Passion And Teamwork In A Crazy High Stress Work Environment

Published on March 12, 2011 by

If you want to know what passion and teamwork in the workplace looks and feels like, read on. And if you've always wanted to know what it's like in a major children's hospital intensive care unit, you're going to love this.

I have a guest blogger today. The writer is my daughter, but I have to tell you, I would be posting this even if she wasn't. Dana Lerma is an R.N. and graduates in August as a Nurse Practitioner.

A Weekend of Work

Dana Lerma, B.S., R.N.

Working the weekend, you never really know what you're going to get. I know I've said before that working weekends is nice because there are less people, it's generally quieter, but this weekend was not the case!!

Our census was pretty much full, and for every kid that we sent to the floor or home, we got another one. And it was SO not an even trade. We gave away an "easy" not so sick (or not sick at all in the case of the kiddos going home)- only to get a SUPER sick, trying to die, kid!

I'm not sure what it was about this weekend, but the kids were rough!! We had one pass away on Saturday, and three more just kept trying on Sunday. It was draining, and at times overwhelming!

We had 3 kids on ECMO (think heart lung bypass machine all the time), 2 on the oscillator (the "big guns" of ventilators), and 5 kids needing dialysis for kidney failure. And one really sick asthmatic wasn't doing well on whatever respiratory treatment or ventilator we put him on, so we had to have anesthesia come to put them on their "big gun" anesthesia machine!

We did things this weekend we don't usually do. We were short-staffed. We ran around like crazy just making sure that every kid was being taken care of well, but also that each nurse got to pee. At least once that day!!

I have to say, when I got home last night I was exhausted!! My feet were throbbing. My brain was tired!! But I know that I provided excellent PICU nursing care and we all worked together as a team. From the charge nurses to the bedside nurses to our wonderful nursing assistants and respiratory therapists, we all pulled together to make the crazy, hectic, weekend not appear that way to our patients and families!

And that's really what it's all about! It's OK to be crazy...that's what it's all about in the PICU! BUT- to be able to be so incognito is the true art. And I think we did just that.

No, I know we did just that. As I was leaving, my patient's father told me "You are a superb nurse. If I had to rate you, I'd give you an 11 out of ten. And I wouldn't say that about all the nurses we've had!"

So there ya go. Another exhausted PICU nurse going home happy! And another PICU family happy! In the words of the crazy Charlie Sheen, I think we're both "Winners!"

Alans note: If you would like more of Dana's writings, you can subscribe to her blog at:


  1. Randall Walters


    Making the exceptional look routine. The sign of a true professional. What an inspirational story of a "routine" weekend!

    Dana is a credit to her whole profession.

  2. Alan Allard

    "Wow!" is right! Thanks for your comments Randall, I'll pass them along to Dana.

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