Tips on proper E.R. etiquette … AKA WWU
Or … how NOT to gross-out or annoy your ER nurse:
1) This does not (necessarily) need to be show-and-tell time: Seriously, I will believe you if you tell me you have something unusual about your body fluids. If you say there is blood in your vomit, you do not need to bring some in from home to ‘prove it’ to me. (Doubly true for stool!!!)
2) On that note – please leave your pasta bowl (or other tupperware) at home … or at least in your car! I understand the need for a traveling vomit-receptacle, but – really? Something that you’re likely to use in the kitchen again??? (Doesn’t anyone use little trash cans at home anymore?) Trust that I will provide an ugly pink (or industrial grey) bucket on arrival for any spontaneous expulsion of body fluid. And, no – I don’t want to have dinner at your house …
3) PDA: While the nurse in me is thrilled that your life is complete with a soul-mate (thus, I don’t have to worry about that aspect of your psyche/mental health/physical well-being), please do not cuddle, lip-lock, explore tonsils, grope, pet or perform any other private acts in the ER, squeezed together on a narrow cot designed for ONE (normal sized) person. It makes it really hard to believe that your pain level is 10/10 when I’m forced to witness these behaviors (and it makes me just a bit nauseous). Public Displays of Affection do not belong in an ER.
4) Swearing: When you drop the ‘F-bomb’ or otherwise cuss like a sailor with nursing staff, and then act like a civilized person when assessed by the doctor, you risk annoying your nurse. FYI: Nurses can impact how quickly you receive care, medications or any other comfort measures in the ER (or any other hospital setting) … just in case you didn’t realize.
5) Lastly – while I will document whatever you say … if smiling, laughing or texting precede any complaint of ‘10/10’ pain, it does prove that you have a warped understanding of the pain scale speculum, and thus may impact your pain medication choices.
There are many other basic behaviors we could cover, but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone …