Ok. Blood culture, urine culture, lytes, CBC, rapid RSV for room 3. Has the baby in 2 peed yet? I still need to do his urine dip, and why won’t his line flush? He still needs his Rocephin, has it been thirty minutes yet? I’ll call the pharmacist again after I take care of 3. The doctor is in room 1, so hopefully I have a few minutes before I have orders. But that baby is really retracting and her oxygen sats are 94%, so I should take care of her before I worry about the baby in 2. Crap. Why is the mother for 3 standing in the hall waving me over? Ok, blood culture, urine culture, lytes, blanket, Gatorade, CBC, rapid RSV for 3. I’ll get my supplies together, what size IV should I use? 24 gage will probably work. Is the doctor writing orders on 1 now? Deep suctioning, rapid RSV for 1. But I still haven’t even started the workup on 3. Whose alarm is beeping? 1’s sats are now 92%, I’m not comfortable with that. Why aren’t there any neonatal nasal cannulas in this room? I’ll get the bag and mask ready just in case. Are her lips blue? No, just my panicked imagination. 86%, is this machine reading right? I’ll wake her up and see if that helps. I wish I could find a tech to help with the workup in 3, I should be done with that by now. Is there something in my shoe? I keep feeling a sharp stabbing pain in my foot. But I can’t sit down yet. I have to take care of this baby now. It’s been fifty minutes since 2’s vital signs. I’ll be with 1 and 3 for at least twenty minutes, so I have to get 2’s vitals first, but he’s stable, should I just wait for his Rocephin and be late on his vitals? Oh yeah, I still have to call the pharmacist…..
This is what my brain goes through in just a few minutes at work. Winter in a pediatric ER is like this nonstop. By the time I get home, I don’t want to think about patients or hospitals or anything work-related. Unfortunately, as soon as I fall asleep, I am suddenly overwhelmed with patients again. I wake up panicked because I’m late on vitals and giving meds. I remind myself that I am not at work for another four hours, then close my eyes and return to my demanding patients yet again. When my alarm goes off around 5, my brain feels ready for a break, not to begin another twelve hour shift. Am I overwhelmed? All the time. Am I on the verge of a breakdown? That’s a possibility. Do I love what I do? Absolutely.