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Typical Day

Nursula works—usually night shifts—as a registered nurse at Shmoop Memorial Hospital. On this particular day, she wakes up at 8pm (so, just as the last light is disappearing below the horizon, she’s hopping into the shower) and pulls up outside the hospital by 9:45 (she takes a while to get ready in the “morning”). She starts her day/night by getting a report on all of the current patients from the day shift nurse, then goes from room to room, examining and getting vitals on all of them, and administering medication to any of her patients who need it (those who don’t need it but request it anyway get a stern look and a few words of gentle reproach). At around 11:00, she goes from room to room collecting and cleaning out bedpans. This is not her favorite part of the day. She gets through it okay, because she loves helping people, but she does wish from time to time that fewer of her patients experienced bowel movements.

It’s a sure sign of a professional when you can remain deadpan while emptying a bedpan.

At 11:20 she has to deal with Mrs. Bessemer, who tells Nursula she is very uncomfortable and asks to be turned over onto her side for a moment. Nursula obliges, realizing after turning her the reason for her discomfort—Mrs. Bessemer didn’t quite make it to the bedpan. Rather than cupping her hands over her mouth, screaming “Ew, ew, ew!” and running from the room, Nursula sticks it out. She cleans up Mrs. Bessemer, cleans up her leavings, and replaces the sheets. She so genuinely cares about Mrs. Bessemer that she even does it all with a smile. A real one. There’s a break in her day when she goes to eat “lunch” at around 1am in the hospital cafeteria, and then she returns to work by doing her rounds. These are similar to rounds performed by correctional officers in prisons, except that there aren’t quite as many attempts at a hospital break.

Nursula then starts to fill out med sheets for the next day, but is interrupted when a doctor calls her over to help hold down a patient who has suddenly started having seizures. She actually has surprisingly strong arms for someone with such a delicate frame. She must work out. After this, she helps a couple of older, more debilitated patients to the bathroom, makes a couple of phone calls to family members to bring them up to date on their loved ones’ condition, takes a trip to the pharmacy downstairs to retrieve some pills that have been requested by one of the doctors, and does 200 push-ups. (We told you she works out.) Finally, it’s another set of rounds and her day is over. She grabs her bag at 6am, walks out the door, gets in her car and heads to the gym. (Wow. She might actually have a problem.)