Friday, May 10, 2013

Victory Lap

Long before I even considered becoming a nurse, in fact before I was born, before most of you were born, back when John F. Kennedy was a shiny new president, Miss Daisy started her career as a nurse in the emergency room.

Back when ambulance drivers were usually morgue attendants, police officers, or drivers from the hospital, before the doctors were board-certified, before pulse oximetry, defibrillators, telemetric monitoring, ultrasound, CT, or CPR.

When an IV meant a needle, not a catheter, the IV bottles were glass, and so were the test tubes, and you spun your own labs, sterilized your own instruments, and sharpened your own needles between injections, she was taking care of the same cast of characters as you and me, except they all had short haircuts and narrow ties, and women wore dresses.
Including the nurses.

And dress, shoes, and those stupid caps came in any color you wanted to wear, as long as it was pristine blazing sterile white. Hospitals housed nurses in dorms (because calling them sharecropper houses on the plantation was a bit too close to home) and they had rules and a curfew.

I spent most of the last 10 years working alongside Miss Daisy in triage, at one of the busiest EDs in the country, and I'm here to tell you there isn't anything that gets by her any day of the week.

There may be some few of you out there so smart they never learned anything from anyone else, but instead figure it all out for themselves. That isn't me. From nursing instructors, Red Cross instructors, supervisors, charge nurses, co-workers, colleagues, tech, doctors, and anybody else, I've been the beneficiary of learning what they could pass along.

And that includes, in no small part, someone who's been a nurse in the emergency room for over 5 decades.

Nursing Tip: When the hospital House Supervisors refer to one of your co-workers as "Mom" in her presence, and they aren't related, you might want to pay attention to her.

I bring this up, because I found out today that after all that time, she's finally decided to retire from the boundless fun and good times that are the modern emergency department shift.

So wherever you are, there's a nurse or twelve that's probably helped you more times than you can count, and done it without cutting you off at the knees or embarassing you, when you asked for help, and paid attention to them.

My humble suggestion is that you don't wait until some misty day in the far-off future to pass along your appreciation for their help, their wisdom, and their example. They certainly deserve it, and you owe no less than giving your heartfelt thanks.

If it were up to me, Miss Daisy would get a parade through town. She certainly rates it.
As it is, I'm going to leave a polite suggestion that the CEO and VP of Nursing might want to get behind a little more than a gift card to Starbuck's for her on her last day. And then I think it's time for me to make a trip to the flower shop before I swing by the ED on my day off.

1 comment:

  1. I'd be nothing if not for some of the fantastic coworkers I've learned from. Appreciation will be passed along, for sure.