Sunday, 22 June 2008

A Sunday Morning Moan

The weather is horrible here, I was supposed to be going to a family barbecue which will now be held inside and my wife is working today. So a quick moan.
When patients present at triage they say some strange things, we have a few tricks to allow us to determine whether you are really sick or if you can wait, these are unfortunately mostly down to experience and take a bit of time to learn, sometimes you will see something once and then never see it again. But these are the things which give us our challenges.
If you attend and tell me you are breathless I don't believe you - if you can tell me you are breathless in a full sentence, your not!
Telling me you have been unable to stand on the ankle you hurt 2 days ago and have not taken painkillers for will not get you seen quickly, I was watching you walk towards my room.
If I ask you for your pain score - 0 to 10 and I say that 10 is the worst imaginable do not say it is a 12. It makes you look a moron and we disregard everything you say. If you really are a 10 you are unable to tell me and I will know - trust me. (Yes, yes, I know other bloggers have mentioned this. It is a common theme with ED staff).
Don't tell me you lost gallons of blood from your little laceration, the human body does not hold that much, and a little blood goes a long, long way. Oh, and by the way - only very, very rarely is that the bone you see in the bottom of your wound - honest.
Telling me that you did not want to give your child his/her Ritalin or other medications or any pain relief "in case it masked the symptoms" is just stupid, no other word for it.
I know you are his mother, I know that he lives with you and that you love him,that he is your little boy and don't want to see him hurt, but please, let him answer the questions himself. He is 25 after all.
If I ask you about pain or disability or your problems, tell me the truth. I know you are sick, don't say you are fine, downplaying it does not help you, and it makes me look incompetent when my colleagues find out just how serious your condition is.
If you are 19, unemployed and have been since you left school, you do NOT pay my wages (nor does your dad). Get a job and then tell me that - and you're still wrong.
And finally, one for staff, if a patient comes in complaining of headache first thing in the morning and it is New Years day, do not assume that she is hungover. She probably is but she may not be. And the last I saw of that particular patient was her being wheeled to theatre after having a CT scan which showed a bleed in her brain. If nothing else it cured me of my cynicism.
Have a good day everyone.


Anonymous said...

Ah! still learning these tricks, even after 7 months in the road I to work on 'benefit of the doubt' to everyone.

However, there are some where my patience fails me spectacularly! That post is yet to come!

GrumpyRN said...

It does take a bit of time, but don't go the other way and become too cynical, as I said in the last bit of the post it can turn round and bite you - I nearly delayed this ladies treatment through my cynicism - New Year, Scotland, Headache? Cmooooon! thats got to be hangover right? - Wrong, cerebral bleed and a very chastened nurse. I have never done this again, a very valuable lesson learned

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! If in doubt we wheel them in! No matter what the service decide to tell us to do I will always work on that principle!

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