Just came home from the best shift! You know that shift – you see one of your favorite coworkers heading down the hall, do a little dance, and find that you are assigned in the same area of the unit. Some things just set us up for a successful shift. A great shift is similar to a tasty, homemade soup – full of the best ingredients. The following are just a few key ingredients to having a good shift.
A nurse’s job is difficult, but manageable when working side by side with great coworkers. It is a simple fact that working with your tribe of people can sometimes make all the difference in the world. You know that no matter what, you have one another’s backs unconditionally. No matter how difficult the day, you have a second pair of eyes, ears, and another trustworthy opinion. Somewhere, in the calmer moments, you can have a laugh.
A successful shift is achieved when a calm, competent, and friendly doctor is at the helm. They sometimes set the precedence for the shift. The rest of the team relies on the doctor to steer the ship.
It isn’t called intensive care for nothing. Intensive care requires attention to detail, constant calculation and recalculation, and cat like reflexes. Some days you arrive to work and are thrown into a train wreck, while others you are able to ease in. This depends often on the stability of your patient. A “stable sick” intensive care patient is the patient whose blood pressure has stabilized on vasopressors, has great access, and is comfortably sedated and well saturated.
The Family Members
Working in Neonatal Intensive Care means there are parents at the bedside most of the time. The parents are the part of my job that I love the most. Some days there are just parents you bond with from the second you meet them. They give you their unconditional trust and you your promise to do everything you can to care for their little one.
Faulty equipment is the bane of every nurse’s existence. We rely on our machinery to sustain our patients’ lives. With limited time, a smooth sailing shift is best achieved when there are plenty of functioning IV pumps, CPAP machines, ventilators, etc., on the unit.
The weekend often presents the opportunity to ease through a shift with food. Whether someone brings something baked from home or it’s a potluck, food brings us together. The manager of my unit, for example, provides her staff with fresh fruit baskets for each shift one day a week.
All of the above made my last shift a super success. It is a day like this that I am reminded why I love being a nurse. Here’s to many more and hoping you all have a super shift! A huge shout out to my incredible coworkers in the NICU at Queen Silvia’s Hospital for Children!!