Probably Inevitable

I finished work at 5pm last night.

According to my rota, that is. I am supposed to be monitoring my rota this fortnight, for EWTD and New Deal compliance. I wonder whether I am also supposed to be lying about it. I’ve been on call. I very much doubt that my actual working hours this week have been even sniffing in the general direction of compliant.

I don’t expect to leave work on time on a Friday. It takes a little time to get things squared away for the two days that I’m going to be gone. Also, I had a moment yesterday evening, after weekend handover, when I was chasing supposedly routine bloods and discovered that my patient’s haemoglobin had all up and left their body, which was inconsiderate of it and tied me up for a while. In the end, I left at 6.45pm. I left the ward, wearing a coat and a scarf, and, on my way out, I went past the nurses’ station and said goodnight. I left the building, I ran for the shuttle bus, I arrived at the station, I caught a train, and I got all the way to the next station.

And then the train carriage had our collective eardrums shattered by my bleep bleeping.

Incidentally, this is my vindication for all the times in the last three months someone has witnessed me turning off my bleep and said, “Wow, you really turn your bleep off? Why? I don’t bother. I don’t even think I know how.” Guys? This. This is why.

I hung up on my stepfather, and, via Directory Enquiries and the hospital switchboard, got through to the extension that had been trying to page me, which, when they answered the phone, I discovered was the phone at the nurses’ station that I had waved at less than half an hour earlier.

“Hi, it’s Beth,” I said. “I’m — ”

“Hi, Beth!” said my nurse. “My wee new lady in Bed 11 — ” She paused, and I heard muffled voices and a scuffling in the background. “Other Nurse says that you left. You left?”

I admitted that, yes, I had left and I was calling from the train home. “I’ll be back in on Monday,” I said. “I’m only ringing to tell you to page the F1 on call.”

“Oh. You aren’t the F1 on call?”

I think they thought I lived there.


  1. Despite huge improvements in medicine, greatly reduced waiting lists, compliance reducing the untenable hours of junior medics – hospitals haven’t changed much then? Any coronaries from the effects of your ‘bleep’ going off?

  2. Know how you feel, about work hours compliance. Although, to be fair, the programs I’ve been at made a real effort to try to at least get close to the prescribed work hours limits of 80 + 10% / wk…

  3. I know how you feel. I sign my pager out to the on-call team after handoff and give a specific time that it should be back on but the call sheet operators have the ability to sign it back in at will. I was woken up at 7:05 this Sunday — my one morning to sleep in for two weeks — by my pager because they wanted to check that I should still be signed out.

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