How can you make an ED more chaotic?

Remodel it, that’s how!

My ED is a busy place, with about 75, 000 visits a year, so there’s hardly a dull moment. As with most ED’s it hasn’t had one coordinated ED rebuild, so it exists as a series of added-on areas and hallway beds to manage the capacity.

Then the fun starts: the ED had enough money to remodel the busiest area of the ED, with new floors, a new central work area, etc. From the drawings it’ll give us a ton more work space using the same floor area. That’s the pleasure.

Here’s the pain: the contractor initially wanted to do about a quarter of the area at a time, and projected they’d be there through February (!). ‘Uuh, no,’ said the Powers That Be, ‘how about we give you the entire area for one month and you get it done and outta here before flu season.’ So, that’s what we’re doing.

The best quote of what it’s like is from one of my favorite nurses: “I just act like it’s a new job: I know how to do things but don’t know where anything is”, which pretty much sums it up.

The best part is that I haven’t heard any actual griping about it, which is remarkable from this collection of characters. We’re all in the same boat, and there is a payoff.

But it’s more chaotic than usual.