WITH a walkie talkie in one pocket, a bleeper in the other and a list of jobs coming through from the wards, night nurse practioners may sound like one of the quieter roles at hospital but there is definitely no time for a snooze.
We met Chapelford resident Steve Bradley during one of his 8pm to 7.30am shifts to find out what happens at Warrington Hospital after dark.
The 49-year-old, of Vermont Close, said: “You name it, we do it.
“We’re the most senior nurses on the site at night so shifts can include verifying a death, managing the site, if the ward has concerns they bleep us to asses the patient and decide if they need to see a doctor.
“We go to any emergencies, cardiac arrests, we act as security and provide a back up to ward staff, help out A&E, push trollies and I’ve even been known to pick a mop up!”
Steve is one of eight night nurse practitioners at the hospital who work in teams of three each evening.
Currently one person’s time each night is taken up allocating beds for patients that have come into A&E but that will change soon when a bed manager is employed freeing the team up for more clinical work.
As we joined them, A&E was already filling up with more than 50 patients in the department and 10 over the age of 75.
Dad-of-three Steve said the team attempt to make a plan beforehand regarding how many beds they will need.
He added: “If there’s a delay with a bed we always tell the patient or relative the truth.
“A&E works on a system of priorities so we look after the most sick people first and minor things have to wait.
“We get patients coming in at 2am to 4am with minor ailments thinking it will be quiet but there’s a reduced staff at night and doctors are often busy with poorly patients.”
The team was rewarded for their hard work in June with a hospital ‘Thank you’ award but despite the long hours Steve added he loves his job as well as working with the Red Cross and as a magistrate.
He said: “We were proud of winning the award because sometimes on nights you get forgotten.
“I love working at night because I get to see a lot more of my kids.”
steve said the shift we joined him on was ‘not a particularly busy night’ but it was still eventful and varied.
Here is his diary
9.20pm Crash call to A3 for a confused patient who was aggressive. He was given medication to calm him and we stayed on the ward with security until he settled down. An extra member of staff was found for the ward.
10.30pm Called to A9 for a post operative patient who was unwell. I examined him and carried out blood tests and an ECG to find out why his observations were abnormal. Liaised with the orthopaedic doctor regarding my findings.
11.06pm Crash call for the trauma team to A&E resus. When I arrived there were enough people present.
11.15pm Call from A2 to provide drugs from the emergency pharmacy cupboard.
12am Started to visit all the wards in Appleton wing. We visit the wards to make sure that the staff are managing to care for the patients adequately.
12.30am The blood results for the patient on A9 were ready for me to check. Some of the results were abnormal so I spoke with the doctor to arrange urgent treatment.
12.45am Continued my visits to the wards.
1am Called to a medical ward to verify the death of a patient.
1.20am Another security crash call this time to A1 for a confused patient. By the time I arrived the situation was under control.
1.30am Called to a ward to replace a cannula.
2am Checked in with the other NNPs to see if they needed any help. They didn't so managed to have a bite to eat.
2.20am Call from A7. There is a fault on the nurse call system and they will not turn off. Arranged the engineer to come and repair them.
3am Went to review the patient on A9 and check he had started a blood transfusion.
4am Liaised with the A&E staff to see if any help was needed
5am Again reviewed the patient on A9 and referred him to the critical care outreach team to be checked during the day time.
5.30am Called to the main entrance as water was leaking from under the shop shutters. Arranged the cleaner to make the area safe and tried to contact the shop manager to sort out the leak.
7am Tidied up ready to hand over and go home. Yippee!