16 Nov, 09 | by John Offen
My eagerly anticipated placement in the Emergency Department is about to begin. It is 7 o’clock in the morning, I am a bleary eyed and apprehensive as I make my entrance into the department for the first time. A central nurse/doctor station is surrounded by rows of curtained cubicles through which I can discern the recumbent forms of patients with conditions unknown. I feel like an impostor masquerading in my freshly ironed student uniform. I look around me hoping to catch the eye of a passing nurse to whom I might introduce myself, and instead find myself beckoned into a cubicle by an elderly gentleman who needs the commode. A moment of panic sweeps over me. I do not know what is wrong with him – should I get help? Will this be seen as a lack of confidence? I decide that I am not happy with the situation, and help arrives. As the man sits on the side of the trolley, his eyes roll up in the sockets and he collapses, shaking. We manage to get him back onto the trolley, and rush him to the ‘resus’ room where he recovers and I reflect on what might have happened if I had ‘gone it alone’.