August 11, 2011 at 7:30 am
Last month Muhammad from the RN Central blog sent me an interesting infographic about what really happens during a hospital night shift (see below). He also read my FAQ before contacting me which endeared him to my heart and put him ahead of 95% of the other requests I get.
But, reading the FAQ is not necessarily a way into my text editor. I thought the infographic was rather interesting and it made me think of two of my own experiences in the hospital which you can read about below the image.
Night time staffers are fewer and less experienced
Oh, yes they are. When I was home from college for the weekend when I was two months shy of 18, I woke up in the middle of the night with a horrible pain on my right side. (Long-time readers of my blog and book will know where I’m headed with this.) My mother rushed me to the hospital where I was triaged…and then sent next door to the kiddie hospital because I was totally a child, not being 18 and all. There they triaged me again and an intern or resident examined me. (I don’t know the proper title, but she wasn’t a full doctor yet.)
My mother kept asking the not-doctor, “Could it be a gallbladder attack?” My mother and my father had both had their gallbladders removed and my pain seemed similar to what she’d experienced. I had lost 40 pounds that summer and rapid weight loss can trigger a gallbladder attack. But the not-doctor told us no, it wasn’t my gallbladder. It was probably just gas, take some Mylanta next time, blah, blah, blah. ONLY SHE WAS WRONG! It was my gallbladder, which I had to have removed several years later when I was on crappy insurance that stuck me with a $7000 bill. If she’d made the diagnosis when I was on my parents’ insurance, I would have a much nicer car. So, even when you give the night time staff a cheat sheet for your diagnosis, they can still fail big time.
Night and weekend shifts are filled with temporary or agency nursing staff, many of whom have less training and less familiarity with the hospital
And this is why I was born on Monday, October 27, 1980, boys and girls. There had been complications with my older brother’s birth, so I was to come into this world via a scheduled C-section. My older brother had been born on a Friday, so my mother had been stuck with the weekend nursing staff when she was recovering. She was not impressed. Her doctor originally suggested Friday, October 31 for my birth, but Mom was not going to let her daughter be born on a Friday or on Halloween. (Thanks, Mom!) When she was asked to pick a day, she chose the 27th because it was a Monday and she’d get the regular nursing staff.
Anyone else have bad experiences at the hospital at night? Of course, you’re in the hospital, so bad experiences probably aren’t hard to find.