“What is it that you do? “

Posted on July 26, 2011

I have been a Recovery nurse for nine years. (Nine frickin’ years!) I never intended to be a Recovery Room nurse (of course I never really intended to be a nurse so…) I did my two year mandatory sentence on various med-surg floors then at the first opportunity I finagled my way into the OR. On occasion – read that when on call after hours – we circulators had to recover our patients. This was in a very tiny hospital, I was pretty young, and frankly, there were many other things I would rather be doing at 2AM than watching people sleep only to wake them up and give them drugs so they would go back to sleep.
As my family life changed I moved on from an on-call position and landed in the ER. Nights. I loved the ER. I never wanted to leave. Until the night when someone swapped us a half bottle of Jack Daniels for a vaginal speculum (used). The thought of someone wandering South Broadway performing drive-by PAP smears was too much. I began looking for a new position in a less ‘urban’ environment. And that is how I wound up in Recovery.
But this time, I was more mature, well voiced in medications, emergencies and medical students and I discovered that I actually enjoyed the job. The pace was good, the patients were interesting, for the most part devoid of lice and well, there are very few nursing jobs that offer hours more along the Monday through Friday range.

Of course, I am a nurse and we aren’t anything if not restless and so four years ago (this coming October) I made the move back to an urban setting. I now work in surgical recovery at a large (huge) teaching hospital.I know it sounds suck-uppy but I really do like working Recovery here. Just when you think you have seen it all, our doctors manage to figure out something new to do to our patients – and they do well! Our hours are pretty good, really – we rarely have to cover call. And, our staff is the best. Just sit back and watch a patient roll into Bay 24. That patient will be swarmed on like teenagers on a Pepperoni Pizza (free). We collectively have experience in every field of nursing and no one is stingy about sharing their knowledge – in a good way!

So, when someone removed from Surgical Recovery asks just what it is that I do I just smile and say: Why not come to the Recovery Room and Sleep with Us!

(This was the humorous version of an essay I wrote for Peri-Operative Nurses Week 2011 Having a little trouble with the formatting. Sorry!)

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3 responses to ““What is it that you do? “”

  1. Welcome, Laura.
    You’re a word smith. You use all the nice verbs I like but hesitate to apply.
    Like frickin’ "finagling".  You don’t have Irish roots, do you?

    I’m no stranger to casualty and E.R., via diverse experiences in various fields of endeavor, ranging from the Sheriff’s Office to flying EMS, not to mention crashing off a couple of motorcycles, (oh, and landing under half a parachute) and it never fails to impress me the way the really efficient nurses are damn good at the job they do. I’ll even forgive the one who jammed a syringe up my what’s it when I wasn’t looking.

    Let me know if you need any help with the formatting…

  2. Hi Laura,

    It’s always encouraging to read about the passion a fellow nurse has for her job.  It’s contagious and uplifting, and you have definitely expressed it very well in this piece.  I really liked how you ended your story. It put a smile on my face.

    Thank you for the kind comment you left on my piece "A Reflection On What I Do For A Living".  I’m glad to know you liked it

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