Monday, September 27, 2010

On The Nightshift

i grew up listening to this radio station in the Bay Area, KOIT, which played only soft rock. i blame my complete lack of early 90's pop music knowledge on KOIT, because while my peers were listening to salt'n'pepa and NKOTB, i was super into the likes of gloria estefan, michael bolton, peabo bryson, and (cough) phil collins (cough) although you'll never hear me admit that in person. my music knowledge deficit didn't really bother me when i was... 10, but it sure as hell bothers me now, when people make all sorts of seemingly obscure references to this one NKOTB song where i can't even name one, or on a recent road trip with girlfriends when i have no idea what "shoop radio" is, but go along with it and pretend to know what's down because i don't want to be a loserface.

at any rate, "on the nightshift" is a song i remember frequently hearing on KOIT, and so i thought it would be fitting to have KOIT playing in the background of my first-ever weekend of night shift work. the last time i was on nights was when i was a student, when my beloved preceptor Tracy taught me most of everything i know, especially how to keep your cool when you've got a shit ton of alcoholics in your zone (also applicable this weekend). this probably goes without saying, but working nights (if it can even be called that) as a student was a laughable exercise compared to being on my own for the past two nights.

let me say right off the bat that while i dreaded it, it was only sort of. there are a lot of great things about nights that make me want to switch. but then again, there are a lot of really terrible things.

first, the bad:
-while i didn't have a problem staying awake, i noticed myself making small mistakes on the second night (trying to connect the same ends on two pulse oximeters for a couple of minutes, accidentally wasting only some narcotic), and i certainly felt like i had been hit by a bus both mornings leaving the hospital.

-disorientation to time. what day is it again? crap, i was supposed to meet someone for brunch??? also made documentation difficult. i really meant 2000 when i typed 0800.

-i found myself more annoyed with patients when they were awake. why are you awake? go back to sleep? no librium til 1 am. I SAID ONE AM. NO I AM NOT WITHOLDING MEDICATION FROM YOU.

-i'm not sure why this is, but my core body temperature was consistently elevated to the point that i felt like what i imagined hot flashes would feel like if i were in menopause. maybe i'm so stressed during the day that i don't notice normally.

-nursing attendants at night who do 1:1s seem to feel that they are entitled to a good nights' sleep like all normal people. they build up a little nest of blankets and flat sheets (yet another mystery solved during the day time: where did all the flat sheets go? stacked under nursing attendants' asses by the dozen). if you're supposed to be watching a patient who is threatening his own safety by climbing out of bed, don't whine to me about how he's climbing out of bed and/or suggest additional restraints or chemical restraints. don't be mad at me for waking you up to do what you're paid for. instead, please try doing your job. now i can totally see how patients pull out their duotubes with a 1:1 present. it's because their nursing attendant is fucking sleeping and the patient can do whatever the hell he wants! another reason why nyp is such a ridiculously bad place to work, but again, another time, another post.

and the good:
-number one: NO BOSS. how much i detest the degree she makes my life and job miserable really should be reserved for another facebook note if it weren't inappropriate and if not for the fact that it might come back to bite me in the ass. to be free to think clearly and get my own shit done without having someone ask me to clean up someone else's messes every 5 minutes was the BEST part of the night shift.

-no physical therapists, transporters, psychiatrists, stupid liver fellows who don't know how to use the goddamn eclipys system, idiot med students, etc around at nighttime. bonus if the overnight intern is actually good (which he was last night--poor guy probably didn't sleep at all). just me and the sleeping patients.

-i got school work done at work for the first time, EVER.

-in general i've heard bad things about night staff (see rant under "bad points" above), but this doesn't apply in the slightest to the nursing staff on 6GS. they are a tight knit team, they always help each other, and they're very supportive and friendly. i love the day crew to pieces, but sometimes we get so busy, we can't possibly help each other. i feel more inclined to help my fellow nurse at night because my workload isn't nearly as bad as during days. in the AM, it's every nurse for herself and godhelpyou if you have that vent patient. in the PM, i'm more likely to help out with anything, even the obese vent patient.

anyways, so enamored was i with my experience on nights that i stupidly gave the charge nurse my phone number, saying she could call me anytime after december, but i wouldn't be surprised if i offered to work a few more before then.

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