Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Seriously? Not the ER?
I knew it. Just knew it. I am at work the other night, working with S (name withheld to protect the innocent), and he laughs and tells me that every night he is working, I am The ER Therapist. Fine by me. I really do, though I gripe about it, love the ER. That is the only place in the hospital where I actually get to see my patients, use my full assessment skills (yes, I have those), and actually, at some point, come across everything within my scope of practice. The part I do not like about being assigned to the ER for a shift comes in the middle of the night. From 2100-2300, you have just the ER. But at 2300, all of the 1100-2300 people leave and the hospital's arsenal of RT's whittles down from 7 or 8 to about 4. Your assignment changes and you usually, on average, have about 4 other units of the hospital along with the ER. This can be okay, on nights that are not so busy. But during Respiratory Season (Haha! November through March when flu/ RSV hits!) this is not the case. You could be clear across the hospital and be paged to the ER to meet a full arrest. You have to break out in a run to get there in time. ER patients always come first. This may be to the dismay of a nurse on a med-surg floor who thinks her patient is your only patient, but is still the case nonetheless. I am always the ER therapist. It's fine. They know me down there, and I like to think that they like me.
I was very shocked this past week. I worked 6 12's in a row, only to find that I was not assigned to the ER for a single one of them. For the past 3 work nights, I had the SICU and Cardiac Surgery Recovery (CSR) Unit. I would run into people from the ER as I made my way around the building, and they actually had thought I had taken a vacation because they had not seen my face around. Ha! No asthmatic kids. No croup or RSV. My patients were intubated and silent, other than the occasional vent alarm or monitor beep. It was actually kind of nice.