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Aphorisms, Maxims, & Pearls

Contributions to this section can be e-mailed to Emergency Nursing World !
We are looking for useful and valid clinical watchwords.
You will be cited as the contributor.
Accurate attribution and correct citation will be respected.

One set of Vital Signs isn't "hemodynamically stable". (--It is a single sample; not a verified trend.)

The undone, incomplete, unrepeated, physical assessment will get you, and the patient, into more trouble than any other problem.

The unconscious patient who "looks at heaven" will soon be going there. (--The supine unconscious patient is predisposed to airway obstruction.)

"Hypoxia not only stops the motor, it wrecks the engine." ---Haldane

The patient has to believe in his improvement. (--Patients can survive great crises if they believe they will. Consistently, and encouragingly, point out each small real improvement to aid in this.)

Pain relief and comfort measures will do great good, even when nothing else will.

The child who does not resist invasive or noxious procedures is sick. (seriously ill, at least, too institutionalized.)

"Uncommon manifestations of common diseases are more common than common manifestations of uncommon diseases."

Chemists call Water "the Universal Solvent". In many ways, Alcohol is more powerful for the misuse of it dissolves personality, family life, health, respect, and social structure.

"A surgical airway is better than an arrested patient with a nice-looking neck." from "The Difficult Airway:   Airway Aphorisims:  Random Insights into Airway Management From the Battle Weary" moderated by D John Doyle, MD, PhD, FRCPC, The Toronto Hospital; in Educational Synopses In Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine [http://anzics.herston.uq.edu.au/esia/ESIA9610/AIRWAY.htm]

"It is preferable to use superior judgment -to avoid having to use superior skill."
suggested by Robert Eager, attribution unknown

"When all else fails, revert to the basics: ABC.  Securing these will save more patients than any other measures you can take."  suggested by Paramedic Jeff Brosius, who reminds us that this was repeatedly emphasized in the training of almost all of us.

"In God we trust. All others get a spine board.". Rowley Cottingham

"Even a dead patient's vital signs are stable." William M. Bowling, MD

"The three S's of the Emergency Department: Strip'em, Stick'em, and Starve'em"
Submitted by Cheryl Brown, RN BSN,emphasizes the importance of full unhampered examination, prompt vascular access,
and maintaining NPO status in the trauma patient and the critically ill.

          1: When in doubt, give a shout. Get someone else into the room to confirm your suspicions.
2: Never tell yourself "It's probably nothing." If you have to say that, then it almost always IS something, and you had better take care of it NOW.
Submitted by William Henderson, NT SN , an experienced ER Technician and Senior Nursing Student, as useful reminders to critical thinking in the care of Emergency Patients and the value of "What's wrong with this picture?" questions in your mind.

"You will never have enough time, personnel, equipment, or backup to make this job an easy one." James R. Roberts, MD

“Patients do not die from a "failure to intubate." 'They die either from failure to stop trying to intubate or from undiagnosed oesophageal intubation.” Scott, DB Endotracheal intubation: friend or foe Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1986 Jan 18;292(6514):157-8. PMID: 3080112 copy from PubMedCentral

“The hardest part of doing a cricothyrotomy is picking up the knife.” – Peter Rosen, MD as cited by Joe Lex, MD in "Difficult Airway Toolkit"

go to The Doctor's Page: Selected Quotes On Medicine & Life
try a quotation quiz at American College of Physicians: ACPOnline

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