By now you should probably know that I’m a nurse, right? I mean it says so right there in my header. And you may or may not know that I’m an oncology nurse, which means I take care of cancer patients. There are some types of chemotherapy that can only be given in the hospital, and that’s a big part of what we do. We also have a lot of people come in because of dangerously low blood counts, or complications thereof (i.e. infection) because that is a major side effect of chemotherapy. I give a lot of transfusions.
Almost everyone hates Mondays, and I’m no different. I really hate Mondays at work. Since a lot of our patients are just coming in to get chemo, they come in during the week and then they’re out by the weekend. That means when Monday rolls around, we get slammed with admissions and orders. And the bad thing is that our staffing is determined by the number of patients that we actually have on the floor during the previous shift, not by how many patients we’re expecting.
All that to say that Mondays are crazy.
Every day when I first get to work, I write out a report sheet on the patients I’m assigned to that day. We lovingly refer to this as our “brain”. This is mine from today, right after I wrote it at around 6:45 a.m.:
Names intentionally removed. Anyone heard of HIPAA?
And this is the same piece of paper at the end of the day:
One patient is crossed out and another one added because about an hour into the shift a patient decided that he didn’t like the nurse he had, so I traded with her. And of course right when I was getting things under control I got an admission. I had run out of room on my paper so I added another column myself on the back:
Some things I did today:
- Platelet transfusion
- Blood transfusion
- Assist with bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (a procedure that still gives me the shivers because of the way you can hear the giant needle grinding into the bone)
- Draw blood
- Admit a patient
- Normal assessments and medications, oral and IV
- Waitress (or at least I felt like it)
In the scheme of things, this Monday wasn’t all that bad. One of my mentor’s expressions is, “I can deal with anything for 8 hours.” I knew I only had an 8-hour shift to work today, and then I’d be home free with a day off tomorrow.
Of course, then I go back for 12 hours on Wednesday. I wonder if the saying still applies?