Yesterday, my charge nurse asked me to create a nurse's aide schedule for the 3 to 11 shift that they could use to teach new hires. I made up a simple one that turned out really boring. It was all, "Vital signs between 1500 and 1600, blood sugars at 1600, set up patients for dinner at 1700" and etc. Basically Yawn McYawn, hailing from the town of Yawnsville in the country of Yawn. I couldn't stand it. It wasn't even true.
That's when it hit me.
It wasn't even true.
Here is my real schedule... enjoy.
2:45pm: Arrive in the break room. Deposit dinner in fridge. Query the previous shift on whether it was a good day or a bad day.
2:50pm: Help self to a cup of water and write name on it. There won’t be time to hydrate once the shift starts.
2:55pm: Accept assignment from the charge nurse. Fill out patient sheet with information.
3:05pm: Search frantically for free blood pressure machines so that blood pressures won’t have to be done manually. Curse Aide #2 and #3, who have commandeered the good ones.
3:10pm: Begin taking vital signs on Patient #1 out of 10.
3:11pm: Call bell sounds. Answer it. Patient #4 asks for covers to be straightened.
3:20pm: Return to taking vital signs. Now on Patient #2 out of 10.
3:21pm: Call bell sounds. Answer it. Patient #8 would like a cup of ice. Fetch cup of ice.
3:40pm: Return to taking vital signs. Finish with Patient #3, #4, and #5 out of 10.
3:49pm: Call bell sounds. Ignore call bell and continue taking vital signs. Finish with Patient #6 out of 10.
4:01pm: Be accosted by Nurse #2 demanding to know why the 4pm blood sugars aren’t done.
4:10pm: Finish vital signs on Patient #7.
4:20pm: Finish vital signs on Patient #8.
4:30pm: Finish vital signs on Patient #9. Patient #9 needs her diaper changed.
4:50pm: Leave room scarred for life by the amount of diarrhea one elderly lady can produce. Give up on final vital signs and begin blood sugars.
4:51pm: Realize machine needs to have quality controls done because the night shift neglected to do it earlier.
4:55pm: Rush to complete blood sugars before dinner arrives.
5:06pm: Dinner arrives.
5:11pm: Last blood sugar is completed.
5:12pm: Interrupt Patient #10's dinner to take vital signs.
5:25pm: Note that five out of ten patients are incapable of sitting up for dinner and must be helped.
5:55pm: Finish setting up every patient for dinner. Pause to take a sip of water. Call bell sounds.
5:06pm: Answer call bell. Patient #8 has slid to the bottom of the bed and needs to be repositioned.
5:07pm: Search for Aide #2 to help in repositioning.
5:12pm: Learn that Aide #2 has taken a smoke break and is unavailable.
5:14pm: Request Nurse #3's help in repositioning.
5:15pm: Get denied by Nurse #3 because Aide #2 should help.
5:20pm: Find Nurse #4, who does not have Patient #8, but is willing to assist.
5:25pm: Finish repositioning patient and remove tray.
5:26pm: Round floor searching for dietary cart.
5:32pm: Assume that the cart has been removed.
5:40pm: Give up and go to place tray in Soiled Utility Room despite blatant sign.
5:42pm: Open door only to have it slam into the dietary cart three inches away. Drop tray and dump spaghetti over self.
5:45pm: Alert Martin (housekeeper) to the mess. Martin is not amused.
6:05pm: Return to floor in new scrubs. Rush to take a 6pm blood sugar.
6:15pm: Circle floor and update charts on ingestion and excretion, including meal percentages. Receive basic report from nurses on the patients that have been cared for, by you, for the past three hours.
6:30pm: Take dinner break. Get interrupted by nurses three times with requested tasks "for when you're finished".
7:00pm: Return to floor and check updated assignment. Nurse #2 has left, replaced by Nurse #3, and an aide has gone home sick. Pick up 4 additional patients for a total of 14.
7:10pm: Answer call bell. Patient #4 needs to be walked to the bathroom.
7:20pm: Answer call bell. Nurse #3 needs help coaxing Patient #9 back into bed.
7:32pm: Fetch bed alarm for Patient #9.
7:45pm: Assist Aide #2 in changing a 400 lb patient who does not bathe regularly.
8:15pm: Check blood pressure on Patient #1 to find it 65 over 30. Search for Nurse #3.
8:21pm: Fetch Nurse #3 to Patient #1.
8:25pm: Answer call bell. Patient #5 will be discharged and needs personal items packed.
8:27pm: Finish packing personal items.
8:50pm: Finish listening to Patient #5's stories about the war.
8:51pm: Begin 9pm blood sugars.
9:01pm: Get accosted by Nurse #3 demanding blood sugars.
9:18pm: Finish blood sugars.
9:21pm: Take a water break. Breathe.
9:24pm: Answer call bell. Patient #10 would like a snack.
9:30pm: Deliver snack. Patient #10 would also like a blanket.
9:36pm: Deliver blanket. In addition, Patient #10 would like help with the urinal.
9:45pm: Patient #10 requests marital status.
9:46pm: Patient #10 is denied.
10:07pm: All patients’ charts are updated, completed, and handed in to the charge nurse.
10:11pm: Patients are quiet. Nurses are busy. Lower self into chair.
10:12pm: Call bell sounds.
10:13pm: Answer call bell. Patient #6 requests Nurse #2.
10:15pm: Check desk for Nurse #2.
10:17pm: Check med room for Nurse #2.
10:19pm: Check supply room for Nurse #2.
10:22pm: Check hallways for Nurse #2.
10:23pm: Ask the desk if anyone has seen Nurse #2. Predictably, no one has.
10:24pm: Call bell sounds. Answer call bell for Patient #6, who demands to know where Nurse #2 is.
10:36pm: Discover Nurse #2 in break room. Inform her of Patient #6.
10:40pm: Empty catheter of Patient #2. Accidentally wake him and listen to him say he wants to die.
10:45pm: Comfort Patient #2 and reassure him that no, he does not. He argues and makes valid points you must not refute.
10:53pm: Back out of Patient #2's room, slowly.
10:59pm: Plop into chair in break room. Breathe sigh of relief. Respond incoherently when asked by next shift how the night went.
11:01pm: Call bell sounds. Call bell is ignored by both the departing and the arriving shifts.
11:02pm: Run like a bat out of hell!