Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rules of the ER

Okay, my last post was a bit depressing, so decided to post something on the lighter side. This list was sent to me by one of my fire buddies.

1) If it requires the ambulance team AND entire truck of firefighters
to transport you and safely place you on a hospital is
time to go on a diet.

2) When you present to the Triage nurse, do NOT tell him/her that your
doctor called ahead. If you survey our waiting area, probably 50% of
the people waiting said the same thing.....and the other 50% use the
ER as their regular doctor.

3) When asked how much you weigh, please do not give the 'deer in the
headlights' look and tell us you don't know. It's a simple question,
simple answer.

4) Just because you have a phone and know how to call 911, we are NOT
impressed by your arrival on an ambulance stretcher. You had BETTER be

5) If you came escorted via EMS for multiple complaints that started
more than one week ago and your entire family followed the ambulance to
the hospital, you will be labeled a pussy and treated like one. Enjoy
the waiting area with your family.

6) One complaint/ailment per visit, please.

7) Just because you came in an ambulance doesn't mean you're going home
in one. You better start making arrangements now. I am NOT figuring
out how to get you home. Cab vouchers are NOT an option.

If you have one of these four, go to your own doctor in the morning:
A migraine; the Flu; a stomach virus; or a stuffy nose.

9) Do NOT ask us how long it will be. We don't know. I don't know
what is coming through my door 30 seconds from now.....and so I sure as
HELL don't know when you're getting a room.

10) We have priorities. We understand that you have been waiting for
2 hours in the waiting room. If you don't want to wait, make an
appointment with a doctor. The little old lady that just walked in
looking OK to you, is probably having a massive heart attack. THAT
is why she goes first!

11) If your mother is a patient and we ask her a question.....let her
answer it.

12) If your child has a fever, you had DAMN well better give it
Tylenol BEFORE coming in.

13) If you are well enough to complain about the are well
enough to go home.

14) Do not utter the words "it is in my chart." I don't have your
chart! And I don't have time to call and get it! Just tell me.

15) We know how many times you've been to an ER. We can usually tell
if you are faking it during the first 5 seconds of talking to you. Do
not lie to us.

16) If you have diabetes and do not control it, you are committing
slow suicide.

17) If you are a female between the ages of 16 and 42 and your last
period was 28-35 days ago.....PLEASE don't waste our time if you are
here for abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding. Guess what???!!!
You got your period again!!!

18) Do NOT bring your entire posse with you. One person at the
bedside is all you need. It is really difficult to get around seven
people in the event that you are actually really sick.

19) Every time I ask you a question, I learn more about what is wrong
with you. I don't care if I asked you what day it is 4 different times!
Just answer the questions.

20) If you want something, be nice. I will go out of my way to piss
off rude people.

21) Our definition of "sick" is not your definition of "sick." If a
member of the ER staff says that someone is sick, it means that they are
in the process of DYING!!! They have had a massive stroke....are
bleeding out....are having a heart attack....or have been shot!

22) We do not consider a kidney stone "sick." Painful, yes.....but
sick, no.

23) At any given time, one nurse has up to 4 patients. One doctor has
up to 15. There is a law (similar to Murphy's Law) in the ER: If you
have 4 patients, one of them will be sick (see above definition)
of them will be whining of them will be homeless....and
one of them will be a delightful patient. DON'T be the whiner!

24) If you see someone pushing a big cart down the hall at full speed
and you hear bells/alarms going NOT ask for a cup of coffee.
Someone is dying, you inconsiderate asshole. Sit down....shut
up....and let us work.

25) If you can bitch about the blood pressure cuff being too tight, or
the IV hurting, you are not in that much pain!

26) Physicians and nurses are NOT waiters. We are NOT customer
service representatives. This is NOT McDonald's, and you very well
may NOT have it your way. Our job is to save your life. If you
want a pillow, two blankets, and the lights dimmed......GO TO THE

27) If you have any sort of stomach pain and you ask for something to
eat, you are NOT sick.

28) Do NOT talk shit about the other members of staff I work with.
That doctor that you hate? -- I work with him every day, and I know that he
knows what he is doing. I trust him a LOT more than I trust you. I
am NOT here to be your friend, and neither is he. I will tell him
what you said, and we will laugh about it. If you want a buddy.....go
somewhere else.

