To date, my attempt to introduce a new word into the nursing lexicon has been somewhat less than a viral success. See: Nurses got Jizz
Well, here is another secret word you might consider introducing into your nursing clinical vocabulary.
Some of the nurses on our ward have been lightheartedly using the ‘safeword’: Lemons
It has been very effective and I think it is about time other units adopted it.
Now, a safeword is a non-contextual (that is, unexpected) word intended to alert other people to a pre-agreed message.
In some contact sports a safeword may be used by one of the players to alert others that he feel at risk of imminent injury.
For example, in rugby union scrums a player might shout the safeword “neck!” if he is experiencing dangerous strain on his neck.
In some martial arts the safeword is “Matte” (pronounced mah-teh) meaning: wait.
Safewords are also used in sexual encounters ( often in bondage and dominant/submissive situations) to ensure pre-agreed boundaries are not crossed and any activities remain consensual and safe (um….or so I have been told)
So, from this point forth, let it be proclaimed that LEMONS is the official safeword for nursing.
The pre-agreed meaning for this safeword is: I think I need to go for a little walk now… before I totally fricking lose it. Seriously.
Scenarios that might invoke a LEMONS response include:
- That patient that has been a serial call bell offender all evening, slams down the quadruple-need-another-blanket-buzz just as you sit down to write up your notes.
Turn to the nurse next to you…..Lemons.
- You have just gotten back from that Friday special curry at the staff cafeteria and find yourself assisting two other nurses to clean up a rather voluminous diarrhoea flooded bed.
Just as you start to feel the blood drain from your face and the gag reflex flip into hypergag-a-go-go, you look the senior nurse square in the eyes…….Lemons.
- The orthopaedic registrar blows up at you because you haven’t taken the obscure blood test that he wrote up on a form and shoved into some random page of some patients notes. Somewhere.
Smile…..look over to your team leader, and……Lemons.
- You come home from the-shift-from-Hades, and your partner (who has forgotten to do the cleaning and has instead been writing on his blog all evening) is infuriatingly sub-receptive to your debriefing vent.
Quietly to yourself as you open the draw that holds the rolling pin..….Lemons, Lemons, Lemons…
I am sure you can think of many more.
To really give a credible Lemons, it is best to take one step backwards, face your colleagues, stand up straight and raise both arms loosely over the head in total, blatant submission…“……..Lemons.”
[Of course, this is all in jest and should not be confused with the very serious situation of having a code word to use in any scenario that you need rescuing from, such as escalating violence. For example some units use ‘Code Black’ or other such safephrases.]