Embracing Change

Okay, so I got booted out of Pediatric & Female Unit, where I started for over a year and where I made friends. My Nurse-in-Charge didn’t have much of a choice. If she will have me, she will have to give up one staff and so I decided to go instead.

I was thinking of requesting to transfer to a special area because that’s what I’ve always wanted ever since I started working as a Nurse. Wards suddenly bore me. It’s all routine. So my mind started choosing between NICU (because it’s near the Pediatric Unit), ICU or ER.

NICU – I don’t like changing baby’s nappies. I don’t like giving them milk every time they cry. Not that I don’t like babies. It’s just that, it’s not the kind of thing I wanted to do for work. I most specially don’t like to go to Maternity Unit just to catch babies from mothers giving birth. Although I’d love to become an expert in infant IV cannulation. Other than that, I don’t like NICU because I can’t bear to see critically ill babies.

ICU – WAS my first choice. I see ICU Nurses as smart and intelligent. But then I started thinking, I will care for the critically ill adult patients, those who look like a Christmas tree from all the contraptions attached to their bodies, and then everything will be just the same, a routine.

ER – I’m scared of ER Nurses. They all look like they’re always in a hurry or something. They look like they’re always on the go and if I just stand there thinking what to do next, I will just be getting in their way. You should be able to think and act fast or else a patient will die.

I chose ER.

Right. On my first day, the team leader oriented me on everything I need to know. I felt dizzy from too much information. I was always reprimanded to act fast and think fast. Whenever an ER Nurse comes rushing by, I just step out of the way. One time, the team leader told me to observe how they do the back-slabbing for a patient with multiple fracture, and the Ortho Doctor, who clearly didn’t know that it was my first day, told me, “Why are you just staring there? You are here and I don’t need anyone who just stares and does nothing. Open the crepe bandage!” So I quickly grabbed a crepe bandage and gave it to the Doctor.

I feel like I’m back to zero. I’m not that confident enough to compete with these expert ER Nurses. I need to study again.

But you know what, I love the adrenaline rush. Even if the Doctors or the patients are shouting at me, I feel that after some time, I will be able to bear it all and I will become as confident as the ER Nurses. The Nurses at the ER where I am now are all very nice to me and supportive of me, giving me tips on how to act fast and how to get used to different situations.

New friends, new colleagues, new environment. It’s a refreshing feeling.

I think I made some progress by stepping out of my comfort zone. 🙂



I Left My Ears in my Pocket

I had another attack of deafness while endorsing a patient from ward to ICU and answering the Doctor’s questions. In between ambubagging while shifting the patient, my mind tried to focus on what the Doctor was asking.

ICU Doctor: Does he have any “EXCRETIONS?’

Me: Excretions doctor? Secretions? Yes doctor, too much secretions in the mouth.

The other nurses and healthcare team laughed.

Nurse 1: He said XRAY!

Me: Oh! Xray! Yes doctor, of course. It’s in the file.

ICU Doctor: Did he take any “ANTIEPILEPTIC” medication?

Me: EPIleptic? EPInephrine doctor! (Then I realized my mistake) No! Epinephrine is not for epilepsy doctor. We used it as stat epinephrine nebulizer doctor.

(I still haven’t answered the doctor’s question, have I?)

Then my colleague who went with me to ICU said, “No, Doctor! We didn’t give any ANAPHYLACTIC medication.”

Me: (whispered to colleague) Oh…ANAPHYLACTIC, is it? I really can’t understand his accent!

Oh, well.

Say What?

I have a terrible hearing. Well I’m not deaf. But most of the time, I hear wrong. And sometimes my ears just hear what it wants to hear. Hence, selective listening. But see, my hearing is so terrible, it puts me into trouble.

Indian Patient: My son is in the ER. How can I go home?

Me: Oh, really? Well, I’ll have to ask your Doctor about that.

So I went back to the Nurses’ Station and dialed the number of the admission office to ask for the approval of my patient’s insurance before calling the Doctor. I mentioned to my colleague about it and she said the Doctor will come by later.

So I went back to my patient and told her about her insurance approval and the time the Doctor will come see her.

Patient: How about my son in the ER?

Me: Well, isn’t there anyone else to see your son?

Patient: (Looking confused)

Me: I understand you have to see your son but you’re still admitted so there’s no reason for you to be discharged right away.

Patient: Yes I know. But how can I go home without my SANDALS? I left it at the ER before I was transferred here. Did you call the ER and asked about my SANDALS?

I just stood there realizing the miscommunication that transpired. I just smiled.

Me: I’ll be back.

