My ageism

Yes I suffer from ageism. Time and again I have found that older nurses are better at everything compared to younger nurses .

Experience , just plain skill and the fact that if you have spent twenty year in a field you know you actually love it and not doing it just to get by.

I am actually afraid sometimes when I see younger nurses taking care of my critical patient. I check everything twice or thrice, sometime twenty seven times and never take their words as the final word. Even when it’s something as simple as urine output I go and check the foley bag myself or confirm with the cna’s and other personnel . I know it’s crazy and probably wrong but it’s difficult for me to take the young twenty year old , face booking , latte sipping , planning her hook up in the evening nurse as seriously as a 55 year old with 20 year experience who just sent her kids to college .

I once got a call from a nursing home . A young nurse told me that the patient is having pain in left side of the chest about 2 inch area , worse on coughing and deep breathing . He can point to the area with two fingers and when the nurse tries  to press on it hurts . I told her it’s probably pleuritic or musculoskeletal , she told this to her senior who ws standing behind her . The senior took the phone and said its central chest pain with radiation to the left arm . He can point to it but  its probably not the area of two fingers and he is nauseous. It is worse with coughing and deep breathing but it’s bad anyways. This got my attention .I told them to take the patient to er and sure enough he was having a heart attack.

It may surprise people but a lot of the twenty year olds will not even stay a nurse too long . I am not quoting studies. I am just quoting my experience . I have seen nurses go from being a nurse to stripper , real estate agents ,even a trucker. True story !

Of course the worst part is when they try to impart their infinite wisdom and knowledge to me. Comparing Percocet to Tylenol, telling when the patient need dialysis all the way to withholding Ivf when ordered because they think the patient is wet. Yes it has actually happened . Also holding Coumadin because the patient is on heparin . ( for a heparin window)

So whenever I have sick patients I want my old reliable gray haired nurses to manage them . Sue me if you want .


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