily uncomfortable.
2) Please leave me out of your family squabbles. I don't care if you and your husband hate each other and like to goad each other into rages. I am here to help solve medical problems. Your problem is for a very qualified psychotherapist. Or, divorce. Really, if you're that miserable...
3) You are not the only person I have to see/take care of today. Believe it or not, I'm not a private duty nurse. I might not be right with you to look at your new bunion because the other person I need to see is convulsing on the floor over there.....
4) I do not have to take abuse from you. I do not have to put up with you spitting, kicking, hitting me. At all. I also do not have to put up with verbal abuse from you or your spouse, and I have to restate- ESPECIALLY YOUR SPOUSE. Threats, cussing, and ungrateful behavior might make me not give a shit about what is going on, which interferes with me giving you quality care.
5) I am not an uneducated worker. I had to go to college to do what I do, and I had to actually learn how the body works, and how it works with different diseases and medications. I did not Google your disease right before I came to see you.
6) I am not a slave. This is very similar to how waitresses feel- I read that somewhere this week. A thank you would go a long way, as well as a decent attitude. Really, are old people just the bitterest things sometimes or what. I'm pretty sure it is not my fault that your life did not turn out the way you wanted it to, or that you have diseases at all, please don't take it out on me, I'm just here to help.
7) And speaking of help, don't use my services and ask for my help and then turn around and not follow any of my instructions, or for that matter, your doctor's instructions. It just wastes my time. Like I said above, I'm here to help, I got my education as a nurse because I want to help, but I don't want to feel like I'm beating my head against a wall when you don't follow any advice, and in fact, do the exact opposite and make your condition worse.
8) We have a nursing shortage in this country. That means we all work long hours with little reward, and not great pay to take care of you. Why? Because we like what we do! This means don't abuse us by asking us to cook you lunch or do your laundry when we are in your home. That is not why a nurse would be in your home. And if you can do it yourself and are just being lazy- shame on your lazy butt.
9) I have a family and life of my own. Don't call me when I am not at work, that is the only time I get to see my family. You get to see yours, I get to see mine.
10) Cherish your nurses, we are the ones who gather all the information your doctor is to busy to get so we can report it to him for a decision about your condition. We cover doctor's asses, like letting him know what your allergies are so that he doesn't prescribe medications that could potentially kill you. And for doctors- Cherish your nurses because without them you couldn't find a single chart in a hospital- oops, where did they all go? Maybe they're with the therapists.......
Ok, thanks for listening to my ramble, you might have guessed that there were a few of these things going on today...I'll try to get more upbeat tomorrow after I've gotten some sleep!
Remember, it's just a ride. (yep, trying to keep that firmly in my mind!)
This was originally posted April 2, 2011 on LiveJournal.