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Monday, February 4, 2008


Nothing like a little Calvin and Hobbes to sum it up for me.

But that headline there about sums up my weekend from hell. And I still have six hours left.

It's one thing to be busy just in ER. It's one thing to be busy just on the patient floors. It's one thing to be busy just in the critical care. But when they are all paging you one after the other all weekend long, it's.... Grrrrrr.

Every person who could posibly have gotten sick this weekend did. I've taken care of everything from sick kids (see my last 2 posts) to adult vents.

Actually, about the only thing I haven't had is a code, but I have had at least five occasions when a patient has come close. And even a code would be better than trudging from one room to the next, from floor to floor to...

Come to think of it. Is there a reason that emergency rooms and critical care units are so far apart in hospitals. That's how it's been at all the hospitals I've worked at.

I think they do it this way to wear out us RTs. I don't think hospital builders think of how far RTs have to walk. No wonder my feet are killing me. I read one place that an RT walks on average 20 miles a day. I bet there's some validity to that.

And, here's another observation, whenever I have a ventilator in the unit (not like they put them anywhere else, but you know what I mean), ER is almost always busy. It's like clockwork. Just as you start a treatment in the unit, ER calls. Then you get to ER, and CCU calls you back.

Then when you sit down to have something to eat, they both call you at the same time, and then you get a third page that a patient on the floor needs (wants) a treatment.

I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if there were two of us, but it's just me. And, for whatever reason, I never call in help. It's not so bad being swamped the first two nights, but by the third night, when things still haven't slowed down, you start to drag your feet.

I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about.

Now, on the fourth night, I'm... Grrrrr. I'm a freight train coming through, get out of my way. If you order a stupid procedure, I might slip up and tell you what I think. I will try to hold back, but I don't know if I will be able to.

And, if those two RSV kids in ER right now end up getting admitted, I think I might break down and cry.

Okay, so I won't do that. But I could.

That pretty much sums up how I feel right now as the lone night shift RT.



Lucky said...

working in a sedentary position all day, I am jealous that you get to walk 20 miles a day.

The Anonymous Therapist said...

I've been there,'s a bummer. I had nights when I was the only RT at Our Lady where I'd have to go to our lockdown maternity unit a quarter-mile down a hall from the back corner of the hospital, and then I'd get calls to the ER, and then up two flights to the ICU, and then across to wears you down.

Hope your next night's better.

Glenna said...

Hope your next stretch is better. I really feel for you. I can't imagine being the only RT in the hospital. We have busy, 20 mile nights, but at least we're in it with our friends. There is something comforting about walking past another RT in the same hell and muttering "Kill me now" under your breath. That smile or quick laugh makes everything okay. For a minute. :-)