May 13, 2008

Work related stress

This past weekend at work was pretty quiet patient-wise, but stressful for me. First, I was extremely tired. I haven't been sleeping well at all, and not just because of the baby. I fall asleep just fine, but can't stay asleep long, and can't get back to sleep after I wake up. But that's another post. I was also charge RN this weekend, something I would prefer not to do, but I fill in when the other charge nurses are off. Saturday, we needed to transfer a 25 week ruptured patient to a higher level hospital with a NICU (level 3, we're a level 2). Of course its storming, so the helicopter won't fly for obvious reasons, but it takes about 45 minutes by ambulance. So we've got a multip, SROM, 25 weeks, and we're going to have to take her by ambulance. Luckily we got her stable enough to transfer, but I had to send a nurse with them. Sunday wouldn't have been too bad if it wasn't trying to figure out staffing. Pediatrics is part of our unit, and they also do minor outpatient procedures and transfusions. The peds nurses are part of our staffing, and there are also a handful of infusion nurses out of another department. They do stuff like IV antibiotics, dressing changes. No one informed me that while I was off on maternity leave, that we now handle staffing infusion/outpatient nurses. Would have been nice to know. It's never come up before because no infusion RN has called off while I've been in charge. Well, Sunday night, one called in and they had several procedures scheduled for Monday, and needed another nurse to replace her. Long story short, I spent a good hour trying to figure out how I was going to handle the problem. Our whole staffing is usually hard to do by itself because we always have to have the right mix of skill, let alone throwing in another batch of nurses with different skills. It's pretty hard to explain, but lets just say it was a pain in the ass. At the end of the shift, I did "baby care" for a first time mom who labored without an epidural. Awesome delivery, baby was perfect. She said that while she was pregnant, she had several friends tell her she'd need an epidural, that she was crazy to want to do it without one. She read several books, and said "You know, I knew I could do it, I would just need encouragement". And she did and she felt great afterward.

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