Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some of My Favorite Things

Forget raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ... I prefer the following any day:

Post-Call Breakfast Burritos
The only good thing about being on-call and staying in the hospital overnight is the anticipation and feeling of leaving the hospital post-call. And rewarding yourself on a post-call day with tasty, unhealthy food is part of that joy. Breakfast burritos seem to be something all hospital cafeterias prepare, and prepare well. It may be a plate of artery-clogging comfort food, but it definitely feels well-deserved after staying overnight at the hospital.

Patients Who Leave AMA
A patient can leave the hospital at any time they want (with a few exceptions, of course). If it is before the doctors feel they can be discharged home safely, they have to sign out against medical advice ("AMA"). Early in the year when alerted by the nurses that a patient is considering leaving AMA, I used to rush over and negotiate with them to stay. Nowadays, I seize the opportunity to get a patient out. I still rush over ... but this time with the AMA papers in one hand and a pen for them to sign with in the other. Patients think they are threatening us, but in reality they are giving us a gift.

Good Nurses
"Duh", you might be saying to yourself. Yes, anything or anyone good is a desirable thing: nurse or otherwise (co-worker, friend, turkey burger). But the difference between a good nurse and a bad one is priceless. Good nurses try to handle unexpected patient situations before jumping to page you, they shield you from patient complaints that don't require your (or anyone's) attention, and best of all, they don't send you really dumb pages. So really, the difference can mean a few extra hours of sleep. To the up-and-coming newbies: identify the good nurses and get on their good side. Their great side. You will appreciate the kickbacks.