Just finished a three-day stretch in the ER. I work 12.5 hours each shift, so that’s 37.5 hours in 3 days. And it’s not a normal job, that’s for sure.
It’s a job filled with sadness, tragedy, and death. Oh, did I mention the frustration of trying to stabilize patients who’ve spent a lifetime of neglect to arrive at a such a state of disarray that you’re not quite sure what calamity to treat first. Hint: it’s the one most likely to kill you before you get out of the ER.
Yet I’m still fascinated and turned on by the whole process. And the best part of all?
I get paid to help people in their most vulnerable moment of need. What a privilege to be entrusted with.
I’ve often said – there’s only three ways you’re leaving the ER: you’re either discharged back to wherever you came from, admitted and transferred to floor, or you’re packed up in a body bag and sent to the morgue.
Explaining the latter to the spouse and loved ones is one of the most difficult aspects of practicing as an ER nurse. You’re constantly reminded of the fact that we’re all, give or take, going to end up in the same place.
But still – at least for now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.