5/6/2013   Reposting on Nurses Week. The stories may be different for other fields; you may have different favorite things. The fact remains: Nursing is an awesome profession. HAPPY NURSES WEEK!!!!


New York….

I said I will only be staying for two years. Either  I am a glutton for punishment, or just have an insatiable lust for adrenaline rush, or I really do love the ER. Twenty years later, the ER had taken a stronghold on me and I would never ever think of going anywhere else.


These are my favorite things:

1. Excitement Galore– Nothing boring about ER. Every day offers something new and surprising,  or out of this world. Days pass quickly, and however we try to manage our time, there’s always something that needs to be done (including a bathroom break).



2. Quiet interludes, although infrequent, and temporary, are greatly appreciated and much-needed after a hectic day.  Empty stretchers in the hallway are a welcome sight.  This precious respite from the usual bombardment of patients  allows time to sneak to the bathroom, catch up on each others’ lives, and the chance to spend more time with our patients.  Grab the moment to breathe because it  means that a busload of patients are coming soon to break the peace.



3.  Happy drunks make up for the aggravation of having to fight off the nasty drunks.  One day, a happy drunk masqueraded like a Luciano Pavarotti. His booming and impassioned O Sole Mio was surprisingly well-modulated and brought a smile to everyone, including our Alzheimer’s patient, who stopped squirming in his stretcher. Somehow the familiar melody broke through the cobwebs of his mind, and he joined our happy drunk in total harmony.


4. Lives saved. We lose  some, but  most of the time we save patients from the brink of death.  A 17-year old patient should have been a vegetable after a cardiac arrest, but we cooled him down and saved his brain. Five days later, he walked out of the hospital with full neurological functioning, ready to plan dates with his girlfriend again.



5. A soiled Mets cap.  A 9-year old boy felled by a direct blow on his chest from a baseball. He recovered from Commotio Cordis and came back to the ED to thank the staff. Pedro was in full Mets uniform, his blood-stained Mets baseball cap clutched in his tiny hands.



6. A sincere thank you from a grateful patient–   A hurried discharge from a harried doctor left a patient and her family bewildered and frustrated.  I spent just a few minutes to explain the discharge instructions. And I got a hug and a sincere thank you.



7. Bulging veins. Nurses always have a euphoric response to bulging veins, the ones which bulge before you even apply a tourniquet.  No 22-gauge angiocathethers, no need for a vein probe, no need to call our vein expert. Just that quick pop, a gentle slide into a vein and Yes, you’re home.



8. Elderly couple holding hands. The hopeless romantic in me triumphs at the sight of one elderly couple who held hands as they patiently waited for the ambulette we ordered to return them home..  The husband comforted his wife with the sprained ankle. He catered to her unspoken needs. The wife soothed the husband who was getting impatient with the wait.  I enjoyed watching them, even as I felt envious for the experience of spending a lifetime with a soulmate.



9. Babies. Sometimes, babies are too eager to see the world and could not wait for the delivery room in the 5th floor . When the mother announces. “The baby is coming out!”, the ED stops in anticipation and waits with bated breath. When the baby wails, the staff breaks into an applause and coos as the baby is placed in incubator. Always a happy sight. We’ve seen enough deaths, so a new life reaffirms our purpose in being.



10. Teamwork. When the going gets rough, the ED staff gets going. Way past their scheduled off if the ED gets a call of a mass casualty. We trudged through several feet of snow, dodged drunks along the way, and stumbled through black-out streets.  We held hands as we gasped in disbelief and watched helplessly at the horrifying scenes of 9/11played on tv. and then together as a team, we prepared the ER for the victims who never came. We hugged each other, and worked side by side to care for the rest of our patients.





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About Jo Cerrudo 39 Articles
Clinical Nurse Specialist in NYC. On a new journey of discovery. Author, "Nursing Vignettes", published Aug. 2012 (available on Amazon). E-mail: [email protected] Blogs:
  • subzer0

    hi. As a struggling ER neophyte, I have this appreciation for all things related to this field. That is why I’m glad to have stumbled across your posts. I could totally relate to all those things mentioned here, especially the bulging vein. haha.

    Keep writing. Thanks! 🙂

    • Thanks. I love receiving feedback. I’ll probably revise this again; I’m my worst critic because I always see typos and mistakes. Will try to add pictures. Check out my other private blogs. Thanks again.

  • ZenyCris

    Love the ER. No dull moment.

  • Icy

    ER or floor, every night is never the same. Every shift is different. 🙂