Emergency Departments are depressing places at the best of times and last Sunday night was no exception. We arrived in the early evening and the place was, as always, heaving with people. There were angry people, abusive people, really sick people, injured people, drunk/high people, resigned people and those people that always seem to cluster right at the entrance of the ED, smoking themselves to better health.
My seven year old daughter had badly cut her wrist on a piece glass and was bleeding quite profusly – we needed urgent medical attention (fending off the anticipated accusations of bad mothering, she broke the glass while unloading the dishwasher, under supervision, and these are our first stitches in eight years of parenthood).
Admittedly, our ER visit didn’t get off to a great start, as we had to wait 15 minutes just to get our names on the list and be seen to by the triage nurse (yes, they were that busy). However, once we were seen, our experience was excellent. The poor, much-harangued staff were just lovely to my daughter and they patched her up while we waited to see a doctor for stitches. Given the number of people in the waiting room, they seemed to move through the patients pretty quickly, and in only a few hours we were seen by an absolutely lovely doctor who could not have been more gentle and kind to my terrified little girl.
But this isn’t what made our visit worthy of praise. As I was driving home from the hospital, a staff member called me to report that we had left without picking up the ‘Bravery Award’ that they must give to all of the kids who have procedures. I just wanted to get my daughter home, so I told the staff not to worry about it. Imagine my surprise when the certificate turned up in our mail yesterday, with a short note from the hospital staff. My daughter was thrilled to bits and I think that sending us the certificate was a really lovely thing for the staff to do, especially given their constant workload.
So – high praise to the Canberra Hospital’s ED admin staff – your little bit of extra effort made my little girl’s day. I also think it is great to see McDonalds, AMF Bowling and Luna Park sponsoring the award with their vouchers too. Now, if we could only get more staffing to support those lovely, hard-working ED staff ….