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Nursing, bartending and the friendly skies

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Ever think you are alone in the problems you face? Well, read on to see how nursing isn’t the only profession that deals with some very unique scenarios.

1) Vomit—OK, nurses win on this one. Although patients may vomit on us or near us at times, we have medicine to stop it. And extra scrubs to change into (borrowed from the O.R. natch). Bartenders come in a close second because even though they don’t have the magic of Zofran, they do have bouncers who can get rid of the offending puker ASAP.  Flight attendants lose on this one. All they have are tiny little puke bags. No anti-emetics and clearly, nowhere to throw someone out on their keister.

2) Bad food—This might be an equal tie across the board. Bar food might be a tad more palatable than hospital and airline food but not by much. Terrible food at exorbitant prices make this one a tie.

3) Unexpected delays—Wind delaying flights in Chicago, ten traumas back to back, and the ice machine is broken. I remember there used to be a show on TLC, I think, that was about airlines and it always reminded me a lot of being in triage at the hospital. People get really, really, really mad when they have to wait longer than expected. Thank God for security.

4) Confined spaces—Whether you are trapped behind a bar, a hospital room or seat 24 B&C, we all have to share tight spaces with lots of very different types of people. If you are claustrophobic, you need not apply.

5) Smoking-In California, where I live, the law is no smoking inside—at all. Whether it is a bar or restaurant. No likey the lightey. Although federal law does prohibit smoking in the lavatory or tampering with the smoke detectors, I am fairly sure that someone with a severe nicotine fix has tried to smoke in the tiny airline bathroom. I am fairly certain of this because on a monthly basis we have people light up a cigarette in our bathroom; much to the dismay of our smoke detectors and our nauseated patients.

6) Late hours—We all work late hours, early mornings, and long shifts. I think bartenders and flight attendants win this comparison because at the end of their shift they can throw back a cold one or at least be in a fun,  new city. Nurses just get to leave our dirty clogs at the door and crash into bed.

Next time you think you are the only nurse with a certain type of problem, ask yourself, what would a flight attendant or bartender do? At the very least, it might make you laugh—the mental image of throwing a vomiting patient out the airline doors or serving a patient some buffalo wings and cheddar cheese fries.

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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One Response to Nursing, bartending and the friendly skies

  1. bhadleyRN

    Before becoming a nurse, I spent 13 years as a Veterinary Technician. I was bathing an elderly male patient the other night and as he growled rather menacingly at me for moving him around, I began to wonder if I had really changed my career all that much. I still clean up lots of excretions and my patients still growl, scratch, and threaten to bite on occasion. I still have to be a master at restraint techniques because there are always those that, despite being restrained, still manage to remove their NGT, IV, etc. I often make the joke that the only difference is that my patients have a few less legs and a lot less hair…..well, most of the time anyway!