Folks who work in the emergency wards in our hospitals all deserve medals. Medals for being compassionate and caring in a job that is so demanding.
I received an interesting story of an ER nurse in Australia from a friend, Andrea O’Brien, an ER Nurse, also employed down under. Here is some of what she had to say regarding experiences in the Emergency Room.
“As I sit and reflect on my life, I find myself humbled. Humbled by the business that takes place all around me, the real fight for life and struggle against death, the palpable emotions of situations I often find myself in, and the incredible strength of those whom I work alongside. It’s the stuff movies are made of and it is truly amazing to watch.
“Working in an Emergency Department creates such an interesting outlook on life.
“I think about my day, nothing out of the ordinary happened, nothing note worthy, nothing that any of us will probably ever remember. Just a typical shift at work. It was the normalcy of this day that in the end took me by surprise. You know, we all feel accomplished when we give TPA and watch as stroke symptoms improve before our eyes, when we catch sepsis early knowing that a mother will now one day leave the hospital and return home to her children, or we save a precious life after restarting a tiny beating heart.
“Everyone knows the importance of that work, it can be seen and felt by anyone around. It’s everything else that most often goes unnoticed. The real behind the scenes work that happens every minute.
“I was walking through our department yesterday and noticed a nurse standing at the bedside of a critically ill man. He was alone, intubated and sedated, but yet there she stood, just holding his hand. Reassuring him quietly that we were going to take good care of him and that his family was on the way. No one was there to praise her, the patient most certainly will not remember this gesture, but she was still there in that moment of need. Amazing. These fragile, yet resilient people who work all around me.
“For those of you who find themselves beside me in the trenches, thank you. Thank you for being selfless, for giving and giving when I know sometimes you feel like there is nothing left to give. Thank you for doing what is right, even when no one is watching. I saw you rock that crying baby to sleep. I saw you walk that little old lady to the bathroom after you clocked out because she seemed unsteady on her feet. I saw you buy that man whose wife was dying a cup of “good” coffee from the cafeteria, out of your own pocket, because after today, he just deserved it. I saw you silently shed a tear as you left the room of a pediatric cardiac arrest, I heard you clapping and cheering with the family of a patient who just found out that there was no brain tumour after all.
“I know sometimes you laugh when something is going wrong, and people think you are crazy, but the only other option is crying and if you start you may never stop. I know you’re tired, I know you hurt, and I know you love your job so much that you can’t imagine doing anything else. I am so proud to be a part of this with you, you all amaze me, and even the days that don’t seem extraordinary, are.”
Thanks Andrea for that information regarding Emergency Room nurses. The ER doctors, nurses, and their fine back up staff deserve so much credit for a very tough job.
Thanks to all the ER personnel at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake as I have been a visitor on several occasions.
Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.