Befriend a nurse. They could save your life.


This week I wanted to get back on track after being away from this for so long. That being said, it will likely be a short but meaningful post.

I know that for many people, especially in Canada, the hospital and even more specifically being a patient in the emergency department can be an extremely frustrating occurrence. I get it, I really do. Over the past two years I have spent my fair share of time sitting in the same place where I used to greet patients for mental health appointments. Believe me, the last place you want to be on your off days when you work in a hospital, is at the hospital. Yes I get that wait times are sometimes (many times) hours and hours for something that you deem to be serious to you. You become frustrated, angry, pissed off and you take it out on the nice admitting desk lady that has 20 other people like you doing the same thing (yelling at her, making snarky comments, laying blame on her for making you wait). I get it, I really do. I was that same person before I had the opportunity to work in the hospital and see both sides of the coin (inside emerge, in emerge as a patient). First rule, be nice the admitting lady at the front desk. She is going to be doing her best whether you are yelling at her or not to keep a smile on her face and take your attitude, and help and accommodate you as best as she can. She is not a punching bag for you anger, she does not keep time on every triage or patient seen, she does not know “how much longer” it will be until you get seen. She may be able to tell you how many people are in front of you (not counting actual emergencies that come in). So in the meantime, practice your patience and go sit down and keep yourself occupied. You yelling at someone will not get you seen in quicker fashion. Be respectful and let them do their job.

I am going to point out a few things that you may not see while you are in that waiting room that happen behind the scenes, or even what nurses deal with outside of work sometimes. I may even talk about nurses outside of the emergency department. Listen up, nurses and the staff behind the scenes are the best! and they do it for you!

  1. Nurses working in the emergency department typically work 12 hour shifts. They almost always never have a moment to sit down and eat or take their mandatory breaks throughout the evening. Often times they will even hold their own bladder to the absolute breaking point in order to keep up with the flow of patients and the demand of the job.
  2. Nurses put up with a lot of shit. literally. Not just shit, but urine, blood, any liquid or solid coming from your body. They are sometimes actually elbow deep in it all. They don’t run away from it, they run into it. There is no way I could be a nurse, I would be vomiting everywhere with what they have to see and work with daily and nightly.
  3. If you have been waiting an enormous amount of time, there is a good chance that there has been one or several patients brought in by ambulance with life threatening issues. The nurses and doctors are attending to this. These patients always come first, you know because their lives are at risk. They didn’t just come in for the common cold or even a broken bone. They might actually die and the people in the back are fighting to keep them alive. So go sit back down and again practice your patience.
  4. Nurses have a morbid sense of humour, but you as a patient will not see it. Working in a field where you see terrible things happen all day, its hard not to keep each other light in some situations. Keep in mind that nurses are human beings as well. So you may catch one or two every once in a while on an off night where they are swamped and tired and not in the greatest mood. The majority of the time even if they are not in the greatest mood, they will put on a good face to attempt to make you feel better.
  5. Nurses take a piece of the pain of each of their patients seen in any given day home with them. They may have various ways outside of work with coping with what they saw at work, but the really good nurses will do their best to help you at work and then go home and think to themselves “i hope that person is going to be okay”. The same goes for mental health workers, social workers and many others in the social services field. You are taught not to take work home, but the good ones always do in some fashion.
  6. When a nurse gives you direction, its best that you take that direction. I have been known to go against the advice of one or two nurses over my time as a patient. don’t do it. Just listen to them, they know better than you.
  7. Nurses are intelligent. Have you ever seen what one must do in order to become a nurse? There’s no way I could do it. Id be a mess show dealing with all of it. I will taking working in mental health with kids any day of the week over what many nurses deal with on any given day, or throughout their time in school to become a nurse.
  8. Murses do exist, and they are usually awesome dudes. You ever run into a male nurse as a male patient, when you come in with something that is dude related? It is a good deal when another bro walks in to check out your situation. Especially when it is your place of work and you know all of the ladies there. There have been a couple really good guys help me out over the past couple of years in the emerge department. They are in a profession dominated by women, but the ones I know can hold their own.
  9.  When you lose someone at the hospital, the nurses and doctors, the support staff, any aides or workers, they all grieve with you. Many of these people are the people who worked to keep your loved one alive; when they are unable to do so they feel it as well. These people in these profession have been trained not to necessarily show that emotion all the time at work. Don’t think that they don’t care. If they get a minute at work, or when they leave work you can bet that they are hurting too and full of sadness and grief.
  10. If you have regular visits with a clinic nurse, they want to get to know you. They want to build rapport with you and they want you to trust them. If you find one that you connect with and feel like you can trust; keep up regular contact and never let them go. They could be a very positive and important lifeline  for you one day. And here’s the thing, despite what you may think; nurses don’t just go to work for the paycheque, they legit care about you. Leave your worry and assumptions at the door, the good ones will always take good care of you.

Ok, so 10 is enough. I said I was going to keep it short but then I got passionate about talking about nurses. Man I just love ’em though! We are really lucky in Thompson as well because many of our nurses are extremely beautiful, both inside and out.

This post has been a long time coming for me, and given that I am coming off of 4 weeks after surgery and multiple years of pain and visits to the emergency department; I though this was the appropriate time to write this. I have been lucky to get to know so many wonderful nurses over the 7 years in Thompson both through work and outside of work. Many of them like I have probably mentioned before, have now seen my ass. And I guess if they are okay with it then so am I.

My messages to all nurses, both the ones who have helped me and ones who will go on to help others:

I am so very grateful for all of you. I will do my best to keep my patience if I am ever in your waiting room. Thank you for taking such good care of me from the nurses in pre-op, to the ones in emerge that I have gotten to know over the past 5-6 years, to the ones I get to see at the clinic, to the ones on peds who put up with my stubbornness, to the ones that have come directly to my home for homecare, to the ones who just show up because they care. I am also very grateful to call many of you my friends, and I appreciate and value the work you do so much!

Nurses are my heroes in todays post. Obviously.

Your Bawd,



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