29) If you are homeless.....DON'T ask for a bus token or a cab voucher
to get home, it just confuses the staff.

30) PLEASE don't tell us how to do our job. Do we come to your place
of business and tell you how to do your job?

31) Please don't bring in a "show and tell." If you have to fish it
out of the toilet, it's really not necessary to bring it in. We will
take your word for it. If you did fish something out of the may NOT use my pen.


  1. I am not a nurse, just a follower in a non-stalkish way. I love to read your ramblings about the ER, I really get a kick out of your blog, much fun. This hilarious post was just what the doctor ordered for me this morning :)

  2. Always welcome a follower. I found the post hilarious and it was also just what I needed last night when a friend sent it my way:)

  3. Most of these are surely truer than true. But I guess YMMV for some. My first kidney stone, well, by the time I got to the ER I was apparently a train wreck. I was in the (busy) waiting room for about 4 minutes before I was told "get in here."

    Also, "that doctor you hate" -- the only time I ever lost it about an ER doctor the nurses all sided with ME (but behind his back, they still had to work with him). He was a misogynist (in a women's hospital ER, no less!) and a jerk. When I asked a question about his diagnosis he started screaming at me for being a "stupid woman." I found out later he told a friend who had been raped that she deserved it because of what she was wearing. Thankfully he was gone - after only another year or so.

    Yeah, I suppose I'm being a jerk commenter. I'm sorry, I guess those just kinda hit my buttons :(.

  4. Moose,
    Sorry it hit your buttons. Nothing on my blog states you have to agree with me or find something that I found funny, as funny. That is why I posted your comment. As with patients, there are nurses and doctors that can be jerks. Due to size of my ER, I have 6 to 10 patients at one time, and am the charge nurse. All complaints, problems, and patients that think it is okay to physicaly, mentally, and verbally abuse someone trying to help them is divert my way. What is amazing to me, is that patients can watch the abuse and ignore it. Or see you comforting soeone who you and a doctor just informed that their loved one is dead, yet interupt you and complain because they have been in the waiting room for 30 minutes with dental pain.

  5. I'm sorry, MLee, I did not mean to come off like an idjit insisting that you MUST see my POV. Or any other kind of idjit, though of course I did. I do really like your blog.

    Most of my experiences in ERs and as an in-patient in the hospital have been as pleasant as they can be, given whatever horror had me there. [I can only count one time I went to the ER when I shouldn't have, and that was because my primary doctor insisted. I patiently waited for 5 hours to be seen and even apologized to doctors and nurses alike for taking up their time.]

    & yes, I've seen moron patients start verbally abusing nurses but -- what can I do? At the best, get a security guard, but especially if I'm in an ER I'm not very mobile. The most I'm usually able to do is say, "I'm sorry that person treated you that way" which isn't much.

    I'm sorry for my comment. I should learn to keep my yap shut and just remember Rule One: PEOPLE ARE MORONS. [And I am their KING!]

  6. Moose, don't be sorry. I enjoy your comments. With my EDS, it feels like I am a patient in some months more than a nurse.And you are right, you really can't do anything as the patient when another is being a jerk. Unfortunately, it seems that on some days my poor triage nurse has a line of people treating him like crap.

    What is funny, it is always the patients that are apologizing for being there, or the quiet ones that are the really sick and injured one. Those are the ones that many of us became nurses to treat. To help someone. It gets frustrating when we the just here for preg test, or med refill.

  7. How true, all the things I ever wanted to say but can't.

  8. I love the ones that bitch about the BP cuff being too tight, but tell me they have a "high pain threshold." *SMACK*

  9. ...and when you ask their pain level on a scale of 1-10 they say "well, I have a very high pain tolerance"....DUH- that would be why I'm asking you for a number, or would you just like me to guess???

  10. It's nice to see that you ER is no different than mine. I would change one thing though, I don't care if you fished something out of the toilet or not, you are not ever going to use my pen, and I will dig in the drawers for an hour just to find you a cheap bic before I let you touch my pen.