Volunteering: The GOOD, The BAD and The FUNNY

ready for everything 24/7

ready for everything 24/7


As I walk from the Employee Parking Lot to the ER tonight, I notice a man walking near me, wearing the same ugly Volunteer smock as I am. He asks what department I work in, so I ask him the same question.  He works in the Cancer Unit, which for me is the HARDEST place of all. His wife died of cancer a year ago and he works with some of the staff that took care of her. OMG! Talk about a good person. I’m SO inspired by people who experience horror and can go on to help others in the same boat. Kudos!


Triage is a nightmare — standing room only.  This demanding extremely loud woman starts swearing because she notices others going in before she does. Uh— that’s why they call it Triage, Honey.  Patients with life-threatening illnesses go to the head of the line. Patients with potty mouths go to the end of the line.

If you ever bring a  friend or family member into the ER waiting room or you come in as a patient yourself, write this down so you’ll remember :

To the Guard, to the Triage Nurse, to the Volunteers —  no matter how much you’re hurting.

When someone gets bitchy/complainy/demanding the staff tends to put that particular chart at the bottom of the stack. Keep in mind—everyone in the waiting room is there because of some kind of emergency and even though your emergency is the biggest deal to you, it isn’t to anyone else (unless it’s really life-threatening and that’s another story). So really try to be as polite as you can. It goes a very long way with anyone who’s on the eleventh hour of his/her twelve-hour shift.


Just when I think things can’t get any crazier, a stressed out Mom is with her one-week old baby boy in PEDS when her husband arrives, accompanied by Mom’s supposedly “best friend” (huh?) — Picture this:  Mom still has her baby tummy and looks like she hasn’t slept for a week. The “best friend” is wearing stilettos, tight jeans, a low-cut tank and looks like she just had her make-up done at Barneys.

The baby has nothing on, because we’re trying to bring down his fever. So the “best friend” says to the husband re: the baby’s UNIT (that happens to be swollen)…

“WOW! Your son really takes after you!


Just another night in the life of an ER Volunteer…

(What good, bad and funny have you experienced in an ER? Share in the comments.)

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3 responses to “Volunteering: The GOOD, The BAD and The FUNNY”

  • Anonymous:

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

    • Evie...:

      Great! Hope you have A LOT of friends! Thanks!

  • Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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Sentenced to volunteer at Greater L.A. Medical (GLAM!) Hospital... I'm on-call in my worst nightmare -- ?!
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