Monday, October 14, 2013

PICU Call Rants #1 and 2

RANT #1:

First of all, let me start this post with saying how much I hate saying "call shifts."  In the PICU, I am not "on call." I am present, for the entire shift.

I am not able to sit at home, on my couch, or sleep in my bed, and simply answer a phone to give a nice quick answer to the nurse calling about a patient.

I am there, in the PICU, generally running around, barely getting to sit down, sometimes not getting dinner, and many times not drinking enough water to produce adequte urine output.

I wish we'd just call it night shift. Because really, that's what it is.  Well, a combination afternoon and night shift.  But either way, that sounds better than "Call shift"....because that's NOT what it is!

Rant 1 over...phew! Although it will lead me into Rant #2....

RANT #2:

The REASON why we don't call it night shift!  I had a manager tell me in the last several months that calling it night shift (AKA: I hate working nights!  Night shift sucks!...sorry that's generally how the phrase comes up from me) referred to bedside nursing.


I was supposed to call it what it "was"- "Call shift."  Why??? Because that's what the medical model called it.

OK, there's some crazy, slightly ironic reasoning if I've ever heard it! 

First of all, I AM a nurse!  I may be an Advanced Practice Nurse, but I am a NURSE!  So calling it a night shift, which could have a nursing connotation would be appropriate! 

Second of all, I did not go to medical school. I am not a physician.  So do I really care if I am following the medical model, or using medical terminology (no, not at work, but in situations such as this!)???

I'm realizing more and more lately that being an APN is a weird chasm between two worlds.  We are not quite nurses anymore, but we are not quite physicians either.  I function exactly the same as the fellow physicians in the PICU, and yet I'm not a fellow.  I have nursing in my title, and was a great bedside nurse for 8 years, but no longer function in that way. 

And I take great pride in being a nurse.  Families and patients call me doctor all the time, and I very quickly correct them. Not because I feel I'm not "worthy," but more because I know that patients and families see a big difference between the care that they get from me and my fellow APNs vs some of the residents or other physicians.  And I want them to continue to differentiate the two. 

What a weird chasm to be in- in one world, but a part of another.  But as weird as it in, and as with all things nursing and APN related, I know that I will figure it out.  Figure out how to be an incredible APN in a medical model while still holding tight to the values and traits that are exclusive to nursing. figure out how to continue to differentiate ourselves as APNs from the physicians.

But most importantly, figure out how to get everyone else on board on calling a cat a cat, a dog a dog, and a night shift a night shift!


  1. I would agree with you on this one. My aunt is a nurse and when I say your post I called her and she said she agrees as well. Hopefully you can get them to change the term, although I can see why they use it.

  2. Alyssa- glad I'm not alone in this : )

  3. I wholeheartedly agree that we are caught between two worlds. I always say the mind of a doctor, the heart of a nurse.

  4. Oh NPs Save Lives...i love that!! Definitely going to put that one in my back pocket for future use!