The differences between emergency rooms!

Holy smokes. I just worked my first shift as a travel nurse and let me just say, I LOVE MY OLD JOB (still currently my job, but it’s 17 hours away). We have a lot of ex travel nurses that are in my ER and I’ve been told by numerous people how good our ER actually is. We’ve had nurses leave and come back because ours is better. I know my job is stressful and I bitch about it, but it’s stressful because the expectation is high. Our care is expected to be good by management and we really do try to make our patients happy and comfortable with care that is as fast as possible (which is not always fast, but it’s still good care).

I see how good my job was now. I texted Jon at 7:45 “I haaate it.” The charting system here is absolutely horrific. One of the techs was telling me how their reimbursement is so low but it’s probably because they aren’t documenting properly to get reimbursed because to complete it, it would take forever to find it. The nurses are overworked and the ER was way understaffed. I left at 11:30 and gave report to a nurse of 3 weeks (at this facility- not ever) who was now taking 6 patients. Six. Not six sniffly patients. Six legit patients. ER patients. W.T.F. The patients there are all lined up in beds along the hallway. People have all kinds of visitors sitting in the hallway with them (the one time I worked in a hallway at my job, I said 0 visitors allowed, no exceptions. HIPAA?). What a clusterfuck. And while I did actually really like my preceptor, I jumped in at 3pm and we ended up with 5 patients and it wasn’t until around 8 that she started helping with nursing stuff. I get that she wanted to let me learn, but I’m not sure if letting somebody who knows nothing about the system just completely drown is the best.

I’m a bit weary of traveling again after this because it was just that bad. It made me miss my ER at home where we have our shit together. But at the same time, if I do go to grad school for management, this is all really useful. It’ll look good on my resume (traveling jobs show adaptability, but I’ve also already been employed at my “real job” for 4 years, so I’m also committed to my workplace) and I’ll also have a more well rounded perspective on how to improve a department. These 13 weeks should really fly by though and quite frankly, I’m just looking forward to working a few shifts in my hospital where I actually feel like the care I’m providing is really good because the care that I have time to give here felt almost negligent, and that is definitely not the type of nurse that I would ever want to be.

Working tonight actually made me realize how much I like taking care of my patients. I don’t just want to say hi, start an IV, and leave. I like creating a relationship with my patients and while I knew that I enjoyed some of my patients at home and quite frequently would get complimented on what a great and caring nurse I was, I had no idea how much I actually like doing it (but not for the rest of my life). Those sweet patients make my job worthwhile in a way that I never even noticed and I really hope that over the next 13 weeks, I have enough time to really make a difference in somebody’s time in the ER. I have never worked 8 hours without having some sort of relationship with a patient in the last 6 years that I’ve been in healthcare until tonight, and I really didn’t like having that missing piece.


7 thoughts on “The differences between emergency rooms!

  1. You can do anything for 13 weeks, Liz. I guess that’s one bright side of travel nursing, if an assignment is crazy bad the end is always in sight unlike a typical job. But, I guess it does make you thankful for good jobs you’ve had. Hopefully your second day is better than the first one, and at least you still have your other job so if you don’t like travelling, you won’t have to keep doing it all the time.

    • That’s what I tell myself! And that’s one of the reasons I kept my job too. But I’m grateful for what the experience is giving me, even if I end up hating work for the whole 13 weeks!

  2. I wonder how would you would be comparing it to Mass General Hospital, that place should have it’s shit together. I’m not 100% shocked that it would have been something like that to be honest, that southern part of Boston, oh boy. Perhaps you’ll be teaching them a thing or two by the end and that’ll be part of your thesis to wrap up your masters, you never know how these things play out.

    • Mass General has been doing that, buying and partnering up with the hospitals all around the area. They have been remodeling and reconstructing all the hospital and giving them new power plants and emergency rooms and really making something out of them. Hopefully they will. I know they’re working on the North Shore Medical Center right now rebuilding the front of that hospital.

  3. Hi there. Don’t give up on travel nursing just yet. I’m on my second assignment and totally understand your frustrations, but not everywhere is bad. Keep in mind the purpose of travel RNs is to be thrown into these understaffed, poorly run, and/or transitioning hospitals because they legitimately need help. Sometimes it’s hard to look past the crappiness but learn from it and maybe pass along suggestions. I hope things get better 😉

    • I’ve heard of a lot of people with such good experiences, so I guess it’s a bit frustrating to come into such a poorly run place and the nurses said that these have been issues for years now! But I am still glad I came, definitely, and am still excited to do another one! I just pulled up your blog and AZ is one of the places we were looking at doing either for our next assignment or the following one!

      • Phoenix is really cool, just don’t come during the summer like I did. I don’t know what I was thinking! It’s like 114 degrees here;totally different from east coast heat(originally from VA). It’s close to a lot here – L.A., San Diego, Las Vegas, & there’s tons of hiking and ski resorts here and close by.

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