Monday, August 17, 2009

Why I love my team and why day shift can suck it.

Arg. Last night was kind of crappy. We had zero tele beds open, which meant anyone with chest pain of any kind over the age of 40 got to stay overnight, all night, in the ER. Not a big deal- it actually ended up being okay, but the end of the shift was frantic because all of the admitting docs order repeat cardiac enzymes and EKGs right at shift change, plus all the AM blood sugars and other floor nursing crap that I don't normally handle and such are due. It always happens that beds open up at shift change, too- naturally two of my patients got beds at the same time. So in the last 30 minutes of my shift, I managed to get orders in, cardiac enzymes sent, vital signs updated, report called, and blood sugars done on all the patients going upstairs, since tons of the rooms up there had opened up and they were about to get slammed. All the med orders had already been sent to pharmacy and all the charts were broken down. I spent most of the time before that working on a guy who came in with a pressure of 190/120 and chest pain. It wasn't a big deal, it was just lots of steady, frantic work.
So, I get my stuff together and I'm giving report to day shift on all of my rooms. The only thing she has to do other than find someone to transport the patients with beds is to get a repeat EKG on a patient going upstairs and a blood sugar on a lady if she didn't get a bed in the next hour or so. I'll take this time to say that we have no transport at night, at all, unless we have a medic, which we haven't for the past two days. That means we have to transport our own patients by ourselves. Day shift has patient transporters, as well as a medic for each team and nurse externs, who they use as their transport bitches, so this isn't even really a task. She immediately delegates everything, then looks at me, and in the snippiest tone ever, says, "you need to get the urine out of the rooms, now.". She's referring to the sample cups on the sinks that I always leave there as long as the patient is still in the room, in case the doc orders more tests. The same cups that day shift leaves for us all the damn time, even when the patient is no longer in the room and hasn't been for hours. I just stare at her and nod, as she interupted me mid-sentence to tell me this. My totally awesome charge overhears it and goes to the rooms to pick up the cups- he then promptly walks back to the nurse, sticks the urine cups about 6 inches away from her face, and says, "They're out of the room now! Is the rest of this acceptable for you? Do you need anything else?" as he steps between her and I. Then he turns to me and says, "Hood nurse, I told you about day shift. If you stay out here, they'll just bitch at you and suck you into their vortex. Let's go home. " We stand up and stroll back to the break room. I wanted to hug him.
I never cease to be struck by how huge the difference is between these shifts. Day people were always so cliquely. You ocassionally get a charge nurse or a teammate who will ask if you need anything to get home, if they like you. I've seen this woman in action enough to know that she does as little work herself as possible and delegates the rest to everyone. Our charge won't leave the floor until everyone is back in the breakroom thanks to crap like today. If we get tied up, he'll triage an ambulance and draw blood for us. Everyone else is the same- most of the people I work with now never stop working until their teammates are caught up- we'll even go help on the other team if we're needed. It's exactly how things should be. I've gone from hating my job during my internship to almost feeling like it's too good to be true. Even if patient situations get bad, I always know someone has my back. And it certainly doesn't hurt when the person who is looking out for you is willing to wave urine in someone's face to get you home faster. .


  1. For real. Reading about some of the garbage that days seems to do to you gives me sort of a comforting reassurance that, yes, it's like that everywhere.

  2. Ya...I did nights most of my nursing career...right now do half and half like most of the nurses here in our province (DDNN - 12's- 4 on 4-5 off) and I must say, the several hospitals i worked at that had the nurses strictly in days or nights had the same problem with oncoming dayshift. It is much better with everyone doing both shifts so that both shifts can appreciate what the other does...the other thing that was done at an american hospital I worked at...they moved the end of our shift back by 1/2 hr so that we avoided that "day shift" crap. Nice :)