Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tectonic Shift

I've quit my job.

This is kind of a bummer because I loved working in the critical care unit. The work there is interesting and challenging, the place is staffed by a well-knit team of some of the best nurses in the world, and I was at last feeling very comfortable about my clinical skills. Quitting wasn't because of any problem there.

It is for a good reason, though. I'm moving!

My other half has landed a fantastic new job, more than attractive enough to lure her out of town, and of course I followed. We've now moved from Large Midwestern City, and have settled in Other Midwestern City. It's much too far to commute, which meant I had to leave that hospital. My coworkers signed a nice card and threw a small party on my last weekend.

Fortunately, the nursing shortage seems to be alive and well in some places, because I've already found my job in the new city: I'm going to be an ER nurse.

This ER isn't the same as the trauma center where I did clinicals during school. It's very busy (most of the time) and is equipped to deal with any kind of emergency, but the sickest folks wind up at bigger hospitals, so I'll generally be seeing much lower acuity patients. I'm hoping this situation will work out well for me. Having "lighter", more stable patients should give me time to re-gear my brain for the ER pace and the ER job, without having to learn lots of new pathophysiology or case care principles at the same time. And when, once in a blue moon, a patient comes in with septic shock or an acute heart attack or something, I'll be able to handle that too, because I've had experience with those situations up in critical care.

I'm really very excited about the whole deal.

The new job starts sometime next month. Once it does, I expect I'll have a lot of interesting stuff to write about. Until then I plan to take full advantage of my time off.

Friday, May 18, 2012

And Now, A Song!

Statlocks on Foleys and cases on pillows
DT-ing drunks seeing pink armadillos
C-Pap and Bi-Pap for pressurized air
That's what I see here in critical care

Violent nausea, emesis, dry heaves
Cannulas caught in a funky blue hair weave
Comatose dude with the thousand-yard stare
That's what my night's like in critical care

External pacers and new intubation
Dads who collapsed on the plane on vacation
Hospital gowns leaving bottoms all bare
That's what we get up in critical care

When there's blood loss
When their sats drop
When they're fading fast
They simply come here to the MICU
Because they know we're the best

Lung silicosis in workers from coal mines
Scrub-clad intensivists placing IJ lines
Pastoral Services leading a prayer
That's how the shift goes in critical care

TB and C. diff and nasty infections
Searching supply rooms for bandage selections
Spouses and visitors sleeping in chairs
That's what my job is in critical care

Tachy and brady and Wenckebach rhythms
IVC filters to stop embolisms
Cranial post-ops with shaven-off hair
All these and more come to critical care

When there's blood loss
When their sats drop
When they're fading fast
They simply come here to the MICU
Because they know weeeeeeee're
The best!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back Again and Over

By the randomness of scheduling, I had nearly a week off after the heavy shift I described in my prior post. That wasn't planned but it was probably good for my state of mind..

When I came back to work, I dropped back into the groove like nothing had happened. I didn't think about my patient who had died, until halfway through the shift, when I noticed I hadn't thought about him. I suppose this is normal.

Some small, overanalyzing part of my brain that wants to feel bad about not feeling bad enough. I'm ignoring that. Death is part of the job, and if I weren't able to get over it when it happens, I probably couldn't be a very good nurse.