Ah, yes—the final sprint to the finish line at the end of a 12-hour shift. A time as terrifying as it is hopeful.
Of course, no two end-of-shift countdowns are the same, but we reckon that most tend to look a lot like this…
1. One hour and 30 minutes remaining
You’re exhausted. You’ve lost 14 pens, and you’re beginning to fear (deep down in your soul) that this shift will never end.
In short? You’re kinda starting to lose it.
2. One hour and 29 minutes remaining
Your nurse buddy suggests that you pull yourself together, and STAT.
So you do…sort of.
3. One hour and 15 minutes remaining
Fear is beginning to morph into frustration. By now, it doesn’t take a whole lot to really set you off.
The new nurse on the unit can’t understand why earlier this morning you were all…
Now, when they ask you the same question twice, things are a little different.
4. One hour remaining
You know you need to finish the shift off strong, but all systems are so not “go” right now, and every minute is a struggle not to be horizontal.
5. Forty-five minutes remaining
Surprise, surprise—that banana and a bag of snack mix that you ate four hours ago didn’t really do it for ya.
At this point, the only thing more enticing than a bed is food—preferably still warm food, but beggars can’t be choosers.
6. Thirty minutes remaining
You’ve just realized the end of your shift is near.
You feel like doing this:
But your energy level is here:
So, really, the best you can manage is this:
7. Twenty-five minutes remaining
The finish line is so close, you can almost smell the french fries you’re 110 percent going to pick up on your way home.
This is when you start getting paranoid. You think you hear sirens (by the dozens!) when there’s no emergency in sight.
And every time you pass by a room, you sense that a distraught family member is about to emerge like:
8. Fifteen minutes remaining
You’re still busy dutifully preparing your patients for hand-off, diving into a full change-of-shift report.
And while the entire process feels a bit like this:
Eventually, you get through it (we never doubted you).
9. Three minutes remaining
10. Zero minutes remaining