Favorite ER Nurse

For over a year now, I have worked with a certain nurse doing patient care transfers. At first, I thought she was mean to me because I was new and didn't know my way around the hospital or the system. Then I thought she was mean to me because I was a new EMT and didn't know how to give a report very concisely. Then I thought that she was mean to me because I was bad at what I do and I didn't recognize it. Then I thought that maybe, just maybe, I always managed to catch her on bad days. But tonight, I finally realized that I just needed to write her a letter, and perhaps we could start fresh.

Dear Favorite ER Nurse,

I just wanted to take a few moments out of my incredibly uneventful and underwhelming life to write you a letter to apologize for a few things, and thank you for being such a great mentor.

I am truly sorry that when my partner was calling in his report he failed to mention that our patient was in Stage 4 Metastatic Ovarian Cancer. Because, obviously, that detail is not in her chart, since she has not once been to your facility for treatment of this disease. Also, since she was being transported for a leaking colostomy bag, I apologize that he left out this crucial detail. I really should have caught that and scolded him right off the bat, but I was too busy looking up a big word. The patient said she was bleeding from her...stomuh? Or wait, is it stoemah? Stoma? Regardless. I should have been paying closer attention.

I apologize that while caring for our patient I didn't think to raise the hospital bed so that we could sheet her over. You were in the general vicinity of the foot pedal, and I was on the opposite side and...aw, shit, looking back on it, I definitely should have abandoned patient care to deal with this so that you didn't have to.

Also, I just wanted to say that it's okay that you didn't help us sheet her over from our stretcher to your bed. I know you felt bad because you were busy watching; after so many years in the business, you probably needed to watch a time or two more to make sure you got the technique down pat. Everybody needs to learn! If I can help you figure out any other tricky maneuvers, please be sure to let me know; I'm a great teacher!

But most of all, thank you Favorite ER Nurse, for all your help in these many months that we've worked together. You've instilled a certain sense of confidence in me and my partners, and I really appreciate it. I'm sorry if I've been frustrating at all. I'm a bit green (a pulse-ox reading shows percentage of oxygen in the blood...not percent perfusion!?), and extremely uneducated (can't believe they let me out of high school and into college!). Thank you for putting up with me at all; it's a wonder that anyone can, really.

Sincerely yours,

As we were riding back to the station, I told Drew, "if I ever get so jaded that I act that way towards my patients or coworkers, pull me aside and tell me it's time to stop." I'm a very nice person...for the most part. I keep my sarcasm to a minimum...for the most part. After tonight, however, I simply could not deal with her particular brand of bitchy another night.

To all the nurses (ER and otherwise) who read, please know that I really, truly appreciate what you do. Most of you are so nice, and I appreciate your help and company so much. I understand bad days more than anyone, but this woman can't seem to have a single good one.

It's time to sleep off the angst.


Scott said...

Awww! I am sorry. That sucks. That thing about raising the bed being on HER side and her bitching at YOU for not doing it is the clerest example that she is unreasonable and impossible to please. She totally reminds me of a certain insturctor I am dealing with right now. Have my empathy, hugs, and an anatomically correct heart! <+3 By the way, the sarcasm is cool coming from you!

Chris said...


I sincerely doubt you will ever be that jaded, and that is what makes you a good EMT, and what will make you a good paramedic.

I never understand how/why people get like that. Being jaded with the system is understandable, as is starting to feel as if you never actually make a difference (not true - we all do - but people getting that way is understandable), but to take this out on your colleagues or patients is plain stupid. Do people like this ever realise that working as a team with people is the best way to make your own job easier. Just imagine if you and your partner didn't get on. How much harder would it make both of your jobs? Just because you and her don't spend every minute at work together doesn't mean your professional relationship isn't important. Reading this blog, I can tell that you aren't the sort of person who would let this affect your professional relationship, but lets face it, noone would go out of their way to help a woman like that.

Don't let her get to you Sam!

Oh, and Scott, your "anatomically correct heart" made me laugh

Anonymous said...

Hum. She does seem bitchy to me...maybe she is jealous of you. That can happen...later Sam.


Anonymous said...

I hate bitches like that!


AnniforsciA said...

Hahah I love you and the absolute sarcasm of this post.

She sounds unbelievably frustrating. You should print out the letter and give it to her.

Okay, not really, but still...