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The lazy nurse’s guide to a 12-hour shift

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Prepare, prepare, prepare. That is my motto. Whenever I procrastinate, I tend to get the train wreck of patients. I know it seems counterintuitive to prepare in attempts to be lazy but I swear it works. For example, if I know I am getting a new patient with the chief complaint of chest pain, I will set up the room. EKG leads ready, IV tray ready, labs ready, pillow, blankets, oxygen, slippers, and patient belonging bag. In less than ten minutes (providing the IV gods smile upon me), I can have their complete work up done including line, labs, assessment, vital signs, comfort measures and documentation. Then I just put that patient on cruise control and coast until their next destination (home, inpatient unit, etc.). Contrast this to procrastinating. You might have to make three trips out of the room to get your supplies, you might get pulled into another room, you might forget something. I am telling you, I was never in the Scouts but I totally would have had my preparedness badge!

Another thing I like to do is be the “Rachael Ray” of nursing. If you ever watch her cooking show, she always carries a ton of stuff from the fridge and pantry to the counter where she is cooking. I do the same thing. If I know that all my patients can drink or eat, I will get juice and snacks for everyone at the same time. I will bring extra pillows, slippers, and blankets all at the same time dropping them off at each room. I will also start vital signs on one patient, then go into the next room and start their vital signs, all the way down the line. Then by the time I get back to the first patient, the numbers are up! I write them all down on a piece of paper and off to document I go!

The only thing I NEVER batch is medications. That is a med error waiting to happen. That I do one by one by one and take my sweet time. Because being lazy means avoiding all extra paperwork at all odds whenever possible! An ounce of prevention and preparation prevents a pound of paperwork!!!

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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2 Responses to The lazy nurse’s guide to a 12-hour shift

  1. Juls

    So NOT lazy…should re-title it “The Intuitive Nurse’s Guide to a 12-hour Shift.” That’s how WE roll. Great thoughts, thanks Rebekah!

  2. Paula Norris

    Gee,,,, Guess u never have patients in ISOLATION!