Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I actually do like being a nurse

Nurses are all about the nitty gritty of bodily functions.  I spent the better part of yesterday trying to get one of my patients to poo.  She didn't want to take a medication called lactulose because it tasted bad.  I assured her that the next step would be an enema, and I didn't care either way.  And I don't.  I see bodily fluids (except for sputum which seriously grosses me out) as part of the machine-works of the body and I stopped feeling embarrassed for the patients a long time ago.  Seriously guys, everybody poops.

Last night, I had a dream that someone wrote a group email saying something like, "Amanda worked really hard today: she didn't sit down for more than 5 minutes at a time, she only peed twice in 12 hours, and she didn't get to eat anything except for the sandwich that she inhaled around 4."  No one wrote an email like that, probably because everyone else was really busy as well, but that doesn't make any of it untrue; all those things really happened.

The social worker for our unit was telling me that her daughter wanted to be a nurse and she was trying to talk her out of it, because she (the mother) spends time around all of us who are run ragged by patients who mistake the hospital for a hotel, and doctors who apparently hate people (why do you go into medicine if you hate people?), etc.  And, it would appear to this particular social worker that we all hated our jobs because we complain so much.  Not so, I told her.  I really like my job.  I need a hard job.

Aside from the fact that I feel like I'm helping the universe move in a better direction, one bowel movement at a time, I like that it's challenging.  I like the fast pace and the pressure.  I like the science of it and that I have to think quickly and be smart.  I like chatting with patients about how they got that crazy scar on their arm while I start an IV.  I like the comrades-in-arms feeling I have with the other nurses and techs on the unit as we wage medical warfare on the masses.

When it is slow and I have to do chart audits because I have nothing else to do, I hate it.  I come up with elaborate schemes that allow me to go home.  I could never sit at a desk all day, I would go crazy.


Holley said...

When I read the sign that says "No one gets more excited when you poop than I do" (before I got to Happy Nurse Week), I seriously thought--that's me and Spencer. He just doesn't like to do it, so when he does it I'm super-happy. We miss your little kiddos. I'm glad I got to know them.

krissiecook said...

As anyone who has been in the company of a good nurse in a time of need can tell you, nurses like you make all the difference. For realsies. There aren't many sucky nurses out there, but it's easy to spot one. Mostly because they leave you feeling worse than before. Or maybe just more constipated. Or probably both. Good nurses, on the other hand, are the longest lasting impression I have of the staff from all of my hospital stays. I still remember a handful of them by name.
So keep on keeping 'em pooping. We all thank you.

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