What Nurses Deal With At Work

by Robert Schnell

Nurses deal with body secretions, increasing violence, dysfunctional families and disease everyday at work. Many times they go home exhausted, bruised, and fatigued only to discover urine, vomit, blood and stool on their shoes, shirts, pants and even in their hair. Patients (and even coworkers) are becoming more unpredictable and violent. I suppose it is a sign of the times. Don’t waste time trying to get nonmedical family and friends to empathize. Their only focus is MONEY … your steady paycheck. When discussing your job with them we suggest using a different value system for their understanding. For example, “That car you want cost 6000 code browns.” (A code brown being an incontinent stool … takes 30 minutes to clean up. At your current hourly wage it will take 6000 to pay for a car.)

“Cool new cell phone. They’re on sale this week for only two black eyes and a kick in the head.”

“Groceries cost 14 incontinent bed changes, two ripped out arterial lines with bloody floor mop up, an episode of projectile vomiting, and one abdominal wound dehiscence. Grocery prices have done up.”

“I filled the gas tank for one diarrhea stool off per gallon. Only took ten gallons to cap it off.”

See that roll of toilet paper on the patient’s table? Consider each section a five dollar bill. It is gonna pay for the orthodontist and the kid’s braces. Should take about three or four rolls. Rotten, crooked teeth take a lot of butt wiping to straighten.

Understanding the true value of things will make others appreciate those things much more. At least that is our current working theory.

Routine New Admission: “CALL SOCIAL SERVICES STAT!”

Published by starvingcartoonist

StarvingCartoonist is a former ICU nurse that has worked at numerous civilian, military, and veteran Intensive Care Units across the country for better than three decades but has been sketching, drawing, and cartooning since he first picked up a crayon in kindergarten. Dabbled with political cartooning, writing, and general illustrations but the bread and butter came from health care. Recently left professional nursing to concentrate on camping, hiking, nature, the outdoors, trees, trails, and peace of mind. Love a campfire; rather watch it than TV. Avoid bureaucracy, career ladders, ladder climbers, and hero worship at all cost. Evenings spent with a good book, reading until the book smacks my nose when I doze off. Generally up at sun rise, listen to the mourning doves, put the coffee on, and play it by ear the rest of the day.

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