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Topic: Emergency Room Magic
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Jan 13, 2012 09:11PM)
I am back now working in the ER again, but this time I am bringing my best close up magic with me. I had a nice time at the children's hospitals, but now it is time to find the best approach to Emergency Magic. This is going to be very interesting! Relieving stress and anxiety during the off beat (those gaps between emergencies), will be a real challenge. I'll let you know how it goes. Placing an IV with minimal discomfort on the first stick always has been my best trick!
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jan 14, 2012 10:11PM)
Hehe. Can you do my wife's blood-draws? Her veins roll and she's a hard stick...

On a serious note, are you performing for the staff, patients or both?
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Jan 26, 2012 11:45PM)
I have to be much more selective in the ER for appropriate magical moments. Primarily the ideal spectator is a low acuity pediatric patient, in the ER for a non serious complaint.Asthma kids are great also after they are stabilized and are waiting during the down time between breathing treatments. I did a lot more magic when I was at the Children's hospital full time. Since I am in a community hospital ER now, I have a lot more serious situations than I had before.
Message: Posted by: Wolfgang (Mar 6, 2012 12:24AM)
I guess you've replaced your "quarter out of the ear" trick with the ol' "bullet out of the leg."
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Mar 10, 2012 11:31PM)
Here's a message for the folks packing heat out there, never try the bullet catch at home it won't turn out well for you. Trust me.
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Mar 29, 2012 04:54PM)
I'm enjoying your humor. Remember Rob, "A sick mind... is a terrible thing to waste".
Message: Posted by: rmann (Mar 30, 2012 09:21AM)
Since I am a pastor I spend a fair amount of time in the hospital ER, although it comes in spurts (sorry, couldn't resist!) When I get called, though, it is usually not 'low acuity pediatric' patients, it tends to be serious and many times end-of-life situations. This thread is making me think of other situations where magic might be of more use. Maybe in a rehab hospital, things like that. Thanks for inspiring me!
Message: Posted by: Braaainz (May 30, 2012 04:09PM)
I'm an ER nurse myself. I've never done much magic tricks there, other than some rubberband tricks and the Slydini toilet paper trick. Good for you!
Message: Posted by: JonesingForTruth (Sep 7, 2012 03:39AM)
Thanks so much for all you do... D'Lites are the first recommendation I'd never hesitate to repeat. :) And they don't get in the way if you need to ditch em and use your hands for actual medical purposes. :)
Message: Posted by: highcard (Sep 19, 2012 12:38PM)
I would think that a lot of hospitals would not appreciate magic in an emergency room setting. That could potentially be very offensive to those who are waiting for people with serious injuries, even if you're not focused on them. Especially if they find out you are a staff member - people tend to think that if every staff member isn't busy, then they're waiting for no reason.
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Oct 3, 2012 09:12AM)
Noone in the ER waits for no reason, and You are wrong to assume that the seriousness of the environment is not considered. Hospitals are buildings and are incapable of feelings. People however appreciate good bedside manner when dealing with a CARE provider. Taking a moment to cheer someone up during the course of their treatment, at appropriate times, is a good thing. Let us not wrongly assume that a professional RN or physician is playing around or wasting time when they show genuine kindness to their patients though a simple magic trick or other gesture like a hug, or holding a hand. Maybe you have come to expect far less from your medical providers; It is nurses like ME who value YOU more than than that.
Message: Posted by: trevthemagician (Dec 8, 2013 10:45AM)
A good trick for the ER would be ambitious card or misers dream
Message: Posted by: adrianbent (Dec 8, 2013 09:54PM)
Thanks for this thread, its exactly what I was thinking. I am a dad who has had experiences with my own kids at the local children's hospital ER (high fevers mostly), and thanks to the triage system, I noticed many other non-critical patient-families waiting for long periods... at any time of the day or night 24/7/365.... which would make a great gig for me since I work 5 days a week, and with magic as a hobby I don't necessarily want to spend my weekends and evenings with people other than my family; once my kids are in bed however, I could spend a few hours at the ER waiting room any day of the week! My wife made the same caution though, respect and tact MUST be the hallmark. maybe instead of an approach, I could set up a table with a sign that says "Long wait? I can show you a magic trick, just ask!"

D'you think it'd work? Im not a nurse, or any kind of staffer, so I don't know if I could get the trust upfront from the powers that be (that I would be respectful and appropriate)
Message: Posted by: thementalcoach (Dec 9, 2013 02:15PM)
When I was a US Navy Hospital Corpsman, working in a Naval Hospital ER, I saw lots of people, of all ages, in all kinds of mental and physical distress. I learned one of the most powerful tools I could use was distraction. When people focus on pain or fear, that's their world and it just keeps building. With children, especially, if they are distracted from what's going on with them (or their parent/s reactions) they often feel better. I used it a lot and it worked great.

What I'd suggest (after getting permission from administration and ER staff) is asking a parent if you could show their child a magic trick to help them feel better. Showing the admin/staff samples of what you will do (so they know it doesn't involve shock or noise) would be a good idea.

It's great you want to do this, good luck and let us know how it goes.
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (Jan 9, 2014 10:30PM)
I am so glad to hear stories of other folks bringing their art into the clinical setting. It is needed now more than ever. Our healthcare delivery system is the worst its ever been. We need more acts of kindness to offset the inhumanity of our current system. Caregivers are ever more trapped at computer screens than actually working at the bedside interacting with their patients. Taking a moment to share something special, helps both the practitioner and the patient connect in a meaningful way. We the people caught up in this system can have a bi-directional caring experience when we introduce a performance art into the care model. Magic, Music, Comedy, Poetry all works to our benefit.
Message: Posted by: RajeshLGov (Jan 30, 2014 08:11AM)
All the Best. God Bless you. Regards, Raj.
Message: Posted by: Goldfield (Mar 15, 2014 07:31AM)
Nurse Rob, I'm with you 110%! Magic and pure clowning is the ultimate equalizer in the hospital environment. Just a thought, I use the tongue depressor by performing the p****e move with it. Ill glance the patients name and write it on one side with my sharpie. The reveal is done in the fist by pushing it out (much like a card through the hand reveal). The results are magical :)
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Nov 8, 2014 01:48AM)
Nice, anytime you can make a sick person smile is a plus upstairs. :gift:
Message: Posted by: MAV (Jan 12, 2015 07:22PM)
I do not have a medical background but I always take sanitation in consideration when deciding which tricks to use in a hospital setting. In other words, I would never exchange sponge balls with a patient, or even have them shuffle a deck of cards. As magicians we must be very careful that we don't open up the opportunity for the unsafe exchange of germs, diseases, virus etc., between patients, particularly when going from room to room. Nurse Rob may have a comment on this subject.
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 28, 2015 10:29AM)
Although I have used magic on hospital Chemical Dependency units ,
I never used magic while consulting in the E. R.

I can see it useful by the right staff and right patient moment.

My thanks for sharing there and here.
Message: Posted by: Kuzushi (Mar 3, 2015 05:08PM)
Obviously discretion is warranted, but assuming that, I think it is a wonderful opportunity to interact with people and make them feel at ease.
Message: Posted by: Lou Is (Jun 1, 2015 02:34PM)
[quote]On Sep 19, 2012, highcard wrote:
I would think that a lot of hospitals would not appreciate magic in an emergency room setting. That could potentially be very offensive to those who are waiting for people with serious injuries, even if you're not focused on them. Especially if they find out you are a staff member - people tend to think that if every staff member isn't busy, then they're waiting for no reason. [/quote]

That's a very good point. I do however think that the odd trick might go a LONG way in making someone's day a heck of a lot better. But you'd have to be very aware of the situation. I do think that some of the staff might really appreciate a bit of light hearted magic every now and then though.
Message: Posted by: Ray Bertrand (Jul 19, 2015 12:37AM)
[quote]On Feb 28, 2015, Harris wrote:
Although I have used magic on hospital Chemical Dependency units ,
I never used magic while consulting in the E. R.

I can see it useful by the right staff and right patient moment.

My thanks for sharing there and here. [/quote]

I have used magic many times in Adult Detoxification units. People appreciate a bit of levity and I often explain how they can 'escape' from the throes of addictions.

Ray
Message: Posted by: harris (Jul 19, 2015 10:25AM)
Thanks for sharing Ray. ( and others)

It is good to bring light into dark places.
Message: Posted by: magicshowprod (Jul 20, 2015 10:54AM)
Standing ovation for the folks that go above and beyond, using magic to help patients take their minds off their fears for a few moments. We need more of these daily heroes in our communities!

Hopefully, others in the same position will be inspired by how these folks are using magic in such a positive way!
Message: Posted by: zoescout (Jul 22, 2015 12:40AM)
[quote]On Jun 1, 2015, Lou Is wrote:
[quote]On Sep 19, 2012, highcard wrote:
I would think that a lot of hospitals would not appreciate magic in an emergency room setting. That could potentially be very offensive to those who are waiting for people with serious injuries, even if you're not focused on them. Especially if they find out you are a staff member - people tend to think that if every staff member isn't busy, then they're waiting for no reason. [/quote]

That's a very good point. I do however think that the odd trick might go a LONG way in making someone's day a heck of a lot better. But you'd have to be very aware of the situation. I do think that some of the staff might really appreciate a bit of light hearted magic every now and then though. [/quote]
I am in the medical field and in my personal experiences, I have found the exact opposite to be true. Sure there is always a time and place and use common sense, but people have always responded very positively to my magic, including families waiting on their loved ones.
Message: Posted by: Anand Khalsa (Aug 3, 2015 06:19PM)
Performing in this sort of environment is what magic is all about.
Message: Posted by: jcrabtree2007 (Feb 22, 2016 01:48AM)
I've been a Nurse for 27 years and have been doing magic for just about as long. I've always found that it was a great ice breaker, especially when dealing with children. Either some stickers from my personal collection or a simple trick. I've spent the last 15 years in the Emergency Dept. (Level 2 Trauma Center). I mainly only do magic for children in the ED (when time allows) Not only does the magic allow for a better patient experience but it also saves time in getting the child to cooperative. Children are usually pretty terrified of the Hospital (the great unknown) and although the performance may take a minute away from other duties, I save the time on the back end by not involving 3-4 other nurses holding a child down for an IV for 5-10 minutes.
Here is a Nursing Tip . If I have to start an IV, I've also realized that after I show the child some magic, I can make the sharp needle disappear leaving just the soft flexible plastic catheter (nurses will know what I'm talking about). I'll show the child the plastic catheter, maybe poke at mom (it doesn't hurt) and let the child handle the plastic catheter. Their fear of the needle is much eliminated. Its not the needle that brings fear to the patient, its the anticipation of the needle. I'm very good with the needle and rarely miss. IV's don't hurt much when done right (usually) and I don't hold children down for IV's. They go very smoothly. I only recommend this method if you are very adept at starting IV's. If you miss or have the dig with the needle, you've lost the trust and confidence of the child. But if your skills warrant the risk, you will find that kids do very well with this method. Just a thought.
Message: Posted by: NurseRob (May 6, 2016 12:02AM)
[quote]On Feb 22, 2016, jcrabtree2007 wrote:

Here is a Nursing Tip . If I have to start an IV, I've also realized that after I show the child some magic, I can make the sharp needle disappear leaving just the soft flexible plastic catheter (nurses will know what I'm talking about). I'll show the child the plastic catheter, maybe poke at mom (it doesn't hurt) and let the child handle the plastic catheter. Their fear of the needle is much eliminated. Its not the needle that brings fear to the patient, its the anticipation of the needle. I'm very good with the needle and rarely miss. IV's don't hurt much when done right (usually) and I don't hold children down for IV's. They go very smoothly. I only recommend this method if you are very adept at starting IV's. If you miss or have the dig with the needle, you've lost the trust and confidence of the child. But if your skills warrant the risk, you will find that kids do very well with this method. Just a thought. [/quote]

This is the best use of medical magic I know of. For the clinician with good IV skills, showing a trick first creates a trust factor. And it's an instant distraction turning fear into cheer!Being a magic nurse is a real super power!
Message: Posted by: harris (Oct 23, 2016 05:31PM)
Lately I've been bringing my ukulele when going with someone to Outpatient Surgery.
It's music that is the magic.
Message: Posted by: AndreOng1 (Nov 12, 2016 12:59PM)
Interesting read always thought the seriousness of the environment will not be too good for magic.
But being able to use magic as "an instant distraction turning fear into cheer" as NurseRob said it, really change my mind toward whether it be appropriate performing in hospitals.
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Apr 8, 2017 01:20PM)
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum and would like to thank you for letting me in :)

I'm quite new to performing magic but have always enjoyed it. Decided to take it up again with my eldest! Oh boy, we both have jumped in full on!

As a clinician in the paediatric field, I find magic really does do wonders. Not just motivating the kids themselves but their family members and the rest of the staff in the wards/clinic. After a tough day or even in the middle of a tough day, with some real sad stories, a little bit of magic really helps everyone go on.

