Here's My Problem: Overnight Anticipation

Posted: Jun 5, 2012
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I have to work an overnight shift tonight. It’s a mid-week overnight shift, surrounded by days of meetings and office work. My favorite. In my outside-of-work life I LOVE anticipation, but as I forced myself to sleep in this morning, I realized that anticipation is the enemy when it comes to my job.

The excitement, thinking about, and planning of something is often the best part. But at work, anticipation is often the dread of something bad. The anticipation builds as I’m trying to stay up all night while also being able to think and function. I’m preparing for anesthesia on a 14 year-old GDV dog with renal and heart disease. I’m preparing to tell an employee I “need to talk to them” before they leave.

Megan Brashear and Josey, veterinary technicians at DoveLewis administering activated charcoal to a canine patient.

That kind of anticipation keeps me up at night (and during the day) and I hate it... but sometimes there's an exceptional night! The last time I stayed up for 27 hours I kind of had fun. Everything was funny, my patients were well behaved, and the sleep afterward was pure bliss. The GDV anesthesia went awesome because the dog was much easier to monitor than the last healthy spay anesthesia that I participated in. And that corrective action? Never my favorite, but I learned something about myself and my management style that might just help me do it better next time around.

Tonight I’ll add an extra shot of espresso before my shift. I’ll take a deep breath and rely on the skills that I’ve learned over the past 14 years and rock that anesthesia. I’ll suck it up and help that employee realize that they’re “in trouble” because I care about them and want them to succeed. Not so bad, right? Ask me again at 8:00am tomorrow.