Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear ER Doc

Thank you for the opportunity to hone my skills by inviting me to start  IVs on your most challenging patients. I just have a few comments:

1. Please limit the number of sticks before calling the NICU for help. 2 attempts is probably not enough. 10 is definitely too many. If the patient is a baby who was discharged from any area NICU within the last week and is significantly dehydrated 3 or 4 attempts is plenty. YMMV with the other NICU nurses on that last.

2. When I arrive in your ER to start the IV, please do not decide that it's a good time to have me help hold the patient while you draw blood.

3. If the patient is going to be admitted to the NICU, you can forget about drawing the blood. We'll do that upstairs. We'd prefer that. I know the other units in the hospital have a different attitude. It's just that we're used to having total control over our patients from the moment they enter the hospital.

4. When I tell you the catheter is in a vein, do not argue with me because, yes, I would know.

5. I had no idea that your new onset DKA patients could be alert and converse with me when the pH on the blood gas is 6.9. Our babies don't look so good when they're that acidotic. OK, your patient didn't look so good either, but he was talking to me the whole time I was looking for a vein. Amazing!

6. Seriously, I appreciate the opportunity to start IVs on your most challenging patients. Thanks for calling. If I'm not too busy, I will always come. Again, YMMV with the rest of the NICU staff -- especially on anyone over a year old.

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