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5 things you shouldn’t ask for prior to your shift


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“If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

Does this sound familiar? I swear, the universe has quite the sense of humor sometimes. You ever get that feeling that you wish for one thing and the universe decides to pull a fast one on ya and give you the exact opposite?

Well, nursing is like that. Remember why we don’t say the “Q” word while working a shift? Here are five things you NEVER ask for prior to working a shift, because the universe will strike you with its diabolic humor:

Hope to be called off

  • You left work yesterday knowing the census was down. You head home hoping and crossing your fingers that for your shift the next day, the census will stay that low and they won’t need you! That’s when you’ll come in the next day to an entire unit full of new admissions!

Hope to be put on call

  • This is the evil stepchild of hoping for that call off. This one ranks more severe, though, because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. You get your wish. Work calls and tells you the census is low enough that you’re on call. You rejoice long enough to put down the phone and close your eyes…when the phone rings. Guess what, they just got multiple admissions. They’re gonna need you to come on in.

Expect an easy shift

  • You read the census sheet and scan the patients and what’s going on with the unit. You think to yourself, “Ehh, this doesn’t look so bad.” You enjoy the thought just long enough to hear them call a code over the PA system. So much for easy, huh?

Assume you got an easy assignment

  • You survey your patient assignments. You see they don’t look too bad. Their medication lists don’t go on for miles. You don’t have to take any road trips and at first glance, the patients seem pretty darn nice. Then it dawns on you. Today, apparently, you get mistaken for the waitstaff instead of the nurse. There is busy, then there is busywork.

Plan something within an hour of the end of your shift

  • This is probably the worst one of them all. Just because you’re “scheduled” until a specific time doesn’t mean you’re done working at that time. So, you spend your entire shift ensuring that you get all your tasks completed. You become super-efficient at everything. The pulse of the unit is “controlled chaos.” It’s only during the last 40 minutes of your shift that a patient decompensates and your dream of getting out on time gets overshadowed by saving more lives.

Nursing. The toughest job you’ll ever love.

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