Lady With a Lamp’s Diary

Two and a half years… Wow, I couldn’t imagine I would last that long in PICU. The first time I landed my foot on PICU floor and saw the intubated patients resembling Christmas trees because they were ornamented with 5 or more intravenous fluids and drips , I would like to talk to my head nurse and say, “I am so sorry Ma’am, I changed my mind, I don’t wanna be here anymore.” And yet, it’s been 912 days since that day and I am still there gliding my rubber soles happily on the toxic floor.

Looking back on those bittersweet memories brings me shivers and tears. I could still remember the moments I cried during patient endorsements. I could still recite the remarks and comments my senior nurses had before me when I was a newbie. I could still count the times I submitted the very much-avoided Incident Reports, the times I bumped into the oxygen tanks and the times I splashed the blood products either on the floor or on the bedside. During those days, I clearly believed that PICU was an extension of hell. What made me stay there was a big question mark for me.

I have all the reasons to resign. First, I can’t enjoy holidays. While all of my family members are celebrating Christmas and New Year, it is either I am sleeping (from night shift) or I am busy working. Second, I can’t go all-the-way with the latest hair treatments. I have to convince myself that I am satisfied with my unruly straight hair . Hair rebonding spells maintenance. Pigtail and cap will surely ruin the chemical’s masterpiece. Third, nursing itself is a tedious task. It requires physical, mental and emotional aptitude. Like for example, the nurse is assigned to take care of 2 intubated patients. She needs to monitor vital signs every hour, monitor intake and output every hour, suction secretions every hour and as needed, administer all due medications, feed the patients as ordered, carry out all illegible and legible doctor’s orders, run the labs, talk to relatives and attend the patients’ special needs. Everything must be done with accuracy. Everything should be squeezed in an 8-hr shift. Doctor’s orders should be carried out as soon as possible. You cannot say, “I have to go home now,my shift is over, can I do that tomorrow?” In addition to the typical routines, nurses face DILEMMA – a world full of ethical and moral issues.

What keeps me going is a question I cannot answer. It could be the passion to help those in need or the fulfillment I am getting after a tiring shift; I am not very sure of it. Yet, there is one I thing I believe, and that is no matter how I dislike the world where I am in, and no matter how long my whining is – I could not change the fact that at the end of the day, I am a Registered Nurse and I was Born to Care…

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  • Menchee Berris

    You can either look at PICU as an extension of hell or rather an extension of heaven where comfort, compassion and care abound and you as God’s angel vessel of His love and light to what most parents consider as their darkest times. From one Picu nurse to another, hold your head up and always remember that you are making a difference and saving lives, what could be more important than that? And no matter how hellish your shift may seem, it’ll all end after 8 or 12 hours the patient and their parents’ nightmare however doesn’t.