Aloha, and my apologies for being MIA from the blogging and social media world. I have just finished a stretch of working 84 hours in 8 days. I realize that it doesn’t sound like a lot. And for some, it’s not. But for a nurse, it’s a nightmare.
Often people say to me “Oh that’s such a nice schedule only working three days a week!” And in my head I’m going “only?!” and then imagining myself hitting the person who said that with a frying pan.
I frequently have to remind myself that most people do not know what I know, see what I see or do what I do for a living. They don’t realize that for the upwards of 13 hours I am on my toes, literally and figuratively. That when the clock strikes 7pm I may not sit back down again until 1am. I may not get the chance to pee or eat for 8 hours, until I literally beg an equally busy nurse to watch my patients so I can use the restroom.
We don’t rest because for 13 hours our patients, your families, are in our hands. Nurses minds are constantly thinking, analyzing and problem solving. With every medication we administer we stop and think of the outcome, is this the correct dose ect. We are on the front lines and in the trenches with our patients.
When a patient loses their pulse and goes into cardiac arrest we are the ones pounding on their chest, breaking their bones to save them. We’re holding their hands while painful procedures are being performed. We hold loved ones as they say goodbye to their wife/husband/mother/father. We help patients keep their dignity by shielding them from their families while they vomit, cry and appear weak.
We also do the amazing things; we help you learn to walk again. We wean patients from life saving drugs and ventilators. We get you up for the first time after open heart surgery. We can help give people a second chance at life.
And after these 12 hour shifts I drop my vomit/pee/blood covered scrubs to the bathroom floor after being away for 14+ hours, slip my throbbing feet out of my clogs and take a scalding hot shower to wash away any microbes I came into contact with. If I am lucky I will have 6 hours to sleep before getting up, putting new scrubs on and doing it again.
Would I change my career? Never. It’s the patients who thank me for holding their hand and not their doctor who performed the procedure. It’s the patients who have breathing tubes and write on a piece of paper “hold my hand please.” It’s the patients who wake up from sedation and thank you for visiting them in the ICU, they could hear your voice when they were under. They are all worth it.
It’s not just three days of work a week.
With that I say Good Afternoon and may you have a wonderful day filled with Coffee, Cats and Cusswords