Saturday, April 14, 2007


I am occasionally on-call for my old job at the hospital. I am unsure of how call works in other countries, but for nursing and allied health here, we give our home phone-numbers to the hospital, who call us in during the night if we are needed.

Sometimes I can get called in four or five times during the night for my job. As it is a twenty minute drive to the hospital (and another twenty minutes home again), it can be quite gruelling.

Everybody has their own feeling and experiences with call. I thought I would share mine.


1. Driving home when everybody else is asleep. The whole world is dark, often the road shines and reflects the street lights, and no-one is moving except for me and the bakery trucks.

2. Working with a group of people in the middle of the night when it isn't terribly rushed or stressful. I love how people seem to pull together and become more of a team out of hours. You stop being an anonymous face known only by your job title, and become an individual.

3. When I get home and the rest of the world is sleeping, except for my cats. It is their day-time, and they get so VERY VERY EXCITED that a human is awake and moving around at the same time they are. They get inexplicably happy. I love it.

4. Feeling like you are going into work to be part of a team and make a difference.


1. When the cats become disappointed that the one awake human in the world has gone to bed, and decide to pounce on my husband's legs to see if he will wake up instead. This is a trick that gets discouraged.

2. Arriving at the front door of home only to have my mobile phone go off and be called back into the hospital before I can even undo the lock. I once had this happen three times in a row. The third time, I started crying. One of the nurses saw how haggard I looked and of her own volition called around her area of the hospital to make sure that there was no more work for me before I went home again. (This little bit could be moved back under "Love".)

3. Changing back into my pyjamas only to be called back in again straight away. Now I sleep in my clothes.

4. Being called when my on-call time is over, and there is somebody else who does my job actually at the hospital doing a shift. This usually happens while I am asleep recovering.

5. Telemarketers who call during the day while I am asleep after working all night after a full shift the day before, and have 10 hours off to recover before it all starts again.

On-call is different for every person, even those in the same job. Sometimes it helps to focus on the little things that you love about it. It make the nastiness a little sugar-coated.


Oz Meddie said...

Hi The Girl!

I read your blog often and love it :)

This post gave me flashbacks of my job pre-med, where I used to be on call 1 week each month. I remember this one time quite vividly where I was called in 4 times in a row, at some ungodly hour and each time just as I got home from the previous one. It was horrid. But thankfully that was only the once.

Anyway, just thought I'd say cheerio :)

Rach said...

As a medic, I've had this as well. We'd do a call in the middle of the night, which would last 3 hours because we'd have to drive to some other far-away hospital. We'd be backing into the bay, and the radio would start babbling again. So frustrating.

At one point I just started sleeping in my shoes. It gave me another 90 seconds before I had to get into bed.

The Girl said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Isn't the timing just uncanny with some of these calls? Glad to hear it isn't just me. ;)