When Real Life Mimics A TV Show.

This past Thursday night, the final episode of ER was on. I used to be a HUGE fan of the show. I watched it religiously in college. I would tune in week after week for the drama, my kind of drama. I loved the past pace of the ER and the adrenaline rush. I so wanted to work in the ER when I was finished with nursing school.


During nursing school, I actually got a job in a hospital in the Emergency Department and found that the show was nothing like the real deal. But I continued to watch the show.

As my nursing knowledge grew and I found my home in the ICU, I had to stop watching the show because the show is just plain wrong. While watching episodes, I would spend most of the show yelling back at the TV things like, “You can’t do that!” “NO! Oh man that is so wrong.” “You can’t shock asystole.” “Yeah, right like a doctor is going to do that!”

So when I read that the show was going to end (it is about time) I had to watch the last episode for old times sake. I have to say it was kind of a let down. The episode was not very good. The only thing it did was put me to bed way too late for having to get up early to go to work and give me dreams about bloody explosions all night long.

After a not so restful, short night of sleep, I got up and went to work on Friday. I was pleased to find out that my assignment at work consisted of 2 patients that were “easy.” By that I mean, they were not super sick, they were alert, not on any life sustaining equipment, easy patients. It was going to be a good day.

So good in fact that I felt that I needed a donut and an other cup of coffee. I asked one of my lovely co-workers to keep an eye on my patients while I quickly ran off the unit to get coffee and donuts for us. As I ended my report to her about the patients I said some famous last words, “They should be fine and won’t need a thing.”

I turned and walked off the unit.

In the cafeteria, I got us some coffee, took my time in picking just the right donut with the right amount of chocolate dripping off the edges, paid and then walked back to the unit.

As the elevator opened, I heard and saw any nurse’s worst fear. The code lights and alarms were going off from my patients room. I ran to the room and as I entered the room, the situation just went from bad to worse. It was so surreal that I thought for a moment that I was still dreaming. I thought that I was still in one of my ER show dreams from the night before. There was no way that this could have been happening.

(I am going to stop and spare you all the gory details but if there are some of my nurse readers that want to know just ask and I will email you.)

As people rushed past me and orders were given, my co-workers and I began to function as a true team just as seen on the show. This was one of the only things that the show portrayed correctly. The teamwork and collaboration between everyone when it comes to saving a life.

I am not sad that the show ER is over. I really don’t need to watch it because in a small sense I have lived it many, many times.

I love being a Critical Care RN. I can’t see myself doing anything else. I have been in some pretty horrific situations but I have also been in some pretty awesome ones. I get the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing people, people that I would trust the lives of my loved ones with or my own life.

So, so long ER. You will not be missed at least by me. I have something much better than any TV drama, the real thing, the ICU.

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