Friday, July 07, 2006

3 PM to 7 AM

My night and early morning was divided into 15 minute increments. Every quarter-hour I would leave the nurses station and walk the unit checking the patients on precautions. Suicide precautions, assault precautions, elopement, fall risk, self-injurious behavior, sexual behavior. Poking my head in to see the patients sleeping or more objectively, to see their eyes closed, respirations deep and slow. Poking my head in to make sure they weren't cutting themselves or going into other patients' rooms or trying to strangle themselves with an improvised ligature. Then I returned to the nurses station to make notes, add paperwork to charts, and resume reading a memoir about a writer who was hospitalized in a psych ward.

I worked 16 hours straight yesterday/today. I'm tired.


  1. Having been on a psych ward at one point, those rounds (while understandably necessary) are a bitch on the patients. I woke up every damned time the nurse poked her head in to see if I was alright. Then at 8am when the intern came to "chat," he wondered why I was cranky and hostile.

  2. I usually recommend that patients leave the door open a crack so that I don't have to actually open it. I'm pretty good at checking, my patients haven't woken up yet.

  3. Perhaps that's the difference btwn a psych ward, and an ICU psych ward.