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I went to dinner with some nursing friends of mine a couple of weeks ago.  One works on post-partum, one on a women’s surgical oncology floor, one is in NP school and then there’s me.  I begin the conversation with a sigh of relief, “I’m so happy I have three weeks off!”  The glares ensue followed by playful teasing, “Shut up!  Lucky dog.”  I encourage them to quit their job and pursue something more bearable.  After a long examination of their martial strife mixed with motherly duties, we all agree that it is easier said than done.  It’s quiet for a minute while we silently commiserate.  “You know what I don’t miss,” I begin, “6am blood sugars.”

(The night nurses on my floor check the morning blood sugar levels so patients can receive insulin before their breakfast trays arrive.  It was always a source of stress for night nurses because it meant at 6:30am, right before shift change, we’re running around like mad administering all our insulin.  It also created a constant tug-of-war between shifts, the day nurses believing it was our job to do insulin while the night nurses believed day shift should do it.  Shift wars; another thing I don’t miss.)


My friend slams down her margarita, “UGH, YES!  I hate that?  Why can’t day shift do that crap?” (told you).  We continue our tipsy banter by listing all the terrible, annoying, depressing and down-right ridiculous things we would never miss about the hospital.  Much like listing all the things you hate about your ex boyfriend, this list made me feel awesome:

  1. Being yelled at because it’s not time for the next pain med dose
  2. Scooping up liquid diarrhea with a spoon in between the legs of a bed-ridden fat lady for the sake of a stool sample
  3. Trying to convince family members that they have no medical training and therefore should shut up
  4. Couples having sex in the hospital shower the day after giving birth
  5. Shift report filled with info I don’t give a shit about.  Is tonsillitis at 12 years old really relevant data at this point?
  6. When doctors don’t believe you until the patient is coding.
  7. Patients so obese they can’t scratch their own balls therefore they ask you to do it
  8. The over-worried charge nurse who keeps announcing the sat levels for all your patients — even when they’re normal
  9. Bring me grape juice instead of orange juice, and why did you change the ice cubes?  Last time I was on this floor they had the small Sonic ice; do you have any of that?
  10. Receiving an order for blood administration an hour before shift change
  11. Patients who get out of bed, crawl on all fours down the hallway yelling, “You can’t keep me here forever!”
  12. When patients take a swing at you and the wife says it’s just the “Devil in ’em!”
  13. Patients who die 30 minutes into your shift
  14. When your manager tells you your patient survey results are outstanding… but you don’t get a raise because you failed to put all the Curos caps on your IV ports.
  15. The nice patients who die before you can say goodbye
  16. Right when you learn a new skill, the nurse educator presents a new way of doing the new way you just learned
  17. So much chunky, thick drainage that you can’t find the urethra
  18. Patients who act confused about their medical situation while stuffing a large Dominos pizza down their throat
  19. The self-righteous, young, chipper, valley-girl-voiced nurse who tells her dying patient she won’t take him outside for a smoke because it would make her look bad as an employee and as a registered nurse
  20. When your patient requests a different nurse mid shift
  21. When management asks the team what they honestly would like to change on the floor and no one says anything because honestly it would be to eliminate all the patients
  22. Rectal tubes falling out
  23. Patients who act like indigestion is the end of the world
  24. Vomit with meds in it.  Vomit with blood in it.  Vomit with NG & dobhoff tubes in.  Vomit that hits the walls.
  25. Confused patients requesting sex or beer
  26. Drug addicts hiding pills in their pillow case
  27. Hard-ons during cathing
  28. Doctors ordering 3 new IV meds, a urine sample, a stool sample, a sputum sample, a blood glucose check, a CBC draw, a new IV, and a bladder scan — at 6:15am.
  29. Patients who deliberately crap themselves and then tell you, “Now you have to come into my room”
  30. Performing CPR for 30 minutes when we all know this person should just die.