Oh, I just terrified a 6 year old

No biggie.

I just terrified a 6 year old.

Who had broken her wrist in gymnastics.

I got the call about the case and alerted anesthesia.

And then, as is my custom.

I walked over to the ED to collect her so we wouldn’t have to wait on transport.

I walked into the room, mom and dad hovering over the small, thin girl in the gurney, still dressed in her practice leotard, brother playing something on a hand held device.

I smile brightly and say, as I usually do, “Hi, my name is Kate and I am going to be your surgery nurse tonight.”

The little girl in the bed, looking at me with big. big brown eyes?

Promptly burst into tears and wailing “I don’t wanna have surgery. Why is she here?”

Dad looks at me, back straightening as I watched, as if I was a threat to his child, “Surgery? What surgery?”

Um, thinking fast, still smiling, warm blanket that I had just retrieved clutched to my chest, looking from mom to dad to mom and to brother and to dad again, “They didn’t tell you about surgery?”

Pigtails bobbing, she shook her head violently, tears streaming down her cheek. “Nononono!”

Me, trying to be soothing, “I spoke to the doctor who’s going to fix your arm so it doesn’t hurt.”

Dad, a bit belligerent now, “Which doctor, we’ve not talked to anyone about this.”

Me, “I got off the phone with the orthopedic surgeon not 5 minutes ago and then I came to get you to whisk you away on the magic gurney ride. So you can meet the anesthesia team and the doctor before we go to the operating room.”

Cue more wails from the 6 year old. “I don’t wanna go to the operating room.”

Mom, stroking her forehead, “It’s a procedure to make your arm better.”

Me, trying to chime in something soothing, “No sharp objects at all.”

Well, that was the wrong thing to say.


I cover her with the blanket and bring up the side rails. And I say, briskly, “I am going to take you to the pre-procedure area so you can meet all the other funny people in blue. Mom and Dad and brother are coming with us.”

And away we went, wailing, and tears, and brother coming up from behind, the tinny music of the game a counterpoint to the tears.


You must have courage to be a healthcare worker in the OR.

You must have courage to tell a doc what no, he shouldn’t do that.

You must have courage to tell your coworkers that no, they shouldn’t do that.

You must have courage to say no when you really don’t want to but you are being pressured.

You must have courage to tell yourself no, that would not be wise.

You must have courage to tell your boss when things are going awry.

And, you must have courage, no matter who  you are, to write up a surgeon for using the device in a manner it was not meant to be used.

You must have courage to back up the rep when they are telling the surgeon they are doing it the wrong way.


It sometimes takes many voices to make a change but it should start with you.

Tuition fallacies

I got a text today from the college.

Even though I had set up a payment plan so that I would not be in arrears before the scholarship money was dispersed and I had already paid $800.

I did not do it properly.

Today’s text was that I would be dropped from my classes for the semester unless I ponied up the entire amount.

I have scholarship money but it is hard to access.

I do not want any further delays in my MSN.

So I paid.

I asked my contact at the college what was up.

She’s the one who told me that I didn’t do it properly.

She had nothing to say about the scholarship money.

Or about the $2000 from a student loan that went missing after I tried to apply it to Spring semester tuition bill.

Um, why is it difficult.

Do you like torturing students?


A is for asinine sight of you

Again with the weekend cases with the tech that I don’t care for.

To amuse myself, and to keep a civil tongue in my head, I began listing, also in my head, all the adjectives that embody this guy.

For no apparent reason I started with O.



Only out for his own sake.


I could go on.

This amused me and let me finish the case without blowing my top.

Especially after he put his dirty specimen cups and culture swabs on the metal table next to the “chart”. Without waiting for stickers, without care for the hand-off process that keeps the patient safe.

Obdurate *swear word*.


Learning by doing

Today a nurse came to me and told me, proudly, that he’d built the flat top table with the help of the day charge. Because his doctor would need it for his tibial plateau fracture, his last case.

I had already written the instrument list and I knew that there was a case that required the fracture table that he’d just taken apart. And it was the case before his tibial plateau case.

The nurse’s face fell a bit when I told him the fracture table would have to be rebuilt. Because the hip pinning required it.

Then his face cleared.

“That way you can watch me build the fracture table to make sure I did it right.”

He didn’t want any prompting.

I told him I was there to lend a hand.

He did great.

In the further adventures of WTF

That tech that drives me crazy?

Pretty much drives everyone crazy.

Good to know that I am not alone.

I know that he is actively working on the new weekend call tech.

Telling her that they can absolutely switch shifts.

That she can work Wed, Thur.

And he will work Fri, Sat, Sun.

Only one thing wrong with that, sunshine.

Those are two different shifts.

Which I told  you when you asked.

There is no guarantee you would get a third day during the week.

Because the weekend tech has to ask for extra shifts.

And the surgeons whose rooms you’ve been kicked out of?

They are on call those weekends too.

How is that going to work?

And don’t tell me you will call the call tech to cover those cases.


Just no.

You cannot arrange the whole universe to suit you.

And, there would be no one to make sure that you were doing your job on the weekend.

I’ll make a case against this.

I will make it succinct and persuasive.

I just hope it works.