When I went back to the Nurses’ Station I told my colleagues about the miscommunication.

I thought she said: “My son is in the ER. How can I go home?”

But what she really said was this: “My sandal’s in the ER. How can I go home?”

Everybody laughed.

Well, at least the patient didn’t realize I heard her wrong. Unlike my other colleague wherein a patient asked for 2 CHAI (tea) and she brought the patient 2 CHAIRS.


The Girl Who Got Lost (Confidently!)

I was on my way to the lift when a group of (cute) Arab guys asked me where the Maternity ward is. I told them it’s in the third floor, same floor as where I’m headed. So they went to the lift with me. I could barely understand what they were saying so I just read their body language. One guy was holding a passport and some paper. Then another guy asked something which I understood as, if the guy holding the passport brought his marriage certificate. So I figured maybe his wife delivered a baby. I was about to ask if my thoughts were correct when the door opened, so I immediately went out and (confidently) told them, “Here, follow me. It’s the way on your right.” They were still inside the lift peeking. Then one of the guy said, “I thought the Maternity ward is on the 3rd floor. This is only the 2nd floor.”


To compose myself, I just laughed and said, “Oh, is it? Ahahaha! I thought we’re on the 3rd floor already. Hahaha!”

I just made a fool of myself, didn’t I?

So I went inside the lift again and said, “Sorry, I didn’t know somebody pressed 2.”

The guy with the passport smiled and said, “Must be a long day, huh?”

“Well, sort of…”I said, just to hide my embarrassment.

They speak English fluently, by the way.

Even if I know where I’m going, I still get lost…Hmp!

Memory Loss

A female patient, 8 weeks pregnant was admitted in our ward.

Doctors in our hospital (I don’t know if all the doctors in UAE per se)  don’t write history of present illness. Even the diagnoses aren’t even diagnoses. Under the diagnosis, they just write the symptoms. So we received the patient wondering what happened and why was she admitted. We read what the doctor wrote in the file.

Loss of memory since yesterday.

British Nursing Supervisor: Hmmm, I got that all the time. I do hope she knows who got her pregnant!

Diagnosis: Epilepsy, for observation of pregnancy.

British Nursing Supervisor: So were just going to have her for 7 months until she gives birth…

I just love how she sarcastically give comments like that. She kind of reminds me of Sue Sylvester. 😉

The Flying Patient

A 5-year old daughter of an Irish couple was admitted in our ward. They were touring the U.A.E when their daughter had an episode of acute bronchitis. They stayed for 5 days. On the last day of their stay, they asked their attending pediatrician for a medical certificate so they can extend their flight.

My colleague, upon seeing what the doctor wrote, said, “Doctor! You cannot write like this!”

This is what the doctor wrote:

The patient so and so, diagnosed with acute bronchitis needed to stay in the hospital for 5 days, (blah, blah, blah.)…so the patient is not fit to fly.

(Doctor, the patient is not a bird!)


Things That Make Nursing Fun Despite The Heavy Workload

With my job as a Nurse in Hell Hospital, I encounter a lot of patients. Some just come and go, some stay with us like it’s their second home, and some are so distinct in ways you can imagine that they stick in our memory. Sometimes a patient comes to visit us and greet us happily as if we were their long lost friend and we respond in the same way even if we’re trying to remember who this person is at the back of our minds.

Patient: Heeey! How are you? Toxic huh?

Nurse: Heeey, you… (with a quizzical look).

Patient: : You don’t remember me, do you?

Nurse: Of course I remember you! What brings you here? (with a smile so fake it hurts).

Patient: Oh, I’ve come to see Dr. So N So, is he here?

Nurse: Oh, just proceed to the Doctor’s staff room, you’ll see him there.

Then nurses will talk and say: “who the hell was that again?”

It’s not our fault if we forget a patient no matter how good our relationship is in the past. There’ s just too many patients.

In between juggling our work load and building rapport with our patients, there’s just some things that patients and relatives do that make our work so damn stressful.

It’s 8am. Time to give medicines.

Nurse: Your name please.

Patient: Stu Pid.

Nurse: Here’s your antibiotic.

Patient: (Runs to the nurse) Should I drink it now?

Nurse: (Nope, you drink it tomorrow, I just gave it in advance.) Smiles. Of course…:)


There are also relatives who are out of this world.

Relative: Hey Nurse, I want to ask for an Excuse Letter for my son, to be submitted in his school.

Nurse: Er…aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be doing that EXCUSE LETTER you’re talking about?

Yeah, I kinda remember asking my Mom to make an Excuse Letter in grade school when I’m absent.