Night Before Christmas
By Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal, RN
'Twas the night before Christmas, while working on call,
I was tired and grumpy, and had the west hall.
There were two observations, a radical neck,
A bypass, a bleed and a sex change, by heck!
I was running like crazy and doing my best
Vitals and bedpans and all of the rest
It was one task then another, same song, same verse
There’s no time for sitting when you are a nurse,
When down in two twenty I heard a hoarse shout
I ran faster than lightening to check it all out.
"What is your problem – is there something wrong?
I thought you were settled and it hasn’t been long
Since I checked on your pulse, your heart, lungs and pee
Now what is your problem, oh what can it be?"
"My sheets are all wrinkly, my pillow’s a lump,
I think I am itchy and what is this bump?
I can’t close my eyes, I can’t get to sleep,
Will you do something nurse?" then he started to weep.
"You see, it is Christmas and I hate this joint,
I don’t want to be sick," and I saw his point.
"I’m sorry you’re sick and I’m sorry you’re sad
This Christmas must be the worst one you’ve had.
Can I sit for a minute, right here by your bed?
I can chart for a bit," I sighed and I said.
So I sat for a while with my charts on my knee
And we chatted and laughed until what did I see?
The night supervisor stood there in the door
Her hands on her hips, her feet on the floor,
"What are you doing sitting there in that chair?
There’s a policy dear, as I’m sure you’re aware,
The hospital staff are not paid to just sit
So get up off your butt and get back after it!
If you’re done with your work, with time left to spare
Then find something to clean, but get up off that chair!"
"Write me up if you must, but then go away,
I’m busy right now and don’t care what you say,
My patient here needs me, I think that is clear,
I’ll get up when I’m finished – and don’t call me ‘dear’.
I’m busy right now and don’t care what you think!"
I turned to my patient who gave me a wink.
She turned on her heel and went off down the hall
And I’m more than just certain that I’ll get a call,
I’m sure to be counseled on my attitude
And told to be nice and to quit being rude.
I’ll admit I got mad, and should think ‘ere I speak
And I’ll have to eat crow sometime next week,
But there’s more to good nursing than task after task,
If you are a nurse then you don’t need to ask,
There’s compassion and kindness, vigor and vim,
There’s love and devotion, good will to all men.