A Farewell Letter to A Remarkable ER Nurse

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To one badass ER nurse,

When you first landed your job as a nurse in a level one trauma center I was ecstatic for you, it was a job you had always dreamed of and hoped for.  Without a doubt, you would be amazing at it.

I loved hearing your wild stories about all the crazy nights.

I loved the way you talked about the ER, like it was the craziest and best kind of nursing there was. 

I envied your passion and excellence but I never envied your job in the ER. 

ER was never really my thing.  You see, I loved the ICU.  I loved the critical but highly controlled environment.  I loved the procedures, invasive lies and drips.  I loved intimately knowing the past medical history, comorbidities, and current status of my two patients.

But as you know, life is funny, plans have a way of getting redirected, and life takes you places you never expected. 

After living in China for that year and returning home, lo and behold this girl landed in the ER.

Honestly though, after coming home from China, I almost left the nursing profession altogether.

The work we did there was hard and it destroyed my confidence as a nurse.

I was haunted by the kids we lost.  I knew in my head I was not responsible for their death and as a team we had done everything possible, but it was tough and I couldn’t quite shake it.

After coming home, I took some time to rest and heal, thinking maybe at some point I would look into options in the field of health care.  And the rest is history as you know.

You’ve been the one on this journey with me the whole way.

You’ve taught me the ropes of ER nursing and cheered me on with each stripe I’ve earned.

So thank you.

Thank you for taking me to the service center that night and showing me what a Morgan lens was when I had no idea.

Thank you for teaching me how to palpate a blood pressure and how to check a MAP on LVAD patients.

Thank you for putting on a scrub hat and mask, grabbing the cooler of blood & jumping on the elevator with me that day when I took that trauma patient as a level one to the OR, I’m sure you could see the overwhelm in my eyes.

Thank you for paging me overhead to trauma 1 that night when they were floating a swan and putting in an art line and none of the ER nurses knew how to set them up, you made this ICU girl feel really cool.

Thank you for all the walk and talks outside the ambulance bay you’ve taken me on after the really bad traumas.

Thank you for asking me questions about drip rates, titration and compatibility, it’s always made me feel smart and like I had something to offer a badass ER nurse.

Immense gratitude. 

Those are the only words that feel fitting to describe what it was like to work alongside you.  Those are the only words that feel fitting to describe what its been like to learn from you in the ER.

I’ll forever be grateful for working resuscitations with you in those hot trauma bays, the long nights, lessons and laughter.

Thank you for shaping me into the ER nurse I am, it’s a title I am proud to bear because of you.

I can’t wait to see where you go next, what the next adventure life holds for you.