Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy,

. . .but I have the sudden urge to smack you over and over and over with a shovel across the back of the head, so could you sit down?


I am like Grumpy Cat: my life is empty without someone to hate.

After a rough period in December, when it seemed every nurse in Texas had disappeared without leaving so much as a shoelace behind, things are good in the CCU. We're staffed well. There's Kitty, who has sold her soul to the Devil in exchange for the ability to do a razor-sharp wing with liquid eyeliner *every* *time*. There's Marcie, who is good and beautiful and brilliant and so sweet I dread having to tell her that there is no Easter Bunny. And she's been a nurse for ten years, too, so this is not something that's going away. There's the night crew, who refer to themselves collectively as Team Awesome, and who are not overstating things. And there's Keith.

Keith (not his real name; if they pick me up for murder, they can't prove it) is the smartest nurse ever. He already has a master's under his belt at the age of 30, he's working on his DNP in adult acute care? Or critical care? Or something? He knows every policy and procedure in the manual. HIPAA is an open book. He can, he assured me on day one, run a code by himself. He is a fucking genius. He has been a nurse for five years.

He does not know how to set up a suction rig. He does not know what angioedema looks like. He does not understand how swallowing works, and that silent aspiration is a thing. He does not, in fact, know how to run a code at all, let alone by himself.

Now, I'm willing to excuse all of that and more in a new nurse. Contrary to how I might sound on here, I am the preceptor you want. I'll entertain any question without making you feel like a moron, because even supposedly stupid questions usually have logical backing. I'll show you cool shit and get you into the transplant OR and pull strings so you, too, can hold a heart as it beats outside somebody's body. You can practice IVs on me.

However. If you're a supposedly experienced nurse, who's worked four places in five years (wtf is up with that it's not like the economy has been great why did that not trigger anybody's warning bells oh my GOD), and you make a critical medication error, giving five times the dose of an opiate to an opiate-naive patient, and then turn your back on them in order to futz with the computer, and *then* try to blame the error on *me,* I will cut you.

If you try to pin something on Marcie that she did not do, then boy, your life as you know it just got a whole lot worse.

Keith's head and me, May 2015

Can I get an A-men.

For the time being, we have appealed to Wonderful Boss as a group, and Keith is going down to the bowels of Holy Kamole in order to train with Betty in Interventional Radiology. Betty is sixty. Betty is a dedicated Crossfitter and member of a motorcycle club. Betty runs a six-minute mile, faster than she did when she was an Army nurse. Betty is two years away from retirement and takes even less shit than she used to.

Keith will know, if he knows nothing else, how to dose people for conscious sedation. And what to do if he fucks up. And he'll know exactly why it's a bad idea to try to bully the people he works with.

I feel alive again. I feel like I'm no longer wasting my time, if there's an ego to destroy and dreams to crush.

Or maybe that's the double-bacon cheeseburger I ate for lunch talking.