Abbie is one of those really great nurses. She never seems frazzled. She never rushes around frantically. She always seems perfectly in control: smiling, chatting, calming gathering her medications or supplies like she has nothing else in the world to do, except this one little task that she’s doing right now.
Because nurses always have something else to do.
One day while travel nursing in Colorado, on a fine morning around 11:00, I got a phone call from the lab, saying the blood was ready for the patient in room 622, and would I please come pick it up so it could be transfused? That phone call came as the patient in room 618 was impatiently awaiting his discharge (family all gathered, ready to take him home, just waiting on me to go over instructions), plus the secretary had just paged me that the patient in room 617 had been incontinent, and was lying in a large pool of liquid stool; he clearly needed to be cleaned up immediately. And room 612 needed pain meds. Oh, the surgical admit was on their way, thanks.
Blood, discharge, poop, pain meds, new patient. All at 11:00 in the morning.
At the same time. Right now.