Open Apology to my Day Shift Counterparts

Night shift is short staffed. This is just how it’s going to be for awhile, and I need to come to grips with that. If we have a tech, we’re lucky, because usually charge nurse ends up doing tech duties in addition to her own, and once in awhile is forced to take a patient.

This means that often I need to provide total care for my patients. This also means that I don’t get to dig around in the charts and get the details day shift invariably asks about them when I hand them over. Vascular signed off? Sorry. I didn’t have time to read through charts, and it wasn’t given to me in report, so I apologize for not changing that dressing, because I thought the Vascular doc would be in around 7am to tear it off and look at the wound. But I did change the PICC line dressing. I hope that helps.

I do what I can. I also prioritize not just my patients’ care but the care of my teammates’ patients. That means I am in rooms answering call bells of my fellow nurses, toileting those patients, and even hanging IV meds when my team member is stuck in an isolation gown trying to give meds down a PG tube to a patient who has MRSA in an amputated BKA stump.

I need to find a succinct way to tell oncoming day shift staff that I’m not being lazy because I dont have details they want. Instead I have spent my night doing my work, the work of our often non existent techs, and sometimes the work of my fellow nurses who have a crappier assignment than mine, and are behind schedule because of it. And I want to make it clear that dont resent or regret helping my team members one single bit. I know that I am also on the receiving end of that crappy assignment from time to time, and they are the ones that will settle in my new admit when I’m behind in my work.

I’m told management hired two nurses. But we are still lacking techs for the night shift. The few that remain can’t cover the entire week of shifts on their own. And the nurses they hired are actually still in school, hopefully graduating this May, possibly taking boards this June, and if all goes well, will come off orientation in October. That’s a long time to be short staffed.

So, I apologize to my day shift team members, that I don’t often know the nitty gritty of the patients I am handing off to you. But I got all the patients through the night, and no one died.

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