Emergency Buzzer

The last time I was in work I may or may not have pulled the emergency buzzer out of the ceiling.

I was left holding one end of the orange cord with a ceiling tile attached to the other end. I then realised that I hadn’t actually managed to turn the buzzer on and so had to run out into the corridor and shout for assistance.

The same thing then happened to the night staff with the other buzzer in the room, except that they only snapped the cord as opposed to collapsing the ceiling.

The maintenance man was very confused when he arrived the next day to fix them.

While emergency equipment breaking is clearly dangerous no harm was done and the look on the repair guy’s face was just the laugh we needed after the run of difficult shifts we’d had. A combination of short staffing, several senior staff on maternity leave and a large percentage of sick babies made for busy, tiring shifts and increasingly demoralised staff.

There are also some parents on the unit who can best be described as challenging. I don’t like to use difficult as a description as these parents are incredibly stressed and tired and things are said in the heat of the moment.

Things that aare usually retracted a short time later with a quickly accepted apology.


A phrase that we use quite often in situations that aren’t exactly ideal is “If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry” and this was one of those times. Me and one other nurse were caring for four very sick babies, two who needed to go to theatre and one who needed to go for a scan in a room that had no emergency alarms.

It was far from ideal but we just had to get on with it.

Our coping strategy involved big smiles, detailed lists, lots of giggles and copious amounts of chocolate.

Soometimes that’s the only way we get throught the day.

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