Monday, February 13, 2012

Medical Work and Night Shift Blues

I was sitting in the parking lot of Panera's yesterday morning around 730 a.m. after getting 
off from a lonnng night of work. I was waiting for my sister to meet me 
and mulling over life choices I've made and were about to make.
Stimulating, I know, but I had to keep myself awake, somehow.

Once a week, my sister and I have a little tradition to meet up for breakfast there.
Have you tried Panera's Artichoke and Spinache Egg souffles? 
You must.
Absolutely delish.

I was trying not to think of how stinking cold it was outside.
The kind of cold that sucks the breath right out of you.
Slices right through all three layers of clothing.
My actual bones were turning into icicles.

Why when your car is sitting parked and idle does the heat not work as well
as when you are driving?
This is very cruel, auto building/makers...

As I was sitting there,
I came to the very definite conclusion that
my job saps the very life force out of me.
No lie.

Every single shift I work, as soon as I enter the hallways of
the hospital I feel the heavy curtain drop.
Life sapping systems: COMMENCE and CONVERGE on that
short girl who just walked through the double doors.
Every time.
Casualty 1900s
Look, it's a given. Working in any medical profession, we tend to see people at their worst.
Very true.
However, after working in the medical field for the past ten years,
both pre-hospital (EMS) and in-hospital (ED), 
being patient's and their family's verbal punching bag is starting to take a hefty toll.
(I had at lease 3 such encounters on this past shift--hence my need to vent and
subsequent desire to bash my head against the wall)   

Seeing people always at their worst = Bringing me to the point that I'd like to rip my hair out alongside of them in frustration at all of their frustrations.
Bursting into uncontrollable tears with the very much alone, elderly lady at the sad decline of her life. And then erupt into hysterical laughter in front of the 19 year old, upon hearing of his idiocy.
You shot yourself up with what cleaning fluid???

My decision not to go back to nursing school–probably a good idea, in this case and at this time :)
I feel the word burnout, might soon apply.

Seriously, though, there are and always will be aspects of this job I love, don't misunderstand.
There is nothing quite like being there to help reverse a bad situation and make it better.
The bond that forms between you and co-workers as you step into the grisly and griddy "trenches"
day after day, is unlike many other professions.
Seeing things one shouldn't have to see and deal with 
and try and fix, over and over again.
It's tough.
It's often gag-worthy.
Can be very rewarding.
But also very costly.

Maybe I just need to get off night shift too.
That might help.
Although I love the peoples I work with.

Everything just seems more drawn out and taxing on that shift.
Eating "lunch" at 2 in the morning just feels wrong.
Could it be because humans ARE NOT nocturnal??!
No one should have to be awake at 330 in the morning.
Why can't life just close down at a certain time?
Everything go into pause mode, until the sun rises?

How sweet that would be :)

So to all my fellow medical workers
busy bee night shift-ers,

I salute you!

[and thanks for reading this fun filled diatribe:)]
The journey home to my pillow :)


  1. I can so remember...and relate. It's been a couple of years since my hospital shifts were in full swing.

    Thank you! That was one thing I felt I never heard enough.

    Sleep good.

    1. Thank you for saying that, Bevy! I needed to hear it :)))) And thank you for all the work you do :) I appreciate you!!

      Jeanine :)

  2. I love this post. I think it shows a reality to the workforce that we can all relate to. I, too, am afraid of "burnout" so I guess it is a relief to see that it isn't just my job- it's everybody's job. I guess the key is to not work too hard, love the days we have off, and try not to think too much about work when we are away. Of course, that is easier said than done!

    1. Yes, you are totally right. Everyone faces it, no matter what job. You have an amazingly hard job as a teacher, I know, I have a family of teachers and the stories and troubles I've heard!! I could never do your job :) But I am thankful that there are people, just like you, who can. You're awesome! :))) Thanks for stopping by :)))

  3. Ok so I totally got that.. and that is why I rush home after getting off at 5:30 to sleep in the dark.. One time my tranner thought it would be a great deal to work out after work and as I workedout and saw the sun come up I was so mad, I mean heated lol. I told my tranner i can't do this your crazy. I know always going off. ;). Oh my gosh I think I'm leaving a message ;)

    1. Yay! I got your message :) LOL. I would have been "heated" too. What? training at that ungodly hour?? Cr-azyyyy. I heart sleep :) heehee

  4. Very true words buddy! We all get burned out. Never forget to take some time out for yourself to enjoy the wonders of the world...or just to Have a lazy day on the couch watching your favorite movie. We work in some of the harshest environments. From walking into uninhabitable homes that some of the dirtiest creatures live in to the verbal and vulgar language that hits in the ER when those who may not necessarily need to be there don't get their beloved narcotics as quickly as they wish. I have been trying my best to focus my energy on those that deserve it: the children who can't help their lifestyles to the elderly who dwell on the best and worst memories of their lifetimes. To the rest of the not so wonderful characters we see, I try to ignore the fact they are so unhappy and enjoy a nice cup of coffee or here lately an awesome slushie. :) In the end my dear, do whatever makes YOU happy. Take a break. See the sights. Enjoy the world and what you love. Every day is a gift. We all need to remember how precious this gift is. Work is definitely not worth being unhappy. Love you bud!!

    1. I just love you girly. And I love this!! From you!! Such good advice. I will take it, if you promise me, you will take it too :) Find something else you enjoy doing and make sure you give time to that to balance things out. Yes, you are so right––very important! That's why I like writing on here. Fantastic outlet! And my design schtuff keeps me occupado. So I am working on it. Trying. I'm so glad you hopped on over here. Thanks for your lovely comment :))) See you round the jungle gym :)

  5. I can see exactly how big of a choice this is. I want you to be encouraged to do what you want in your life. The weather is so terribly cold, isn't it?

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, girly. I appreciate your words :) Stay bundled up out there! And thanks so much for stopping by :))

  6. i salute you :) keep your head up, God will hold you through


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...