Monday, December 29, 2008


8pm: Birthing center on the phone: "32 weeker just came in. She's ruptured and 6 cm - 5th baby).

Seconds later speaking to the Nursing Supervisor

"Even with the float nurse you sent, we're down one nurse from our pattern and we're definitely getting one more admission, possibly 2. Can you find me another nurse?"

NS: "I'll call the agencies again."


Phone rings 20 minutes later. "This is the nursing supervisor. I can get you an agency nurse who will be here in 2 hours."

That will be a huge help! Thanks again!

10 pm. Night shift supervisor: "I see we've booked an agency nurse for you at 11. Does that mean I can send the float nurse somewhere else?"

I wouldn't have asked for an additional nurse if I didn't really need one. We're definitely getting an admission within the next hour, there's another potential on the status board and (glancing at the board) OMG there's a 25 weeker on the board now! I know we don't staff for "what if" but I really need to stick to my pattern.

Supervisor: Well, if you REALLY need her....

Yes, I really do - and thanks!

Other units are busy too, so I can't blame the supervisor for trying and I don't want that job for anything. I don't even want to know where else the float nurse was needed. Staffing patterns aren't perfect, but they can sure save a lot of time explaining why additional help is necessary or deciding whether unit staff is "extra" and can be floated.