Tag Archives: nurse as patient

Nurse as Patient


Lately it’s been my turn to be the patient.  I’m being “worked up” for a problem with my kidneys.  The most recent step in this process was getting a CT scan of my kidneys, ureters, and bladder – aka CT KUB – or CT abd/pelvis – all the same thing really.  I’ve never had a CT scan before so I was incredibly anxious about having the contrast dye injected through an IV, and lying on a stretcher being pushed in and out of a giant whirring machine.  Luckily my friends reassured me (thank you Facebook friends!) that everything would be fine.


It’s going to swallow me up!

I was sent to an imaging center specifically designed for people with urinary/kidney problems, soooo that meant as I sat in the waiting room – one by one – older, gray-haired men filed in.  They probably wondered “What is this little girl doing here??”  One man was having a PSA level drawn (prostate-specific antigen which is elevated in prostate cancer), and another man was having some kind of injection.

Then it was my turn.

Luckily, the technician was excellent and described every step of the process.  He explained that the contrast dye would make me feel flushed and very warm, and that I would feel like I was peeing on myself (great).  His voice was calm, and he was obviously very experienced.  He put me at ease – a true professional.

So now I wait – again.  Next week I’ll find out the results of all the testing that’s been done over the last 2 months – a long, drawn out process that I suspect will amount to nothing.  But that’s just my cynical nurse voice talking – I fear that I will be told the results are inconclusive, or that I’ll need more tests, or worse yet – “All of these things are just normal variants.”  And I will wait for the bills in the mail.

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Who Nurses The Nurse?


Who can a nurse trust to take care of her/him when they are sick or hurt?  Who is good enough to care for your child?

When I have doctor’s appointments, I find myself a little doubtful that I will get good care.  I know firsthand how hard it is to work in an emergency room/doctor’s office/clinic (in our very flawed healthcare system) and take REALLY good care of your patients.  I also know that not all healthcare workers are created equal.  After well over a decade in nursing, I have “seen too much” in the way of medical errors and poor judgement.  So I almost EXPECT that I won’t be well taken care of.  Yes, I think very highly of myself as a nurse.  I am experienced, conscientious and caring.  Is EVERYONE in healthcare that way?  Of course not!

  • When I was pregnant with my first child, I was scared to be left alone in my hospital room.  I wanted a family member there with me at all times to make sure things were being done safely and that I understood everything going on around me.  Lucky for me my mom’s a nurse, my sister’s a nurse, and my dad’s a pharmacist (and they were all there with me)!  When I was alone, I found myself peering at my IV bag, making sure the meds that were hooked up were correct, watching the drip rate, and looking for air in the line.
  • When my son had asthma attacks, I wouldn’t go to the nearest emergency room – I went to the pediatric urgent care where I worked at the time.  I would contact my coworkers on the way, asked “Who’s on tonight?” and I CHOSE who I would LET take care of my child.  (We all do that kind of thing).
  • When I chose a pediatrician for my kids, I asked for references from the doctors and nurses I worked with – I trusted their judgement, and there was NO WAY I was just going to “pick one off the list.”

little miss not impressed

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been forced to visit the doctor frequently because of a medical problem that I can’t fix on my own, and my pessimistic side has been there throughout.  The medical assistant who took my blood pressure at two separate visits said it was high and asked “Do you have high blood pressure?”  I said “Um no never, not even when I was 9 months pregnant with both my children – it’s always 110s over 60s.”  In my mind I was thinking “You’re doing it wrong.”  When the nurse practitioner failed to send my prescription to the pharmacy and I had to call the doctor after-hours (who then gave me a horrible time), I thought “Calling in a prescription is the most basic function of working in a medical office – get it together people.”  When I overheard the nurse practitioner talking loudly outside my door about another patient, I thought “Ever heard of HIPPA??”

Now I’m being herded through the system and on to my next stop – the “specialist.”

We’ll see how special they really are!

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