Hi readers. I haven’t written since way back in July! No surprise there, was expecting to be a lot busier with the start of residency. I finished my first night float month in September and was in the middle of writing this piece. I decided to have some fun with it and talk about a few things I learned during this first month. Here ya’ go! (I started this a while back and finished it today).
For the past 3 weeks I’ve been engaged in my night float rotation. During this time it means covering for the day teams which had left for the day (cross-cover) and sometimes admitting patients as well. All I went in with was my subscription to Up to Date, a cellphone full of new phone numbers and thoughts of that one Scrubs episode when JD did his own night shift.
What happened? How did it turn out? Is the place haunted? Here’s a few things I learned
Every time you turn the corner you thing you’re gonna run into the twins from the Shining
Seriously the hospital can look entirely different at night. Starting in a new place for the first time doesn’t help either. Unfortunately google hasn’t mapped patient rooms into their system yet so coming early the first day to get your bearings might be a good idea. Also, don’t watch any horror movies the night before because it can get quiet. O_o
Pack something to eat
Vending machines will only get you so far. There’s only a finite amount of pop tarts/famous amos/cheez-its you can eat before you start craving real food. You know that stuff that mom used to make before chipotle became a staple.
Bring a blanket
Why is it so cold! Oh ya’ this is a hospital. Don’t depend on the heating to get you through the night when you have time to rest. Pack something warm!
Don’t lose your pager
With all the flying around you’ll do and ripping papers out of your pockets make sure your pager is on you at all times! It’s your connection to the nurses, who are your eyes and ears on whats happening on the floor. I think I was checking to make sure it was attached to my hip and not in the 4th floor bathroom somewhere at least every 5 minutes (seconds?)
Listen to your seniors
Yes it’s late and you finally have time to face-plant into a pillow…but wait your senior wanted you to check on that patient on floor 5! Decisions…
Get up there! As an intern I learned a lot seeing patients, even if I didn’t do much, as opposed to just calling in.
Plan a good breakfast
Best part of staying up all night!
Make time to call the people you care about
It’s easy to get swept away by the weird hours your working and forget to do the simple things. Keep in touch with the rest of the world by calling your friends and family! It’ll remind you that there’s a whole world still spinning outside of the hospital!