It’s Nurses Week! It’s that time of year when we should celebrate all the poop cleaning, restraint tying, sedation giving, narc pushing, coffee serving, cussing nurses. If you don’t cuss, props to you. I either mentally or verbally cuss at least a few times a day. Son of a… sh#$!
I thought I’d share some facts about nursing for this occasion.
Anyone who is a nurse has been asked, “What’s the craziest thing that has happened?!” Well, my friends, we’d love to tell you over some drinks, but there’s this little thing called HIPAA. In small communities especially, these things can really come full circle. I could tell you, but it’s quite risky. I can tell you, however, TV shows got nothing on us. Writers aren’t that creative. Fists, spit, projectiles of any shape or size, yelling, and things that could be straight out of Jerry Springer… yep, we got that. Crazy stories have no limit with us.
Peeing, Eating, Sleeping
It’s all a myth. Nurses are magical unicorns who can survive without peeing, eating, drinking, or sleeping. 12+ hour shifts without these things are not uncommon. What’s the secret? We live on coffee. Feed on jokes. And because we’re dehydrated, we don’t have to pee. After it’s all over, we crash hard. Four 12-hour night shifts? Sureeeee. Catch me on that fifth day, and I’ll be something straight out of the Walking Dead.
Weekends and Holidays
Why yes, health care is a 24 hour, 7 day a week business. Hence, we have to work weekends, holidays, and even that made up 25th hour of the day. I’m sorry family and friends I can’t make it to your __________. Of course, I’ve chosen to work to avoid you. Please take it personally. /* Please note the sarcasm. */
We don’t love to work all the off hours. There are some strange few who love to pick up that extra money or want to avoid their family on holidays, but in general, we’re not choosing to work those things. It just has to be done. Injuries and sickness know no set hours.
The charting!! No matter what system you use, it still sucks to chart. Double chart? Triple chart? “If it’s not documented, it never happened!” “You should real-time chart.” (Yeah, you can KMA). Typically, in ICU I had 2-3 patients requiring:
- Full head to toe assessment every 4 hours
- Vital signs every hour at the minimum, but more frequently if titrating drips or critical
- Restraints every 2 hours
- Ventilator charting every 2 hours
- Every physician page
- Every critical lab
- Drips every 2-4 hours, or more frequently if titrating
- Every conversation with family
- Inputs and Outputs, hourly or every 8 hours
- Glucose + Insulin change, if on a drip
- Procedures on unit or off unit
- Care Plans (LOL)
I’m probably missing other things, but you get the idea. Just put charting on the pile of things to accomplish in 12 hours.
The “Q” Word and the Full Moon
DON’T YOU EVER SAY “IT SURE IS QUIET AROUND HERE.” If you do say this, you’ve either been out of bedside for too long or you’ve never worked it. If you do say this, all the nurses will give you darting, stabby looks. By saying the “Q” word, you’re just setting yourself up for a code blue, combative patient, 6 admissions, and 2 transfers. Also, the full moon is a topic of contention. I personally swear by the moon cycles. Full moons generally bring out the crazy and bad. Is it scientifically backed? Is it superstitious? I really don’t care. All I know is that full moons send shivers down my spine.
We’re nurses. We have a dark sense of humor. We get burned out. We’re not on our A-game every. single. day. like a chipper Ned Flanders. We’re human. But because we’re human, we have compassion, and we genuinely care, whether apparent or not. We will have your back in the darkest hours without question. Thanks to all the nurses out there! You keep health care out of asystole!