• Anthony Zalewski

Thanks For The Memories…

So I have stopped trying to figure out what chapter of my life I am currently on, or am transitioning to with each new life event.  That being said, I am nervously (but very anxiously) leaving the all-too-familiar confines of the emergency department to take a position as an admissions coordinator. Without boring anyone with the specifics of my new role, let me say this – it’s a Monday – Friday job, working 7am to 3pm.  I have not worked a Monday-Friday job in almost 20 years, and that part does make me a bit nervous, but also very excited.  I will be home every night with my wife and children (at least until I drive her crazy by being home every night and she leaves the house to “get some air”).  I will have every weekend to do what I want… EVERY WEEKEND….  It is a bit intimidating to think I will not have my 3 days off in a row, but I truly believe the trade-off is absolutely worth it.  But, the most interesting thing is I will be leaving behind the bedside for a desk.  For some, that is an impossible task, but for me, and where I see my life going and my degree I am pursuing, it is a welcome change.  I never wanted to be one of those old, salty nurses who complained endlessly about my job, “ate the young” or became burnt out.  But, I have to be honest – my nearly 20 years of bedside care has seriously tainted my view of healthcare as it stands today.  I have gone from caring for people and worrying about their outcomes to catering to clients and worrying about satisfaction scores.  I am not bashing any particular institution or hospital system, I generally have very good thoughts about most everywhere I have worked, and have met a great many people whom I have enjoyed working with.  No, this is more an indictment of the politics of healthcare and how patients have evolved.  I will not miss the insults, assaults, and entitlement that come with a great majority of patients these days.  There are days where I feel less like a medical professional and more like a cabana boy – graciously taking one rude comment after another while explaining to someone (in my most compassionate voice) that they did not get to go back to the department for their 3-month abdominal pain before the guy who can’t breathe and has chest pain, even though he just got here and they have been here for 18 minutes and have already eaten 3 bags of corn chips.  If my years of nursing have taught me anything it is that if I am ever to be truly content, I must never stop learning and improving myself, finding those opportunities to grow and climb the ladder whenever I can.  I have to thank all those great nurses and other staff I have worked with over the years, those that have taught me so much, supported me and kept me sane on many occasions.  You never realize the power of a good team until you are staring down five traumas at once and a full waiting room.  For those of you who are not in the medical field, you will never understand what a nurse, paramedic, registration clerk, physician, nurse practitioner, PA, secretary, security officer, greeter or even those that clean the rooms go through on an average day in the ED.  Please keep that in mind if you ever have the misfortune to be a patient or family member stuck there someday.  These people don’t need your pity, but your respect would be greatly appreciated.

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