A personal guide to those precious, precious hours away from the hospital and a nurse’s day off.
A Nurse’s Day Off
After hours and hours running from patient rooms to the supply room, to the nurse’s station, all while answering call after call, chatting with everyone under the sun, having some time away is a wonderful thing. But, what does it actually look like when nurses are away from the hospital?
What do the elusive and mysterious creatures that we call nurses do on their days off?
Let’s discuss a nurse’s day off.
Step 1 – Sanitize
I think 2-4 scalding hot showers should do it.
Maybe 4-7 if you encountered any c. diff, bed bugs, or klebsiella.
Step 2 – Sleep
9-11 hours will be sufficient.
Do keep in mind that the first 2-3 hours will be haunted by telemetry monitor alarms and IV pumps.
Step 3 – Coff-eine administration
This is necessary to fully awaken from a deep, deep slumber.
There is a standing order for 16 oz PO coffee; may administer another dose if ineffective after 30 minutes.
Do not exceed 900 oz in 24 hours.
Step 4 – Devotionalize
When “just another day at work” can consist of people dying, it’s important to bring your brain back to what matters most, however that looks to you.
Being humbled and thankful on a daily basis helps keep priorities straight, maintains sanity, and keeps you from constantly wearing grumpy pants.
Step 5 – Laundry
Remember all those gross things you did at work?
Are you picturing it?
Are you picturing emptying that JP drain with all those clots in it?
Are you ready to feel confident as a nurse?
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Are you picturing pulling out that chest tube and it almost splattering all over your arm?
Wash your clothes, like, now.
Step 6 – Nap
Aren’t you tired again yet?
Step 7 – Put on something without an elastic waistband
When you basically wear nice pajamas to work, it can be easy to simply not wear pajamas.
Scrubs at work. Pajamas at home.
It’s good for the mind and body to remember you’re a human outside of the hospital, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to put on your regular non-jammie clothes.
Step 8 – Do something not hospital related
Do anything. Just don’t go for a walk… you already walked three miles at work yesterday.
A leisurely sit, perhaps?
Step 9 – Exercise
Remember that cake they brought in for someone’s last day?
Or the carry-in yesterday where everyone brought in all that delicious food that you ate way too fast during the 3-minute break you got after not eating for 8 hours?
Moving your body in a way you enjoy (walking in nature, a workout class, a run) is so good for your body and soul. Especially if Mr. Walrus is your workout bud.
Step 10 – Go to bed early
Because you’re probably back at work early tomorrow morning again, right?
Some fun nursing resources
- A Day in the Life of a New Nurse
- Managing Your Time in Critical Care, Part I
- Tips for New Grads in the ICU: Showing Initiative
- The FreshRN Podcast
- ICU Time Management Tips
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