A Night Shift Nurse Tells All

nurseBefore I begin I’d like to thank Zinzo for encouraging me in this endeavour. I’ve always felt embarrassed about my writing and Zinzo has been so supportive. He encouraged me to get my own blog, but I would prefer to be associated with a larger venue, so the focus isn’t all on me.

Dear reader, you are about to hear of the true accounts of my time as a night shift nurse, all the nitty gritty details, trials and tribulations, relationships whether they be wonderful, sexy or tragic. I will use this venue as a sort of on-going diary of sorts, as well as a recounting of events past. I promise to hold nothing back. You will bear witness to my deepest thoughts, warts and all. There have been times that I have over stepped the bounds of the nurse-patient relationship and other times of I have gotten involved with my co-workers in ways I wish I hadn’t. I’ve made horrible medication errors, stolen medications (never from patients), and pilfered supplies (mostly sharpies, sticky notes, and band-aids). I have been witness to selfless acts of love, compassion and kindness. I have seen both tragedies and miracles unfold before my very eyes. Whether you know it or not, dear reader, you are doing me a great service. Knowing that a fellow human being may be reading these words provides me with a sense of relief, a type of catharsis. I struggle with the concept of God and religion. And frankly, I’ve lost and regained my faith several times over. So maybe this diary is as much as a confessional to God as it is a way to clear out the baggage in my brain. I find myself to be morally wayward when it comes to intimate relationships. I also find myself lacking in good judgment, time after time. I have a hard time learning from my mistakes. I feel a disconnect between what I know I should do, and what I want to do in the moment. It’s the old “forest through the trees” problem, I guess. Did I mention that I’m a mess?

In the interest of self preservation and not wanting to violate any HIPPA rules, I have changed my name as well as the names of my co-workers and patients. So yes, I will be calling myself Nurse Nancy, a bit derivative, I know. I’m stealing the name from numerous plagiarists before me, from children’s books to porn and horror movies. Besides, I just couldn’t resist the alliterative sound of Nurse Nancy. I considered the “Confessions of…” title, but there are already so many and I already feel bad for being so unoriginal with my pseudonym. Besides, this is not a work of fiction. This is my version of the proverbial “shouting into the void.”

Perhaps, you need to know a bit more about me so you can understand where I come from and who I am. Here’s a brief synopsis: I was born and raised in Bay Area Town, California. I dropped out of high school at age 17, subsequent to my first trip to Burning Man. To my parent’s horror, I took my GED and bummed around the United States and parts of Europe and Asia with various friends for about four years, working menial jobs to keep funding my travel lust. I wasn’t about to ask my overbearing parents for anything, especially money. I eventually got tired of traveling and landed back in the Bay Area, where I began a year long stint in the adult film industry. It seemed like easy money at the time. Without going into too much detail now, I will say that I ended up wading up to my ears in a mire of degradation and drug abuse, only to be rescued by my faith in God. I thank my mom and my childhood pastor for that.

The night I was arrested on drug charges, I prayed for guidance for the first time in years, and like a bolt of lightning the answer came to me. It seemed so clear and obvious, that I wondered if it could be that simple. It feels like an eternity ago when I made the call from that jail-house phone where I heard my mom’s loving, sympathetic voice for the first time in a year, and I cried and I felt like the confused, angry teenager that I had never grown out of being, who had finally acquiesced to the sublimated need for the unconditional, loving embrace of a concerned parent. I felt years of rebellion and sour teenage angst melt away in those moments. I was 22 years old at the time. Though, I would be reluctant give up the life experiences of a wayward, joyful, passionate, intrepid, crazy, confused young woman, I would gladly trade those experiences to have been able to know my mom better during that formative time of my life as I transitioned from a girl to a woman. We did reconnect to become great friends, but I will always regret being estranged for those five years of precious time we could have had. She died three years ago from colo-rectal cancer. As an adult, I really only knew her for four years, a shorter time than I had been traveling. But as they say, “No regrets. Life moves on.”

I was lucky that my parents had money, lots of it. Once they saw that their black-sheep daughter wanted to fly the straight and narrow, they made it clear that I would live the life of privileged college student. Though my GED wouldn’t quite cut it for me to gain admission to a four year university, the junior colleges were happy to take me in. I had all AP classes in high school and was able to skip the math, english, and chemistry pre-requisites needed to get in. Micro, Phys, Anatomy, and Sociology were all I needed. My parents were a bit disappointed that I wanted to be a menial floor nurse, and not a Doctor or Lawyer or some other “highly respected and lucrative” vocation, which is where I would probably headed if I hadn’t dropped out. Needless to say, my folks were happy to know that I was alive and “doing something positive with my life.” I graduated in 2008 from Random Community College at age 25 with an associate degree in Nursing. After passing the NCLEX, I soon found a job working nights on a med/surg floor at a medium sized hospital in California. This was right before the 2008 crash. New grads had an easier time finding a job back then than they do now. So here I am, a 33 year old RN, still working nights, still kind of confused. I’m unlucky in love. I’m currently in the “lost my faith again” cycle of belief and disbelief. So I got that going for me. What else is there to say? Next time, dear reader, I will tell you about the time I put someone in cardiac arrest when I gave them IV epinepherine after I followed a bad doctors order.