Sunday, September 18, 2005

Benchmarks

Being a nurse means

...that you have callouses between your toes...

...that, speaking of callouses, you know where those callouses on the tip of your thumb and between the first and second finger of your right hand came from.

...that you know exactly how much time you have left if your fluids are running at 120ccs/hour with 83 ccs left in the bag...

...and that you show up one minute before the pump starts beeping with a new bag.

...that you know when "breathing weird" is normal and when "breathing weird" means "grab the code cart"

...that your feet never really stop hurting

...that you can measure three or five or twenty minutes without looking at your watch

...that you never have time to do your hair just right

...that you always know exactly where your curved hemostats, straight hemostats, and penlights are in your scrub pockets

...that you don't need a "cell-phone pocket" in those scrubs, because you don't have time to take personal calls at work

...that a balanced meal is coffee with your donut

...that you can debate the merits of various McDonald's chicken sandwiches with your coworkers...

...and do this while discussing the consistency, quantity, and frequency of your patients' bowel movements in the lunchroom

...that a crisis requires only a grasp of the essentials...

...but that the essentials might be different from crisis to crisis

...that knowing that "airway" isn't *always* your first concern

...that listening to the flight crew is a really, really good idea

...that residents sometimes do actually know something

...that calls should be screened on every day off, no exceptions

...that four days in a row can make or break you in terms of rational thought

...that a nap might be the most valuable thing on the planet

...that "Well, *he's* gonna die" isn't necessarily an unfeeling statement; sometimes it's more whistling in the dark...

...and that "circling the drain" and "on vulture precautions" are nice ways of facing that which none of us want to face

...that 1912 or 0712 is the most beautiful time on the clock face

...that sometimes you forget the names of those who have died...

...but never, ever the faces.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"While discussing the color, etc. of your patients' stools." I had to giggle at that one.

I knew I'd arrived when, during my 3rd year of med school, we all sat in the lunchroom, avidly discussing someone's patient's vomitus while shovelling food into our faces. That little voice at the back of my head, said "Ooh girl, you crossed over some line somewhere." But, I knew that I'd gotten "there", where ever "there' was.

V

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