"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


OK, Nightshift has mannyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy drawbacks. Excessive, even.

But, its really starting to illuminate its many advantages. Lets discuss.

  • You're tired, all-the-time. Even on your days off. Just, all the time.
  • You never know what day it is, ever.
  • You never know when to eat and its confusing.
  • Its lonely and there is no one to talk to, (people sleep when you re available to talk to, and you're asleep when they are available).
  • Its really hard to go to doctor appointments, luncheons, or really do anything midday. Thats like asking you to go to a doctor appointment at 2 am and then go back to sleep for a couple hours and then be at work by 7 am. Do THAT.
  •  Hospital Pharmacy isn't open at night. This. Sucks. (well, my hospital at least. I'm sure i'm in the minority here).
  • You have to wake doctors up and get yelled at when all your patient needs is tylenol.
  • You have to ethically debate first, if your problem is worth calling a doctor for/waking him up, and then debate if its doctor worthy or resident worthy.
  • On nightshift, you are the nurse, the secretary, sometimes the aide, transport,  maintenance, IT dept, and anything else you could possibly think of. Especially in a smaller hospital like mine that doesn't staff completely at night, we do a lot. And make shit up when we don't know how to fix the heating.
  • You miss prime-time tv. :(
  • You get woken up by mailmen and maintenance workers (i live in an apartment) in the middle of the day and other random people.
  • when a doctor orders some random test STAT in the middle of the night, guess who gets to wake your patient up, get them in a wheelchair, bring them down to the test, stay with them, and bring them back up. Thats right, you.
  • You have no idea who the big-time doctors are because you only talk to residents, PAs and interns (most of the time).  (This is also an advantage though...)
  • You actually get tired of writing narratives that say, "pt is sleeping. No signs of distress noted at this time. Pt appears comfortable. Respirations regular." and you actually kind of want something interesting to happen so you can write a narrative about it. I've actually written a narrative that my patient went to the bathroom. No joke. That was the highlight of my night.
  • You have to wake your patients up for the randomest stuff and get punched, kicked, yelled at, etc. Its awesome.

  • You get to drink wine for breakfast and its kind-of OK! Yay!
  • You lose weight (sometimes. If you do it right.)
  • You get out of doing random stuff because you have a good excuse: Sleep.
  • You get to really know the nurses you work with at night. Because at 2 am when all else is quiet, what else to do but have serious conversations about the most random things?
  • you get to be a LOT more autonomous and independent as a nurse. Some room to breathe, but yet resources are still there if you need them.
  • You actually have *time* to research your patients history, their unique diagnosis, print out education packets for them and go over them, (learn about their condition more yourself), and overall, just spend more time with your patients.  Normally on day shift my morning assessment could only take 10 minutes because I was under serious time constraints. But now I let my initial assessments take up to 30 minutes sometimes because when I go in the room, I literally pull a chair up to their bed and sit and talk with them for a bit before I just jump in and listen to them with a stethoscope. The other day I sat with someone for an hour talking in the middle of the night because I could. It was awesome.
  • It is so much less crowded and a lot more quiet. There is not a million doctors stealing all your computer space. There is no physical therapy, no food services, no transport whizzing by asking for charts, no residents, no case managers....its just....quiet. So quiet that I know if my patients up to something mischievous just by listening carefully from down the hall.
  • I can literally take over an entire computer workspace (up front! at the nurses station). Normally I had to go find one in some dark dusty corner on day shift because everyone else and their mother had the nurses station computers. Now, I literally set up my binder, and steal the entire area and no one even cares because there is actually room to spare! Its awesoommeee.
  • You can actually have legit- intelligent conversations with the residents about what is going on with your patients. Because what else do they have to do at 230 am? Besides sleep? :)
  • Your shift FLIES BY. Day shift used to take FOREVER. Once you get the busy part of your shift over, (up until midnight), you do paperwork til 2,3ish, then break for your meal, then its 330 and you just chill til 5 and then from 5-7 it gets really busy again. Flies-by. Awesome.
  • When your patients are all tucked in and happy and no one needs anything and you finished all your meds and paper work, researching, computer work, your fellow nurses don't need anything, (usually 2-4 am), the time is yours. To prevent yourself from falling asleep, its okay to keep yourself occupied in my opinion, providing that you listen very carefully for anything your patients are up to. So this is my newfound time to WRITE!!!!

WOOOOO! After all, thats half of what this is blog is about! Writing!!
I have been writing down little ideas for this novel for 4 years now. I planned a lot of it in high school but haven't really touched it since, besides the occasional idea. I have constantly had it on my mind and always think, "I really just have to get started, sit down and write it." But never could seem to. But now, that I (usually) have that 1-2 hour time window in the middle of the night now, I can writeeeeeeeeeeeeee. 

sooooooooooooooooooo happy to finally have an outline in. I'm about 1/4 of the book through. Yes!

Anyway, thats it. If you are blessed enough (lol) to work night shift as well, feel free to comment with some additional benefits/disadvantages of your own!



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