The. Worst. Case. Scenario.
I can’t be alone in this. I can’t be the only nurse who wonders sometimes what makes a good nurse. I can’t be the only one who wonders why you can take an excellent ICU nurse to a step-down unit and see them fall apart. I can’t be the only one who wonders why you see the panic on the face of a step-down nurse when they start on an ICU floor. I can’t be the only one who is baffled at the resiliency of med-surg nurses who deal with so many patients with such patience.
I have been contemplating a change and yet, when I do, I feel almost panicked when I think about not being in the ICU. I don’t really consider myself a great nurse, but I work hard and I am good at my job. I was thinking about why I thrive in the ICU as I drove home from work the other day. Patient after patient had gone bad that shift and I could so vividly see the deterioration as it was starting.
I realized as I thought through the day…ICU appeals to me because I am a worst-case-scenario person. I look at sick patients and imagine the absolute worst and work to avoid it. I think about the worst complications and issues that are related to the symptoms and jump to that conclusion and work my way back.
Your patient is hypotensive?
I assume a bleed.
Your patient is acutely confused?
I assume a stroke.
Your patient is short of breath?
I assume a PE.
Your patient has a hematoma from a line pull?
I assume they will visit the OR.
Your patient is ‘just not acting right’?
I assume they will code.
It’s pessimistic. It’s negative. It’s dark.
And, it has saved countless lives.
In everyday life… no one wants to be around someone like me.
People want sparkles and cheer.
I am not completely negative all the time but, it’s interesting that a part of my personality that I never really liked… is the part that makes me very good at my job.