I Watched Over You as You Slept: Heroes in the Night–the Night Nurses

October 19, 2023 0 Comments

Jim slept,I Watched Over You as You Slept: Heroes in the Night–the Night Nurses Articles but he probably shouldn’t have been doing so as he was headed for trouble. Bonnie was also sleeping; she was unaware that her heart rhythm had changed; in the next room, on the same night, David was about to have the same experience. Andi came to the hospital unconscious; she was unaware of the person who had the courage to save her life.

And Peter slept silently and peacefully; he was due to be discharged in the morning after having been in the hospital after a car accident.

Jim, Bonnie, David, Andi and Peter all were unaware of the nurses who watched over them through the night. Yet each needed the nurse who intervened on their behalf—he/she saved their lives.

Night nurses generally work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Most of the time, they watch over their patients as they sleep, only awakening the patient if trouble arises, or to check different things like blood pressure or to hear what their lungs sound like. For the most part, patients do not remember the “night nurse” as in the drowsiness of sleep, the woman or man who tended to the patient gets lost in the folds of a dream.

But each person who spends a night in the hospital is very fortunate to have a night nurse tending to them, watching over them, ready to assist at a moment’s notice just in case interventions need to be implemented. Here are a few stories of how the night nurses have intervened to save their patients’ lives (names have been changed for privacy):


Jim, 45, had been admitted through the ER (Emergency Room) in the evening with complaints of heartburn that had started a week earlier and was now causing stomach pain. He was a veteran truck driver who was mostly deaf and hadn’t slept well for a couple of days (due to his pain). On his most-recent route, the pain became unmanageable so he went to the closest ER fearing that he was having a heart attack. Once the heart was proven to be unaffected, a chest x-ray was taken, showing pneumonia. He was subsequently admitted for treatment.

He had been sleeping soundly, and snoring loudly, when the night nurse, June, came on duty. As he was newly admitted, the nurse wanted to do a complete examination, so she awoke Jim to take his blood pressure, listen to his heart, take his temperature and listen to his lungs. Moderate voice level didn’t awaken Jim, so the nurse, remembering that Jim was nearly deaf, called his name loudly. Jim opened his eyes, nodded to June when she stated she wanted to “check him over,” then went back to sleep. The nurse performed her assessment and made a note to check on him frequently throughout the night.

As a general rule of thumb, the night nurse peeks in on her patients every hour to see if they were doing well, and did one assessment at the beginning of the shift if the person was doing well, more if he/she was not.

But something in June’s “gut” didn’t sit right about Jim. All his vital signs were good; he was breathing well. But there was something in Jim that didn’t feel right with the nurse.

As the night progressed, Jim continued to breathe well, his color was good, and his vital signs remained stable. But he became less and less responsive. The nurse realized that he could just be very tired, having not slept well for a few days. The nurse discussed it with her colleagues and they agreed that he was probably just tired as nothing indicated anything to be worried about.

Still, things didn’t feel right to the nurse.

At 4 a.m., June decided to intervene as she was very unsettled about Jim. Knowing the doctor would probably yell at her for calling him in the middle of the night without a valid reason, she called Jim’s attending physician anyway and told him of her findings, that it was just her intuition that told her that something was wrong. The doctor told June to monitor the situation and call him in an hour.

An hour later, nothing had changed, so June again called the doctor, who came to the hospital. The doctor agreed that there was no obvious sign that anything was wrong; but he ordered a few tests. Within 15 minutes, it was discovered that Jim’s oxygen-to-carbon dioxide ratio was off. Jim was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and put on a ventilator to help correct the levels.

After finishing her paperwork and report, the nurse put the patient out of her mind as he was no longer her responsibility (and she had 6 other patients to monitor). Jim’s doctor went with Jim to the ICU, and then returned to thank June for her efforts and for not being too afraid to contact him with her “gut feeling.”

June thought about Jim after that day, knowing that she helped save Jim’s life. His condition would’ve continued to deteriorate through the night had June not have trusted her intuition and acted upon it; he might’ve wound up with brain damage or worse as the blood-gas levels worsened.

Three months later, a float nurse (one who isn’t assigned to a given floor but can be assigned to anywhere extra staff was needed) had been working in the ICU on the day Jim had arrived. When assigned to the floor on which June worked, the float nurse told June that Jim had recovered well and had been sent home with a C-PAP machine to help him with his breathing at night.

June’s actions helped immensely in this situation. Jim never knew the name of the woman who intervened in the nick of time. But the result was very rewarding for both individuals.

Bonnie & David

Bonnie, 64, was really looking forward to retirement, even when she had slipped on the ice and had landed on her backside. A broken hip was the result, leading to her hospitalization three days earlier. She was scheduled to go to a nursing home for long-term care in two days. All the paperwork was signed, the nursing home picked out, and Bonnie felt ready to leave the hospital.

Bonnie was a night-owl who liked to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning. So when the night nurse, Jill, came on duty, Bonnie was wide awake watching a movie on TV. Jill did a quick assessment then returned to her rounds. At the 2:00 check-in, Bonnie was fast asleep, breathing well, looking peaceful.

As Bonnie had been admitted to the Cardiac-Medical Floor (as the Orthopedic Floor had all beds filled), Bonnie was automatically hooked up to a heart monitor as was routine on that floor. The heart rhythms were monitored by one nurse from the floor. That night, the nurse was Angela; it was her task to watch all the heart rhythms of those with cardiac monitors, and to give periodic reports to the nurses in charge of those patients. Angela was known for her exceptional intuition. At the beginning of the shift, although Bonnie’s heart rhythm was normal, Angela placed a post-it note next to her name on the monitor to remind herself to watch the woman closely; she did the same to another patient, David.

As the shift progressed, Bonnie’s heart 밤의전쟁 사이트 rhythm remained normal. But that all changed at 3:00 a.m. While the nurses were off doing their 3:00 rounds, Angela saw Bonnie’s heart rhythm change dramatically–it became a rhythm that would cause death soon (ventricular fibrillation). Although Bonnie’s heart was still beating, time was critical–only an electrical jolt (defibrillation) would stop the rhythm and save Bonnie’s life.

The first action in a situation such as this would be to send Bonnie’s nurse to the patient. However, Jill wasn’t around–in fact, no nurses were visible; no one was available to help!

Knowing she had to act fast, Angela called a “CODE” to direct the respondents to Bonnie’s room. A CODE alerts everyone that a person’s life was in danger and immediate assistance was needed.