Shifts are evil, night shifts doubly so

I managed to hold back my tears until I was away from the Unit. I hate ‘morning handover’. After a 12-hour night shift where you are mostly run off your feet, you have to account for what’s happened to your (often innately unstable and occasionally heroically but inappropriately sustained – see older posts) patients overnight. And sometimes you have to account for what happened the previous dayshift as well, because with the shift system, everyone seems to spend half their weekdays at home recovering from all the weekends and nights spent working. There is a reason why interrogating exhausted, sleep-deprived subjects is an established form of torture. At the end of the shift one is tired and hungry. Every blink threatens to turn into an hour-long nap, and arms and legs, even thoughts are leaden. I slump into the ‘handover room’, careful to avoid the eye of the mother of the boy who was admitted with an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Any empathy that flows from me now will cause me to crumple. I care about my patients (that’s what makes this job so painful), but I have been hassled to within an inch of my life for 12 hours, and at that moment I no longer have the capacity to care about anything or anyone anymore. And then in that room, they question you about decisions you made, decisions you didn’t make (perhaps even disagreed with), argue among themselves, burnish their egos, while you fade away…. and then they yell at you to speak up. There is no appreciation for your work. It is torture. I can’t believe I’m going back for more. (It’s called Professionalism.) I really really hate this job. There is no way I’m ever working on an intensive care unit again.

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One response to “Shifts are evil, night shifts doubly so

  1. There is a limit what you can do, as long as you have exercised your professionalism and you have done your part. No one should yell at you or blame you, you must be firm and stand up for yourself to deal with unreasonable situations.

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