I have started the new job, the permanent one (as opposed to a term position, which I was in), in the same facility but a different area. Now, I work with a doctor, a radiation oncologist, to plan and organize treatment for people who need radiation for their cancer. So far, it seems like it will be interesting, and fairly challenging. And, interestingly enough, I am now in quite constant contact with doctors, by whom I have historically been intimidated, so this is good for me. And, in a teaching hospital, which this is, with doctors, come residents. Residents are fun, in that they are lower in the pecking order than even I, as New Nurse, am, and, moreover, I generally know more than they do, so I get to intimidate them for a change. Plus, some are nice to look at, and most haven’t yet developed their Doctor Ego, and are actually good teachers, when they do know more than me (I can now pick out a possible tumour on an x-ray, thanks to a nice resident).
When there is a medical emergency in our facility, a “25” is called, where there will be an overhead page stating “Adult Medical 25” and the exact location. This is a step down from a Code Blue, during which someone is without pulse and/or respirations, but no less attention-grabbing for the staff of the facility. Any doctor or nurse available is required to attend. Inevitably, ten or fifteen doctors and as many nurses swarm the poor patient, likely dragging them back from the brink as much by their overwhelming presence as by any medical miracle they might perform. In our facility, medical emergencies don’t often happen, because, despite it being a cancer treatment centre, most of our patients are not acutely ill. Few suffer from life threatening events necessitating a 25. Occasionally, in the chemo room, someone will have a reaction to a drug and a 25 will be called, but the nurses have so much experience and so many standing orders at their disposal that often, it is controlled before a doctor even arrives.
In any event, there was, indeed, a 25 at work today. And the location stated on the page was quite nearby. I was in a clinic full of nurses, and doctors, and, the ubiquitous residents. In seconds, the patient was surrounded by curious onlookers and more doctors than a golf course on Friday afternoon. The residents were the first out of the room. I watched their faces as the page sounded “Adult 25”, and I have to say that they positively lit up with glee. I think I saw one rubbing his hands together. Now I’m sure they would describe any type of code as a Learning Experience, but what I saw when they ran toward the action were men (this time it was all men) who were absolutely delighted that they were the ones who would have a quasi-legitimate reason to be right in the thick of things. I think I heard one hoping for a Code Blue so he could practice his CPR.
When my buddy nurse and I saw 30 people running around, some even with useful roles, and saw that it was not a patient of ours that was on death’s door, we went back to work, as much to stay out of the way as anything. When a few minutes later, all the residents returned to the clinic, rehashing and analyzing the event, we knew it could not have been too serious an emergency.
I guess those guys enjoy what they do. For me, at this point in my new learning curve, work is a series of tasks I need to perform correctly. For them, it is a series of events, of which they are the authors. It is apparent that most of them thrive on the adrenaline of needing to know what to do in an emergency, and being the one to do it. That they appeared to take such delight in the possibility of a medical emergency right in their very own foyer, speaks volumes for the wisdom of their choice in careers. I am truly hopeful that this, or some other career I might find, may allow me to experience the joy, the thrill that they appeared to get from our 25. I hope I am never thrilled by a similar experience. Maybe something a little less emergent, a little more human. I’ll let you know when it happens.