The EMBER Project

The Nurse’s Station

U.S. Army nurse instructs Army medics on the proper method of giving an injection, Queensland, Australia, 1942.

This blog has a new page! If I’m really going to reflect life in the Emergency Department then it needs to include every aspect of the daily concerns of those who work there.  An integral and indispensable part of that life is the nursing staff.  When I was an intern it was nurses who helped me feel confident putting in IVs, placing foleys, learning how to work the monitors, or clear air from an IV pump.  A nurse took the time to show me how to set up the rapid infuser and to find the patient warmer, suture material, and a million other things I needed when I knew nothing.

Now as a working ED doc, they still keep me out of trouble every day.  When I come on shift the first thing I do is see what nurses are assigned to my area.  Based on that alone, I can tell how my shift is going to go.  One of the best parts of my job is working with great nurses and knowing that when a sick patient comes in they have my back. When I go on international relief missions, having ED trained nurses means everything is going to be okay.  I’m pretty sure if you dropped a team of seasoned ED nurses into the middle of the Amazon Jungle and came back a week later you would find a fully functioning hospital waiting for you.

You may think that ED docs and nurses have a lot in common, and they do, but they can also have radically different perspectives and opinions on patient care.  Most of the time this difference is a huge benefit to patients.  Sometimes it is the cause of friction.  I will be the first to admit that I have run afoul of the nursing staff on more than one occasion in my career, and when I have it is uncomfortable, distracting, and makes time in the ED not so great.  So this page will be about the emergency department from a nursing perspective.  What they have to teach us, what we can do to work better as a team, and what really matters to them when they come on shift.  I’m looking forward to their input.

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