When you're on night duty, you carry at least one pager. If the nurses need to contact you they can page you and you respond as fast as you can. Or they could use the online message board which you check at your leisure and prioritise yourself. In theory, the message board is for non urgent tasks, while the pager is for urgent things. In practise, this does not occur. I got a page the other day, to which I duly responded urgently, and the subsequent phone call went like this:
They did not call back. So I went round to the ward, wondering if perhaps they were too busy resuscitating the guy to call me. They were sitting casually at the desk, I picked up the patient's chart and saw that his blood glucose five minutes prior to me being paged was 7.9. I said nothing but waved the chart at the nurse with what I imagine was a look of gentle inquiry on my face.NurseHello?PTRHello - you just paged me, what's happening?NurseThe man in bed 4 is having a hypo.PTRWhat's his blood glucose level?NurseWe haven't done that yet. He just said he feels funny.PTRI see. Why don't you measure his blood glucose and call me back?
This is an exciting development in medicine. I look forward to being paged urgently to manage hypotension for which no blood pressure has been taken, catastrophic haemorrhage with no bleeding, and syncope with no altered consciousness.PTRSo?NurseOh, it turns out we'd done it but I didn't know about it yet.