ER has nothing to do with the reality of Israeli Nursing in a seemingly common night
|Israeli nursing: Just one more night…
It’s my second night shift in our ward and luckily I’m teamed with a nice nurse who doesn’t think that annoying newbies for sports is good for team work. Frankly, had it been someone else, I’d probably go as nuts as Scrat about half way through.
There were two forces working against us, and one of them was Murphy. You see, there are several tasks the night shift nurses are assigned. There’s the renewing of prescriptions, changing the “Kangaroo” sacs (for those who are tube or peritoneal- fed), changing the suction vacuum containers and refilling bedside equipment. Doesn’t sound like much work, since each task is done every 2, 5, 10 or even 21 days. But tonight we had a “planet parade”, meaning all those days matched. As a result we ended up buried so deep in paperwork that by the time we dug ourselves out (no international help here) it was 4 am, and no snooze buttons were used during the running of this shift, mostly because we didn’t snooze. Just to be clear- the shift is 9 pm to 7 am.
And since the System in its wholeness was against us at the moment, one of the patients suddenly decided to vacate her bed in the fastest way possible- tried to die. She started the process earlier that day, so our “predecessors” gave her morphine, which was an act of sheer genius- give a person with respiratory distress and lousy stomach an opiate. First she decided to do like a Space Ball and barf. Then she dropped her blood pressure really low. And we had to keep her alive till morning- so we won’t have to wake the doc. Besides, we had enough paperwork as it is. So we followed the text book and “did our best” to keep her alive, at least until the end of ours shift.
To make things happier, someone notified the family not only that their beloved is in a bad shape, but also that she was given morphine. They took the second part worse, since the word “narcotic” struck a stigmatic cord. So they called every 30 minutes to check if she’s dead/addicted yet. As a nurse I have no right to give information, but they were very inquisitive, so in order to avoid malpractice charges I had to squirm like a lawyer on a fishing hook. I tried to hint them with various workload and sleeping hints, but they missed them. Eventually the husband promised to call every hour, instead of 30 minutes, but his daughter did so too, so while each called every hour, the calls still came at the same frequency. Oh, the math of life.
The nurse that came to relieve us at the morning had a combination of two syndromes- PMS and the Morning After. She grouched and sneered like Professor Snape in an elderly house, but I was still glad to see her, since her appearance meant my liberation.
P.S. On my way out, at least 5 people asked me if that patient was still alive. And I swore that the next one who does that will do what she didn’t- die before I leave the hospital for the day. We now have a vacancy for a Head nurse.
Just kidding... this time.
January 21, 2011.