what happens in a low census?

The amount of patients in the hospital is always rising and falling. This is a known fact. So what happens to all you travel nurses who have moved away from family and friends to a hospital that now doesn't need you? I'm very familiar with this concept because pediatrics is an even more rollercoastering census than most inpatient hospital floors. Sometimes I think the kids all meet outside and talk to each saying, "Everyone! It's time to go into the hospital. We'll do it together so we all have friends inside that scary place." Two days later..."Ok all, let's go home and play in the snow.  After all, it is a snow day!"

Obviously, that's just a cartoon that plays out in my head. So what does happen to you when the kids decide to play in the snow all at the same time? As a travel nurse, you are usually the first to float (to where you capable and competent). In a bigger hospital setting, they may orient you to a different unit so you can be competent there in the future. Or, you might be given small tasks not requiring a nurse like sitting. Because of the low census these past few weeks, here's what I've been doing.

Sitting definitely reinforced how much i love pediatrics. Observing an adult man complaining of his gold being stolen, finding him pulling out his iv till where the catheter hub was exposed and blood poured out everywhere, all the way until he urinated on my pants while calling me bad words. Oh yeah, and a paul bunyan code being called because he started verbally assaulting us. Yep, I like kids. Those same experience would have been so much better with a child: strap that iv down, put them in a diaper, and call their parents. It usually does the trick :) But I now know what the other side is like. And I now know....how I can bury gold.

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