Female troper, resident of Metropolitan Detroit
. Discovered this site while researching a piece of fan fiction, and promptly became addicted. TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life
. Sad but true.
Favorite fandoms include much of science fiction, whether literary, film or game. Expect me to nitpick areas of medical and technological inaccuracy. I've also had the occasional crack at writing fan fiction, most notably for Mass Effect
This Troper provides examples of:
- Action Girl: What, you mean every girl doesn't like to fish, hunt and practice survival skills?
- Big Friendly Dog: Two of them.
- Blind Without 'Em: High myopia will do that to you. I correct to 6/6, but without glasses or contacts I struggle to count fingers at two meters.
- Canada, Eh?: Subverted. I'm a native Michigander, but have been mistaken for Canadian more times than I care to recall.
- Crazy-Prepared: I never go anywhere without a flashlight, a compass and a multi-tool. At work, I'm always the one with extra tape, gauze, alcohol wipes and so forth.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: I'm told this makes me very un-fun to watch movies with.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death Glare: Usually applied to those who are being un-professional or just plain stupid.
- Gamer Chick: RPGs, puzzle games and the occasional first-person shooter.
- Geek: Unusually broad-based education? Check. Slight stature? Check. Corrective lenses? Check. Scored "Super Geek" on the Geek Test? Check. And proud of it, too!
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: Frequently catch grief from friends, family and colleagues for unusually difficult professional and leisure activities? Check.
- Happily Adopted
- Heavy Sleeper / Not a Morning Person / Must Have Caffeine: In order, describes my average "wake cycle" (on midnight shifts, your internal clock runs 12 hours reversed - you get up at 5 PM and go to sleep around 9 AM).
- I Can't Dance: And don't ask me to try. The results tend to be... unappealing.
- Medical Drama: Comes with the job. Some examples below...
- Afraid of Needles: Happens about Once A Shift. Bonus points for the "afraid" party being covered in tattoos, piercings, etc.
- Annoying Patient: Frequent flyers. Seekers. Status dramaticus. We see them all. In addition, every ED has That One Patient - known by name and on sight to every staffer, and able to induce screaming terror in even the most seasoned veterans.
- Battleaxe Nurse: Averted. Amusingly, the Battleaxes tend to burn out faster than their more compassionate colleagues, particularly in rapid-fire, high-stress environments like Emergency.
- C.A.T. Trap: Really, pretty much every trip to Resus ever is going to involve a stop-off for a CT scan. Luckily, claustrophobia is much less an issue with open architecture, and the new high-speed machines have you in and out faster than it takes us to transport you down to Radiology.
- Chest of Medals: In healthcare generally (and nursing in particular), most certifications come with award pins to stick on your ID badge, and the really tough certs confer post-nominal initials as well. The practice does become a little ridiculous when your "alphabet soup" exceeds your name in length.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Three lies for the price of one. It isn't Clean or Pretty at all, and even though it's by far the most effective intervention for achieving recovery from cardiac emergencies, not that Reliable either.
- Danger Deadpan: Contrary to what you see on TV, staff do not scream, swear or throw things in Resus. Quite the opposite: one of the key signs that a case is going badly is the observation that staff have suddenly switched from Casual Danger Dialog and Gallows Humor to dead-flat professional voices.
- Doctor's Orders: Averted. Patients are entirely free to disobey; we just discharge them home Against Medical Advice. Usually while muttering "What an Idiot."
- Dressed to Heal: Scrubs, of course.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In my hospital, staff scrubs are color-coded to job category - OR green (plus or minus a Labcoat of Science and Medicine) for physicians, grey for physician assistants and nurse practitioners, ciel blue for nurses, royal blue for licensed non-nursing personnel, hunter green for aides, and burgundy for non-patient care staff (housekeepers, secretaries, etc). If you work in OR or Labor/Delivery, then you wear hospital-issued OR green with a jacket in your professional color.
- Hazmat Suit: A cadre of our staff is trained in CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive) casualty management, including the wear of HAZMAT gear. It's hot, heavy, restrictive, and has the unfortunate side effect of making the wearer look like a demented garden gnome.
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Was known for having a moderately Badass-looking one in school. Nowadays I only wear it at the teaching lab, or when meeting Hospital Administration - white coats are an often-overlooked infection hazard in the patient-care environment.
- Non-Uniform Uniform: Your work scrubs can come from any manufacturer and be in any design, as long as they're solid and in your professional color. This leads to some highly original looks among staff - people walk around wearing everything from lace to cargo pants. And then there are the shoes...
- Groin Attack: Ladies and gentlemen, the Foley catheter.
- High-Pressure Blood: Played straight and subverted. Yes, arterial injuries can be quite dramatic, but by far the most dramatic High Pressure Blood incidents involve staff mishaps - as in, inexperienced and/or panicked staff mis-loading transfusion units into the rapid infuser. Bloody Hilarity Ensues.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Most aren't. For every classic "elephant on the chest," we see scads of "I'm fine, really, it's just heartburn/pulled back/stomach flu."
- Hospital Gurney Scene: Played straight by pretty much every Resus case ever.
- Hospital Hottie: Averted, by myself and 98% of my colleagues. Most of us don't look that bad outside of the hospital. On duty, we're all wearing uniform scrubs, are sporting very utilitarian hair styles (let's just say it's poor form to have hair in your face during a code, or during sterile procedures), and aren't wearing much makeup (no point when you'll have to wash it off at least once a shift).
- Instant Sedation: No it isn't, though we certainly wish it was sometimes!
