​This Is What It’s Like To Be A Nurse In The Busiest ER In The Country


As quickly because the ambulances pull up, everybody jumps into motion. Cassick’s first precedence is to make sure that the trauma sufferers begin receiving immediately. Next, she steps out of the ER to fulfill the sufferers’ frantic household and buddies who’re eagerly awaiting info. She updates them on their family members’ standing and does her finest to maintain them calm.

This would possibly sound like the start of a TV medical drama, however for Cassick it is simply one other day at work. Plenty of different nurses and medical doctors take care of comparable situations at hospitals throughout the nation, however Lakeland has a particular distinction: It’s the U.S. hospital with essentially the most emergency room visits in 2016 (that will be 217,208 in all).

Calm through the storm

Approximately 550 to 650 sufferers get handled in Lakeland’s ER day-after-day. At its busiest, the ER has handled 800 sufferers in a single day.

Cassick has been working on the hospital for 15 years and as a nurse there for the previous 11. In her present position as ER Clinical Coordinator, she makes positive the trains are working on time. She serves as a go-between, working with the ER medical doctors and different workers members, in addition to sufferers and their households, to verify everybody’s getting the care they want, she says. “I don’t sit at my desk all day; that’s for sure.”

Trauma, disruptions and the sudden are nearly all the time on the agenda, and there isn’t any such factor as a “typical” day. “You never know the challenge that you will face,” she says. “I’ve learned you need to be flexible, prioritize, take one thing at a time, and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed.”

A crew method is crucial for holding sufferers—and hospital workers—regular within the midst of chaos. And it begins with getting the day without work on the best foot, Cassick explains. She normally will get to work by 6.45 a.m., and the morning begins with a crew huddle. It’s an opportunity for the management to replace the workers, focus on any issues, and share good issues which have occurred throughout earlier shifts. It’s additionally an opportunity for Cassick to verify her crew is able to deal with no matter comes by way of the ER doorways.


Sometimes, Cassick is true within the thick of issues. Recently, a affected person arrived exterior the ER in a automobile, however when she and one other nurse went out to fulfill him they discovered he was so severely injured that they could not safely deliver him inside with out first recruiting further hospital workers to assist. They swiftly bought the mandatory backup, and minutes later the affected person was in a room and receiving care.

“The patient survived because of the quick action of all those involved,” Cassick says.

Of course, not each side of Cassick’s job is so dramatic. Sometimes you may discover her at a affected person’s bedside, checking very important indicators or taking a medical historical past. Other instances she’s busy shifting an ultrasound machine from 1 space of the ER to a different the place a technician wants it. She additionally helps to maintain issues shifting if there are any backlogs, and he or she goals to maintain her crew on their toes: She’s identified to interrupt out into track if staffers are wanting significantly drained or not paying consideration. (“You Are My Sunshine” and, across the holidays “The 12 Days Of Christmas,” are her go-to tunes.)

Cassick additionally spends a superb a part of her day speaking to households and urging them to remain calm and affected person. In some circumstances, she must be the 1 to interrupt the unhealthy information cherished 1 is in essential situation or that they did not survive an accident or process. “If I need extra help, I call in pastoral staff,” she says.

Caring for your self first

You know the way flight attendants instruct passengers to, within the case of an emergency, placed on their very own oxygen masks earlier than serving to others? The concept that it’s important to look after your self earlier than you can provide others your finest is an idea that Cassick takes to coronary heart.

Cassick works 3 12-hour shifts every week, plus she has to attend conferences once they’re scheduled exterior of her shifts. Given the time dedication—and depth—of her job, she is aware of that treating herself effectively is essential. That means maintaining a healthy diet, surrounding herself with household and buddies, and figuring out the best way to go away work at work.

During shifts, she tries to eat small, mild meals when she’s hungry, and he or she drinks loads of water all through the day. (She says she was once a espresso drinker, however has made an enormous effort to chop again as a result of she feels higher with out it.)

Being ready and considering forward can also be how Cassick manages to maintain cool when the emergencies are available in. That’s true on a day-to-day foundation, nevertheless it’s particularly essential when bigger disasters happen. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida final fall, Cassick and different staffers got here in earlier than the worst of the storm hit and made preparations to remain on the hospital till the worst was over.

During the storm, the hospital took in additional sufferers from native nursing services and a few people who lived at house with particular wants (resembling being on oxygen), so they might all proceed getting the care they wanted whereas the ability went out of their houses. “The Medical Center and Emergency Department were filled to capacity,” says Cassick.

While Cassick, like everybody, will get confused sometimes, she does her finest to have a constructive outlook and never lose sight of the larger image.

Cassick says she had all the time needed to be a nurse since she was a bit lady and he or she loves her job. Though coming into the ER could be scary for sufferers and their households, Cassick tries to make the expertise a bit smoother. One factor she says she needs all sufferers knew? “We care about them.”

*Some figuring out particulars have been modified to guard sufferers’ privateness.

Sarah DiGiulio from prevention.com

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