Hey Nurse! Are You Good Enough?

12:00 PM
One sunny afternoon, a patient, accompanied by relatives came rushing to the Emergency Room of the hospital where I am currently assigned at. He seemed to have difficulty of breathing as evidenced by flaring of the nose and breathing through his mouth. He occupied an empty chair near the ER entrance while his relative handed a letter/written orders from a doctor to the nurses.

On the other hand, the nurses were busy interviewing a patient who came ahead of that man. In my assessment, she sure wasn’t in any distress or in any state that requires ‘immediate’ care; yet, the nurses took care of her first.

If I remember it very well, she was complaining of abdominal pain. She has no facial grimace and if I would be asked to rate her on pain scale, it’s 1 out of 10. So, why did the nurses take care of her first? They said, it’s “First come, first served."

Being a nurse myself, I can’t help but ask, “Aren’t they aware of what TRIAGE means?” Knowing how to prioritize patients is a very basic ability every nurse must possess. It’s not about who came first; it is about who needs care the most.

Sadly, I wasn’t in the hospital to work as a nurse and I cannot interfere with their work for I am not their hospital’s employee. But when I couldn’t contain it any longer, I approached one of their nursing attendants [the nurses were too busy with the other patient] and told him that the patient near the door is having difficulty in breathing. That’s only when he grabbed hold of a wheelchair and assisted the man to the bed, and then he administered oxygen to him via nasal cannula. After few minutes, the man looked fine and relieved.  No more flaring of nose, no more mouth breathing.

My dear colleagues, let us not forget what has been taught to us when we're still in school. The efficiency of a nurse lies in her knowledge of the basics. It’s true that sometimes we’ll get mistakes. Nobody’s perfect but if we stick with the basics, we’ll never get lost. Keep in mind that “Fundamentals are the building blocks of everything.”

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  1. Great knowledge! I learned something new today :)


  2. Butthe thing is, the basics are the most neglected ones not just in Nursing. I have seen it many times and people sometimes just crumble in pressure.