- Magical Defibrillator: Helpful, but not magic.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Enforced trope. Trauma training forces you to ignore dramatic injuries in favor of systematic assessment. The classic training scenario involves a sham "patient" suffering from one obvious, gory, but relatively manageable injury (hand/foot amputations and crush injuries are classic) and two less obvious but much deadlier injuries (penetrating chest trauma, tension pneumothorax, etc). Newbies will get hung up on the gory injury every time, only for the "patient" to decompensate and die from the overlooked injury.
- Orifice Invasion: This has gotten better over time; the old dictum of intensive care (circa 1990) was "A critically ill patient isn't adequately managed until you have a catheter in every orifice and every blood vessel." Nowadays we prefer the "minimally invasive" approach (noninvasive ventilator masks instead of endotracheal intubation, peripheral cardiac output monitors instead of Swan-Ganz catheters, etc) - it reduces infection risk and leads to shorter hospital stays.
- Night Nurse: Heavily averted. There is nothing even remotely sexy about what my colleagues and I do for a living, whether on the 1900-0730 shift or any other.
- Radiograph Of Doom: Physicians and nurses alike do play this trope quite straight, along with its less lethal sibling, Radiograph of This Is Gonna Suck (images of nasty fractures, retained foreign bodies and other traumatic badness). However, since Everything Is Online these days, nobody's actually holding films to the box for old-school "wet reads" - instead we're all congregated around the rad tech's workstation.
- Lab Test of Doom: a sub-trope in which something horrifying pops up in the patient's lab results (critically deranged blood counts, electrolytes, cardiac enzymes, etc). In that instance, notification usually comes by phone from the laboratory.
- Red Alert: *BEEEP* "Activate Resus, adult medical, ETA 3-5 minutes. Team 1 respond." Followed by a whole bunch of doctors, nurses and techs suddenly running for the resuscitation bay. House-wide, the same effect is invoked by the overhead call "CPR Team STAT."
- Smoky Gentlemen's Club: How just about everybody imagines the doctors' private dining room: a wondrous, forbidden enclave where the great healers relax in the lap of luxury, while plotting their vast incomes and discussing their leisure lives (yachts, country club memberships, vacation homes, etc). It actually features the same lousy cafeteria food, out-dated magazines and journals, off-duty staff snoozing in convenient corners, and TV permanently tuned to sports or business-news, as every other breakroom in the rest of the hospital. The only difference is the marginally nicer furniture. Nurse breakroom coffee actually tends to be better than the doctors'.
- Super Doc: Emergency department personnel must be able to diagnose and treat any medical complaint, from the deadly to the benign, on patients ranging from newborn to super-aged, with perfect accuracy in a matter of hours (or even minutes). Hence, pretty much any ED will staff disproportionate numbers of Super Docs, Super Nurses and Super Techs.
- Triage Tyrant: This trope is actually inverted in most modern, busy emergency departments. The Triage nurses spend a massive chunk of their time terrorizing the other staff to move existing patients out of the ED, to clear space for new patients and prevent extended wait times.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: And by extension, pretty much every other form of "Bodily Function Indiscretion Shot" you can dream up.
- Worst Aid: We've had to patch up more than a few victims of it.
- You Won't Feel a Thing: Averted. We do warn our patients when a procedure is going to be uncomfortable, acutely painful, or strange-feeling (in addition to being the polite thing to do, it decreases the number of procedural problems caused by patient flinching). That warning is somewhat of a cold comfort, however, when we're standing over you with a Foley in sterile-gloved hand, or a 14ga Angiocath aimed at your arm.
- Michigan Nice: Yet another reason for that persistent mistaken-for-Canadian problem.
- Minored in Asskicking: I'm unfailingly polite and tend to avoid conflict - unless you threaten my friends, my family or my patients, and then it's going to get very ugly, very quickly.
- Mistaken For Military: Constantly. Apparently to most people, being polite, calm, and having a properly pressed outfit and polished shoes on is a sure sign that a Drill Sergeant Nasty must have figured prominently in your life experience. This is false. See also: Strict Catholic School, Nuns Are Spooky, and most certainly not Catholic School Girls Rule.
- Neutral Good
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Occasionally accused of being this, and the accusation is usually preceded by someone asking "I bet you see a lot of really gross stuff in your job..."
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: I have a voracious reading habit, had a very broad and eclectic secondary education, and tend to have a very good memory. As a result, "Is there anything you don't know?" is a common refrain among my colleagues, friends and family.
- Precision F-Strike: Lampshaded by a friend's brother who believed I wasn't capable of saying anything stronger than "hell" or "damn." When he wound up the recipient of a MIRV-ed F Ballistic Missile in the course of an If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech, he very quickly reconsidered his opinion. See also Beware the Nice Ones.
- Sophisticated as Hell: I sometimes come off this way if I'm in a particularly Deadpan Snarker mood.
- The Metric System Is Here to Stay: Since practically everything in medicine is done in metric these days (temperatures in Celsius, patient weights in kilograms, medication doses in milligrams, IV fluids in milliliters), I use metric almost exclusively in regular life as well. I get a lot of weird looks from fellow Americans as a result. Probably contributes to the Canada, Eh?
- Team Mom: I usually wind up being this to my friends, patching them back up after some drunken escapade or another. And then politely asking them just what in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster they thought they were doing.
- Tomboy: From tree-climbing kid to home-repairing, computer-building, sports-fan adult. There's even a picture of me swinging a pick-axe at Habitat For Humanity in nursing school, with the caption "...And yes, she'll be your nurse someday."
The Electronic Intelligence
series provides examples of:
The Special Effects
series (and its spin-offs, Greensleeves
) include examples of: