Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gimme a Break

So I think it rather funny that when I talk to people and tell them that I am working once a week (I'm a nurse), they all think it is so great that I "get a break." Ha. Now I know that people are saying this with the best intentions and really hope for me that it is a break, but sorry it ain't. After spending 7 + hours tending to the cares of my 3 kids, I get to trade that in for tending to the care of 5-6 sick kids, well patients.

I go to work from 3pm to about midnight. The past couple times I've worked I have literally not had enough time to sit down for 5 minutes and try to eat some dinner. It's crazy. I end up eating dinners about 1/3 of the times I go to work. Even when I do get dinner it's for a max of 10 minutes. If I am lucky. I have wisened up and now just bring luna bars.

Each time I go to work I resolve to stay on top of my charting, and each time I fail. This patient just barfed, the other one is in so much pain, a doctor's calling me on the phone, and the beeper keeps going off (- for me? I don't know, I haven't quite figured out that darn little beeper.) So alas, my charting falls to the wayside. There are meds to be given at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11, and 11:30. And for some of those meds I have to crush them all up and give them in applesauce. Some I have to administer 1 at a time, waiting 3 minutes between each one. Sometimes I have to gown, glove, and mask up to enter the room to give the meds. Other meds aren't where they are suppose to be. Nothing is ever simple. Life is not simple.

Then after the evening is spent and I stay later finishing up all my charting and then I finally go home. That would be nice if that were the end of it. But you lay in bed thinking, "Did I do this?" "Did I do that?" Then some days (ahem, like today) I get a call saying I did not dot my i's or cross my t's (well I forgot to sign my name on some forms - it was my first time giving blood at this facility and I was not familiar with the 1,028 dots and crosses I needed to make). But even worse I found out that the blood didn't get all in (you have 4 hours to get blood in to a patient - after that time, if that blood hasn't gotten all in, you have to throw it out). Argh. I passed on in report that it was sluggish (giving blood thru a PICC line always is), I had put a pressure bag on it and had encouraged the next nurse to check it out so that it would get all in.

So now I feel like an awful nurse. No nurse wants to get a message, "This is for Emily. I have a question about the blood you gave last nite." Heart-beat gets faster as I start thinking of what I did - wrong blood, wrong patient, wrong site, pt. died from it, etc. Seriously, that's what I think. Luckily it turned out to be dots and crosses. But I feel like the blame is all on me that it didn't go in. So I'll fret about it until I go to work next week and end up with a new thing to fret about.

I don't know why I keep doing nursing. Well, I do know why. For the experience - I do want to keep current. For the money - every little bit counts. And, okay, because sometimes I like it. I liked it when last night when I was talking to my 90 year-old patient about how great she looks. She points to the bed next to her (the curtain was drawn) and whispers, "That lady is 91. But I look much better. I don't have all those wrinkles like she does." As I sat there and listened and chuckled, she said, "Well it's true isn't it?" It was true. Sweet little moments like those are fun.

So I didn't mean to go off and kudos to you if you made it this far. But I do not work a 9-hour no-break shift tending to the needs of 1/2 a dozen patients for "a break." Please, I would much rather have a kit-kat bar.


erinmalia said...

i'd rather have a kit kat bar as well. however, my work is a break. but the difference is that i work in place of watching the kid. i come home, eat dinner, and put him to bed. so for me work is WAY easier. but if i had to watch the babe all day and then go to work AND work as hard as you do, then no way is that a break.

and my job is way easier.

emily said...

easier only in a different way. your job is easier on the feet, but (somedays) harder on the mind. :)

Meg said...

I find this post very funny and can relate in many ways. Having also "nursed" a fair share of "patients" it is always nerve wracking as to whether or not you did everything correctly. I'm glad you didn't kill the blood recipient. That would have been very bad :)

Hans and Michelle said...

So true. I love hearing about it. And even though it isn't a break, it sounds interesting to me, who isn't doing itr right now. It's not a break, but a change of pace anyway. And good for you for staying current.