I had a rough shift the other night—you know, the one where you start off with a BIG assignment, run behind on everything the minute you take report, and end up spending an additional 2 hours charting after 12 crazy hours. That shift found me slammed all night and wishing I could just walk away. But as nurses, we can’t just leave our patients—so I came up with some nurse-survival-mode coping measures instead:
1) I took a bathroom break, even though I really shouldn’t have. Yes, that moment with the staff toilet was the best moment of my night, next to…
2) Ok, I’ll admit this. I multi-tasked on the toilet and called my husband. He gave me a pep talk and made me remember why I do all this stuff in the 1st place.
3) Sometime after that, I found myself eating some chocolate an angel dumped at the nurse’s station. Chocolate increases serotonin or endorphins or some other such happy chemical in the brain, right? Ahem. The floor wasn’t fun, but my mouth sure was partying!
4) A while later, I managed to shove a protein bar and some water down my throat while attempting to chart. Protein bars are life-savers on nights we nurses can’t find time to eat! I couldn’t scrounge up an energy drink, though—but I swear by those in times of emergency.
5) When things got really hairy, I found a moment to vent to my colleagues. In other words, I lost it for a minute, and they in turn decided to help me out. They were all drowning as well, so it didn’t do much good, but it was very encouraging to feel not so alone in the storm.
6) And when 7AM rolled around, and I realized I’d be there for a couple more hours to chart, I repeated this mantra, “I could always go work at Starbucks. I could always go work at Starbucks.” Having an out (and yes, I know Starbucks can get nuts) and remembering I chose this profession made things doable.
And can you believe I always go back for more?!