chapter twenty: raining confetti

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Any new nurse entering the field quickly learns that not everything is textbook. As students, we spent our time constantly cramming in as much information that was written down. Everything from isolation precautions to IV fluid calculations to cardiology is engraved in our brains. Nursing school prepares you for the basics, but it's only when you step out on the field that you learn how the job truly works.

Unspoken rules are gathered over time and experience. Like always try to make friends with the interdisciplinary team; having that mutual relationship with them actually might get you your patients delivered from point A to point B faster. Use common sense when paging doctors; you don't want them to become irritable before morning rounds even start. Researching something you've never heard of? Don't worry about it, half of us need to refresh our memories too.

Sometimes, the job is just plain bad luck. Like how coincidentally your computer seems to only crash when you're short staffed and insanely busy; that's just our luck. Wanna just be polite and let everyone know you are going on break? Don't. Spoiler alert: you won't get one. I could go on and on, but there is one rule that tops every single one of those on the list.

Never, ever, under no circumstances, ever: say the words 'quiet' or 'slow'.

I don't know what makes the universe do it, I don't think we ever will, but as soon as those words are uttered out of someone's mouth, the ceiling hits the floor real quick. So when a group of hospital interns came to tour our wing and the most cocky one shouted 'Man. For a top rated surgical wing it sure is pretty slow around here', his voice echoed through the halls.

Everything and everyone went silent. Until it didn't.

A twelve-hour shift and not once have I been able to stop for a second to breathe. We are so understaffed we are at an eight to one patient to nurse ratio. Hospitals are constantly lacking nurses and to pile on top of it, it's New Year's Eve. Holidays are known to draw in emergency patients and today is no exception. I've been at back to back surgeries all day. Understaffed, a holiday, and someone said a curse word; this day is almost doomed.

I pinch the corner of my eyes together, wishing it would relieve any pain that has gathered in my head today. "I don't understand why you can't do anything about this! My wife has been waiting for nine hours!"

I let out an exaggerated breath and plaster a sympathetic smile on my face. "Sir I do apologize. The labor process is very difficult and I can't imagine what your wife is going through considering the time length. However, I'm reading her file and she is still very much in the preparatory phase. We checked her cervix thirty minutes ago and she is still at three centimeters. All we can do at this moment is make her as comfortable as possible while we wait for a change." I calmly explain to him.

He scoffs and I swear if he rolls his eyes any harder they will get stuck in his head. "All you can do. Yeah right. My wife is in excruciating pain and all you guys have done is check her vitals and feed her ice chips. I rarely have even seen any of you nurses! Are you all on break constantly or what?" He fumes.

Honestly, my fellow coworkers would have lost it at this guy by now. I, however, just can't do it to the poor man. I get where he is coming from. His wife is about to have an extremely painful experience and she doesn't even get to have the relief of it being short. I saw him pacing the halls every time I got out of a surgery, I'm surprised he didn't break sooner.

"Sir, I apologize. Let me see who your appointed LD nurse is and we will get them to check for an update right away." I bring my badge up and scan it on the computer, unlocking the screen. "Can I scan your wristband ple-."

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