…even if some are common occurrences, they are frightening enough in the moment to cause the nurse’s heart to race.
1. Blood exploding out from arterial line site, when you peek in after holding pressure for some time.
2. When you roll a patient to check their back after they arrive from recovery room, only to discover they are covered in an enormous pool of blood
3. A patient talking to you, alert and oriented, and then a moment later witnessing cardiac arrest
4. Watching a patient fall from across the unit – as fast as you scamper across; you still don’t make it in time, and you hear and see the very loud thud.
5. Patient waving an IV pole above head and threatening any staff that comes nearby. And security asking why you paged them for help
6. Traumatic injuries that include object still in patient, either sliced through or holding vital organs in place
7. In Pacu, eviscerated abdominal contents when you lift the sheet.
8. Also in Pacu, femoral sheath pops – and an enormous hematoma develops the size of a football within seconds before you can apply pressure
9. When the patient extubates themselves, or tracheostomy pops out – even worse when an intrepid intern pops the trach back in a major subcutaneous emphysema develops.
10. Observing a nurse/nurses aid glance up at call bell light and look away. Apathy is the scariest of all
Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 (without the intern intervention. Changed trachs doing home care pts. ), 10; all in a ‘day-in-the-life’ of a nurse.
Number 10 is scary."