Wednesday, February 5, 2014


You know that when I mentioned night shift in 7QTs I would have to give a play by play of my first night turn for everyone who didn't want to know.  In case you want to know the end without hearing the beginning and middle, I survived, including the slushy/snowy/rainy drive home.  But really you want to hear all the only mildly exciting details.  I will try to be time specific but really the times get lost in the night time shuffle.

6:30am Mass in an attempt to wake up early, tire myself out and be able to take a good afternoon nap.

8:00-11:30 Research class because every nurse becomes a nurse in order to take a good research class.  Not.

12:30pm-3:30 Take a halfway decent nap.

4:30 Shower, eat, dress, yada, yada, yada.

5:45  Leave for Pittsburgh.  Laugh at people stuck in congested traffic coming in the opposite direction.  Then remember that they get to sleep in their bed tonight, try to push this thought out of my head.  Still telling myself that it is morning.  Chugging coffee and talking to one of my best friends (with headphones, safety first) to make the drive go faster.

6:53  Arrive on floor.  Overwhelmed by the unknown.  Try to make nice with the PCTs.

7:00  Meet my preceptor, get report, lets get this day started

This is where times get muddled together.  I didn't want to watch the clock because I knew that would make the whole situation harder.  We did our assessments, figured out the care we would need to give for the night and charted.

Holy charting.  I had never actually sat down and charted everything for three patients.  I am pretty sure it took about an hour and a half and that was for charting by exception.

Then it was pain killers for this patient, zofran for another, seizure meds for the guy at the end, back in the first room for his sleeping pills, another patients IV is alarming because God forbid he bend his elbow and back for a another temp check on the woman who is spiking a temp.    Of course we had to wait for the pharmacy to bring up this med and then this one and then this one. Because by walking in a patient's room every 45 minutes we are really helping them get the best sleep possible.

Unfortunately, this is reality. We stopped at one point long enough to sit down and eat something.  I believe I ate the well rounded meal of easy mac, dehydrated peach halves, and a Kind bar.

And somewhere in there we got a new admit up from the ER.

Things got quiet for a while when everyone was asleep and it wasn't time for 4am lab draws yet. However things got interesting when some of the ladies started talking about weaves.  Guys I am the whitest white girl I know and they kept including me in the conversion as if I knew what the heck they were talking about.  Bags of weave?  Going to the shop v. your friend's cousin's roommate's best friend? 

From there things were on the downwards slid (or upwards slid depending on how you look at it).  We got morning labs, gave some early morning meds, stocked the COW, and made sure everything was charted.

Coffee involved a fine line.  Drink a cup at just the right time so that it kept you awake enough to get through the last few hours and the drive home but not enough too late so that I couldn't fall asleep when I got home.

The nurses coming on were all running a little late due to the horrible weather. There was a group of cute little nursing students who were all timid and unsure and it was really hard not to be all "senior-I-just-spent-all-night-here-taking-care-of-these-people."

I walked off the unit at 7:41.

And walked into this.  Lovely.  Pittsburgh weather at its finest. 

I grew up in the northeast Ohio and I never remember driving in worse weather than this.  Snow/slush/rain/ice.  Thank the good Lord that classes were canceled for the whole day because I really wasn't feeling the two quizzes I had. On campus I had to park in a handicap parking spot because there was literally no cleared spots. My bed was in sight.  I thought I wasn't that tired but when I woke up at 12:30 feeling as though I must have been in a coma I realized maybe I was that tired.   

I know, I know you are a better person for having been able to walk through my first night shift minute by minute, urinal dump by urinal dump (oh I hadn't mentioned that?  Patients on fluids results in lots of urinal dumps).  I survived and as I said on instagram, I feel like this first night shift award goes right next to the first shot, first birth, and first blood draw award.    And maybe, just maybe you will be lucky enough to read about another night shift in the not so distant future. 

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  1. Well done on surviving a night shift!
    How far away is school from the hospital? Because that seemed like a really long commute!

  2. Sounds so legit!! I loved the play by play actually. It was interesting :) You're a champ! My favorite part was the weaves. Must have been a great convo to observe :)

  3. YOU DID IT!!!! :) Congrats, friend! :)

    Um, the weave conversation is hilarious!! I know them alllll too well.

    Oh, the charting. It will get easier! Is it all electronic?? I hope so. When I first started working (and even in school) it was still paper... it's crazy. Then a few months after I had been working at my first job we switched to electronic everything. PTL. The poor veteran nurses had a much harder time with that.

    Is your preceptor good?? What kind of floor are you on??