Emergency Room Nurses Have the Best Stories

October 8, 2009

It’s true. If you ever want to laugh until you cry ask an ER nurse to tell you a story. If you ever want to be stopped in your tracks with your eyes welling up with tears ask an ER nurse to tell you a story. I worked as an ER nurse for awhile, as did my wife, so I have a great love and admiration for what ER nurses do.

We’re coming up on ER Nurse’s Day (October 14th) so I have been thinking a lot about ER nurses and their stories. Isn’t it amazing how stories, in general, can move us? If you think about it stories are how we learn. Probably your favorite teachers were those that told great stories and didn’t just read from a book.

What can we learn from ER nurse’s stories? First of all we can learn that within those stories there is much inspiration. I spend a lot of time encouraging people in healthcare to share their stories as I speak around the country and I talk about stories a lot in my book Inspired Nurse as well as in my blogs and on the Inspired Nurse Facebook page. I do this because I have learned the power of our stories. They connect us back to who we are, where we’ve come from and what we are “made of” as nurses.

So…how can we make the best use of the amazing stories that live in our ER? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a few of the ER nurses in your organization write their stories, their greatest moments in the ER and perhaps even their funniest ones? After they’ve done this perhaps post them in your newsletter, highlight them at a celebration, have them read these stories at a board meeting or even post them in the ER for all to see? Why? Because these stories will inspire. They will remind us why we do what we do. They will bring us back to the foundation of what we are as nurses.

As I always say when I speak at hospitals across the country, our stories are our “bricks.” They are what built us. Often, we don’t focus on these “greatest moment stories” though do we? Usually we tend to share more of the most recent and negative stories. After awhile, it seems as if those inspirational moments are few and far between. But they’re not. It’s just a matter of focus and attention. When you focus your attention on the negative, well, that becomes our perceived reality. Maybe it’s time we focus on some of the other stories?

So, dust off those amazing ER stories. Find some creative ways to get them out there and share them with your team. It’s often said that great organizations are known by the stories that they tell. So are great ER Nurses. Honor your ER nurses this year by laughing and crying along with their stories. I promise you two things about those ER stories. They’re never boring and they’re always inspirational.

One more tip. If you are a senior leader, another great way to honor your ER nurses would be to make rounds in the ER on ER Nurse’s Day to thank the nursing staff for the great work they do every day.

Be Well. Stay Inspired.

Rich Bluni, RN

Rich Bluni, RN, Studer Group National Speaker

If you are looking for ways to celebrate this special day, seats are still available for the Nuts and Bolts of Service and Operational Excellence in the Emergency Department on October 14 – 15, in Phoenix, Arizona. You may also consider presenting staff a copy of Inspired Nurse by Rich Bluni or Excellence in the Emergency Department, which was just published by Studer Group coach Stephanie Baker.


2 Responses to “Emergency Room Nurses Have the Best Stories”

  1. Stephanie Lara-Jenkins RN Says:

    Night shift was traditionally buzzing at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. We rarely had the time to cozy up to a magazine, or share coffee or crazy stories with one another as we had in the past… times had changed, and were were always on our feet. One strange night we actually did have a lul in business. The staff was cuddled in blankets from the blanket warmer, and we were sharing stories when a young girl came in with her parents bending over on tippy toes… you know the story…. 17 years old, nauseated, right lower quad pain….
    Sure enough, this young, quiet, and very polite young girl was diagnosed with acute appenditis and her care plan included surgical intervention…that night.
    The case was not that ground breaking, but her eventual silent, sad tears were. They weren’t borne from pain or fear, they came from deeper in. I had a moment alone with her and asked her, “why the tears?”. Turned out the next day was her graduation day, and she had been selected as the Valedictorian at her high school. She had a new dress, and more important… a speech to deliver, one that had such meaning and significance in her life, and one that she would have to miss because of her pending surgery.
    I searched the entire department, and then I rummaged through the X ray department, even the back offices until I found what I was looking for…. an old, broken down tape recorder. I took it into my patients dark, quiet room and offered her the opportunity to record her speech… and, what do you know? She had it memorized and agreed to the taping. I left the room, closed the door and assured her privacy. She recorded her speech. The next day, her parents delivered it to her school, and it was played over the speaker system at her graduation! Her fellow students heard her message, and she was there with them in spirit as they graduated.

  2. Rosetta Says:

    In reading the information on “Passion and Graditude” I could only laugh. You are so right about having a passion and taking time for that passion. About the time I thought I could enjoy my passion for quilting because my children were grown and self sufficent so I thought I can cut back on my hours of working. Wrong along came the grandchildren and now they have needs that keeps me working, but one day.

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