Right.

That whole “working a couple nursing shifts and catching my breath” thing?

Not so much.

Because I picked up even more nursing shifts, leaving time for sleep but not much else, including breath catching. Two weeks off. Har.

I am really glad for the shifts though because the last of the med school loan money is officially gone, and the Apartment Hunt is officially on.

Ugh.

I hate moving. And it is now perfectly clear to me why many people balance the quality of the training at the program with the convenience of relocation when they make their match lists. Which I willfully did not do. And now I am in Internet (because I can’t afford the actual, in-person variety) Apartment Hunting In A Completely Unfamiliar Big City H*ll.

Which goes something like: “Yay! I actually found an affordable apartment near the hospital where I can have pets!” Oh wait. It’s in a ghetto with a weekly murder rate that exceeds the national average by 87%. Right. Guess that explains why there are so many units available. Moving on.

I stopped finding the humor in this after, like, the fifth time it happened.

I am currently trying to find my dog a new owner (and completely hating myself for it), and trying to settle on an apartment that would only eat up (roughly) half my monthly income so I would only get shot at, say, once a month instead of daily. [Note: This program is actually in the U.S. Not Afghanistan.] I am rapidly approaching the point where I will close my eyes, point at Craigslist, and send a check. On the bright side, after four years in this place I will (indubitably) be in the best shape of my life/a certified ninja. What with all the running, dodging, and bludgeoning of would-be muggers. I’m selling the treadmill. Bring it.

Luckily, all the extra nursing shifts are providing a sort of pre-Big City boot camp. Mayberry General has broken out of its cyclic rural medicine slump and the census has been steadily climbing. I have been running my behind off at work and it’s been a great chance to flex some seriously flabby nursing muscles (and just muscles in general), and a great reminder of just how freaking amazing nurses really are.

At one point last weekend I was standing at the nurses station simultaneously priming IV tubing with one hand, charting a focused trauma assessment with the other, inspecting my pant legs for any missed remnants of kid barf, and listening to the on call MD discussing the intricacies of easter egg dying with their med student.

It occurred to me how providers might (how I might have been starting to) take for granted all the work that goes into making the Giant Lists of Orders actually happen. I mean, the doctor, PA, CNP, whoever comes in and spends a relatively small amount of time assessing and working with a patient, writes some orders, and then returns to find said orders carried out. Labs and imaging results, medications and treatments, and the medicated, scanned, phlebotomized, treated, cleaned up, comforted patient, all, magically at the ready.

Guess what. Not magic. Nurses.

While our on call and their med student sit at the desk, nurse newbie and I have been busting our humps starting IV’s, pushing meds, calling in, organizing and assisting lab and radiology staff, wiping noses and occasionally behinds, assessing, soothing, reporting, scheduling follow-up, running, fetching, administering back rubs, words of encouragement, and stickers PRN, getting barfed on, hollered at, and charting it all in a timely, coherent fashion.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. It has been awesome.

I’m just saying. There is a reason nurses are the most trusted professionals 11 years running.While Providers may provide part of the brains for the operation, nurses mostly provide the hands, feet, backs, sweat, Kleenex, hugs, chucks, mops, shoulders to cry on, words of comfort, the compassion, organization, stickers, encouragement, sometimes the tough love, and the heart. Nurses are freaking amazing.

No matter what I do, I never want to forget it.

That said, after one last (for now) post-shift nap, I’m leaving the shifts, The To Do List and Apartment Hunt From H*ll behind, and I’m hitting the road for a brief, long overdue visit with Nurse NICU. And maybe, if I’m lucky, some breath catching.

And, as an added bonus, I’ve got an amazing newly mixed CD from my brother for the trip. Just in time. Love you buddy.

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