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Journal of Nursing

The new meaning of the word “STAT” 

The new meaning of the word “STAT” Francis Rhodes, RN [email protected]


 I am a nurse from the “old school” meaning that I graduated back in 1970 from a diploma school of nursing. I was trained to jump when I heard the word “STAT”. This is a true story and it is so amusing that I want to share with all the other nurses and medical people that can appreciate the true value of the word “STAT”.


  It all started when I was scheduled for a Tri-phasic CAT Scan. I knew approximately one week ahead of time when the procedure was to be done. It was scheduled following a yearly follow appointment with my GI specialist for liver disease. At the time I was in their office, lab work was drawn. Two days before the scheduled scan, the hospital called me to pre-register me to save time on the morning of the procedure which was scheduled for 8:15am. At that time the hospital representative asked me if I was a diabetic, which I replied “yes” and was I taking medication for diabetes. I was indeed taking Avandamet. She asked if I had blood work done to check on my kidney function prior to testing as this was required for that procedure. I told her that blood work had been drawn in the physician’s office but I wasn’t sure what it was. She said she would call my physician and verify what testing was done and would call me back in approximately 5-10 minutes. She did call me timely and stated that the blood work drawn was not the required BUN, Creatnine but the Doctor was going to fax an order for me to have the blood work done “STAT” before my procedure so I needed to be at the hospital by 7:30AM for “STAT” blood work.


  I arrived at the hospital on the day of my procedure at 7:20AM in anticipation for “STAT” blood work. I did not want to keep anyone waiting. I approached the registration desk and told the lady was I there for a scheduled CAT scan but needed “STAT” blood work done first. She took my name and told me to have a seat. I did. There were approximately six other people already waiting but I figured being “STAT” I would be taken immediately. How wrong was I? I sat while six other people were called ahead of me. When I was finally called, I informed the intake person that I was to come in early to have “STAT” blood work drawn and she proceeded to tell me that they are running a little behind and she will call upstairs and let x-ray know that I will be a little late. After filling in the rest of the registration paper work, I was finally instructed to the outpatient Laboratory for my “STAT” blood work.


  I entered the outpatient Lab and, lo and behold, there is another waiting room full of people. I looked around for a person to tell them I was here for my “STAT” blood work. Someone in the crowd yelled out, “Take a number!!”. I responded, “I don’t want a number. I am here for “STAT” lab work”. A chorus of voices yelled out, “We all are.” So I took my number and sat down and waited for my number to be called. I finally get my “STAT” blood work drawn and it is way passed the scheduled 8:15 AM procedure time. The lab tech informs me that it will be approximately an hour before they have the results. I was guided to x-ray and sat in another waiting room until I was called and the procedure was done.


  It gave me a lot of time to think about the word “STAT” and what it means to me compared to what it means to others. In this instance it was sort of a “Hurry up and wait” affair.

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