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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


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Monday, January 08, 2007

Ya Gotta Be A Little Nuts To Work Nightshift SERIES - Story #4

Story #4
Ok, a short one:
Ya gotta hate when you forget to turn the volume down on your cell phone when you've previously thought it would be funny to assign "goofy" ringers for your family and friends. The first time this happened, I had a patient crumping (going bad, circling the drain, trying to get on the Jesus train) and I was up on the bed doing chest compressions when out of nowhere we hear (very loudly) "Hoooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeee WRECKER" (Gotta love that Gretchen Wilson)

The next time was not too long ago when I was talking to my manager before she left for the night. She tends to be very opinioned! (That's putting it nicely). Anyway, my daughter decided to call me because she was at her dad's house in KY. All of a sudden we hear "Little Miss, Little Miss, Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" (thanks Ash, didn't mind that one too much as I'm just appreciating the humor in it now.)
The last time I was in a dying patient's room I got a call from an "unknown" person and "I want to break free" started playing loudly. (Thank GOD there was no family present.)
The most memorable was probably in Trauma when we had a very well liked young man who his family said had a great sense of humor and he was being taken off of life support due to the severity of his injuries. The family were all around his bed reminiscing about the "good times" with him. We always kept the radios on at the bedside for the purpose of stimulating patient's as well as it made a hard job a wee bit easier. On the volume scale of 1-10, we kept them at about a 2-3 as "background" sound. All of a sudden "Stairway To Heaven" started blaring.......after the shock wore off, the family insisted it was his sense of humor and he must have done it. (Good thing it wasn't "Break on through to the other side" by the Doors) (thanks Shannon!)

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 10:01 AM

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Ya Gotta Be A Little Nuts To Work Nightshift SERIES - Story #3

Story #3
Ok, this one several of you have heard me tell but I'm going to post it anyway. I love it.
We had a very depraved and heinous nurse that came to us from the ARMY!!! Yes, she was tough, and a very good nurse but she loved to play practical jokes. Again, the newbies......(poor things).
Usually we only had to tell the newbies to lay on the stretcher (empty of course) so we could test it for something or other. They would (silly little untrodden RNs) hop right up there and lay down. They are quickly pinned down and two nurses with 3" silk nurses tape (which gives Duct Tape a run for it's money) tape newbie to the stretcher like a mummy. Then of course we push him or her through the entire unit showing off our newest hireling......

THAT isn't what is so funny about this story though. The newbies gang up on poor Ms. Army Nurse! And there's nothing that none of us can do to stop them. (*cough* absolutely nothing *cough* *cough*) She is sitting at her bedside in a rolling chair (the kind that you would find at a desk in an office. Out of NOWHERE, 6 newbies (which quickly came to be called "the adventurers") grabbed "R" and speedy quick started taping her to the chair. When she was totally taped to the chair with her arms taped to her sides and her feet taped together, a thick strip across her mouth, they rolled her out to the elevators. Yep, and remember, I said we are on the 10th floor! At this time it was about 4:00 a.m. so not many people around (other than other nutty nightshift workers.) I have to admit, as I walked behind this fiery and spirited group with a smile on my face, her eyes were shreiking "HELP ME DAMN IT." I couldn't do anything but laugh and walk along to see what was going to happen (like I didn't know). This story gets better......

Onto the elevator she goes and EVERY button, let me say it again..... EVERY BUTTON, the COMPLETE PANEL OF NUMERIC ORBS were pushed until they were glowing like a kid's first campfire....... (there were some unusual grunting noises coming from "R" but just then the doors close and we all are bent over in hysterics.) We hear a "CODE" called and rush back to the ICU to help somehow forgetting about our desperate and unlucky coworker. All turns out well with the code and about that time the swinging doors swing in and we see two guys we know from the ER (which is on the 1st floor incidentally) pushing our still torso taped teammate up to the nurses desk. She is now screaming obscenities (and for those who know me, that's where I learned it!) We quickly split in several different directions and were happy later to see that she was actually appreciative of the cleverness of my joke. (Although to this day, she does NOT know where the grasshoppers (another name for new nurses on orientation) got the idea and I'M not telling!

