I triaged a lot in the ER. A lot. I was good at it, and I enjoyed it. One reason I enjoyed it is that the stuff people write and say for why they're there (the "chief complaint") is usually funny. In the ER I had additional opportunity to spiff up my night by amusing myself with how I wrote the triage notes, eg,
Pt states "I got a spider bite a few days ago and it's infected." Points to red bump in left AC. Alleged biter was not seen.
For nonmedical readers, that, translated, means "this patient has an infection from shooting up drugs."
I don't have that secondary layer in corrections, but much to my delight, this joy in my nursing life continues unabated because of the magic of nursing sick call.
Yes! Nursing sick call is the stuff. Nursing sick call is what makes corrections nursing tricky and challenging. Non--triage ninjas need not apply. There is no physician to ask about things. All you have is a piece of paper with the chief complaint, and you have to decide whether it's a problem to deal with now or schedule it. And even then, there's still no physician there. Nursing judgment and assessment FTW.
But I've gone off track. We don't have open sick call, so the kids have to scrawl out a form and drop it off. I knock people down to collect and read these things. It's rewarding.
- The banal: "soar trout"
- The peter problem: "bops on my pines"
- The attempted gangsta (foiled by correct spelling and puncutation): "I been bleedin' every month and nobody gives a shit. It also burns when I pee and you don't CARE. Imma sue you. Ain't nobody got time for YOU STUPID LAZY MOTHERFUCKERS."
- The vague: "I have a sore somewhere."
- The novel: "I hurt my back when I was liddle and the concrete makes it hurt when I sleep so I can't sleep so I need sleeping meds and also my allergic are bad so I need allergic meds and I need my anel looked at I twisted it yesterday in rec and cannot wak [crossed out] wock [crossed out] run at all and also my toenail."
It's good to know that triage never changes, no matter the surroundings.