No one can do this alone. At any given point, one of us is going to have more on our plate than we can handle, patient-wise. My attitude tends to be that I should help whenever I can, because just maybe that favor will be returned when I really need it later. Plus, the time passes a lot faster when you're working hard. A couple of people out there tend to abuse this mentality, though.
I distinctly remember the first time it happened to me as a new nurse. I had just been released from my internship at Hood Hospital. Super awesome preceptor number #2 had instilled in me the importance of teamwork from the first day she worked with me, so when I noticed my partner got an ambulance, I hopped up to help him start it. He hopped up, got a cup of coffee, and sat back down at the nurses' station. At that point, I was already in his room getting report from EMS. I was utterly shocked and appalled by the whole situation and recounted it to ER BFF in the break room later that night. She nodded knowingly. "Yup. Some people like to play that tag you're it game. Oh! You're in the room? You're it! Your ambulance now! Nope. I don't play that shit. I don't help those people unless they're drowning." And after that day, I became a slightly wiser nurse and learned to let the lazy people screw themselves.
I've pretty already much figured out who is and isn't safe to help out at the new place. If you're on your iPhone dicking around on Facebook at any point during the shift unless the place is just dead, you're pretty much on your own. However, I picked up a mid shift the other day to bail out a friend, and they apparently decided to pair the night shift girl with the tag champion. I've taken report from this guy enough times to know that he's lazy, but I found out that day that he is a special brand of ballsy lazy. Most run-of-the-mill lazy people will at least make themselves scarce and hide out in the break room or the bathroom by CT or some shit, but ballsy lazy people will straight up stare at you with their feet on the desk and watch you do single-rescuer CPR.
Yeah, well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but only a little bit. I'm charting when I see an ambulance roll into his room- this patient is obviously FUBAR. Like, look of impending doom on his face, diaphoretic, pale, no IV, oh, and covered in some really c-diff-y smelling poo just for good measure. At this point it's about an hour from shift change. I immediately go to work looking for IV access while EMS gives me a report I'm taking down in my head. I grab a frightened EMT student walking by to start vitals and an EKG. Monitor shows an OMG WTF looking rhythm, alarms are dinging all over the place, this dude has crap for veins, and demanding family member shows up making demands about us getting the patient water and cleaning up the poo immediately, as if it hasn't been there since yesterday. Tag king walks back and forth several times throughout this fun process, watching the madness unfold. He looks at the monitor, looks down to avoid eye contact with me, and keeps going. In any other case, I would probably walk out and tell him off, but I was legitimately worried that this patient was going to die. Luckily for everyone, one of the medics walked by, saw the chaos, grabbed a doctor and we all collectively got the dude somewhat stabilized.
I walk out of the room sweating to find tag king giving report and texting. I immediately walk back into the room, grab two packs of wipes, drop them on the desk in front of him, and say, "C'mon tag king! I've got your ambulance started, but I'm gonna need some help cleaning him up!" Homeboy sure did end up staying about 20 minutes after his shift to clean up the c-diff assplosion, too. I helpfully turned the patient and made sure he didn't miss any spots. Tag, bitch.