July 12, 2009

This morning when I got to work I found out that we were overstaffed. Usually when that happens they will call you at home and tell you not to come in, but I guess the hospital is trying to save money by not using flex staff (a group of nurses who don’t have an assigned unit, but just work wherever they’re needed) as much, because lately we are getting floated to other units a lot more often. Today, it was my turn.

I was nervous because I had never floated before and I didn’t know what to expect. But thankfully everyone on the unit I went to was extremely nice and helpful. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about any of the people. It was just one floor below mine, but it has recently been remodeled so everything is a lot nicer and more up-to-date there. (Our unit hasn’t changed since the hospital was built in the 50’s.)

The bad thing about that is all of the doors that lead to staff-only rooms there (like supply rooms, medication rooms, and the lounge) have badge-swipe entry, and the Pyxis machine, where 80% of the medications are stored, is accessed by fingerprint. But my badge isn’t set up for the doors, and my finger hasn’t been coded to their machine. So the entire day, whenever I wanted access to anything, I had to ask someone. It was very annoying, to me and I’m sure to them too.

My patients were pretty much a breeze compared to what I’m used to. None of them really complained of anything, and they were mostly independent. It was a general medical floor, and I’m used to patients being a lot sicker than these were. A few hours into the day I got an admission. She was an 88-year-old lady who was extremely hard of hearing so if I wanted to talk to her I had to get RIGHT UP BY HER EAR AND TALK LIKE THIS. She was admitted due to a high fever, elevated white blood cell count, shortness of breath, and was coughing up junk. It was only after I had talked to her several times an inch away from her face, not to mention rolled her from side to side to position her, that I spoke with the doctor. He informed me that she was being put on respiratory isolation due to possible swine flu, and that I should wear a mask when I go in the room. Thanks, Doc. Thanks for being on top of that one. I hope David will still kiss me.

Being floated also made me appreciate a lot of things about my own unit. My floor is so much more organized and well-stocked, for one thing. It also seems like the nurses there are more current on the latest research and protocols. And, I do have to say, oncology patients are so much more interesting. I think I would be bored out of my mind if I had to work with patients whose admitting diagnosis is “abdominal pain” every day, like 3 out of 4 of my patients today.

But I got to leave on time today, and when I go back to my unit tomorrow for the dreaded Monday-after-working-the-weekend, I will be happy to be home.

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