In fact on a personal level, magic has helped me pull through and motivate me with my own medical issues. Just watching a trick well executed is motivating. Seeing the excitement it brings to others is priceless and pushes me to try and be better and bring more to the table quite literally!

On that topic, I was wondering what kind of magic you as a community have found useful/most appropriate in the hospital Setting? Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Message: Posted by: RowB (Apr 19, 2017 05:04PM)
My friend David has been killing it with mixing medicine and magic:

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/dr-magician-med-student-uses-magic-make-patients-fear-disappear-n711096
Message: Posted by: Station10 (Apr 25, 2017 12:26AM)
I'm a firefighter/EMT and have used magic many times over the past 23 years to help calm a child, ease the tension or pass the time. It's not something I do all the time and the situation has to be right for me to do it. Obviously I'm not going to delay or forgo any of my responder duties but I've found that sometimes in a scary situation a little bit of brevity can go a long way. We are there to try to make this persons bad day a little better and I've found that judicious use of magic can certainly help.
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Apr 25, 2017 03:47AM)
[quote]On Apr 25, 2017, Station10 wrote:
I'm a firefighter/EMT and have used magic many times over the past 23 years to help calm a child, ease the tension or pass the time. It's not something I do all the time and the situation has to be right for me to do it. Obviously I'm not going to delay or forgo any of my responder duties but I've found that sometimes in a scary situation a little bit of brevity can go a long way. We are there to try to make this persons bad day a little better and I've found that judicious use of magic can certainly help. [/quote]


That's awesome to hear. Would love to know what kind of magic tricks you do and what you find works best
Message: Posted by: Station10 (Apr 25, 2017 05:56PM)
I usually don't come prepared to do any magic, but if the situation presents itself I'll make do with what I have available. I usually have a coin or two on me and will do a few simple coin vanishes or productions, maybe make it go through my body. I do sometimes carry a thumb tip on me and will make a silk appear & disappear. In the back of the ambulance I'll use tissues and do a torn & restored tissue or wad it up and make it disappear.

Like I said magic isn't my primary concern but I do find it a useful tool. Sometimes the best medicine you can provide is a smile. Get them to calm down and refocus on something else.
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Apr 25, 2017 08:57PM)
[quote]On Apr 25, 2017, Station10 wrote:
I usually don't come prepared to do any magic, but if the situation presents itself I'll make do with what I have available. I usually have a coin or two on me and will do a few simple coin vanishes or productions, maybe make it go through my body. I do sometimes carry a thumb tip on me and will make a silk appear & disappear. In the back of the ambulance I'll use tissues and do a torn & restored tissue or wad it up and make it disappear.

Like I said magic isn't my primary concern but I do find it a useful tool. Sometimes the best medicine you can provide is a smile. Get them to calm down and refocus on something else. [/quote]

Brilliant. I know what you mean with priorities. But sometimes it helps build rapport. I use mine in a clinic setting to settle a scared child before a scan.. I find something as simple as lit up thumb tips and simple rubber band routines help
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 27, 2017 08:05AM)
I'm not a medic, but, I have "39 summers" of experience in summer camp staffing. When 11 year olds, visit the first aid "station", they're often nervous, and in mild shock.

Patience, kindness, and, occasionally a bit of magic, really is helpful!

The key word, is: KISMIF. (acronym for "Keep It Simple Make It Fun") --No magic shop props! T&R Tissues, cotton balls are great impromptu sponge balls, Rubber band bits, in Scout camp, I always had a 4' piece of rope for knot tricks.

Occasionally, we would have an MD, who would spend a week of his vacation, in residence. I was sometimes useful when he had to do a bit of suturing!

Of course, discretion, and common sense, are important!
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (May 4, 2017 12:06PM)
[quote]On Apr 27, 2017, Dick Oslund wrote:
I'm not a medic, but, I have "39 summers" of experience in summer camp staffing. When 11 year olds, visit the first aid "station", they're often nervous, and in mild shock.

Patience, kindness, and, occasionally a bit of magic, really is helpful!

The key word, is: KISMIF. (acronym for "Keep It Simple Make It Fun") --No magic shop props! T&R Tissues, cotton balls are great impromptu sponge balls, Rubber band bits, in Scout camp, I always had a 4' piece of rope for knot tricks.

Occasionally, we would have an MD, who would spend a week of his vacation, in residence. I was sometimes useful when he had to do a bit of suturing!

Of course, discretion, and common sense, are important! [/quote]


KISMIF love it. Great tips!