Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Impressions

In their natural state, people are onions; many-layered, smelly, and capable of making you cry, but can also make for a delicious experience when processed in a thoughtful way.

Walking into a patient treatment room for the first time in the Emergency Room is always a new experience; you never know what you are going to find. One has to be prepared to encounter a huge range of personalities and clientele.

The art of reading people must be quickly mastered as a ERTech. We have minimal charting duties and are the maximal resource for vital signs, EKG's, bedpan duty, and many other tasks that require intimate contact with patients. We spend the most time with each patient, almost always more than the doctors, sometimes more than the nurses.

At first glance, there are people who sprawl their belongings around the room and make themselves completely at home within minutes of settling there. There are others who keep completely to their own little bubble, arms and legs crossed on the cot to take up as little room as possible.

At first assessment, there are ways a patient might react to my smile and greeting that impel me to 1, run to avoid being attacked, 2, quickly report the condition to a nurse, 3,continue with my duty, 4, or run out of earshot to burst out in laughter.

At the bottom of the healthcare feeding pool, the ERTech takes on some of the most difficult, but necessary tasks. In a code situation, we are the ones lined up to perform CPR compressions to coax a heart to start beating again. On a holiday night, we are the ones who sit with and humor the drunks to make sure they don't hurt themselves or others. We are the ones who know where to run for hard-to-find supplies in given emergency situations. The successful completion of these tasks can result in elation or tears; working in the Emergency Room is emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing. And I love it.

Perhaps that is why I started this blog; to process what I have seen and to crystallize the lessons I have learned about other people and about myself.

Meeting me for the first time, you might not know that behind my young face and quiet, respecting smile and greeting, the harrowing things I have seen or experienced. I began working in this ER over half a year ago- still green enough to be considered one of the newest techs, experienced enough to want more and to go back to school.

Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy the stories.


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