A (night) in the life of a night shift nurse


A few months ago, Nurse Eye Roll posted a post entitled A Day in the Life of a Nurse (all credit for this idea goes to her). Without further ado, here is the flip side of that, what happens in the wee hours of the night when day shift is off the clock, our patients are all “asleep”, and it’s always 7am somewhere.

Dedicated to all of you hard working night shift nurses who are reading this on your smart phones right now while trying to pass the time.

Wake up, wide awake, look at the clock, and realize it’s only 2pm

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Trying to go back to sleep… trying to go back to sleep…. trying to go back to sleep

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When I hear my neighbors kids getting off the bus, and the dog barking, and LAWNMOWERS.

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New plan for surviving tonight: COFFEE POP REDBULL

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About the time my alarm was set to go off

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Walk out my front door

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Get to work and discover I have three admissions, a discharge, and a transfer waiting for me, and we’re short-staffed

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Long-winded coworker takes half an hour to give report on three patients

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Okay day shift. You can go home now. 

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Going around, quickly meeting my patients, and asking if they need anything, which turns into thirty minutes of listening to a patient’s entire life story

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Discovering the previous nurse waited until right before shift change to give the Kayexelate and Milk of Mag cocktail ordered at 4pm 

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When my most time-consuming patient is watching that TV show that I was really upset about having to miss tonight

TV

Patient’s family comes to find me because my patient is coughing

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and because they think they have a fever

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and because they think they have Ebola

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One patient wants pain medication, another needs to be changed, a third one has a SBP in the 70’s, a family member is on the phone and I have to pee

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Oh, and you’re getting another admission

crying

Passing meds, handing out apple juices, driving my computer around like a boss and saving the world 

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Finally finish my med pass and assessments. Now it’s time to sit down and do some uninterrupted charting

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When I am FINALLY sitting down and my IV starts beeping

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Finish charting an entire assessment, only to realize I forgot tonight is scheduled system maintenance and the computer system went offline before I had a chance to save it.

seriously

Seriously.

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When my H&H comes back and I have a standing order to give blood if their hemoglobin is below 8… it’s 7.9

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It’s not even midnight yet?!?!

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Time for lunch break, dinner break, or whatever-I’m-supposed-to-call-my-middle-of-the-night-meal break

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Realize I left my lunchbox on the kitchen counter, it’s too late to call someone to bring me food, and the cafeteria just closed. So now, dinner is graham crackers and applesauce

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Ask my coworker to help me change my patient and they let one rip as we roll them

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Nope. Not just a fart after all

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When I tell my patient I’ll bring them a sleeping pill… then I realize there’s not one ordered

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Then I realize there’s not a hospitalist on their case

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So, have to call the surgeon for an order and get yelled at for waking him up

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I can’t give my patient an Ambien? Okay, that’s cool. What about a Restoril? No? I can’t even have a Benedryl? Really?

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Patient is finally asleep and I realize I left something in their room

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The time of the night when my “pleasantly confused” little old lady turns into the devil incarnate

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It must be 3am now

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Coworker misses their IV stick and calls me to try

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Accidentally wake up a grumpy patient while hanging their 4am Zosyn

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Home stretch… I’m awake… I’m awake… I’m awake

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5:30am. Time to wake everyone up for their Synthroid and Protonix, at which point they will also need to pee and want their Lortab

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Check a blood sugar and my patient doesn’t need coverage!

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Half an hour before report and my IVs all go bad and my patients all have to pee. again.

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Finally caught up and waiting for day shift to come

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Day shift shows up late and spends fifteen minutes chatting and fixing their coffee

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Oncoming nurse asks me 92830498234 irrelevant questions that I have no idea what the answer is and I also don’t care

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FINALLY GETTING OUT OF HERE

dead

I’M GONE

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DONE.

seep

(At least, until I have to go back in twelve hours) 

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117 thoughts on “A (night) in the life of a night shift nurse

  1. Alison King says:

    This is hilarious! I haven’t worked as a nurse for years, but was always evening or night shift (when the shifts were only 8 hours). This is a perfect description! Almost made me miss nursing…. (I am still in health care, but now behavioral health and semi-retired.) Good work, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane says:

    Thanks for a good dose of humor attached to the torture nurses have to endure. So true all of it. I really liked the thoughts about the computer. I hate that computer at work so much and would like to take any one of them out in a field and take a bat to it like they did in the movie Office Space to their copy machine. I have been saying for years they keep on adding and changing the documentation and the computer gets slower and slower that one day it’s going to crash. Well the whole system went down the other day and I was lucky enough to be off that day! YES!!

    Like

  3. Kaye says:

    I worked several years ago as a night shift hospital chaplain. I certainly recognize everything written here. I don’t miss night shift, but I so miss the night shift nurses; there are a breed apart!

    Liked by 1 person

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