Working in the Emergency Department has exposed me to a very diverse group of individuals who are in the need of my care. I lace up my shoes and throw on my scrubs with no idea at all what the night is going to have in store for me. Nightshift workers experience a lot interesting cases throughout the night and are given a little more independence. One of the main reasons why I wanted to become an ER nurse in the first place.
With this independence and ability to think critically on my feet, I also care for some of the more deplorable people who live in my community. Denver has a huge problem with homelessness and drugs. Like most other metropolitan areas, there is a decent size population in both of those categories. I see people who are brought in after overdosing on heroin, ingesting methamphetamine, and being drunk. I would like to say that caring for these individuals is just as easy as any other, but they aren’t.
Most times when a patient is brought in drunk or positive for drug use, they make my job especially harder. For one, they aren’t in the right mindset to think logically to understand their predicament. Two, they aren’t usually the nicest people to care for. Like an animal trapped in a corner, these individuals have adapted to defending themselves while in unfamiliar places. They’ll speak very vulgar language towards you and become aggressive. Lastly, some prefer to come to the ER for the purpose of having a warm bed and food provided to them.
More times than not, close to a majority of those patients share all three of those criteria. If a care worker doesn’t watch out, these individuals can cause some severe burn out and it can make you have an animosity towards them. I have yet to feel this way towards these people, but they tend to definitely wear my patience more than other patients. All I want to do is help these people. It made me think of how Jesus would spend most of his time with these “deplorable” people. Jesus sat with those who were deplorable in his community. He cared for those who would be looked over in society. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:16). Jesus made it clear that he did not come to save those who felt they deserved it, but rather those who knew they didn’t. I find at times that these people feel that they don’t deserve the care my staff and I provide. At the end of the day, we are all God’s children. I keep the thought in the back of my mind that Jesus died for all of our sins, but he also came to save not those who deserve salvation, but those who feel they don’t deserve it at all.