Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Last year I had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, both 12 hours shifts that turned into about 15 each. 

This year I got a better deal and just had to do Christma Eve.  It was supposed to be a ten hour shift but in true PICU Christmas fashion, it turned into a 14 hour. 

I don't know what it is about the holiday times, but the week or two leading up to it seems so chill.  And I think, "Oh nice, for one year the PICU will be quiet on Christmas!"  And then the holiday hits and it almost knocks you out.

Yesterday was one of the top 3 worst days of my APN career (only in competition with last Christmas Eve in which we had 16 patients with no other APN or fellow to help me out, and a day last November that 3 of my patients died in 12 hours!). 

It's rough having bad days at work.  It's hard not being able to eat, drink or pee for such a long time.  And yet I always have to be reminded of what it is that I'm doing.

I'm working in a PICU that is filled with sick kids, and families that are hurting.  At a time when they would love more than nothing else to be home with their little ones opening presents, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Christmas movies, they are instead in a hospital.  In a PICU nonetheless.

And so it makes my horrible day so much less horrible.  It's all about persceptive.  And it's important to keep that in mind.

So with that, I hope you have a Very Merry Christmas!! And a special thought goes out to my co-workers who are taking care of our precious little ones today in the PICU.  You are truly a light in this world!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Old PICU Friend, New PICU Role

For the last week I've been taking care of a 4 year old, who I was his primary nurse from the time he was 6 months old!  He was in and out of the hospital (more in than out) from the time he was 6 months until he was 3 years old.  And I absolutely loved taking care of him, watching him grow, and helping him get better each time.

So I was really excited to see him last week when he was admitted to the PICU (although sad he had to be there for health reasons).

And let me tell you, while I have been very aware of the differences between my role as a Nurse Practitioner, and my role as it was as a nurse, this week made those differences even more obvious.

When my boy came in I was able to spend 12 hours at a time with him.  We read a lot of books. We watched a lot of Sponge Bob.  We took walks in the halls.  We just spent a lot of time together.

But now my role is so different.  Even though I may be in the unit for 10 or 12 hours each day that I work, I don't get to spend it exclusively with him.  And some days when other kids are much more sick and need much more of my time, I may spend 20 minutes with him at most!

What a difference!!  While nurse practitioner may share the word "nurse" it truly is a different world than bedside nursing.  And while I do love my job as an APN, there are some things, certain things, just like spending time with this sweet boy, that make me miss being at the bedside.

So on the days that it seems like I'm not able to impact this one boy in the same way that I once was, being able to make him smile and laugh when nobody else could, I have to remind myself that with this new role comes new ways to make impacts. 

And while I'm still trying to figure out what that exactly means, I will continue to enjoy my role as an APN...and squeeze in any extra minute I can to read Dr Suess books with my precious little boy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Customer service at its finest

I love great service. I love giving great service.  And I get even more proud when I see great service at work.

Since I've been working so many 4pm to midnight shifts lately, which typically means I'm leaving the hospital around 1 or 2 am, I've been taking the free shuttle from the hospital to the parking garage.

I work in an inner city hospital and while it's not in a "bad" part of the city, it definitely has its moments of crime there.  So anytime I can not have to walk the 0.6 miles to the parking garage in the middle of the night, the better.

There are several different shuttle drivers that work the night shift.  But lately I have found my favorite.  His name is George, and he is the friendliest, older gentleman.  Not only does he pick me up at the front entrance and drives me to my garage, but he goes above and beyond.

Once we pull up to the garage he always asks what floor I'm parked on (I'm thinking b/c he wants to know approximately how much time to expect me to come out).  He then tells me, every time, that he is going to wait right at the entrance until he sees me pulling out.

And everytime I pull my car out of the garage, there is he waiting...big smile on his face and waving his hand out of the window. 

It's nice to feel taken care of.  It's nice to have your own personal security guard taking you to your car, and making sure you get out safe.  It's just nice to get great service. 

And while great service is what we strive for at my hospital, truly great service is what is being given my George, the shuttle bus driver!!!  Thank you for all you do (this is a general thank you, b/c I'm positive he does not read my blog!).  You are a reminder to us all to not only provide good service, but to go the extra mile, go above and beyond, make a difference, and deliver exceptional service!