24 Hours on Call
I have mentioned in many blogs how
much I love being a nurse practitioner. I have enjoyed the opportunities I have
been afforded by associating with so many wonderful professionals and they have
paved the way for me. THANK YOU! The opportunity I am referring to is my role
as an independent contractor for a gerontology group.
One year ago I started taking call
for eight gerontologists who are medical directors of over 60 nursing care
facilities. When I started, there were six NPs/PAs who would cover call over the
weekends. I can recall the excitement I felt when I met with my soon-to-be
collaborative physician at a Starbucks. We talked for a long time about my
goals and she would ask me after each question, "So what other questions do you
have for me?" I think I was asking the same questions in different ways,
because of course at the beginning I did not know what to expect. I was so
nervous about the first day of call which started at 8 a.m. and ran to 8 a.m.
the next morning.
I can recall waking up early and
sitting at my computer constantly checking my phone making sure it was charged
and not on silent. My first call didn't come until 9:30 a.m.; I thought this is
nothing...until 9:31 a.m. and WOW! did they come fast and furious. In the middle
of a phone call, call waiting was beeping loud in my ear and beeping again. Not
only did I receive the first call, thirty seconds later I got the reminder beep
of the call that I missed. It was constant and nothing short of
I remember in that Starbucks, I
told my collaborative physician I could take an entire weekend. I used to be on
call for the cath lab multiple weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). She
advised, "We will start you off taking two days per month." Recalling that
first day and the subsequent other day that month...Oh my goodness!
When I was on call I found myself
being kind of rude to friends and family. They did not see me on the phone, and
they were attempting to talk to me and I would give them a look where they
would give that face like, "I'm sorry I didn't know you were on the phone!" If
too many people were talking too loud, I would give them the look and the face!
If someone would call me on either of my phones, the conversation would start
off with, "I'm on call!" and they knew to say what they had to say quickly or
just say, "I will call you tomorrow." I would hurry them off the phone because
in seconds I would have missed four calls!
It is kind of funny and lonely at the same time.
All I have to do now is give everyone notice and no one calls me or barely talks
to me. My best friend and family on call days is my cell phone! I have to laugh
at myself when I am in the early hours of call. I am so cheerful, and I ask the
nurses how they are doing. I laugh with them, I listen to their stories, but by
11 p.m. that all stops. My responses are short and all I want to do is sleep. I want my best friend and family member, the cell phone, to also go to sleep,
but that does not happen. I ask myself, "Why am I doing this?" Especially if it
is Sunday, and I have to work the next morning. Then the check is delivered,
and I say, "That wasn't so bad," and I do it again!