Karma Sweet Karma

The latest instalment of Nurses Behaving Badly featured the night charge and the day charge (i.e. me) getting a status asthmaticus organized in Resus 1 a few minutes after shift change. It’s probably reasonable to wonder why the two Resus Room nurses weren’t attending (and attentive to) the situation, especially after we paged the physician and the RT in quick succession for a possible intubation, and especially since both of them were less than twenty feet from where we were working.

We thought at first they were getting report on the only other patient in Resus, but after 10 minutes or so we began to wonder how long it actually takes to give report on a stable, routine, admitted, pain-free NonSTEMI.

Meanwhile we got the patient on high-flow oxygen, assessed, drew blood, did an ECG, set up stacked Ventolin treatments, placed two large bore IVs, hooked the patient up to the cardiac monitor and generally got organized to tube the patient.

Turns out they were looking at a jewellery catalogue, drinking coffee, texting, socializing, what have you.

Grrrr. And when the night charge asked our two colleagues to cease and desist from shopping and tweeting and trading bon mots and actually do some, you know, nursing, we got the “whatever” look: face squinched up, hands up in the air, eyes rolled. The look that manages to convey a dishful of entitlement and irritation, with a light sauce of fuck you to complete.

Double grr.

By the time I gave my report, it was nearly an hour after shift change. But what goes around comes around. There is cosmic retribution and it is just.  That night Nurse Tweedledee and Nurse Tweedledum received, in addition to the now intubated status asthmaticus:

A cursing psychotic patient in four point restraints

A cursing drunken 20-year-old who managed to pee and puke all over herself all at once


Another VSA

A non-compliant insulin dependant diabetic in DKA 

And just before shift change, a fulminating CHFer, which required them to stay long after their shift was over.

In short, they had a craptacular night. The complaints, the bitterness, I am told, from the pair was tremendous. They needed to leave. They had child care issues. Husbands needed vehicles — and one of them was written up for being late. They were tired as no nurse in the history of the universe was tired. Why are we so afflicted? they moaned. What did we do to deserve this?

Karma, baby, karma.

The cosmic lesson being simple, work starts promptly on the hour. Not after fifteen or twenty minutes of “social” time. Be considerate of your colleagues. They’ve been working for twelve hours and want to go home. Many, many, bonus points if you come in ten minutes before to get report so the nurse you’re relieving can get out on time.

To say I had any sympathy for either of them would be a bald lie. Can you say schadenfreude?



*VSA = Vital signs absent.



, , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Matt on Sunday 22 January 2012 - 1043

    Weren’t the two RNs assigned to resus still close at hand from a shift change huddle or do you guys not have something like that; where all the incoming staff get together for a quick five minute huddle to discuss what’s facing you for the day ahead? Last ER I worked in did this and I found it immensely helpful for getting everyone on the same page (and taking note of who’s showing up chronically late).

    • #2 by torontoemerg on Sunday 22 January 2012 - 1106

      We do, but on day shift. Not very helpful.

    • #3 by torontoemerg on Sunday 22 January 2012 - 1111

      Also thanks for the DM on Twitter. Much appreciated.

  2. #4 by Jenn Jilks on Sunday 22 January 2012 - 1258

    Girl, you have a way with words that paints a picture. I cannot help but laugh, while I cry for you. Well written, again.

  3. #5 by Maha on Monday 23 January 2012 - 2042

    Instant karma is the best karma. These assholes deserved all this and more. Now that I do charge, I have even less tolerance for people with a craptacular work ethic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: