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post-duty-syndrome

Admit it. Even after work you still talk, walk, and act like a nurse. Though sometimes, you try to avoid or deny it, but it seems like you’ve been infected by the nursing virus and you can’t get it out in your system. Symptoms and behaviors you are probably experiencing are:

  • You go to sleep and nursing responsibilities still haunt you even in your dreams that you are still on duty, giving meds, regulating IVF, and feeding your patient.
  • You still check out your patient’s status even when you are already somewhere else.
  • You can’t remove caffeine out of your system.
  • You practice infection control at all times.
  • You phone the on-going nurse because you forgot to endorse something.
  • You are experiencing alarm fatigue in the hospital and you still hear alarms even when you’re at home or while you’re sleeping.
  • You treat your family member/friend like a patient when they get sick.
  • You hang-out with your friends (who happens to be nurses) and you still talk about your funny experiences and bloopers while you’re on duty.
  • You always promote health and correct practices to your family members like they are your clients knowing how expensive it is to be hospitalized.
  • You disinfect and bathe like crazy after arriving home knowing you handled an infectious patient.
  • You stock medicines and supplies at home in case of emergency.
  • You miter your own bed.
  • After different shifts and change of duty hours (from morning to graveyard shifts) you can’t have a proper sleep.
  • When you get ill and you are paranoid that you are infected with your patient’s disease.
  • You give medical prescription to yourself and to your family members. Sometimes, you even diagnose yourself when you’re feeling sick.
  • When you’re on a long leave or vacation and you miss work. (You’re probably on denial because you promise that you’ll never gonna miss nursing, ever!)

If you’re experiencing two or more symptoms or manifest behaviors aforementioned, you’re probably have this condition called post-duty syndrome. The reason behind this syndrome remains a medical mystery. All we know is that once a nurse, always a nurse.

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Rina Malones is currently working as a critical care/acute stroke nurse. Besides from blogging, she's also studying International Health at University of the Philippines Open University.