labor nurse has been reborn and shares her experiences as a new nurse-midwife, woman, and blogger

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Don't Look at Me!

I hate to be out in public in my scrubs. First off, I’ve gained enough weight to now qualify my uniform as official sausage casing. I refuse to buy bigger scrubs because the next size up requires the extra fees associated with all that fabric. I think I pay enough as it is as a fat person, and I certainly am not paying more money for scrubs, thank you very much. But more importantly, I don’t like to be identified in public as a health care worker. Notice I am not saying nurse because everyone in a hospital wears scrubs. The nursing assistants, housekeeping, phlebotomists, unit secretaries all wear scrubs (more on this later). Either way, however, if disaster strikes in Target then I’d like the option of not responding. Someone notices a person in scrubs and you know the crowd will be calling you over.

I can hear your thoughts. Why wouldn’t you help? your brain is saying. Because I don’t feel comfortable with the thought of responding to say… an abdominal evisceration, or a really bloody mess without protective equipment. Besides, you probably wouldn’t want me around if bones and limbs were in funny angles. That skeeves me out. Not to mention being held liable if you do something wrong. I know there are Good Samaritan Laws out there but that doesn’t mean you can’t be sued. If someone was unconscious then I’d respond and start CPR if needed (“You! Call 911 and get the AED!”). But if you plan on dropping your baby in the aisle I’ll most surely catch.

I know I am not alone. We had a new graduate nurse who had a vanity plate on her car that said “NewRN”. A nurse of 30 years said to her, “Honey, you best be changing that plate. You don’t want anyone to know you are a nurse. What if you happened to drive by an accident, you didn’t stop but someone noticed your plates?”

She went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and had it changed within days.

My best friend, however, volunteered her services on a plane. Someone got very ill. I don’t remember the details, but I believe that an older person was having either symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Or perhaps maybe not that serious because I don’t think they landed any earlier than scheduled. Maybe I should get my story straight, eh? Either way, she raised her hand when a flight attendant asked if there were any nurses or doctors on the flight. She assessed the person in need and stayed with him for the rest of the flight. There was some other person who also stepped in to help but was some ancillary type health care person who really didn’t know his ass from his elbow and had some crazy ideas of having the man keep his knees flexed and his arms above his head, or some other such intervention.

What a good doobie she is, huh? I’ll hope to be out shopping with her if any emergency occurs so she can respond. I’ll tell her when she’s done to meet me over in the Dyson aisle at Target.


Joyce said...

REad this with a chuckle! Back to the funny Labor Nurse posts.

Anonymous said...

I once wore my scrubs to breakfast at a restaurant with my husband after a long night of work. The people sitting to the left of me started whispering. I noticed who they were immediately. I was their nurse... when one of our not-so-brilliant-scary OBs decided not to reduce the cord and the kid had a brain injury after she pulled it over it's head. The baby was there, several months old and very debilitated.

Lost my appetite.

Don't wear scrubs in public.


Jack and Lexi's Mom said...

I am a CNM. Perinatal nursing is the only thing I have ever done. I hate wearing scrubs out because I will be of no use to anyone without a baby in thei vagina. I don't do sick people.

Marie-Baguette said...

So nice to find you again! I missed your blogging!!! Anyway I have a question. I remember reading somewhere that it is actually dangerous for nurses to wear their uniforms outside -- they can bring outside germs to the hospital and hospital germs to the outside. So why do I keep seeing nurses in uniform in the subway?

Labor Nurse said...

Good question, Marie! That is true about potential for carrying germs, etc on scrubs. I'm not sure why there isn't a universal policy on this. Many labor and delivery units, and all OR's have rules about this. As far as the other units, its a free for all!