Marc Luber: Hey everyone ñ Marc Luber here from Careers Out There - you can find me at
Careers Out There dot com. I recently interviewed Kim McAllister ñ sheís an emergency room
nurse in Northern California and a 30 year veteran of the nursing profession! You can
find her at Emergiblog.com where she talks about the life and times of being an ER nurse.
I asked Kim to tell us what itís like to be an ER nurse. Hereís a look at how it went!
Kim, tell us about being an ER nurse ñ specifically an ER nurse. Whatís a typical day for an
Kim McAllister: A typical day in the ER is that there is no typical day in the ER! Every
day is different and you really canít ñ I always say you canít appreciate a nice,
quiet day in the ER until itís over because you never know what youíre gonna get. But
a usual day when you come in is you basically dive right in. Thereís no easy segue in to
the shift. When you come in, you walk right out into the department, into the melee thatís
in progress and you get your report sort of on the fly from the nurse who youíre relieving
and you just basically dive right in! You have an assignment basically at ñ in California
now with the nurse-patient ratios, thatís about 3 to 4 patients, depending on the assignment.
You go get report from the nurse who youíre relieving and then I immediately go right
in and say ìhiî to every one of those patients just to eyeball them, whatís going on, and
just get an idea of where theyíre at immediately. And it sounds very simple, but for the next
8 hours, I basically am taking care of those patients, discharging and then moving. And
the whole idea of ER is patient flow. So you move the patients, you get them in, you take
care of them as efficiently and as quickly as possible ñ now that doesnít mean rushing
ñ that just means making sure that the labs are done efficiently, that if theyíre being
admitted that they get up to their room as soon as possible. Itís much more comfortable
for them to be up in a regular room than sitting down on that ER gurney for very long. Discharging
them as soon as possible so they can get out and get moving and the next patient can come
in. So basically youíre doing that for 8 hours. Of course in the middle of all that,
youíve got the patients who are going to have cardiac arrest, emergent situations,
have patients that come in with an emergency that need to be seen right away and bump the
patients that have been in the waiting room, so you never know.
Luber: So are you the one deciding ? If someoneís coming in, are you looking at them and saying
ìyouíre worse off than this guy over here ñ youíre coming to the front of the line.î
Is it kind of like that?
Kim McAllister: The triage nurse will do that.
Kim McAllister: And if the triage nurse says ìyouíre coming to the front of the lineî
and Iíve got the empty bed, Iím where that patient is gonna go. And once that patient
gets to my room, Iím responsible for doing a full physical assessment on that patient,
hooking them up to the cardiac monitors so I can see their heart tracing, getting a full
set of vital signs. If theyíre a critical patient or in a lot of pain, Iím responsible
for getting in an IV so they can get pain medication. I draw blood from that, I make
sure the proper tests are ordered, the blood gets t the lab, Iím responsible for monitoring
those results and making sure the physician sees the critical results, I monitor any IV
fluids that are ordered on that patient, I monitor ñ this is really important ñ the
patientís pain level. What it is when they come in, what it is within a half an hour
to an hour after I give pain medicine, I monitor their visitors, their family, how theyíre
reacting to the patient and how the patientís reacting to themÖAnd what I basically look
for is itís all about the patient and how theyíre responding. How theyíre responding
to the treatments and how they respond to the eventual diagnosis. So Iím not only dealing
with the patient, Iím also dealing with the family, Iím dealing with all the ancillary
departments: the physicians, the pharmacists, the radiology department, the housekeepers,
itís a healthcare team. And the nurse is basically the backbone of that team.
Luber: Now youíre not in a county hospital, right? Youíre not dealing with gunshots and
gangs and violence and all the crazy stuff, right?
Kim McAllister: No. If we get any gunshots itís rare. In my facility theyíll be like
walk-ins, so weíre not part of the knife and gun club where I work. Iíve mostly stayed
in moderate sized community hospitals, not county, trauma centers or anything like that.
So the big action takes place there.
Luber: I hope this video was helpful for you guys. If you liked it please click the thumbs
up! If you want to learn more about this career you can watch the full interview at Careers
Out There dot com. You can also find us at Facebook, Twitter, and weíve got lots more
videos here on YouTube. On Careers Out There we interview all kinds of professionals to
help you find a career that fits you so you can love what you do. Thanks again for watching
everybody. Iím Marc Luber. Look forward to seeing you again soon. Take care. [theme music]