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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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About Me

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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Friday, November 23, 2007

Flashback: My very first night in Trauma

I was sitting and thinking about the newbies we're getting in our critical care unit where I work now at Southern Hills Medical Center. I thought back to when I was a fairly new nurse and had just started in Trauma and how I felt. My very first night on the unit. I arrived in this very large, scary unit. An intimidating place to say the least. I had worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)at Vanderbilt but Trauma was an entirely different world. (Now remind me, WHAT was I doing making THAT transition as a nurse less than a year old?)

I found my preceptor who was very kind and reassuring. Then she is told that 3 nurses called in, we were to be in the "Sand Box" (which I find out later is where the Level II or less critical are admitted). But one thing I did learn, if they are bad enough to be sent to the Trauma Unit at Vanderbilt, they are CRITICAL.

So we start to get report on 5 patients. (Ratio is normally 2 pts: 1 nurse). She then says "these are your two and I'll take these three. Think you can do it?" OMG! My very first patient I got report on was a 24 year old that had shot himself in the face with a shotgun because his girlfriend was breaking up with him. (He had been there for awhile so he was one of the "stable ones".) When I looked at him I was ashamedly horrified. I was silently thankful that I was able to keep my composure although I did not know how. He still had his eyes, his nose was gone, just the orifice where a sound between snoring and a gurgling choke was emitted. Where his mouth had been was tissue that had been sewn up. He had a peg tube where meds as well as nutrition was given. The patient would continue to write notes asking for a mirror. I was told not to give him one. To this day I wonder if that was the right decision. Anyway, in my job now I've learned so much more about suicidal patients and 6404 papers.

I inquired about this patient about 6 months later and was told that when he finally did go home he put antifreeze into his peg tube. He was found dead by his parents.

In all honesty, I can't even remember my other patient.

Throughout the world, about 2000 people kill themselves each day. That's about 80 per hour, three quarters of a million a year. In the U.S., there are more than 80 deaths from suicide every day, 30,000 every year. This is the equivalent of a fully loaded jumbo jet crash every fifth day. From another perspective, you are more likely to kill yourself than be killed by someone else.

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 5:00 PM

Hi, I'm am soon to be a GN in June and I just accepted a position in the ER...this is an amazing story...did you work in the ER first then go into Trauma ICU...this is the plan I have...I want to get into a Level 1 Trauma Center after my time in the ER...and then go into a Trauma ICU...The hospital that I am at is a Level 3...just wanted a little direction...I
I'm so sorry I didn't respond to this sooner. Yes, I worked in the ER first and then went into Trauma. And then continued to do ER through the years. I love it. Best of luck. You can do anything you put your mind too. Especially if your heart is in it. :)
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