Grief Debriefing Versus Beer for Breakfast: Chapter 11 of The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki
The Adventures of Nurse Niki

The Adventures of Nurse Niki Chapter 11 is posted!

In this week’s episode, Niki reflects on sharing about patient deaths at grief debriefings, and how much extra time nurses already spend at the hospital for continuing education and skills training.

In contrast, Niki and friends from work finally make it to an after shift breakfast. There, they comment on men in nursing, the role of respiratory therapists (every ICU nurse knows skilled respiratory therapists are a crucial part of the health care team), and share thoughts on marriage.

Off the Charts has this to say about The Adventures of Nurse Niki:

This blog is made up entirely of first-person episodes told by a fictional nurse named Niki. Each episode is short, detailed, and engaging, and it’s easy to keep up with it on a regular basis, or quickly catch up if you haven’t yet read any episodes.

                      Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor/blog editor

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Thank YOU!! to the readers following The Adventures of Nurse Niki, the retweets of  @NurseNikiAdven, and those who not only Like Nurse Niki’s Facebook Fan Page. The support is very much appreciated!

Hospitals Are Not Restaurants

A Blank List photo: jparadisi 2012

My horoscope says today is a good day for diversion, but I disagree. This is one of those mornings I wake up with a to do list forming in my head, which means I am already behind. One of the things on the list is writing this post. Be charitable as you read it; I haven’t finished my coffee yet.

This feeling of being behind before the day begins is familiar in our home. David, a hospital pharmacist, and I work the same weekends, and this weekend we both worked the Saturday, Sunday, Monday stretch. For some reason, all hospitals I’m familiar with staff units lighter on weekends: no unit secretary, linens are not delivered, IT support is unavailable. Pharmacy has less support, meaning nursing waits for medications to arrive; everything slows down.

This mindset is a puzzlement. Why would weekends be more or less busy in a hospital than any other day of the week as if they are restaurants?  I’ve worked in food service. For restaurants, happy hours and dinners are consistently busier on Fridays and Saturdays than weekdays. Restaurants catering to the business lunch crowd are understandably busier Monday through Fridays.

People do not schedule how sick they are going to be according to the day of the week.

Granted, most doctors’ offices are closed, and surgeries are usually not scheduled on weekends. I get that. However, this leads to the proviso that people who are admitted for hospitalization are too critical to wait until Monday for surgery or treatment. Trauma and sepsis do not wait until the doctor is in. They keep the weekend health care team pretty damn busy.

I’m not complaining, just pointing out a reality of life in health care, by way of explaining today, our first day off, both David and I are feeling a little frazzled. The evidence of this is on our dining room table. Rather than a place for a leisurely, home cooked meal, over the weekend it has become a catchall for the implements of our trades: his messenger bag, my tote. Both of our notebooks charge quietly, their green LED lights reflected in the luster of the table’s finish. Valentine’s Day cards, still without a permanent home, remain on the table.  Although our home is a disorganized mess, there is love.

We’re out of food though. Add a grocery store run to the to do list.