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The ER Beast | Love Your Nursing Life | Bobbi McCarthy

Bobby McCarthy
Author, Bobbi McCarthy

I usually write an inspiration to nurses on my blog and who knows maybe that is what this will end up being, but I feel the need to write about my experience yesterday and the decision that is solidified for me. I work in the ER, in case you hadn’t gathered that from my blog already, and have done so for the last 11 years. The ER can be a roaring beast that devours all in its path…or at times can be a gentle beast that lets those working there stay alive to come back another day.

Yesterday was one of those days that just makes you want to find a corner to cry in. We had 2 nurses call out—so we were short staffed from 7am -7pm and the patients just kept coming. Our supervisory staff were all off to conferences so there was no physical help available from them. The rest of the hospital was dealing with their own issues and had no nurses to spare…(which makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is in the public bathroom and asks the women next to her if she could spare a square…and sure enough the woman says NO!) Any way…

Our amazing team that worked yesterday pulled together and we got the job done and we did it very well! BUT for 12 hours we didn’t get a break…we ate sandwiches, sent to us from our cafeteria, on the run. We had full rooms and a full waiting room all day long so there was no break to be had when a patient was discharged…just another patient put in the bed. We had a serious trauma come in, in the midst of the day…so that takes 2 nurses, a tech and a doc out of the mix for an hour… and again the nursing team, techs, docs and secretary all did an amazing job keeping up with all the patients, the orders and the chaos!

I have stayed in the ER for several reasons, the energy of it, the staff, the schedule isn’t bad, I am really good at ER nursing, most other types of nursing seem boring in comparison, and complacency. For me, this type of nursing seems to be losing its appeal. What I don’t love anymore is the chaos…controlled chaos is one thing but the chaos of yesterday, and the all too frequency of those days, is another…and for this 45 year old nurse I’ve about reached my limit.

The self-care routine that I have been doing has allowed me to stay sane while working and has allowed me to feel less burned out with nursing all together…but what if yesterday is the wave of our future in the ER…Our hospital is building a new hospital in another town, merging another hospital…and this ER is going to remain open but with no beds to admit patients to…so the ER will be full at all times with critical patients that need to be transferred to the new hospital for admission (and we all know how long that takes!) Call outs are ongoing as is not being able to find anyone to come in… and on and on it goes…

For now I will be increasing my self-care in order to remain where I am until another plan unfolds…and I do have a plan—praise God!!

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