Friday, January 08, 2010

Learning To Love Nurses

You all know that I work in the health care industry doing technical support. This means that I spend most of my day talking to nurses (not all day because we do get calls from the business offices and admin offices also). Obviously, I don't have a great deal of medical knowledge and the nurses usually don't have a great deal of technical knowledge. And that normally causes a communication problem. They are in a hurry, they don't want to take the extra time to explain their problem but yet I can't help them if I don't know what the problem is. And when they do try to explain the explanation is filled with "that thingymabob isn't working" or "I click on that one little picture in the corner". It gets frustrating. It's my job to fix their issue and the more questions I ask the madder the nurse gets and the more confused I get. I stay frustrated with nurses a lot.

But it is still a medical environment and even though I’m merely technical support there are times when the medical side of my workplace reaches out and slaps me in the face. I can’t give you too many stories because I don’t want any sort of trouble if someone I work with finds this blog and thinks I’m giving too many details. HIPPA violations are serious business around here. But you do get the occasional calls like an ER doctor screaming about a critical condition patient on the table and the imaging system used to view x-rays is not working. Things of that nature. And when you get those calls it can really rattle you to the core.

My day started off that way unfortunately. My first call of the day started out normal enough. One of the nurses from Psych Med was having an issue logging into her primary software and while I was in the process of troubleshooting I suddenly heard some shouting in the background. It was a patient who was confused/upset about where she woke up apparently and she wanted everyone to know it. The screaming escalated in a few short seconds and immediately the nurse on the phone with me asked me to hold please and she set the phone down to try and help with the patient. This meant for the next 5 or 6 minutes I sat there and listened to the screaming and pleading and pain and sobbing of someone while several nurses tried to restrain her and calm her down. It was very unnerving and made me realize how special you have to be to work in nursing or any similar fields. I would have sat down and cried had I been there. I was darn near crying just sitting here listening to it. I finally decided to hang up, the nurse could call back when things settled down. One reason is because it was painful to listen to. It made me sad. The other reason is that I almost felt like I was eavesdropping on something I shouldn’t be hearing. There was a real pain and sadness in the sobbing and I just didn’t feel right hearing it. The whole thing really rattled me. What a humbling way to start the day. Today I will have more patience for the nurses that call me. I am very grateful for what they do and how they handle their jobs. They are truly heroes.


Scott said...

That sucks. Sometimes I miss working in Hardware, but I'll definitely never miss the trips over there...

Amy said...

Hey friend, thanks for the post.