Being a nurse is not unlike being an air traffic controller: there are dozens of things to keep track of at any given moment. Each patient we encounter is a new adventure. Just like a flight taking off, we may know where we think things are going — the patient who comes in with a blood sugar over 1000, potassium levels through the roof and only a tenuous grasp on consciousness likely isn’t headed for Labor & Delivery, after all. But, as every air traffic controller knows, the destination the plane reaches doesn’t necessarily match the one listed on the ticket.
Our patients have a disconcerting tendency to not perform as expected, to withhold critical information, and to come accompanied by a bevy of friends and relatives all determined to help and support them as they get better — while doing everything possible to prevent us from making that recovery possible. (more…)