The first day of a 4 day stretch of work….126 days into the year:
The first couple hours of the shift start out nice and easy. In fact, I was getting all kinds of help and other nurses were saying things like, “oh let me take that next patient. I’m not doing anything”. The little hairs go up on the back of my neck. I’m being set up to be sent home early. I make myself busy. I do three online learning competencies that aren’t due for a month! I hear my name in the back ground chitter chatter at the nurse’s station and prepare for the boom. Unbeknownst to me I’m being saved for the “big case”.
It is a big bowel surgery. (rule #1: Never refer to your patient by the surgery they had. Like…the knee in bed #4 or the hernia in #10.). I’m kept very busy taking care of “the big bowel case”. The hours tick by. 4pm arrives and nurses start to go home. Since I’m doing the “big case” I do not have to take on another patient. A slight buzz of chaos is happening around me. Nurses are walking and talking faster. The phone is ringing. The stay late person and the call person will be needed. However I’m in control and my patient is ready to go to his room. I’m wheeling the patient down the hallway. I’m at the elevator. I push the button. Suddenly lots of bright lights start blinking on and off. FIRE DRILL. The elevators cannot be used. I tell my patient to keep the cold compress over his eyes so the lights don’t make him think he’s “passed to the other side”. The drill goes on forever. I roll the patient back to where we just came from. I’m an hour past the time I was supposed to go home. I’m not grateful for the extra hour of work. I wanted to go home. My princess-like crown is off centered now. As I roll the patient back to where we just came from I wonder if Florence ever felt this way.
Tidbit: At the age of 16 Florence knew she wanted to be a nurse. Some considered it her divine calling from God. Her mother was horrified because nursing was such lowly menial labor and certainly not up to par for her daughter. The head butting continues.