"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Friday, December 9, 2011

Student Nurse Vampires! I'm a werewolf and It's a good thing.

It is the end of a semester and my nursing students take the pledge!  "If I ever find Professor Hanrion in a nursing home in poopy diapers...." well you can fill in the rest.  This week I watched several of my old students, (those from two semesters ago) graduate and began to think of my new-nurse days.

This photo is one of my students with a seasoned and very good nurse friend of mine.  They had a special bond and worked together for the two months we were on this unit.  He helped her a lot since she was not even five feet tall...she had a hard time reaching things.  And He was over 6'8" and could reach almost anything.

I usually ask my male students during conferences why they chose nursing as a career and get a variety of answers. Most have relatives they admire who are in the medical field.  Others have opted into the career  because they have not been able to gain entrance to medical school or the Fire Department...usually due to quotas!  Sometimes it is difficult for men in what is considered a woman's career and it certainly takes a gutsy and self assured male to venture into this world.  Several of my male students were ex-military (I had to constantly tell those guys "gentle-gentle")  and I had one student who was a paramedic and had tried 6 times to gain entrance to the County fire squad, scoring over 100% on each exam.  (He told me his girlfriend's father continually mocked him as a 'girly-man-nurse' at family gatherings.) Men with much lower scores than he were hired and trained because of their ethnicity.  I'm not sure I want the lower scoring fellows putting out my fires...but that is life, once again, here in beautiful politically correct California.  Fire fighter's loss was Nursing's gain...he was a very bright young man.

Lots of the men I know in the profession work at night...I'm not sure if it is to avoid mocking criticism about being in a woman's field, but imagine a woman who worked hard to be an engineer being teased for her career choice!  Nursing is a very difficult job as you must think, process, evaluate and DO all at once.  Both sides of the brain have to work simultaneously, not like some other well respected careers.  Like a person who is good with their hands who has no critical thinking skills, or a person who is good at solving math, or situational problems actually having to give a presentation and interface with the human race such as rocket scientists...who are known to be reclusive. (I know several rocket scientists and have found their communication skills somewhat lacking) and besides most guys can help me figure out the new computer systems that are now mandated in most hospitals.

Nurses who work at night are often thought of as vampires as they go for weeks without seeing the sun.  In fact that may be why they chose nursing as a career. I don't know but some of the night nurses do look a bit strange when I report to duty in the morning. I can almost picture them sleeping in coffins...but that may be the bad hair day they usually have by the time they have been up all night.  Not too long ago I worked for several years doing 12 hour night shifts, and sometimes 16 hour night shifts.  The bad thing is...my interior clock never quite shifted to the night-time.  At 3 am my body usually said sleep, Sleep, SLEEP!  Another clue that I never flipped to night time waking is the fact that I never peed at night.  Then at 6am when I should have been just waking up, I went to the bathroom volumes...dumping the many sodas and glasses of liquid I had consumed since about 10pm the night before.

Then my husband started bugging me to quit nights.  He said I was grumpy for several days after a long run of night shifts.  And I realized my body was beginning to rebel when I had issues with my bowels, and felt crummy most of the time.

After you graduate nursing school most students get assigned to a night shift.  Not really the best place to hone your skills.  Such was the situation with me.  Many moons ago after I graduated, at the tender age of 18, I worked the night shift in labor and delivery at newly built Kaiser hospital. (which now is closed as a hospital...it's creepy to think you have out-lived a building...)

However, the night shift in this specialty is particularly busy.  Pregnant women will relax, go to sleep and then the baby decides to emerge in the middle of the night...or at least her body says, "get out of here".  (Then 19-20 years later when that same child is staying in the room you always wanted to turn into a den or sewing room...you say "get out of here."  Sometimes it even works!)

I saw lots of action during the night in this specialty area of the hospital and got very good at delivering babies...often by myself because the doctor didn't get there in time.  I was young and pliable and slept the next day until 5 pm and never noticed that when I was giving report to the day shift I needed to go to the bathroom several times or my bladder would explode.  When I was older that same situation sent me into bad-breath, grumpy, diarrhea nasty mom.  So it's a good thing new nurse graduates make good night nurses and can give us older and wiser day-loving (werewolf) Angels of Mercy a Break!

 (My bladder and family thanks you too.)

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