Just recently I returned to bedside nursing after having spent almost the last five years in nursing education. The transition back wasn’t nearly as anxiety ridden as I had anticipated, however the hours were definitely longer than I remembered. Regardless of my organizational skills it has been near to impossible to wrap up my day in the allotted 12-hour time frame. Maybe it’s the fact that patients are in general more complex, or that the computerized processes are more a hindrance at times than they are a help, or even that patients require more teaching to meet core measures and decrease the chance of readmissions…. I don’t know. What I do know is that my 12-hour shifts are more like 14+ hour shifts by the time I complete all of my work – a fact that seems to boggle my dear husband as he cannot seem to wrap his brain around the fact that human beings in the hospital setting are unpredictable and don’t just magically cooperate just because it’s time for you to punch out. I think he thinks that I exaggerate and embellish how my days do. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth for I generally have days that fall under the category of “you can’t make this stuff up.” There is no right time to have chest pain, low blood pressure, respiratory distress, etc ….and when these events occur, whenever they do during my shift, I am accountable to advocate for and help that patient. So after working multiple shifts over the past few months in which I was leaving hours after my shift ended, my husband finally was like, “What the hell? I don’t get it” My explanations were lost on him – UNTIL TODAY…..
Today, my dear husband told me that he was talking with a guy at work, who as it turns out has a daughter that works at the same hospital I work at (I’ve worked with this girl multiple times but never knew who her father was – until today). While I don’t know how the whole conversation came about, this guy told my husband that his daughter was discussing her job with him, and mentioned that there was one nurse named Jen Peck, who had been really nice to her and was one of the hardest working nurses she had the pleasure to work with. Well, to make a long story short, and you guessed it, that nurse turned out to be me. When my husband told me this I laughed and never felt more vindicated. Here was a girl who could attest to the fact that when I work, I work my butt off. And now, finally, my husband could hear from someone other than me, how crazy busy my days truly are. No exaggerations, no embellishments. Just the gods honest truth to a day in the life of a nurse.