"Thanks Doctor"

I don't write about my job much, mostly because I don't want to get sued or fired. I say this because everyone is so litigious these days, especially in healthcare , and I don't want to post anything that may be taken the wrong way. That being said, I am a nurse practitioner, which is an advance practice provider, and I work in the ER. Many people are often unfamiliar with what a NP is or does, even though the profession has been around for decades. NPs are mastered-prepared, and also are licensed as registered nurses. State laws on practice authority vary. In California there is full prescriptive authority, however a supervising physician is required. Furthermore, the scope of the NP practice is determined on standardized procedures in place at one's place of employment. Confusing? Yes. So often when patients call me "Doctor" or "nurse" I just don't have the time to explain my job function to them. I work in the ER, and have a lot of responsibility and autonomy. I worked in the ER as a RN, and it can be an area of burnout and dillusionment. I have definitely had my moments where I have felt burned out, especially on the days when you are the enemy of everyone... The angry patient waiting, the charge nurse for not getting an open bed fast enough, the doctor for not having the labs drawn fast enough. The ER is not like other units in the hospital where you get "thank you'd" often. Most people are not there in happy circumstances and waiting only makes it worse. The other day I had a thank you and it made me feel so validated! I had a nervous boy and his parents after he had a head injury requiring stitches. He and his family had very little experience being in a hospital, and were frantically asking me questions? Will he be healed by Christmas? Will he be permanently disfigured? Am I going to put him to sleep to do the stitches? The young boy asked, when I explained  I would inject lidocaine into his wound to numb it " you are going to inject into my brain?" When I successfully sutured his wound, without warning the boy jumped up and hugged me! "Thank you Doctor" I was so taken aback and touched, I didn't tell him " I'm not a doctor" His mom then hugged me "thank you Doctor!"  It's moments like this i love my job.

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