Shift change

Slimm says we are going to the local nursing home, and points to the MDT. “80Y/O M LOW-BP” it says.

Fair enough. Sounds interesting.

We arrive to see another one of our ambulances on scene, with the crew going inside. “What are you guys doing here?” a crewmember asks.

“Picking up somebody on the North Wing” is Slimm’s reply.

“Cool, so are we.”


Our patient is about as distress-free as possible. I think he is taking an afternoon nap, when his nurse walks in.

“He isn’t normally my patient. I normally work on another wing. His blood pressure was eighty-over-fifty-two when we checked it just a little while ago. His doctor says he needs to go to the hospital.”

“Great, thanks for the info” Slimm says as he takes the packet from the nurse.

After moving the nice octogenarian to the stretcher and walking outside, we see that the previous ambulance has now been replaced by yet another ambulance from our service.

“You guys picking up, too?” I ask.

“Yeah, someone on the North Wing. I think the call is for nausea.”

Now that is interesting. Three calls from the same wing (which have about 15 rooms per wing) in less than 10 minutes.

It’s interesting until I take a glance at my watch: 3:17.

Shift change.


  1. I’ve always wondered exactly when shift change is at these skilled nursing facilities (as TOTWTYTR says, that’s three lies in one phrase). Is shift change at 2300, 0100, 0300, or 0500? Or somewhere in between? Do they use their own version of SSM to determine when the peak times are for patient illnesses? The world wonders…

    • The shift change time isn’t important… because we all know that it started on the three-to-eleven.
      The “nurses” at these skilled nursing facilities (three lies for the price of one!) must have a hell of a time
      remembering their schedules, with all the floating to different floors/wings they do.

      It particularly amuses me how the nurse giving report knows absolutely NOTHING about the patient other than “his doctor says he has to go”, yet every other “care provider” one encounters on the way out of the building knows every conceivable fact and detail about the patient, right down to the size and color of their last bowel movement..

      And we just smile, nod yes, load up and move on.

  2. I once took three full arrests out of the same wing of a nursing home in one night, one right after the other, from rooms right next to each other. The first was around midnight, the second at about two, and the third at about four.

  3. Flash Larry says:

    I see that things haven’t changed. Back in the late 1970’s we had a nursing home in the south of our Metropolis. Especially on weekends, we could count on the calls beginning at about 830am, again at 430pm, and sometimes even a little while after midnight. This was a regular event. These calls were usually followed close before or afterwards by calls from all downtown hotels and restaurants.

    We weren’t the 911 provider in that part of Metropolis but they 911 service tended to divert all the patients who were visitors to the city to Large Public Hospital. These facilities that served the tourist industry started bypassing 911 and calling our private service directly since we would take patients to facilities that were more consistent (and often closer) than LPH.

    These hotel/restaurant patients were all employees who had just arrived at work for the 7am and 3pm shifts. They wanted off for their Saturday and/or Sunday shift. No better way to get off work that to leave in an ambulance. Oh, the complaint you ask. Uniformly the same thing – in the male, it was always chest pain; in the female, it was always lower abdominal pain.

    As I said, nothing has changed…

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