Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

damn. it's been nearly a month and a half and since i've last written. and i have been basically unmotivated to do ANYTHING by the way of productivity or entertainment, and therefore elected instead to write this blog . here's a list of things i could have done when i got home from work tonight:

1) do some stupid but necessary modules online at school for class
2) study for my final on monday
3) catch up on one billion pages of reading, some leftover from last semester.
4) watch true blood
5) fill out my monthly expenses spreadsheet
6) clean up all the clutter on my desk by throwing away receipts i've saved to enter into spreadsheet
7) clean the house in general. i'm still not sure how i'm not totally bald with all the hair all over the floor. surely it can't all come from me!

what i opted to do instead was
1) dick around on facebook
2) read emails and opt not to answer them
3) think about what to make for breakfast tomorrow
4) write this blog.

and so write i shall! today's blog is to help clarify for friends, family and curious onlookers exactly what happens in the day of a life of an RN. who am i kidding? this is totally for my mom so there is no confusion as to where the "i'm tired" comes from.

i have to say, when i first started telling people i was thinking about going into nursing, the first thing they'd tell me (as a deterrent?) was, "but nurses have to clean up a lot of shit and stuff." ...and truer words have never been spoken, but while there are some days that feel like that, thankfully it's not every day. here's what happens in a day:

0530 alarm goes off. hit the snooze 6 times x 5 minutes each snooze, which means...
0600 roll out of bed, take stupid INH pill, and then wash up.
0623 look at the clock, curse myself for snoozing 6 times and not having enough time to make breakfast.
0624 make breakfast anyway and then swallow it whole--no chewing.
0632 leave the house at a speed walk pace, trying to dodge the dog shit that people have so kindly left out for me the night before, and hoping that the bus will magically appear so i don't have to walk 10 blocks to work.
0645 make it into the lobby, hesitate at the stairs, shrug and choose the elevator instead. give pointedly dirty looks at the people who stick their hand in the elevator doors just as it's about to close and bounce in with undisguised glee on their faces for being so clever. HATE.
0647 swipe in. pull on my compression stockings (don't judge), socks and shoes, talk with Norah about how awful people are in this world as she reads me gruesome articles from the Daily NY, and whip out my trusty (and probably very dirty) stethoscope, clip board purloined from endoscopy that i have sneakily taped my name over
0700 get report from the night nurse, who appears in various states of Sleepy. i love all of the night nurses, but they get a lot of floats and agency nurses who are really, really dumb. i don't care if you've never given a nexium drip, and i certainly don't care if you want to talk about it for 5 minutes. just tell me what it's running at now.
0730 look up information on each patient. note that each one is probably psycho or has family that is psycho. page appropriate MDs about things that are about to expire, require clarification, etc.
0745 pop my head in on each patient, write my name on their white boards, check their ID bands and thank the Lord they're still all sleeping.
0800 wait in the line to pull medication from the omnicell medication machine.
0815 pull medications. find out that none of them are stocked. curse the machine. curse pharmacy. write a little note to pharmacy with a long list of medications i'm missing. march it around the corner, give the mean old indian man a dirty look and resist the urge to thump him on the head, hand my list of "need this in 45 minutes and i'm coming to get it at 9 am sharp" medications to the nice pharm tech who sometimes tries to engage me in pervy old man flirting but i duly ignore, and head back to the floor.
0820 start charting. what do we chart about? according to the boss, EVERYTHING. if the patient hiccups, burps, or farts, she wants to know.
0825 get one patient ice.
0827 get that patient's roommate ice, because he couldn't tell me at the same time as his roommate.
0829 get someone else's patient ice.
0830 go back to charting.
0900 go get medications, flirt with a different pharm tech to see if it'll help me get medications faster, find that even that doesn't speed things up but remember that he could be useful one day. find out that pharmacy stiffed me a couple meds, curse pharmacy again and call.
0900-1200 attempt to give out morning meds but get interrupted by 1) 3 pts asking when breakfast is, 2) 4 more asking for more ice 3) 2 of those 3 patients complaining about how bad the food is, 4) 1 patient repeatedly asking when she can go home, 5) patients going to tests, 6) patients coming back from tests 7) the boss hunting me down and then taking up 15 minutes to tell me a pet peeve of hers 8) STAT orders that involve making several trips scurrying to the supply room and then cursing the stock guy for not stocking enough of _____, 9) cleaning asses and 10) charting.
1200 try to beat the lunch cart so i can take blood glucose before they eat sub par lunch. sometimes i will try to filch an extra tray if i didn't remember to pack a lunch, but not eat it until 3 hours later.
1300-1700 scramble to give afternoon meds, carry out more orders (more fluids! more medication! more tests!--just once i would love to see someone order "more hugs!" or "more bitchslaps! sliding scale based on how big an asshole the pt is!"), chart some more, get more ice, hear patients whine about how hungry they are, have patient family members ask for 1 trillion things--including ice, and cleaning asses.
1700 try to eat "lunch"
1715 get called on the overhead that someone needs me. curse the overhead, swallow the rest of lunch whole without chewing and go out to the patient who has been on the call bell because... he wants ice.
1715-1845 all hell breaks loose and things happen at exactly the busiest time of the day: patient tries to pee on the floor and then slips and falls in his own urine, patient goes apeshit after already being baseline crazy and starts screaming for the nurse for no good reason, family members ask for ice, someone's IV blows but needs a really important medication, three patients crap themselves at exactly the same time and all demand to be cleaned at that exact moment, some hotshot from surgery is about to do something to a patient that requires me to get 5 extra things and assist him RIGHT NOW, evening meds are handed out, someone gets sent to the ICU, more patients ask for ice, someone urgently needs suctioning, or my favorite--the new admission from the ER at 6:45.
1900 plop down on a chair, avoid patient families by saying "i'm giving report" even if i'm the only one sitting there, drink my first sip of water, snarf whatever snacks are available, and wait expectantly to give report and get the hell out.
1930 if i'm not on my way out of the hospital already, get edgy and snap at whoever i have to give report to hurry the hell up (okay not really, but something like that in a more passive aggressive manner).

if you couldn't tell already, my biggest pet peeves:

1) asking for ice, even ONCE.
2) asking me to fix the food problems even though i have NO control over it.
3) patients asking me when they go home. again, NO CONTROL.

so there you have it (mom).