I step onto the ward at 0645, typically early. I stand staring down the long corridor leading to the nurses station. Doors to the right leading to small two or four bed bays, doors on the left leading to isoluation cubicles. I close my eyes the same as I do every time I start a shift listening for the indicators of the kind of shift I have ahead of me, somewhere down the corridor I hear the loud, shrill screaming of a ninety year old dementia patient on a loop screaming for her mother. Down towards the nurses station where all the six bed bays are I hear numerous buzzers going and the sounds of staff members actively trying to prioritise tasks. The smell which once was very prominent to me now barely noticable that of thirty unwell patients. All this speaks of the end of their busy night shift and the begining of a fairly standard early shift.
Eight hours later I am stood in the same place looking back down the same corridor, sweat still obvious on my skin, my head throbbing and my hands shaking because I havent had anything to drink since the start of my shift and I havent eaten in almost twenty-four hours. My knees and back also throb, my bodies way of complaining at the unnatural positions I have to adpot in order to do my job. A smile creeps across my face as I realise despite all this I have achieved a lot today, my patients are all clean, well fed and settled. I take a deep breath, aching and maloderous I go home.