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 9:56 AM

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Ya Gotta Be A Little Nuts To Work Nightshift SERIES - Story #2

STORY #2 (Not as funny as the first or the next but it makes me smile....)
This first story isn't quite as funny as some but it happened to EVERY NURSE that ever walked through those swining doors on Trauma. To give you an idea of how the unit is set up, each set of beds has a telephone and computer between the beds so that we can call Dr's, enter orders, look up labs, etc. without leaving the patient's bedside. And it's a round room so the nurses station can see all of the beds. At some point, the (new) nurse will have to go to the bathroom. When he/she does, all are called out of their "cubbies" to watch. As he or she is returning, someone from the nurses station calls to the bedside to make the phone ring. The new nurse always "anxious and ready" for the doctor's calls or the family's calls runs over and puts it up to the ear with a chipper but ever professional "blah, blah, trauma unit, this is "newbie nurse" can I help you?" And then just as the blood drains from his face, everyone starts laughing as about a 1/2 pound of KY jelly is dripping off of the side of his head. And of course we make sure we do it as early in the shift as possible so they have to go around all night with "the mark of the newbie". Believe me, this is an awful feeling.......

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 9:51 AM

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Ya Gotta Be A Little Nuts To Work Nightshift SERIES - Story #1

Story #1

I was just reflecting on some fun times working Trauma on the night shift and thought I'd jot them down for no other reason than maybe to make me laugh again down the road and to help some of my friends realize why I'm the way I am (lol)............
The freshly graduated newbie nurses that thought they "knew it all" coming into a Level I Trauma Unit were the perfect victims.......... Obviously being a Level I Trauma Center we unfortunately have many deaths....and you will find anyone that works Trauma or ER will have a very dark sense of humor. I think it's necessary for survival.... anyway this is something that we always did to the newbies but this time in particular was funnier than usual. Not at first, but each time we told the story it got more priceless and more comical.
When a patient would die, the "newbie" was required to help do "post mortem care" (get the body ready for the morgue for those of you that don't understand medical jargon......) to get experience for when they had a patient pass. So.... while the primary nurse and newbie #668,785 are bathing, tagging and placing the body into the shroud, newbie nurse is asked to go to the supply center for an "extra bag" for personal belongings. Concurrently, another nurse (ME) is slipping into another shroud and being put on a stretcher. So off the seasoned nurse and the newbie nurse go to the morgue pushing what else but........stretcher #2!! Trauma is on the 10th floor and the morgue of course is in the basement. At the elevators, seasoned nurse has to "run back" because she forgot something and presses the button "B" and says she'll "meet them down there." After about 2 floors, the "shroud" moves a little, just enough to make the newbie think she's crazy which is usually what happens although we later found out this new nurse had never even SEEN a dead body much less been alone with one in an elevator. (Naughty, naughty Trauma nurses!) Another floor and the shroud sits straight up on the stretcher. Normally, we get a shreik or two and then a very nervous laugh as the shroud is unzipped but this time, nothing........wait......nothing..... nothing at all........ other than a THUD! Yep, a banging, clonking, whacking THUD! When the elevator opened on the basement level and I saw my coworkers face, I thought she'd seen a ghost. She may as well have.......there stood the Trauma Surgeon who STARTED and RAN the Trauma Unit. It may as well have been God. Then all three of us looked down as we realized that newbie was passed out on the floor. Thankfully, Dr. "M" just shook his head and headed for another elevator. (What in the hell was he doing in the basement at that time of night anyway??) We actually had to take newbie to the ER and explain what happened as they scanned her head to ensure no intracranial hemorrhaging had occurred.(Wimp!) (This little incident cooled our jets for a little while) but I guarantee it's still going on today........ (watch out newbies.....)

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 9:43 AM

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