A Paean to ED Nurses or Just Annoying?

Twitter follower @camillelalonde  — thank you — sent me  this oldish link, which initially warmed the very cockles of my heart:

Guest Editorial
September 2006
By David F. Baehren, M.D.

[. . .]

We usually look afar for heroes and role models, and in doing so overlook a group of professionals who live and work in our midst: nurses.

And not just any kind of nurse: the emergency nurse. There are plenty of people involved in emergency care, and no emergency department could function without all of these people working as a team. But it is the emergency nurse who shoulders the weight of patient care. Without these modern-day heroes, individually and collectively we would be in quite a pinch.


It is the emergency nurse who cares for the critical heart failure patient until the intensive care unit is “ready” to accept the patient. The productivity of the emergency nurse expands gracefully to accommodate the endless flow of patients while the rest of the hospital “can’t take report.” Many of our patients arrive “unwashed.” It is the emergency nurse who delivers them “washed and folded.” To prepare for admission a patient with a hip fracture who lay in stool for a day requires an immense amount of care–and caring.

Few nurses outside of the emergency department deal with patients who are as cantankerous, uncooperative, and violent. These nurses must deal with patients who are in their worst physical and emotional state. We all know it is a stressful time for patients and family, and we all know who the wheelbarrow is that the shovel dumps into.

For the most part, the nurses expect some of this and carry on in good humor. There are times, however, when the patience of a saint is required.

[And so on and so forth. Read the rest here. I couldn’t find a link to original article. Sorry.]

Then I thought about it. The nurse-as-saint-and/or-angel meme is quite strong in this piece, and is something that needs to be retired quickly. And why do nurses look to other professionals for validation?

Or am I being churlish?


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  1. #1 by Lynda M O on Monday 06 February 2012 - 1506

    Validation means a lot more when it comes from one who actually knows what has happened; has walked that road, or pushed that sternum, or jumped out of the way of the oncoming vomit.

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