Best. Comment. Ever.

Blog reader “Sarah” REALLY gave me a big old can of whoop-ass when she wrote something on my blog post “The Value of Nurses” She really schooled me! So take it away “Sarah”!

Nursing is critical to patient health and recovery. Nurses are responsible for the day to day care of the patient. 

Nurses are also useful for disease prevention and chronic disease management (trust me, MD wants to go to school 12+ training in the medical model of care to tell fat Type 2 diabetics they need to stop eating pie).

That said, yes nurses know how to do all the technical things listed. Respiratory threrapists [sic] can also expertly read EKGs, blood gases, and recognize heart sounds. As can paramedics. These things alone are not rocket science.

Nurses are never trained in pathology using the medical model of care to form a differential diagnosis of disease. Otherwise they’d be unhappy underpaid junior doctors. Try calling a nurse a para doctor and see what they say. Nurses seem to forget that the nursing model of care and training is a different role from MDs.

Sure nurses save lives and do some great things providing care for patients, but many other jobs do as well. Personally, if I have a disease, I’d be putting all my money into the MD/PhD in the lab trying to cure me vs a “good” nurse. I find most nurses can provide basic care but anything advanced is rightfully over their training. Good nurses recognize their limitations, not toot their own horn. So I gave up expecting competent nurses while in the hospital.

Yay so you can recognize a cardiac cycle or a hypoglycemic attack in your patient (how did you let the patient get that way in the first place?!). That still doesn’t mean you have knowledge worth $40 hr+.

Well Sarah, you are absolutely right. I was thinking just the other day about the time me and Doreen were sitting in the Resus Room playing cribbage for a nickel a point when Greta from Admissions walked by and said to us, “Hey, that monitor had some funny pointy lines.” We looked up and yep, she was right! So we talked it over— I was five dollars and two bits ahead — and we thought since he — the patient, I mean — was maybe in ventricular tachycardia we should call in Dr. Handsome. So we did and all of a sudden there was this big fuss, Dr. Eagerpants and Dr. Contentious and Dr. Fusspot came running in and started doing IVs and xrays and EKGs and catheters and everything. It was just like that TV show, House. Then I skunked Doreen and she got mad and left without paying me my five dollars and twenty-five cents which was now eight-fifty, and also the patient died. Dr. Handsome said sadly, “If only someone knew how to do an emergency cardioversion, we could have saved him!” and pounded his first on the Resus Room desk, just like on House. Haha. What a dummy! Like nurses can do anything like that!

Then there was the time Doreen and I were painting each other’s nails in Exams, and one of those nosey housekeepers told us the guy in bed 4 was throwing a seizure or something. And despite our wet wet nails we went over and looked and Doreen said he was! Then he stopped. I found out later he died. I guess he did something called, um, sounds like asparagus but isn’t. Dr. Handsome came in, and pounded his fist on the desk again. “If only someone knew how to give a benzodiazepine and also protect his airway we could have saved him!” he said. Doreen and me just looked at each other. What??? Nurses can do that??? But anyway I had to pee. I think on reflection we fell down a little on that one and definitely didn’t earn our $40+ an hour!

There are some other things too, so yes you are right, nurses should stick to wiping bums and leave the real doctoring to doctors, though RTs and paramedics can do some doctorings too sometimes. I will toot my horn though just a little, though! I once found some old lady had a fever once! So that was awesome!

Also, I once told a fat man with the diabetes he ate too much pie. Isn’t that kewl??? It’s like we psychically share a brain! But maybe you have it this week!

Thanks for writing!


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  1. #1 by Appalbarry on Thursday 26 September 2013 - 2103

    You, TorontoEmerg, are a GODDESS of the Internet! I bow down before you.

  2. #3 by paul on Friday 27 September 2013 - 0707

    ….wide complex tachycardia is not always ventricular tachycardia. Not missing the point of the post, but I believe that image detracts from your argument.

    • #4 by torontoemerg on Friday 27 September 2013 - 1045

      Fair enough…. Should maybe read “I am fairly certain tach is a wide complex tachycardia.” What do you suggest?

  3. #5 by Christin Schmidt-Anderson on Friday 27 September 2013 - 1520

    I love sarcasm!

  4. #7 by Kim McAllister on Thursday 03 October 2013 - 2233

    Well, thank you very much! I now have a fractured jaw from it hitting the ground so hard as I read this post. I don’t EVEN know where to start! If “Sarah” is ever hospitalized, I hope the docs are with her 24/7 because she is really going to be shocked when one saves her life.

    • #8 by Kim McAllister on Thursday 03 October 2013 - 2234

      Pardon me, she is really going to be shocked when a NURSE winds up saving her life…

  5. #9 by Lynda M O on Sunday 06 October 2013 - 0401

    choking on my oreo here. nurses are the ones who saved my sister’s life after the ER doc discharged her and the nurse fought for that One More Test that found the huge blood clot in her neck. She’s still alive, thanks to the nurse in the ER. I bow to all of you as you are the true lifeblood of the medical profession.

    • #10 by torontoemerg on Sunday 06 October 2013 - 0841

      Please do not choke on your oreo. On behalf of all nurses thanks for the compliment!

      • #11 by Lynda M O on Monday 07 October 2013 - 1329

        Thank you, nurses everywhere, you are the ones who keep us healthy, can tell by looking when one of us is about to decrump and will save that life most often, satisfy our need to know when the docs talk with words we don’t yet understand, you will hold us as we grieve and cheer as we celebrate-whatever the reasons. I love you all for what you do for and to us every single day.

        I know I am gushing, but hot damn, you are the finest of the fine and it so matters to me that you know that.

  6. #12 by Cal on Friday 11 October 2013 - 1330

    Sarah is a dear twitter friend of mine. Please rise up and show your support with your funny stories and touching anecdotes. Give a sweet girl a smile, when she needs it most; she’s undergone a terrible betrayal – the worst kind. You know know those ‘salt of the earth kind of nurses?’ – She’s one.

  7. #13 by US Mesothelioma Lawyer on Sunday 29 December 2013 - 0319

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  8. #14 by KatieEvans on Tuesday 01 April 2014 - 1328

    for more sources here

  9. #15 by jessicabrown07 on Thursday 09 April 2015 - 0712

    this article really displays and gets across important ways in conducting how to live life :)

    Essay Writing Online

  10. #16 by newton on Friday 05 June 2015 - 0006

    Quite an interesting article. Following from Kenyatta university school of medicine

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