Jaded, maybe. Burned out no.
I had a late call last shift, believe me I didn’t want the call. I have children and they had already called me asking when I would get home. My little girl can stop the world for me with just saying, “I want you to come home daddy!”
I still went out to the call and took care of my patient. I transported her to the er and upon arrival was told to take her to the triage area. All of this is pretty standard.
Mind you I don’t live in the high traffic areas of Los Angeles, New York or Dallas. We get our share of all types of calls just like all growing cities. As I fill out the paperwork for my patient a woman comes into the ER carrying a 3 year old holding the child’s finger with a bloody paper towel. You can tell the child is in pain and the mother is slightly freaking out. She comes up and tries to talk to the male nurse behind the plexiglass for the triage.
Now I know the triage nurse had just called in a patient. The patient had stood up and walked into triage in no obvious distress. There was a nurse and a tech inside the room. So what does this male nurse do when the mom, panicked and close to crying, knocks on the window asking for help?
He sees the child crying and tells the mom, “fill out the form and we will call you in.”
Really? You can’t do a quick check of the injury? You can’t ask your tech to start vitals on the patient you just brought in while you Triage, which is what you should be doing? What’s even worse is the nurse is an ex-paramedic.
I know it’s probably not a life threatening injury, but how much time would it take to calm this situation down? Approximately 2 minutes, I know because I walked over and did it.
I came up and introduced myself and asked the mother if I could see it. The injury was to the index finger of the child. 1/2 of an inch was completely missing and there was a minor avulsion of the inner skin. The older brother had accidentally closed a door on the finger. I explain to the mother that she did right by stopping the bleeding and that now we have to take care to minimize the opportunity for infection. I get a clean gauze and tell her she doesn’t have to apply pressure anymore, just to keep it covered until they get her in and clean it.
Took 2 minutes and a situation that probably felt dire to the mother was controlled and turned into a manageable situation.
I think all of us in the medical community should at the very least bring that to our patients. Calm. Control. We are the professionals and we shouldn’t be so far burned out that we can see someone in distress and not try to alleviate some of it. Leave the patient better due to our interactions with them.
I didn’t look at the nurse on the way out, my disdain would of leaked out of me like tar.