THE INSANITY OF CALL
After working a full day two PACU nurses were on call from 6 pm-7:30 am . Call case #1 was an 84 year old woman who was still on a ventilator post surgery. Patients still on a ventilator are often sent directly to ICU instead of coming into PACU. No beds available in ICU so the patient spent a couple of hours in PACU. When the patient finally transferred to ICU the two on call PACU nurses could go home.
Shortly after they got home call case #2 brought them back to the hospital. An elderly person had fallen. A large hematoma developed. The patient had to go into the operating room and then to PACU to recover before being sent to a room.
The PACU nurses didn’t get to go home before call case #3 occurred. A baby being born c-section. I told you those pregnant woman have babies at all times of the night or day!
By now it time for the day shift to start. One of these extremely tired PACU nurses had to work. How safe can that be? Yeah the money is great at time and half or double time. But, money isn’t everything. How about having a life other than work? And not being so tired that you can’t enjoy the time you do have off? How about that?
In this story all of this all happened in the middle of the week . Weekend call isn’t as bad (yeah-right!) because you can sleep during the day unless someone breaks a hip, leg, or develops an appendix rupture. A gangrenous finger or toe will get you into the operating room pretty fast also. An intestinal blockage will get you an invite to be a call case too. There’s all kinds of stuff that can happen to people.
My co-workers have been prepping me like crazy to accept the job and join the fun taking call. It’s the “misery loves company” thing. They’ve been saying it’s not bad and all nighters don’t happen very often. In a hushed voice I heard one of the nurses telling another nurse how they got stuck at the hospital for 18 hours straight. She cried her eyes out while driving home. I yell to them, “hey I can hear you!”
The insanity of CALL.
TIDBIT Florence was always on call. In one source I found nurses were paid .40 CENTS per DAY in the early 1800’s. If and that’s a big “IF” Florence or any of her nurses got paid extra for staying late or being “on call” all the time it would not amount to much.
A BIT of PERSONAL TIDBIT We have several Physician Assistants leaving the hospital because someone decided that PA’s should take call. That was not a part of their job description to begin with. However employers have the right to change job duties. We are losing experienced people due to this change. What is the rationale for this change? I don’t know the answer. Is there a better way to handle CALL?