Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Day in Trauma...

I've been in nursing for twenty years now. It's hard for me to believe because saying that makes me sound older than I feel. I have done a hodgepodge: Cardiac surgery, ER, Home Health, Surgical ICU, but by far I have spent the most time in the world of Trauma. The past decade, I have been in an Advanced Practice (Nurse Practitioner) role.

Typically people start to drop their jaws or say "wow, I could never do that" when i say that, but, you know, it's just my "thing". The thought of being behind a desk for eight hours per day is more than I can handle. I consider doing some substitute teaching at my kids' school, and then reality hits: me and 18-25 elementary aged children with no escape route... No can do.

In my Advanced Practice role, I do more advanced assessment, management of care, looking at the big picture, and preparing towards discharge than hands-on care. I began this holiday weekend, however, as a bedside nurse.

Periodically, I pick up some extra work as a staff nurse on the Trauma Unit. To me, it's a "win-win" situation: Either I have a FABULOUS day or I am more grateful for my usual role.

This day was both. It was a very busy day. The acuity was high, and there was a lot going on. By mid-afternoon, I made the comment that "We've done about everything but CPR today....". I was "Shhhhhhhhh!!!" 'd from all directions by people at all levels.

I was reminded again of one of the reasons I love trauma. It keeps my life in perspective. When I think I'm having a bad day, I just go to work. Suddenly my personal drama is nothing, and is overshadowed by gratitude.

Secondly, in my time, I've seen some rather dramatic and miraculous recoveries. People, who by all standards should have died are alive and talking.

Yes, there are some pretty sad stories (and a few pretty entertaining ones), but there are enough miracles to keep the enthusiasm and hope flowing. God is working - and He's still got plans for these folks!

As I recuperate from my busy shift, and the holiday weekend progresses, I wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July! Please wear your seat belts, helmets and life jackets and remember that guns, knives, bats and alcohol don't mix.

I extend my gratitude to those fighting overseas, and to those fighting in a different way here at home, working hard to care for those injured in different ways.

May God keep you safe.

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