Updated: Aug 16
The other day, I was thinking about my life when I was a younger man and had just graduated from nursing school. This was the time before I became a healthcare executive, a federal lobbyist and an entrepreneur. It seemed to be a much simpler time. Less cares and more fun, well kinda.
I can recall just like it was yesterday. Kim and I were working on the night shift at the local community hospital. I was a newly minted RN and she was a little older than me, probably in her early 30’s. She was the one who would teach me everything I would need to know, that is, an older woman who had done it all before while I was young and naive without a clue.
As we worked the night shift together, it was just us two with no one else in sight. There was a patient census of 16 so we both had 8 patients apiece but we worked together as a team. As I looked at her throughout the night, I needed to tell her something that was on my mind and eating at me. I could not find the courage to open my mouth to utter those words.
As I sat at the nurse’s station writing my notes, Kim came walking in. She was wearing light pink scrubs and navy blue clogs. It almost seemed as if she was gliding across the floor. In my mind, I was determined this was going to be the time that I would speak up, be a man and let her know what I wanted from her. Just as I was about to open my mouth and talk to her, a call light came on from Mrs. Jones' room and she was one of Kim’s patients.
Kim quickly got up from the nurses station and as she walked out, I stared at her and just thought about what she could do for me. I just needed to get over my fear and ask her. Surely, when she came back in I would tell her what I wanted.
As Kim came back into the nurse's station, I started off with some minor chit-chatting to lead up to my big question. She was smiling and seemed to be enjoying the conversation. In my head, I was wondering what would happen if she rejected my question. We still had another 4 hours on this shift and I would be left to work with her while being dejected.
Okay i thought to myself, now was the time for me to ask her. Now was the time for me to step up to the plate. Now was the time for me to throw the Hail Mary and see what happens. So, I said, “Kim, I have a question for you and I don’t know how you are going to take it”. She looked at me and was waiting for me to finish my question.
As I was about to mutter the words, the Off-Shift Supervisor walked in and wanted us to give her a report on the unit. No kidding, it seems like we were there for hours and hours with the Off-Shift Supervisor but that was only because I was so anxious about talking to Kim.
As we were giving a report about the unit, the pharmacy tech came in to replenish the supplies and I could feel my time fleeting. The pharmacy tech stayed longer than normal because the narc count was off but was resolved after a review of the documentation. Finally, the pharmacy tech left followed by the Off Shift Supervisor who finally left after she told us about her grandchildren and her upcoming vacation plans.
I looked at the clock and it was now 5 am and I knew my time was running out. The new shift would start arriving at 6:30 am or so and both of us had to do intakes/outputs along with closing out our nursing notes and then preparing for the shift report.
Finally, all of our work was done and it was just Kim and I in the report room at 6:54 AM. We were both exhausted and wanted the same thing, sleep! We had both just finished three 12 hour shifts in a row. I was so tired that I did not even care anymore what she said or how she responded my question that was burning inside of me all night.
So I just asked the question of her, “Kim, since you are my nurse mentor and have been showing me things that I never experienced before, I wanted to know if it would be okay for me to switch shifts with Cathy this Saturday and work her 12 hour shift on Monday. Denise said she would help me complete the last few items on my Orientation Checklist that you have been helping me complete. Is that okay?”
Kim, looked at me and said,” Sure David, that’s not a problem”. All this time I was worried for nothing.
And you all thought this was a story about something else! LOL!
Have a great week!