Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Great ER Nurse Post

I found this post and thought it was very moving. I couldn't find a way to post a link directly to the story so I copied it here. Please visit and say hello.

The Difference Between Life, Death, and Drug Seekers

When you come into the ER yelling, moaning, and twisting in agony because you have a sprained ankle - I will hate you. Why will I hate you? I will hate you because the man in the next stretcher is dying of an excruciatingly painful form of cancer, yet he is silent. He is silent, and dignified, and asking for pain medicine "when you can get to it dear. It's really not a big hurry. I've been dealing with this for 6 months now." You, on the other hand, are screaming at me to "hurry up and get my f**king morphine b**ch! I've been waiting for 20 minutes now! I'm in pain, ya hear me? I'm in f**king pain!". Yes, that is why I will hate you.

The difference between life pain and death pain has amazed me more than once. The man who threw his back out hauling cement blocks is begging for relief, while the woman who is here on hospice respite and is probably going to die in the next 2 or 3 hours is calmly waiting for her turn on the IV morphine train. The woman with a knife in her leg is screaming like she is dying, but the man who is actually dying next door - he just wants his family close so he can say goodbye.

I don't understand it. I'm not sure I want to. I just want people to respect the fact that someone having a bigger crisis than them may be in the bed next to them. And I may be needed more over there. I probably won't respond quickly to you if you scream at me to get your pain medicine. I will be busy with the man next door who is passing from this world. His problem supercedes yours. Your pain may last longer - but you'll still be alive at the end of it. He won't.

Now I'm not saying that all people in pain are whiners. I'm not saying that if you come in complaining of pain I will roll my eyes, take a deep breath, and say, "Whatever - come on back." I will believe you are in pain. I will treat your pain as able. I will be respectful to you as a human being. The moment you start screaming and cussing at me - you've lost me and my respect. The moment you disrupt every other patient in the ER by demanding your "f**king morphine" you will have lost me.

Pain is subjective. Reactions to pain can be controlled. Most of the time.

My Amazon Nursing Store


  1. Kristy3:00 PM

    you should be in another line of work, you really come off as heartless and cruel

  2. Anonymous4:29 PM

    It seems heartless but it is the truth. it is hard to comprehend things like this if you dont work in ER. you will be surprise that people with serious condition are the calm and quiet one. those who cuss, screams and disrupts the waiting room are the ones who has "toothache", "hangnail" or " I am coughing".

  3. Anonymous4:34 PM

    I totally agree...you wont understand unless you work in an ER. Yes, you're in pain, I believe you...but really the most obnoxious needy patients are the ones who do not belong in the ER at all...someone who brings an ambulance in because they stubbed their toe...or like i had last week, because he wanted to get away from his wife. That is why I hate you, because you are screaming, crying and causing a scene when you do not belong here and you are taking my time away from the patients who really need it.

  4. Kristy,
    Often ER nurses come off as heartless and cruel but they see too many instances of stupid, every day illnesses that should be taken care on in the office setting. Emergency rooms are supposed to be for real emergencies.

  5. I agree with both of the anonymous commenters. Unless you work in the arena, you won't totally understand it. I'm glad that I never had to work there more than a few shifts in my hospital career. Kudos to those who can do it every day.

  6. Anonymous2:50 AM

    I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

    Sorry for offtopic

  7. Anonymous12:51 AM

    Preach it sister, and Obamacare is going to make it worse, sorry to say.

  8. Anonymous4:01 AM

    Boring is your blog.