Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Can it wait until 7:30?

The day that I realized I was no longer a "new" nurse, I laughed.

That particular day I came onto the unit, looked around and saw one of the new nurses standing on a chair in a patient's room with her hands over her head. "What is she doing?" I asked. "Trying to change the time on the clock." stated my coworker, dismissively. I give a short laugh. "I wish her the best", I say as I go to clock out.

You see when I was a new nurse I tried to change the clock too.

In fact, I would love to have a quarter for the number of times new nurses have tried to fix that clock. Or have called maintenance to, "look into it".

But now? Now I just add 20 minutes to whatever that clock says and I know the correct time.

It is just adding. It is within my skill set.

When I was a new nurse I didn't realize that report time was sacred. Everything is put aside until the end of The Report.

You see hospital times now days don't really enforce "visiting hours". Most of them just say that visitors must leave the unit during "report times" so that they don't hear confidential information shared about patients. You know, important information like a patients medical history, which family member took home the patients wallet and which of the patient's siblings turn off the alarms themselves if they are in the room.

The residents don't know about report.

They come bounding in, eyes bright, so excited to check on their patients. They come straight from Starbucks and you can feel the nervous energy as they get ready to save the patients from their own worst enemies - their own failing bodies.

But they make a fatal error when they insist that all their "stuff" must be done "stat". Right in the middle of report. "We will get to it at 0730, we say. Our manager hates end of shift overtime." They nod. But they keep lurking. Waiting.

I used to be surprised when a patient didn't do well, and not surprised if they did.

Now I am surprised if they do well, and not surprised if they don't.

How to keep optimism
With experience

How to keep hope
With reality

How to value life
amongst so much death

Those are the things I wonder about, now that I am not a new nurse.


Momma Bear said...

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Mrs. Jo said...

Great post!

I just had to tell you about a wonderful post I think you would love, called The Joy of Boys.

It was posted a couple of days ago on