Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How I Survive the Night

Sitting here at work for 8 hours , 6 or 7 days a week,while my patient and their family (usually) sleeps can be very ;
a.weird- I'm basically at the mercy of my environment, whatever it may be- dirty or ultra-clean, mouse-quiet or filled with tv noise , siblings playing or family squabbles ensuing ,access to a microwave, tv or electrical outlets(or not) and sometimes ...
b.horrible-there are places that dont have working plumbing, toilet paper, adequate lighting, telephones, or heat/ac .Some places are in bad neighborhoods and the parking is on the street.
c. boring-if theres no access to a plug, very little light to read by,or my internet isnt working,etc, i could potentially wind up twiddling my thumbs, or, rather-tearing my hair out.
d. trying- if the child is sick or fussy and is awake for hours on end, or if the family decides to stay up all night breathing down my neck(making me feel very uncomfortable, and sometimes, untrusted).
Never-the-less, i thought i would give some insight as to a typical night in my world.

Normally i arrive at my destination early . I do this for several reasons: so i have a few moments of downtime, so i can assess the situation from the road--looking for evidence of a family gathering or another nurse, and also so i can find parking if necessary.
At about 5 minutes til the shift starting, i get out of my car and go to the door. Most places leave the door open for us nurses so we dont disturb the whole household ringing the doorbell. Also, if the parents are dealing with some cares or something, they dont have to walk away and we dont have to stand there waiting. So, i get in and get report either from a parent or another nurse.Hopefully, the parent goes to bed shortly thereafter and i begin my assessment.I then transcribe my notes and take care of any neccessary procedures and/or meds. Then i settle in to my own stuff. This first part can take 15 minutes or up to 2 hours depending on the complexity of the case or if the patient is sick .
My stuff -
1. I generally study anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. This depends on how motivated i am that night. Sometimes (rarely) i am so UNmotivated & lazy, i skip this all together. If I do , i move on to...
2.Logging on to the internet.I check a few blogs, the weather, then my email. I'll sign in to check Facebook and Myspace . Then i will do this blog. Lately, i've had a harder & harder time trying to think of what to write.Tonight i decided to ask myself "what's relevant to /in my life right now". I came up with this little gem. Exciting, huh?
3.After i get my fill of the web, i sometimes watch a few tv shows online(these are online the day after they air). I watch (weekly) Desparate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, and Dirty ,Sexy Money. I get pretty mad when they're not on for a week or more.
4. Next, i disconnect and settle in to watch some blockbuster movies. Since i have a movie pass , i can get 2 out at a time. I watch ALOT of movies.
5. By the time i get through some of these items(and in between them ,too) there may or may not be other patient cares to do, or the patient wakes and i have to deal with that. I sometimes feel my main job is to keep the patient and their family asleep .
6. By this time it's getting close to my shift end so i wrap up by doing the rest of my notes and other paperwork, signing the MAR and taking a look around to tie up loose ends like washing out suction cannisters,emptying trash,repositioning the patient and changing a final diaper as needed.I refill things, straighten bedding, and tidy up in general.
7. If i still have time, i read a magazine. I usually have one of my own, but if not some places have them lying around.If i still have my computer on i'll watch some you tube vidoes or Stumble a bit.
8.Finally,if this isnt an option, i'll study a little more.When the oncoming nurse arrives or the parent comes down to relieve me i give report and i'm out the door.
Well, thats my typical night. It's not usually that hard. I really like what i do. It gives me time to pursue a higher degree, and i dont feel pressured. You dont get that in nursing usually, and hardly ever in a regular job.
Cant beat that with a bat. Namaste!

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