A nurse’s list of resolutions
In observance of the New Year, I, Jo, hereby do formalize and publicize my Resolutions. Some limitations and exclusions apply. Do not expose these Resolutions to extreme temperatures or submerge in water. Tax, title and license not included. Not for use by children. Keep away from pets and wildlife. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. Give a glass of whiskey to dilute.
1. I will be patient with all but the most obstinate forms of stupidity.
This is tougher than it sounds. I will, however, do my best to keep a smile on my face and a song in my heart, even when faced with the most amazing Rube-Goldbergian constructions hospital management can come up with.
2. I will remember that not all doctors are socially adept.
Social ineptness is common among people (regardless of profession) who’ve spent the last 20 years in school. Make those folks the sorts of people who go into neurology, and you’ve got a double whammy. My goal this year is to be gentle if I have to remind the occasional resident to, say, bathe or wear underwear.
3. I will not snark on other nurses.
Most of us don’t eat our young. I can only remember once when I had such serious misgivings about a new nurse that I went to her boss. That doesn’t mean, though, that experienced nurses haven’t been the target of some griping on my part. No more of that.
4. I will remember that ours is a 24-hour-a-day job.
This means that getting as much extra work done as I can in a day will make life easier for my colleagues at night.
5. I will be gentle when refusing to talk politics with patients.
This resolution is not new; it’s a continuation of long-standing policy. I don’t talk about religion, politics, gun control or foreign issues with patients. Doing so raises everybody’s blood pressure and opens the door to madness.
6. I will take a deep breath, walk away and not respond to emails that make my temper flare.
Likewise, I will take a deep breath, ask for some time alone and walk away before responding to requests from Management that set my hair afire.
7. I will not eat out of the vending machines in the basement.
This is self-explanatory.
8. I will suck it up and buy myself a new pair of shoes and a new pair of orthotics, so I’m not wearing the same pair of shoes every day.
Because wearing the same pair of shoes every day is bad for your feet.
9. I will no longer make up rude limericks about attending physicians.
No matter how popular that is at the unit parties.
10. I will leave work at work every evening when I head home, rather than bringing it with me.
Work is work and home is home, and stress from one will no longer bleed into the other.
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Agatha Lellis