Am I Missing Something?

The Resus Room, where we take care of acutely ill patients, was empty. As in five beds, no patients.

On the other hand, I was in the Treatment Rooms, where we usually treat the walking wounded. We were as busy as hell and had a couple of patients who were a just wee bit unstable. Contestant No. 1 was an elderly guy, epistaxis and vomiting blood, who suddenly dropped his BP into the low 60s systolic. Probably having a vasovagal, but given his extensive cardiac history and not to mention his present complaint, who in hell really knew?

So I brought him over to a Resus bed, which you would think would be the best place for your typical unstable patient. The Cutesy Twins —BFF! — were on. Individually they’re tolerable, but their work as a team is characterized by a lot of squealing, giggling and generally adolescent behaviour.

Both of the Twins were madly texting* on their Crackberrys; both were supremely annoyed at the interruption. Why are you bringing him over here? went the whine. What us, work? was the subtext. He’s just a nosebleed. And so on. Wah, wah, wah, wah.

Yeah, a nosebleed. With no blood pressure. And a history as long as my left arm. So can you please shut up, put down you phones, and actually do some patient care?

Contestant No. 2 was a vaginal bleed, probably a missed abortion, and actively bleeding and (again) had no blood pressure. I called over to Resus to tell them I was bringing them another patient.

“Fine. Whatever,” said one of the twins. Click.

I couldn’t believe she whatevered me. WhatEVAH.

Almost immediately I got a call from the charge. Do you really need to bring this patient over to Resus?

What the fuck? I was starting get a little peeved.

“I’m bringing her,” I told the charge. “Resus has four empty beds. Frankly I actually don’t need to justify moving the patient. Tell the Twins to suck it up.”

Much grumbling and dirty looks when I brought the patient over. The Twins were visibly angry.

Was there something I was missing here? Other than the Twins preferring to text their boyfriends to working?


*I’m rapidly coming around to the point of view of banning all freakin’ personal digital assistants from patient care areas — but I’m cranky, and it’s probably impossible to enforce and therefore pointless.


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  1. #1 by JennJilks on Tuesday 30 March 2010 - 1040

    In the 90’s, of course, we didn’t want to bruise anyone’s self-esteem, that the work ethic has swung on a pendulum. MEN used to work overtime to get ahead, then, when women entered the work force, we set limits on over time and gave respect to our families.
    I have perceived, that with the increasing demands of the ME generation, there is a reluctance to actually do one’s job.
    Now, if it’s not in my contract, I can’t do it.
    I remember flying on a non-700 series plane, flight attendants finished their quick snack-serve, and they sat at the back, talking. Holy smokes!

    *I’m with you, ban them. This is personal business on company time. Crackberry, indeed!

  2. #2 by DreamingTree on Tuesday 30 March 2010 - 1145

    The charge nurse responding to their whining is just as annoying as their adolescent “why me” attitudes. I’m guilty of having my phone in my pocket, but I don’t use it to text or phone anyone (ringer is always off). I’ve come to depend upon it to look up medical info — esp the drug guide. Besides, those with a poor work ethic will always find a way to waste the hours away. That’s why those in leadership need to have a vast assortment of tools at their disposal. The twins need “boot in ass” treatment.

  3. #3 by Maha on Tuesday 30 March 2010 - 1715

    That’s annoying as hell. I hate having to deal with the dirty looks, the whatEVAHS and the bitch please attitude because when I have empty beds, I’m *expecting* them to be filled eventually – and not get paid for texting/surfing all day long. It sucks even more when the charge nurse has the same work ethic as the slackers and raises a big stink when you interrupt her Perez Hilton time.

    • #4 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 0847

      I guess the deal for me is 1) YOU’RE AN EMERG NURSE, 2. you came to work to work, and 3. YOU’RE AN EMERG NURSE. If you wanted to to sit around, you could always go work for Telehealth and tell people to come to the emerg.

  4. #5 by AnonymousRN on Tuesday 30 March 2010 - 1722

    Like DreamingTree, I have my ipod touch in my pocket because it has reference material on it, and it is also my calculator. I’m not playing games or surfing the internet on it if I am using it.

    If these two are such trouble-makers, one wonders why they get assigned near eachother. Just like the bad kids in the classroom…. they need to be separated.

    • #6 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 0844

      Actually a good question… when I am enthroned as permanent charge (very soon!) I will have some control over the assignments…

  5. #7 by Texas Reader on Tuesday 30 March 2010 - 2311

    These are people with very low blood pressure, who could DIE, and the twins aren’t giving them their full attention???????????????

    Isn’t this an issue the legal dept should be informed of?

  6. #8 by wilomis on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 0712

    You know what I think.. (pauses to finish a text message).. I think the issue is fairly serious and .. hold that thought (begins to text again with the occasional smile and chuckle)… oh wait what were we talking about…

    I see this bullshit everyday. Not only in the hospital but everywhere. I remember a time when we were not so dependent and engaged in some pointless shallow conversation. In my old job as a General Manager I banned cell phone use during company time. It is a huge distraction and I believe a huge sign of disrespect.

    • #9 by torontoemerg on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 0843

      Heh. Very good… and I hope you’re feeling better, Will.

      • #10 by wilomis on Thursday 01 April 2010 - 0435

        PS… new clinical rounds started this week and one of my sites BANS cell phones…. just thinking of our conversation here in cyberspace.

  7. #11 by Zoe on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 1434

    We had a similar issue with our own set of twins. I covered a mat-leave charge nurse position for a while (now I just do charge when someone calls in sick). Anyhoo, about once a month, the regular charge nurses have a meeting to discuss issues in the dept. The “twins” came up at a meeting I attended. What was decided was this: These two were not to be given assignments where there was potential for ass-sitting. We try to only fill our resus bays when necessary, so these two were never assigned to Resus. Also, they were never assigned areas where they worked side-by-side. They were to be separated, always.

    They eventually found employment elsewhere. In the same dept. at a different hospital. An old nursing school buddy of mine is CNE over there, and tells me they do the same thing over there, and their staff is as unhappy about it as we were. I filled her in on our strategies, lol!

  8. #12 by deBeauxOs on Wednesday 31 March 2010 - 1710

    Really, I hate to sound snooty about this but … I have family and friends who are health care professionals and they work their ass off when they’re on duty.

    These slackers are a disgrace. If they want jobs where they can goof off without loss of human life, they should work in retail or for a conservative politician.

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