Nursing War Stories 1

1. Background

– busy emergency department in a rural city
– when a trauma case comes in, it’s all hands on deck.
– one afternoon one such trauma case comes in (a motor vehicle accident from memory)
– all RN’s and medical staff got involved in the trauma, with a nursing admin person do the bare basics on the other patients (taking obs etc)

2. The incident

– after an hour or so in the trauma room I need to get a piece of equipment from the main patient area.
– I walk past a previously vacant trolley and actually jump when I see someone in the trolley. The reason I jump is that the woman is obviously anorexic.
– I get my piece of equipment and go back into the trauma case.
– About half an hour later it’s back to normal and I attend to the anorexic patient – she’s had one BP taken and is reported to weigh 32 kilograms (70.5 pounds) and is aged 54. I look at her – she’s sitting upright in the trolley and staring into space. My assessment is she’s very depressed and non-communicative (based on nothing more than my psych training). I ask her if she’d like a drink of water and she doesn’t answer. I tell her I’ll be back soon, draw the curtain and go to check up on other patients.
– Another 15 minutes later an the afternoon staff have arrived – we do bed-to-bed handover. The RN I’m handing over to looks behind the curtain then pulls her back out again very quickly, looking shocked. I whispered to her ” yes, she scared me when I first saw her as well”. The RN’s response was “no, she’s dead!”.
– I look behind the curtain and the patient is indeed dead and obviously so now. The other RN, knowing I have offered her a drink whilst dead, is literally falling on the floor laughing.


  1. You got a pic?

  2. ..and you got your psych training where?

  3. Got my psych training as part of my nursing training. Any registered nurse down here is theoretically qualified in both general and psychiatric nursing on graduation. The reality of course can be different….

  4. you used the words psychiatric and reality in the same paragraph? you’re nuts!

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