Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This week in work has been stressful. Probably the most stressful week I have ever had in this job. Tuesday I found myself in a vulnerable position with a very aggravated patient. As I backed out of his room he pushed his door hard against me and hurt my arm as I held it up to protect my face. Nursing is a hard job but we shouldn't have to feel physically threatened. It would be easy to refuse to treat this patient but there are only two Registered Nurses on duty on each shift. If I refuse to treat him all I am doing is forcing my colleague to be his nurse. How would I feel if the tables were turned and they placed me in a vulnerable position to protect themselves? I filled out an incident report which goes on file. I guess if enough reports get filled out it puts the hospital in a stronger position to refuse to readmit him in the future. The nurse on the shift after me got hit in the face by him. If I hadn't filled in my report I would have felt awful that his behaviour had gone unreported. 

I dreaded going in to work today. I tried to keep a physical distance between myself and this patient but nursing is a hands on job and there were times I was helping to dress him and helping him in and out of bed and I was so scared being in arms reach of him. What can you do? I left work frazzled and tired and anxious to get home. I rang my sister from the car park and told her put the kettle on for me. I was irritated that I had had to work on a little bit late. Only ten minutes but ten minutes I would have rather had at home, especially given the week I had had. 

As I neared home the car in front braked sharp and pulled in to the kerb. Ahead was a smashed up car in the middle of the road. People were running towards it. The man in the car in front jumped out of his car and ran too. But not towards the first car. He had spotted a second car and it was way off the road in the bush with its bonnet crumpled around a tree. I pulled in behind him and looked at the two cars. I could see two people get out of the first car and plenty of people around them so I followed the man into the scrub. 

It was uneven and I ran with my feet catching in the long grass. Part of my brain was registering that I was running to an unknown. Putting myself at risk when I had three kids waiting at home for me. But the most part of me needed to know who was in the car. I was wearing my nurses uniform. I was representing my hospital, my profession. It was an older lady in the car. She was virtually untouched. After a check over and lots of questions I helped her out of her car and we made our way back to the road. I left her with more people who had stopped to help and ran on to the first car. The two young men in it were shaken and bruised but again not badly hurt. 

Two ambulances, two fire trucks and a police car turned up to help and about an hour later I was free to get back in my car and go home. 

It was a day of extremes. 

A day that began with me questioning why I was a nurse and ending with the answer...

7 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Wow, what a day! I'm glad no one was badly hurt...and I hope you aren't in pain from your run in with the bully patient. That is awful!

  2. My aunt is a retired registered nurse. She worked in the emergency room and the stories she use to tell, takes a special person to do what you do! I know she once encountered an accident similar to what you described, except the outcome for her wasn't as good...there were fatalities. I asked her once how she could it day in and day out, her answer was because she made a difference.....and you do too!

  3. I'm sorry your patient has been so awful. Especially during Christmas while your family is visiting. Just come on over to America. We'll visit Utah and have some hot chocolate. It will be great! Actually, a few nights ago I dreamed I was in Australia for a weekend and all I could think of was visiting Gina. I love your blog! Wish you were closer.

  4. Ha! That stocking REALLY tested my patience. I went back to the post and elaborated. I will never make anything like that again!

  5. Thats shocking about that patient, and you're there to look after him!!!

    Living so close to you, i sometimes read your blog and know exactly what you are talking about! I was dropping the kids off at Nanna's last night and drove past the accident. You were probably still there! And later that night Wayne and i were on our motorbike on the way home and nearly saw a car accident out the front of the blue hospital.

    It's a small world. Hope your arm is better today.

  6. Gina.... really what a day! My daughter, who's blog you have visited, is an rn in a pediatric emergency room. I think you nurses have the hardest jobs. You are truly special people with a gift, I am thankful that you choose your profession, and I am sure the people in the accident were thinking the same thing today! Bless you for all you do and thank you for the kind words to my daughter today!

  7. Oh my God, what an awful day, you poor thing!! My heart goes out to you having to deal with a patient like this, I don't know what to say, Gina.