Ever had One of Those Days?

During my career as a nurse I have had a number of “those” days.  You know those days?  You come to work and every thing is running smooth and you dare anyone to use the Q word (quiet).  Just when you think you have it made the proverbial “stuff” hits the fan.
So what do you do when you have one of “those” days? You know it will happen, you just never know when.  Most of us old timer nurses know how to keep it together and move through it.  Even as a nursing student, I was able to keep cool, calm and collected which amazed my instructors.  For most nurses it takes a little time to get to that point where you can keep it together when your having one of those days.

One-of-those-daysHow do you do it?

As an “old timer” nurse who is seasoned, there are a few things I have learned that help.  There are things you can do to help you keep cool when chaos creeps in and you are now having one of those days.


It is all about setting priorities.  Nursing 101 teaches us that the patient is the priority.  Patient safety is always first.  Finish what you start with one patient before trying to move to the next.  Try not to get distracted when taking care of a patient’s priorities.

Reassess your  priorities

The worst part of a bad day is that it seems to all fall apart at once.  Suddenly you needed everything done yesterday. Be prepared and keep calm when your well laid plan will needs to be rearranged.  Figure out what you want and replace it with what you need to get done.  Learn to go with the flow to keep down the anxiety.

Finish one task to completion

After you finish one of “those” days do you go home feeling like you left things undone?  Do you feel like you accomplished nothing?  Pick just one task out of the chaos and follow it to completion.  Problem solving takes a little time to learn.  Start with what you know you can get done and ask for help to complete the rest.

Ask for help

One of the hardest things for me is to ask for help.  I injured my back when I did not aske for help to lift a patient.  that is a hard way to learn a lesson.  Generally speaking, you are not alone in the chaos.  Remember many hands make lite work.  Gather the other team members to see who can help to ket the work done.

Keep cool

Stay cool, easy for me to say I guess.  Yelling and screaming never helps. I tell people that yelling only makes the situation more tense.  When I worked the OR I would tell the Dr. “you yelling at me doesn’t make me move any faster”.

Just remember we have all been there.  We have all had many of those days and survived it.  You will too.  In nursing we literally have life and death situations to deal with.  We can be thankful that not every day is one of “those”days.  My moto is “this too shall pass”.


Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a retired RN and US Army Nurse Major. She has over 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and once to South Korea. Her medical training began during the Vietnam era when trained as an army medic. She went on to train as an OR tech and then as a LVN/LPN. She completed nursing school and was direct commissioned into the reserve Army Nurse Corp. nurse. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and working in other medical facilities. During her career she spent years as an OR nurse, Occupational Health Nurse, Hospice Nurse, Forensic Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as being a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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