I’m (not) a people person

I’m a people person… until I actually have to deal with people.

I know, I know, I’m a nurse. Dealing with people is pretty much all I do. However, I am an ICU nurse. I want my patients sedated and intubated. I want the families gone home for the day by the time I get there at 1900. I want to get my patient bathed, medicated, and ready for sleep by 2200. I want to be able to keep my patient comfortable and repositioned for my shift and up in the stryker chair by the morning.

I don’t want to talk. Am I good with families? Absolutely. Will I answer questions and make sure the family has a good grasp of the medical situation? Absolutely. Am I rude? No. I just really don’t want to do any unnecessary talking.

I don’t care that your daughter is a CNA (congrats to her by the way) and told you what to be “on the lookout for” because you should “only trust doctors”. I don’t need to you come up to the nurses’ station to tell me the monitor is beeping, I can hear it. It’s beeping because he keeps taking his oxygen off and his sats are low, tell him to stop taking his damn oxygen off. I don’t need you to wake up out of your dead sleep in the chair in the corner every time I walk into the patient’s room to ask 14 questions that must have obviously been really important. It’s great that you know *insert important person here* but you don’t need to try and name drop every time I come in the room. I get it. You are the beautician of the CEO’s wife. Ok… I am not going to treat you any differently as I give all of my patients A-1 care.

I really, really just want to be left alone to take care of my patient. Is that too much to ask?

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Bad news

Yay, she is eating more today!

(We have some bad news)

She managed to walk from the room to the nurses’ station!

(We have some bad news)

Her labs look a whole lot better today. I think the bleeding has stopped.

(We have some bad news)

I think we may be able to move her out of the ICU today.

(We have some bad news)

She looks like she might be able to be discharged today!

(We have some bad news)

The cervical cancer is back. It’s stage four and its’ metastasized to the liver. There is nothing we can do. We can give her palliative chemo which may give her another 3-6 months or she can go palliative.

She chose to go palliative. She came home and passed away months later in her bed. I was 16. She was 41. She was my mother. October 18th will make 18 years since she passed away. It still hurts just as bad now as it did then. Fuck cancer. Fuck how it destroys people. Fuck how it destroys families. Fuck the pain it causes people. Fuck how it attacks old and young. Fuck cancer.

 

Alarm fatigue 

I am legitimately over it. We have new GE monitors and they beep for EVERYTHING! Apnea is a triple beep but an arrhythmia isn’t. It doesn’t read the respiratory leads well so everyone is either tachypneic or breathing 6 breaths a minute.   There is something beeping every minute it seems. It’s getting to the point that we are starting to ignore the alarms because there are so many of them. 

This is what they mean when they refer to “alarm fatigue”

Self-care and nursing

You are a nurse. Your job is to take care of everyone else. When do you take care of you? As nurses, we are so conditioned to take care of others that we may feel guilty focusing on ourselves. That’s not fair to you.

At some point, you run out of steam. If you keep giving and giving but receiving nothing in return, you will become empty. An empty nurse is a dangerous nurse. An empty nurse can barely take care of themselves much less anyone else.

An empty nurse lacks empathy. An empty nurse stops caring. An empty nurse has nothing left of themselves to give.

THIS IS WHY SELF-CARE IS SO IMPORTANT! You cannot take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. You have to practice self-care. You need to take moments to do things that you like to do. Like to shop? There is a lovely flea market on Saturday, go check it out. Like to cook? Well, whip it up chef! Like to sleep? You enjoy that nap like you’re still in kindergarten. Do whatever it is that makes you happy. You have to. You are just as important as anyone else. Your sanity matters. Imagine how much better you will feel. Imagine how much happier you will be. Imagine how much energy you will have to be the best nurse you can be. You are worth the time.

giphy