It's a terrible thing, having patients in the hallways. I hate it, the nurses hate it, the hospital administration hates it. And guess what? Patients hate it too. It's kind of like being in limbo, where you may or may not have a nurse assigned to you, and you may or may not see your doctor (or any staff member, depending on which corner you are shuffled off into), and people walk by you constantly without talking to you or making eye contact. It seems like the most common types of patients I see on the hallway gurneys are:
- Drunks slowly metabolizing their way to freedom (often in 4-point restraints)
- Psych patients awaiting evaluation (often in 4-points, with security present)
- Demented geriatric patients awaiting ambulance transfer back to the
- Little old ladies being admitted, waiting for a bed
- Patients with police needing an "OK to book" exam
- Three-year-old children with ear infections (who will never be seen if they have to wait for a regular bed)
- Histrionic Anxiety/Chest Pain patients who came in via 911 but the charge nurse thinks is faking it.
- Regular folks with moderate orthopedic injuries
A lot of the other folks I am quite content to ignore, especially the drunks.
And of course I feel terrible for the parents of the children who get stuck in the hallway. (invariably close to the most foul-mouthed, abusive smelly drunk we have) Sure, they didn't need to be there, they could have gone to their doc in the morning, but their kid is sick and they got anxious, and their punishment is that they have to explain why that smelly man told the nurse to "go f*ck yourself, b*tch!" Not exactly what I would want for my kid.
Well, once we get the Death Star on line we won't have to deal with that anymore, I hope. For a year or two, until we outgrow the new place.