Run, before the nurse stabs you!

Posted on October 4, 2007. Filed under: Did I say that?, Journal from behind the desk... |


In my former life as an Emergency Room Nurse it was often dangerous. Various incidences occurred that could turn your hair grey(er).

 I’m not a grey hare…

Some “classics” spring to mind…

Like the time a mother and father stormed into their son’s cubicle to attack his hypnotherapist – who they had hired, but felt had corrupted the boys way of thinking (is that not what they are paid to do?)   The situation was FAST getting out of hand. Myself and a colleague where trying to calm and separate.  My colleague was about to get punched when my mouth opened and out fell the words….

“This is a hospital, not the bloody Jerry Springer show…”

Amazingly it had a calming effect and the situation resolved….

I also had the typical dispute in triage, with a guy who didn’t want to wait 4 hours for his girlfriend to be seen with conjunctivitis, as HE had to meet his parole officer.

I advised she was the patient, SHE that needed to wait, and he could leave at any time. I also explained the usual bumph about triage, and if I made one exception the rest of the waiting room would riot. He became increasingly verbally aggressive, threatening my family (I didn’t like to tell him they lived miles away!) but I coolly stood my ground, until he left.

After which the girls in reception told me he was the local gun dealer, with a history of GBH etc.

 “Swap these for some chloramphenicol mate!”

Next time tell me before not after!  I suppose the whole “need to meet my parole officer…” discussion should have given me some kind of warning…

I thought perhaps moving to a sleepy towns primary care service would be a safer environment…..however this week I have had two potential dangerous occurrences.

My first near death experience was trying to do an ECG on a patient with 100% polyester floral blouse.  The static was rising before I had even put the stickers on. I was worried I was going to end up defib’ing both of us!  

 Her ECG was fine, but there was nothing I could prescribe for her fashion sense!

The second incident was typical. One of our receptionist has printed off a huge amount of huge signs reading “FLU CLINIC THIS WAY” with whopping big arrows pointing towards the practice nurses room. Every year when the practice nurses given the ‘flu’ immunisations, these signs get bigger, as no matter how big the signs – someone will ignore them and get lost….

Consequently when the Practice Nurse found a patient wandering in the corridor, she promptly told him to stand round the corner in the ‘flu’ queue, and so he did….meanwhile, I sat at my desk, wondering what had happened to the patient whose name had just gone on the waiting room screen.  If I had been 30 seconds longer before getting off my arse and finding him, he would have had a needle stuck in his arm!

Patient safety indeed!

Just when you thought it was safe to go on line again….Change of Shift is out again

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4 Responses to “Run, before the nurse stabs you!”

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Oh yes indeedy – we all make assumptions, even professionals!

Great blog Max! Thank you for “friending” me … you’ve handed me a great find!

Have you met Kim yet? She’s an ER nurse with a great blog!

Moof introduced me to your blog.
In India, some patients do not threaten but bring in some goons to break-up the hospital especially so in our neighboring state of Kerala.

Funny and interesting post! Found you through Moof. 🙂


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