November 21, 2005, 11:22 pm

If You’re Going To San Francisco…..

I’ve known a few of these nurses.

To be honest, after twelve hours of running during a shift-from-hell, I’ve been this nurse. More than once. I hearby apologize to all the patients stuck with me as
their triage nurse on those days.

How can it be that I leave the house in one condition: hair blown dry and meticulously styled, make-up done so well that Mary Kay herself would have applauded, scrubs crisp but comfortable, the very slightest hint of citrus wafting in the breeze as I bounce to the car in anticipation of my workday….

…..and by the time I get home I smell like the Oakland Raiders’ locker room after a game, my scrubs are sticky, my hair is drooping, my eyeliner is somewhere south of my chin and I feel like a beat-up hockey puck?

Did I ever really believe that nursing was glamourous? What the hell was I thinking?


And now, an Emergiblog Public Service Announcement:

Driving at night can be hazardous to your memory.

My last shift was a doozy. Non-stop running. It seemed as though the proverbial bus was letting patients out in one continual stream. I was exhausted by the end of my twelve hours and more than relieved to slide into the driver’s seat to head for home.

It was the middle of the night and traffic was minimal as I headed north on Highway 101. The radio was putting out some good tunes. Matchbox 20. Gwen Stefani. Eagles. I harmonized along (Don Henley, eat your heart out!). I was tired, but not sleepy. The night was cool and I cracked the window open for some fresh air.

I drove smoothly along and soon I came up on the San Francisco International Airport.

Hmmm….the airport.

What the…….?????

I don’t live near the San Francisco airport. In fact, my exit was twenty miles behind me.

Twenty miles!!!!

I was so shocked it took me a few seconds to get my bearings. I had no memory of the trip past my exit or how I had gotten that far down the freeway without realizing it. Scared the hell out of me. It’s a good thing I snapped out of whatever reverie I was in or I would have ended up in Marin County.

I’m just thankful I didn’t fall asleep at the wheel.

So all you nurses working long hours and driving at night, don’t contribute to the nursing shortage by becoming trauma patients yourselves.

Stay awake. Stay alert.

Be careful out there.


  • Luke G.

    November 22, 2005 at 12:29 am

    Very nice blog, has a cool look!

    Luke G.

  • Kim

    November 22, 2005 at 12:36 am

    Thanks Luke! I love your description on your blog!

  • Moof

    November 22, 2005 at 7:46 am

    Kim – driving while partially brain-dead (or at least semi-comatose) has been known to cause long vacations …

    Unfortunately, as you know, you wouldn’t get to choose the vacation spot!

    Please, be careful! Try to get some rest!

  • kenju

    November 22, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    Whoa……Beam me up Scotty! time.

  • Heather

    November 22, 2005 at 9:43 pm

    I have soooo done things like that. Be careful, Kim!

  • D Bunny

    November 23, 2005 at 10:50 am

    When I was a triage nurse, I had the attitude of that nurse in the picture very, very often. I make no apologies for it.

    “You’re a healthy 20 year old who has had a RUNNY NOSE for 30 days and you’re here on a busy Friday night waving your Medicaid card in my face, the first words out of your mouth is a snotty ‘How long is the wait gonna be?’ and you openly admit that you’re here because you’d rather get a free ER visit than pay $4.00 out of your own pocket for some sudafed at the pharmacy across the street?”

  • Dr. Charles

    November 23, 2005 at 7:18 pm

    great photo! i used to almost fall asleep at the wheel driving between hospitals during residency (before the 80 hr work week). so terrible the demands that are placed on healthcre workers. be careful, take a nap before you drive home 🙂

  • Gypsybobocowgirl

    November 23, 2005 at 9:04 pm

    I used to drive from Arroyo Grande to San Luis Obispo after night shifts and crawl in my bed and try to remember the ocean, my exit, turning on my street…anything. ‘Course, I’ve done much worse driving IN to work for day shift!

  • PaedsRN

    November 24, 2005 at 9:42 am

    You don’t think there’s anything even slightly significant in the fact that you wound up at the AIRPORT? 🙂

    Looks like your subconscious is trying to get the hell outta Dodge!

  • unsinkablemb

    November 25, 2005 at 8:15 am

    It DEFINITELY sounds like you could use a little R & R… Next time you head to the airport, make sure you have a plane ticket and your luggage!!! 🙂

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About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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