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Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm sleep deprived, but not a slacker

A coworker (not in my department) lectured me recently because she thinks my work is being effected by lack of sleep. She came to this conclusion after having a discussion about me with the nursing supervisor on duty a few nigths ago after I was asked to assess a patient.

"The patient was fine when I assessed her, and she was not in need of any respiratory intervention," I said.

My coworker said, "That's what you say, but the supervisor and I decided you weren't at the top of your game because you were overly tired."

"Why did she say that?"

"Because during the next shift the patient coded and died."

"I'm sorry, but when I assessed her she was fine."

And she was. I auscultated her lungs, and noted in my charting no change from previous assessments. The patient was mentally sound, and showed no such mental changes.

"Well, you need to be careful, and you need to get more sleep."

"Yes maam," I said. She proceeded to lecture me another ten minutes or so, and I stood there like a 1st grader in the principal's office after melting a wax crayon on the heater.

The truth is, it doesn't matter how much sleep I get prior to coming to work a night shift, because I suffer from what a lot of night shift workers suffer from: Chronic lack of sleep.

There is another word for it, "Circadium Rythm Sleep Disorder." When you have this problem you either don't get enough sleep (chronically) or you sleep and you don't sleep sound enough for it to make you totally satisfied.

Either that, or you never quite get caught up on your sleep. It's a chronic disease and it is a documented disorder for people who work nights. And I can honestly say it has never effected my work... PERIOD.

In fact, that patient crashed the next day and it was totally unrelated to what happened to her the night in question. Even if I had foresight and could predict when a person would crash, I couldn't have stopped her event from happening six hours after I went home at the end of my shift.

In fact, the patient coded following surgery that day. So, according to the night shift supervisor, I could have prevented this if I had been less tired. Then again, my assessment must not have been too far off, because both the Internist in charge of the patient, and the anesthesiologist, and the surgeon all approved the patient for surgery.

I wonder if those doctors were lectured about being too tired. Yes, I admit to being chronically exausted (which may also have something to do with having three kids, one of whom is nine-months old, at home), but it does not effect my work.

And yes I do "humor" about stupid doctor orders. But when it comes to taking care of my patients, my patients get 100% of my attention and RT experience. And I don't care what that stupid supervisor says.

Yes I'm sleep deprived, but I'm not a slacker. If there was no thing as politics, I probably would have said that to my boss, and sought out that supervisor and said it to her too. But, being the professional, laid-back, polite, humble, person I am: I said nothing. I bit my lip and said nothing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While you may or may not be suffering from lack of sleep -

Your co-worker IS suffering from lack of work (aka busy-bodyness)....

3 doctor evaluations and a surgery later and she is giving you crap about a patient coding.....

I'd have slapped her back to reality......