No, really - what is your EMERGENCY?

This used to be the journal of a nursing student at a prestigious 4 year university that will still remain unnamed. This is now the journal of a Registered Nurse working in an Emergency Department in a major US city. All names have been changed to protect the stupid and the mean. There is no educational value in this journal, sometimes it will be downright mean and catty - this is where I come to vent!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Ok, I gagged for only the 2nd time in my nursing student career. Yesterday I had a COPD patient in the ICU. He was mostly there but I had a little bit of difficulty understanding him because he did not have his teeth in and where I live people have accents which make them difficult to understand even when they have their teeth. We did his meds to include one that had to be mixed in orange juice because it tastes nasty. I was helping him get cleaned up and he mumbles something and points at his mouth. I thought he was going to through up so I get the basin and he hocks up some nasty sputum. Now, vomit - no problem, diarrhea - no problem, blood - no problem, amputated limbs - no problem, oozing wounds - no problem, inside parts on the outside - no problem, sputum - BIG PROBLEM. I just can't do it. It grosses me out to the point of gagging. I could never be a respiratory therapist or work in a respiratory unit.

Other icky thing for this week - we had a liver failure patient who was a train wreck and probably circling the drain. His blood chemistries were way, way out of whack. So, of course he gets prescribed Kayexalate and Lactulose via his NG tube since he is on a vent. My preceptor decides that I need to taste both of these (they are liquids) so I know when my patients ask me what they taste like. I taste them - not too bad. I wouldn't want a cupful of either, but you could get them down. But when you mix the two together in a plastic cup so you can draw it up in a big ol' syringe to push it down the NG tube - they are the color of watery mud. Also, fortunately for me but big time unfortunate for the night shift - this all occurred at about 1830 or so - just in time for shift change at 1900. Sorry guys!!!! If you don't know what these two meds do - say thank you because it means you have never had to take them and you have also never had to clean up the result!


  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger Working Girl said…

    Hi. I used to be a pissed off nursing student myself. I loved the title of your blog so much that I added a link on my blog. Hope you'll get some traffic. Good luck and stop by and see me!

  • At 9:51 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    Oh man, I SO don't do sputum very well.

    I'm a believer in the "taste test". For me it was potassium liquid and prednisolone liquid. Sort of a piquant aftertaste of pure ACID! Blech!

    I have never had the cohones to try charcoal, though. Someday, I tell myself. Someday.......

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Yolanda said…

    Working Girl - Thanks for the link - I have reciprocated! I am also glad you like the title. I can't take credit, a non-nursing friend made it up after listening to me rant for months.

    Kim - First, thanks for reading - I am a regular reader of your blog! As far as charcoal - I have tried it and it is fairly nasty with a long aftertaste.



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