Friday, March 10, 2006

Hell in a Handcart

Nurses are, as a rule, the strangest of creatures. After a long period of close-up observation of the Gorillas in the Mist variety, I have come to the conclusion that a nurse's personality might come in one of two basic flavours. Either they have all the independence and problem-solving abilities of a 2 month old baby or, alternatively, they are sadistic mini-Hitlers whose sole reason for entering health care was so they could get closer to the misery and suffering that feeds them. Mini-Hitlers tend to be found in high-dependency or intensive care units where they think that just because they know how to look after an arterial line or turn up the PEEP on a ventilator they have mastered all there is to know about medicine and could run the entire unit with their eyes closed. Some mini-Hitlers have been given the freedom to seek out victims for their powerplay all over the hospital: these are the nurse specialists and the site practioners. Only last week I got into a showdown with tissue viability nurse because I refused to start anti-pseudomonal antibiotics on her orders:
"The ulcer's infected with pseudomonas"
"Really? Have micro grown something already."
"No. But I can see that it is. You should start tazocin"
"I think we ought to wait for the swab"
...Stony silence....tumbleweed rolls past...
"I know what pseudomonas looks like and this is pseudomonas."
"All the same..."
And when three swabs in a row came back negative did she apologise? Did she fuck! Nor did mad Sandra with her mad thyrotoxic eyes in her mad hysterical head who kept bleeping me constantly through the night because some chaps blood pressure was either a couple of millimeters too high or a couple of millimeters too low. Don't you understand - I felt like screaming down the phone - I don't fucking care...call me when he's dead! I imagined her index finger blistered and red from hammering out my bleep number every five seconds. Bitch.
Anyway, all that is finished for a little while at least and the weekend beckons. I go into it a little under par unfortunately after a routine drinking session last night got out of control and the Pink Psychiatrist and I ended up swaying glass-eyed on the dance floor of the Shadow Lounge. The Pink Psychiatrist was sufficiently intrigued by a Death-In-Venice style blond waif with a preposterous mountain of thick hair on his head that he forced us to go and talk to him. Unfortunately, he had either had his brain wisked in utero or was on a huge quantity of drugs as nothing he said actually made any sense and his affect was so euphoric as to be pathological. We decided it best to leave Tadzio alone with his hallucinations.
We ended up hitting the sack around 3:30am. I felt sorry for The Pink Psychiatrist when I heard him get up at 7:30am. Medicine is such a cruel task master.

8 Comments:

Blogger Katy Newton said...

I -

*is flattened mid-sentence by hordes of offended nurses heading over from Dr Crippen*

9:19 pm  
Anonymous Special Nurse said...

I have just laughed out loud.

I used to work in ITU and they are all like that - in fact I think you work in my hospital!

Do you really think we are all horrible?
I do go to work with a major complex now as didn't realise that Dr's hated us so much, but then it is reciprocal most of the time.

I have learn't to pass comment ONLY when I'm right and then only to the domestics cos they don't care what I'm on about but it makes me feel important!

Keep up the good work and more postings please!

Special Nurse

9:39 pm  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

I'm glad you can take it in the spirit it was intenteded, i.e. as a bit of a joke.

Of course, it's not really so black and white: there are good and bad nurses just as there are good and bad doctors. I do find that the specialist nurses have perfected a certain busque over-confidence that can make dialogue a little hard at times.

Anyway, my next post is going to be on my recent experience of bad doctors so you needn't worry.

11:10 am  
Anonymous Special Nurse said...

It's all about handling people isn't it. I only try to piss people off I don't like - so generally I'm lovely and make all the Dr's think that what I suggest is their idea - works most of the time!

8:01 pm  
Blogger vegas said...

There is a Sister Hitler who works on my ward. I reconcile myself with the knowledge that she is old and will soon be replaced by someone who was born after World War II. If she left the NHS, the ward would be a happier place.

12:07 am  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

An old Hitler goes, another one rises from the ranks to replace her. I'm beginning to wonder if they go on a 'training day' or a 'course' on how to be an old battleaxe. They seem to have to go on courses for everything else - even wiping their own arses - so why should Hitlerism be any exception. ;o)

4:58 pm  
Blogger vegas said...

Sorry - I haven't done the course on "how to reply to a comment" so I will have to get back to you.....or maybe not, 'cos I'll probably be on my break. Oh well. And by the way, would you mind going to review the patient in bed 2? There's nothing wrong with him, but if you don't go, I'll fill in an incident form and fry your junior doctor ass. Now tell me bitch, who's the daddy? WHO'S THE DADDY?

11:52 pm  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

You are, sir, you are.

2:09 pm  

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