Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Confessions of a Nurse

As I've said, I work at a surgical center. It is an outpatient facility, meaning patients usually go home after they recover a bit from their surgery. There are two phases of their recovery.

After patients have surgery they are taken immediately to the recovery room, now referred to as PACU (post anesthesia care unit). They remain there until they are awake, breathing safely on their own and stable enough to be moved to the post-recovery area. 

A lot of our patients are children who've had their tonsils out, ear tubes installed, hernias repaired, dental work requiring anesthesia and a variety of other surgeries. We also have many adult patients having their gallbladders removed, kidney stones resolved, plastic surgery, lap band placements, nasal surgeries, etc. 

I was assigned to the post recovery area yesterday and I did have a mixture of adults and children to recover. Usually patients are in a medical type of recliner while in post recovery. Most often when children are brought out from PACU we have one of the parents sit in the recliner and we place the child in their lap. Isn't that just the best place for a child to be when they are scared and/or hurting?

Anyway, that was rather a long build up to tell you about the dumb thing I did yesterday. 

I entered the room where a young boy was recovering in his mother's arms. I was preparing to take the boy's temperature and to go through the discharge paperwork. The boy's grandmother was in the room and I was talking with her while I was doing all this. Without even thinking, I used the temporal thermometer and swiped it across the forehead to take the temperature. The only problem was, I TOOK THE MOTHER'S TEMPERATURE! As I said to the mother, "That really gives you confidence in my highly professional assessment skills!" 

Then guess what happened!? Yep, I went over the edge. I laughed and laughed. It's not my fault, really. Remember, I suffer from the Genetic Laughter Seizure Syndrome

Eventually I pulled myself together, kind of. I still needed to go through the discharge instructions. I admit I had a couple more giggles slip out even then. Thank goodness both the mother and the grandmother were people who also enjoyed a good laugh.

Anyone else want to make any confessions of dumb mistakes they've made at work?

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