Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How close are nursing and waiting tables???

Is nursing just waiting tables?  I do realize there are stark differences, but seriously 10 years of waiting tables was probably one of the most important learning experiences to being a nurse.  Here are a few of the similarities  :-)

1.  You have your "section" with no real power of decision who gets into it.  Whether its a 3-table section, 5 med-surg rooms, etc.  You don't get to pick and choose who gets waited on; it truly is the luck of the draw.  And the ability to remember that table 93 needed more ranch, table 92's food should be up, the antibiotic is done in 42, 39 needed more pain meds, etc, etc.  That mental list of what all those people need in your section.

2.  Some people patients/patrons will NEVER be happy.  Their steak was cooked perfectly, their incisions are healing great, the ambiance was perfect, whatever.  These people are still not happy and will find something to complain about.  The bruise on their little toe is a 10/10 pain.  The ice water is too cold.  It's always something.

3.  On the other hand, those people that have a legitimate reason to complain, will be, eh its ok.  Sure my steak is a little overdone (visibly WD when ordered M) or their pain is from metastatic cancer to the bones and brain and they rate their pain a 5/10.  They will roll with the punches and not complain.  God bless those people, for real.

4.  Pockets.  A server or nurse's pockets are a treasure trove of chapstick, change, straws, and maybe, just maybe a pen.  Why do people think the companies supply those things?

5.  Co-workers.  Waiting tables and nursing, leads to a very close relationship with co-workers.  Whether its the hot expo line and someone yelling they need help carrying a 10-top out or someone calling to bring extra wipes and a change of linens to the room, there is a certain closeness there.  Maybe its dealing with people.  And believe me, watching some people eat is just as gross as changing their dirty britches.  Whatever it is, the  "this is so crazy, we just have to laugh", is true in both fields.

6.  You get to see all kinds of humanity.  Sometimes we get comfy in our social bubble and forget about the people we don't see.  The poor, the trashy, the have no hygiene, don't know how to tip, don't realize a hospital is not a hotel, the uneducated, the rude, etc, etc.  Those people will show up and interact with the server or nurse.  It is an eye-opening experience to really see how people live.

7.  Families.  Lord help us.  Waiting on a table with 20 family members was torture for me.  The well what's grandma getting, we need to make sure she eats first, how is the bill being split, can we split grandma's bill between the 8 grandkids, can she read the menu, somebody order for her.  Schwoo!  The families that are in denial about what grandma's wishes clearly state in her living will.  The families that have fights bedside when grandma is sick.  Seriously, maybe its something that should be discussed in private or before you get to the restaurant.

8.  The bossy family member.  The spouse that has to order for their spouse, and even when asking the quiet spouse "would you like ranch on your salad?" jumps in and says "she'll take french".  Excuse you, I believe she can talk.  The family member that says "she doesn't need more pain meds" when obviously in pain.  Seriously?  Remove your ego from the situation and focus on the person.

9.  The always need something more person.  When I waited tables, I would always ask, "need anything else with the meal?"  Invariably, people would respond, more ranch, butter, napkins, pop, whatever.  Then there are those people that can't think of everything at once.  I need more ranch.  Come back with ranch.  Oh I need more butter.  Come back, Oh I need more napkins.  OOOKKKK anyyythiing else I can bring you with the meal?  Same thing with nursing.  I always ask "is there anything else I can do for you?"  Same thing.  Those people that make you run back and forth, oh I see through what you're doing.  More ice, another pop, another pillow, warm blanket, and the channel changed, anything else?  This girl was not born yesterday.

10.  The people.  I love people, the variety, the never really know what you're going to get with a new table or patient.  Seriously waiting tables was the best training ever for nursing.  So happy nurse's week to all my fellow comrades who clean dirty britches, deal with all the above, and still manage to smile  :-)