A night in the life of a registered nurse

A nurse’s job is never done — well, it is, but then another shift begins.

8 p.m.: Another night in the Progressive Care Unit at Elkins Park is about to begin. With a coffee in hand, I prepare to give out meds, get patients settled for the night and start some of the never-ending charting. I have three patients but the ER has plans to give me more …

8:30 p.m.: “PCU, this is Stephanie.” It’s the ER on the phone and they have a patient to be admitted with my name written all over it. I can hardly hide my excitement.

12:30 a.m.: My admission from the ER has arrived. Admission computer work has been put on hold as I transfer my patient to our Critical Care Unit. With a hand from our excellent staff (consider this your shout out, guys), the patient is quickly transferred and stabilized. Report is given; soggy, uneaten sandwich from three hours ago is in the trash and my mind is racing with a hundred things I still have to do — this article being one of them.

5 a.m.: Baths, meds, blood draws: This is the busiest part of the night and interruptions are all too common. Time to run around and wrap up the night, yet look composed and not desperate for sleep when the day-shift staff arrives. My bed is calling me.

7:45 a.m.:
Report is finished and I’m walking out of the Park with the girls. We collectively decided no one ever starts exercising on a Thursday and we will try again next week. I’m off to bed, with a pork roll and cheese sandwich awaiting me at home. I’ll try to get some weird daytime sleep  — and then it’s back to work tonight.



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