Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Why nights are much better than days.

Dr Jr really likes night shifts. Yes, they're 12 and a half hour long (they'd be longer if they were allowed to make them longer). Yes you end up having to deal with ill patients by yourself. Yes you get woken up from moments of snatched sleep by your bleep for the most trivial of reasons ("I have a bag of fluid that'll run out in a few hours time, could you write the patient up for some more?"). It's stressy, disjointed and full of very sick or very mad patients.

Sounds like the perfect horror story, so why do I like it so much? Absolutely no paperwork! By paperwork I don't mean writing in the notes, because that's part and parcel of looking after patients. By paperwork I mean reams of blood cards, piles of radiology requests and meticulous list-keeping. The whole night is entirely about patient care or interacting with patients.

I had a lovely moment with a young-ish gentleman with learning difficulties. He was getting very upset as he had been noisy and the clinical support worker had threatened to call security. I think what she failed to realise is that just because he has learning difficulties, it does not mean he wouldn't get upset at being threatened by security. I sat down with him (on his bed I'll add, with him sitting beside me - sorry infection control, but I will never listen to your complaints about sitting on patients' beds. There's not a jot of evidence and patients much prefer it in my experience. Allegedly there's a paper that says that patients overestimate how long doctors spend with them when they sit on the bed, but that's a whole different story...). We had a very slow conversation; it took him about 15 seconds to formulate a response. He said, in his own way, that he was upset that he had been threatened by security, he was knackered and just wanted to go to sleep now. So I helped him into bed, tucked him in and wished him good night. He was asleep five minutes later.

I'd never get to do this during the day - there's just too much going on, but on nights, you can occasionally snatch a few golden moments like this. And although being thrown into clinical situations can scare you, the whole experience is exhilarating when you get it right, and there is always a reg to offer advice down the phone when you need it, for the times when you're not sure what to do.

That and the fact it's only a four day week. Man, I love nights. And I think it's time to go to bed. Night folks!

(On a side note, Dr Jr was just scared out of his mind when he heard some banging on his first floor windows, only to see a giant brush cleaning them...)


Anonymouse said...

Sleep tight Dr Jr

... and don't let anyone in this hospital know you like nights so much ;-)

Hypercryptical said...

I work predominately nights (by choice) Dr Jr.

I too like the fact that you have time to interact with patients - residents in my case - and the trusting relationships that develop; for - to me, this is what it is all about. Love it and can't believe I am paid for doing it!

No phones ringing, very little paperwork: no snatched naps though, as this is a no-no for nurses! Good run of days off.

I understand the disorientated bit - the brush on the window, and sometimes I really don't know what day it is!

But all in all, it is wonderful!

Anna :o]